Backlash

Drummer in all-female band who defended Brock Turner draws scorn, loses concert dates

Dan Stedman and Dana Keith of the Northside Festival in Brooklyn, June 8, 2016. The festival withdrew an invitation to Good English, a garage rock band, after their drummer wrote a letter defending her childhood friend, Brock Turner Ñ whose short sentence for a sexual assault conviction has angered many. (Caitlin Ochs/The New York Times)

An up-and-coming all-women’s rock band has been dropped from concert venues and music festivals after a letter written by the drummer, Leslie Rasmussen, in support of her childhood friend, convicted Stanford rapist Brock Allen Turner, went public this week. Rasmussen, who went to elementary school with Turner and called him a childhood friend, said in a pre-sentencing letter to the judge that there was a difference between what Turner did and rape, and suggested alcohol was to blame for his actions. Turner was convicted of three counts of sexual assault last week and sentenced to six months in jail, a sentence that drew widespread outrage from the public. When New York magazine published parts of Rasmussen’s letter, the outrage turned toward Good English.

The band, which includes her two sisters, has been dropped from four venues and the Northside Festival in Brooklyn, New York, this week, as well as the Dayton Music Art and Film Festival, and the band’s public relations firm, Behind the Curtains Media. The founder of the Northside festival, Daniel Stedman, called the decision to nix Good English from the festival’s bill a “no brainer.”

“When people choose to defend something, then I think they should be held accountable for it,” said Daniel Stedman, a founder of the Northside Media Group, which runs the Brooklyn festival. Another concert date was canceled after threats of violence were made on social media.

The band released a statement to The Guardian in which Rasmussen said she was trying in her letter to highlight the problems that alcohol use can bring about, and blamed social media for forcing her to defend her position.

Update: Rasmussen released a statement on her Facebook page Wednesday, apologizing and saying that since she was not there on the night of the crime, she had “no right to make any assumptions about the situation.”

“Most importantly, I did not acknowledge strongly enough the severity of Brock’s crime and the suffering and pain that his victim endured, and for that lack of acknowledgement, I am deeply sorry,” she wrote. “I can only say that I am committed to learning from this mistake. I am 20 years old, and it has never been more clear to me that I still have much to learn.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

Related:

Stanford sexual assault offender Brock Turner blames crime on “party culture”

Stanford sexual assault offender Brock Turner’s mug shot finally released

Victim’s and father’s statements in campus sexual assault case draw strong reactions online

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