Weasel’s mistake may have effectively ended his career, a punishment that doesn’t fit his crime. His band quitting is one thing, bands pulling out of his festival and being very careful to distance themselves from him in print and professionally is their prerogative. To me, all this reaction might make sense or seem reasonable if this same scene didn’t routinely and historically turn a blind eye to rape, assault and similar sketchiness perpetrated by dudes in bands.
Your indie rap crew can run a train on a girl too drunk to stand in an alley behind a venue and be welcomed back to that same venue on the next tour. You can beat up your girlfriend and not [get] kicked out of the Shins for another year. You can do almost anything you like on a festival tour and have it hushed up. You can have a reputation for sexual assault and when your label decides to be the one to say the buck stops here and refuses at the last minute to ship your record, the existing copies of the record become collectors items. I know multiple stories, told to me first hand, from Chicago girls who were raped while passed out at parties by Chicago musicians—musicians who continued to work and have unimpeded careers long after these things happened or word got around. And this shit happens everywhere.
But those things didn’t get caught on video and posted on YouTube. And those people in those bands are perhaps less disposable than Ben Weasel 25 years into his career. And those things are written off as a personal matter even when someone else witnessed it, and accepted as a rumor by everyone whose business depends on that band to put some money in their pocket, and everyone ignores a rep and goes along to get along.
Until all these bands, labels, anonymous commenters and 10-percenters expend the same outrage over sexual assaults that they do over Ben Weasel and his regrettable actions, but it’s just a sanctimonius kabuki, making a big show of nothing but their double standards.
Jessica Hopper in a post titled “The Weeze,” regarding the circus that Ben Weasel’s SXSW altercation has turned into… If you haven’t heard about it, there should be more in my #ben weasel tag.
Truth is: I’m glad people are distancing themselves from him after that, and seeing the punk community stand up to violence (or at least violence against women) is a good start. But what’s sad that I’m actually pretty shocked at the outcry and all the negative reactions, because I’ve been conditioned to think that punk dudes don’t ACTUALLY care, after the way my friends and I have been treated, and the stories I’ve heard like the ones above.
If this is the beginning of more punk rock dudes actually caring, that would be amazing, but I’m not holding my breath.