A STATEMENT TO THE DETROIT MUSIC COMMUNITY
May the Women’s Movement continue to expand the cause of human rights. Women’s rights are human rights. March highlights the contributions and accomplishments of women-it is Women’s History Month. Those who gathered together on Sunday evening, March 12, 2017 at The Lo & Behold Records and Books location in Hamtramck were following that tradition. Their cause is a just one. There are many examples of why the dignity of women should be upheld in Detroit’s musical venues.
Getting the facts straight is essential for the success in these endeavors. One must not act on patently false statements, accusations, gossip and highly destructive innuendo, by certain misinformed, malice laden people, but rather getting the truth. On one instance, proper research was not conducted with respect to the one area musician who was unfortunately targeted. Targeting individuals falsely is a dicey practice inherently, and is not a wise practice because it can bring about deserved criticism of the movement.
George Krautner, also known as Jorge Cortez was, as it turns out, unfairly and unlawfully targeted, in as much as he is neither a rapist nor a pedophile. Further, defending him against these false charges does not make the defender a rape apologist. There is no evidence that has been uncovered at the time of this writing directly pointing to any of these individuals having a hand in George Krautner’s firing at his employment, but the rumors, innuendos, false statements uttered by a mass of these individuals suggests that the vilification of Mr. Krautner may have found its way to his employer.
Also, some of these ill willed individuals have posted on Facebook pictures of these defenders, contacted their family members, and threatened physical harm, all in the name of supporting their cause, which is our cause, of stamping out the rape culture in the music community. Further, a letter writing campaign to certain venues with these falsehoods attempted to interfere with George’s and White Shag’s livelihood. His offense almost 10 years ago, did not rise in severity to these false charges. To work against a rape culture is not well served by targeting these hardworking local rock musicians. It was a huge mistake.
Now we must consider the wrongdoing of libel, which is a civil action. Defamation per se is when one imputes a crime to one who never committed such a crime. In this case, rape. Here in Mr. Krautner’s case, the 1st Amendment doesn’t protect the defamatory statements. Michigan law is very clear. Let’s review MCL 600.2911. MCL means Michigan Complied Laws. The section heading is: Action for libel or slander. Libelous statements are defamatory if contained in a writing, such as in social media. Slanderous statements are oral. Both affect one’s reputation.
600.2911 Action for libel or slander.
Sec. 2911. (1) Words imputing a lack of chastity to any female or male are actionable in themselves and subject the person who uttered or published them to a civil action for the slander in the same manner as the uttering or publishing of words imputing the commission of a criminal offense. (Emphasis supplied)
What the statute means is that accusing a person of a rape when it did not occur is actionable in and of itself. Nothing more must be shown; the libel has already been proven. All that needs to be done is peruse through the Facebook posts, made by some of these malicious types and read through the comments, and nothing more. For example, someone wrote and repeated a libel when they penned this preposterous statement that “Personally I don’t feel comfortable attending events at a venue that is willing to enlist a convicted rapist.” This was referring to George Krautner.
Another statement made through Facebook, implied that George Krautner is a pedophile. They wrote, “You know what really sucks? operating within a musical community that has to deliberate over whether a convicted sex offender (who is on the registry like TODAY actually) should or should not play a set during their charity festival that is supposedly benefitting children, lemme gon’ head and mention that he’s got to report until 2023 due to the nature of his crimes. a children’s fundraiser [sic]. for children. sex offender. that sucks.”
A fair reading of the previous statement wrongfully implies that George Krautner is a pedophile. Both above statements open the writers to serious liability. Further, this person stated: “During a conversation in this group I belong to it was mentioned that this musical act called White Shag has this member that’s actually a literal convicted rapist and they’re scheduled to play at an event I’m very familiar with in Hamtramck in a few weeks.” (Emphasis supplied)
We do know who they are. To respond to this by saying, “I don’t care, I have a right to my opinion, I didn’t mean to call him a rapist or pedophile,” will be no defense. People responded and then shared their libel throughout Facebook. They have painted themselves into a corner. The damage has been done. Many screen shots from these people have been collected and are on file with the proper authorities, including Facebook, the police, and George’s legal team. Not only are the actions by the slanderers civilly wrong, but they are criminally responsible. It’s now a felony in Michigan to cyber-bully. People should understand what this means. Here’s the law.
750.411s Posting message through electronic medium; prohibitions; penalty; exceptions;
Sec. 411s. (1) A person shall not post a message through the use of any medium of communication,
including the internet or a computer, computer program, computer system, or computer network, or
other electronic medium of communication, without the victim's consent, if all of the following
(a) The person knows or has reason to know that posting the message could cause 2 or more
separate noncontinuous acts of unconsented contact with the victim.
(b) Posting the message is intended to cause conduct that would make the victim feel terrorized,
frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
(c) Conduct arising from posting the message would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional
distress and to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
(d) Conduct arising from posting the message causes the victim to suffer emotional distress and to
feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
Mr. Krautner did not consent to the continuous barrage of false accusations. They were purposely done in a relentless fashion, repeated, causing emotional distress that an ordinary reasonable person would find deplorable. Those who have wrongfully targeted George have brought about serious harm to the fight against the rape culture. These acts have been counter intuitive and harmful to the cause of feminism and human rights.
Women’s rights are human rights. When such rights are violated the Women’s movement has been fundamentally discredited. The band White Shag has long been a band with a decisive feminist perspective, as witnessed by the artistry and articulation crafted by Laura Mendoza. Let’s redirect the struggle toward human rights and against crimes of hate.