NEW YORK (AP) — Social media lynch mob or do-gooders done, well, good?
That’s for you to decide as we consider the week just had by 20-year-old drummer Leslie Rasmussen of the indie rock band Good English.
Rasmussen, who lives in suburban Dayton, Ohio, is a friend since childhood of ex-Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner who was convicted last week of felony sexual assault and attempted rape. The six-month jail sentence of the Olympic hopeful, who agreed to leave the prestigious school rather than face possible expulsion, unleashed a fury.
Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky cited Turner’s clean criminal record and the impact the conviction will have on his life. The outrage has lasted for days.
In the aftermath, a “character statement” Rasmussen wrote in support of 20-year-old Turner was leaked. In it, she blamed campus drinking culture and political correctness for Turner’s inebriated life choices after two bystanders caught him in the act of assaulting a drunken, unconscious woman near some garbage bins.
Said lynch mobbers or do-gooders then took to Twitter, Facebook and other social streams to demand Rasmussen’s band, which includes her two sisters, be dumped from at least four gigs that included some in Brooklyn clubs hosting a small music festival called the Northside Festival.
In the aftermath of the aftermath, the music-focused website BrooklynVegan.com reports Rasmussen released a long statement Tuesday explaining the one submitted into the court record in California two months ago, ahead of Turner’s sentencing.
While Rasmussen’s home phone rang busy Wednesday, the statement posted by Brooklyn Vegan speaks of her sympathy for the victim in Turner’s case.
“Unfortunately, due to the overzealous nature of social media and the lack of confidence and privacy in which my letter to the judge was held, I am now thrust into the public eye to defend my position on this matter in the court of public opinion,” the statement said.
It continued: “Now, my choices to defer college to write and play music, to finally introduce 10 years of hard work to a national audience while working consistently and intentionally on my own personal and professional integrity, has led to an uproar of judgment and hatred unleashed on me, my band and my family.”
It appears Rasmussen is crying victim. That doesn’t matter to David Kyrejko, co-founder of Industry City Distillery, one of the Brooklyn venues that canceled Good English as soon as the world figured out Rasmussen was in the band and playing there.
Industry City and other venues, along with the promoters of Northside Festival and the festival itself, have been dealing with outraged New Yorkers over Rasmussen’s remarks. None immediately returned calls and emails seeking additional comment beyond what they have posted online.
Industry City was to host a number of artists, not just Good English, on June 11.
“Then this whole situation started to unfold and we immediately contacted the producers of the event and demanded that they be removed from the lineup,” Kyrejko said Wednesday. “We found out through fans. We were made aware of it Tuesday, almost instantaneously. Our response was that Good English was removed from the roster.”
Why? And what of Rasmussen’s right to free expression?
“It’s pretty simple in my opinion,” Kyrejko added. “The support of rape culture is not tolerated. That’s why we removed them from our roster. I think she can do whatever she wants, but if you’re going to preach that, you’re not welcome in our venue. The show will go on. It’s going to be a great show.”