The Brooklyn-based Northside Festival has taken the band Good English off of its lineup in lieu of the drummer, Leslie Rasmussen's statement about Brock Turner. For those that don't know, Brock Turner is the notorious Stanford swimmer that has recently been convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. While Turner's actions were despicable and uphold the white cisgender patriarchy that's remained constant throughout the US history, it's disturbing that Rasmussen's statements would follow in Turner's footsteps.
In a letter to Judge Aaron Perksy, Leslie Rasmussen stated:
"Brock is not a monster I don't think it's fair to base the fate of the next ten plus years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn't remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him. I am not blaming her directly for this because that isn't right. But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn't always because people are rapists."
Rasmussen also went on to say:
"This is completely different from a woman getting kidnapped and raped as she is walking to her car in a parking lot. That is a rapist. These are not rapists. These are idiot boys and girls having too much to drink and not being aware of their surroundings and having clouded judgement."
Rasmussen's statement is worrisome because it will only help to further support the notion that Turner isn't to blame, but it is the victim's fault. Victim shaming is nothing new, especially in numerous cases like this one where a multitude of questions are thrown the victims way while the perpetrator is portrayed as a morally wholesome person. When looking at the Brock Turner case specifically, it's alarming that Rasmussen doesn't understand the basics of consent. In this situation, neither party could give consent and we should hold Turner responsible for his actions. It doesn't matter if collegiate institutions as Rasmussen said, "...Market themselves as the biggest party schools in the country. They encourage drinking."
Although alcohol and drug culture exist on college and university campuses nationwide, this doesn't change the definition of rape or any kind of sexual assault. Rasmussen's definition of rapists hanging out in parking lots, looking for vulnerable women is an archaic portrayal of our nationwide misunderstanding of rape culture. If someone did not or can not give consent to a sexual situation and they're taken advantage of, then that is rape. Simple as that.
After Rasmussen's letter was discovered by New York Magazine, Northside Festival tweeted, "Due to recent information brought to our attention, Good English is no longer playing Northside Festival." After the festivals tweet, Industry City Distillery also cancelled a June 11th show that the band was supposed to play and has recently tweeted, "Good English is not playing our show, removed yesterday from lineup, zero tolerance for the act or the justifying of the act." The band has also deleted their Facebook account in lieu of Leslie Rasmussen's statement.
While the future of the band Good English is surely in question, it's important to remember that what Brock Turner did was wrong.