The band Good English has been axed from Brooklyn-based Northside Festival after one of its members came out in support of the former Stanford swimmer convicted of raping an unconscious woman.
Leslie Rasmussen, drummer in the Dayton, Ohio-based trio, along with her two sisters, is a childhood friend of Brock Turner. Shewrote a letter to Judge Aaron Persky defending her friend, who was recently sentenced to six months in prison.
The judge who issued the comparitively light sentence has been condemned by victims advocates, as has Turner’s father, who has portrayed his son as having suffered greatly for what he referred to as “20 minutes of action.”
“Brock is not a monster,” Rasmussen wrote in her letter to the judge. “He is the furthest thing from anything like that, and I have known him much longer than the people involved in this case. I don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next ten + [sic] years of his life on the decisions of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him.”
Since her letter was posted in full online, several venues where Good English was scheduled toi perform have cenceled their shows; Critics are calling Rasmussen a “victim shamer,”a “rape sympathizer,” “rape apologist,” “rapesplainer”and “stupid.”
Fans took to Northside’s Facebook page, sending a flurry of angry posts urging the festival to drop the band.
Organizers of the Northside Festival listened to their fans, tweeting Tuesday morning that Good English was scrapped from the lineup.
Due to recent information brought to our attention, Good English is no longer playing Northside Festival.
— Northside Festival (@NorthsideFest) June 7, 2016
Gothamist reported later Tuesday that four other venues set to host the band cancelled their shows. Industry City Distillery and Bar Matchless made public announcements condemning the band and rape culture; The Rock Shop and Gold Sounds also removed the band from their lineups.
Metro reached out to the four venues, but were unable to obtain a comment.
Rasmussen released a statement on her Good English’s Facebook page, which, along with the band’s website, has now been deleted.
“I understand that this appeal has now provided an opportunity for people to misconstrue my ideas into a distortion that suggests I sympathize with sex offenses and those who commit them or that I blame the victim involved,” Rasmussen wrote in the post, which was accessed through Google’s web cache. “Nothing could be farther from the truth, and I apologize for anything my statement has done to suggest that I don’t feel enormous sympathy for the victim and her suffering.”
She added that Turner’s character was “seriously affected” by his alcohol consumption, and urged the court to take that into account.
But critics are blasting Turner’s paltry six-month sentence as being too lenient for his January 2015 assault on an unidentified woman.
Prosecutors had asked asked that the defendent be sentenced to six years. Judge Persky said that a stricter sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner, who was a swimmer at Stanford University at the time.
Turner will be a lifetime member of the sex offender registry.
Turner grew up outside Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Oakwood High School in 2014. According to the Dayton Daily News, Rasmussen graduated the same year.
Rasmussen and her two sisters, Elizabeth and Celia, formed Good English in 2008, releasing their sophomore album in March 2016 with Behind the Curtain Media company.
Behind the Curtain did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether they still represent the group.
Infectious Magazine described Good English as a “unique blend of grunge, garage-pop, and punk-influenced rock ‘n’ roll that sounds like the lovechild of Nancy Sinatra and Black Sabbath.”
The Revue said the group “could very well be the heirs to the riot grrrl legends,” saying they’re a big part of the Buckeye State’s “rock revival.”
So last year at the Nelsonville music festival I got to meet and hang out with the girls from Good English, and I thought they were pretty cool. This week I find out that their drummer is the one who wrote the letter defending the Stanford rapist Brock Turner, which totally ain’t cool. So to all my friends who book shows in Ohio and beyond: don’t support rape apologists and don’t book this band. @goodenglishband #fuckrapeculture #ohiomusic #brockturner
Good English has an upcoming concert on June 18 at the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern in Cleveland.
Metro reached out to Beachland to inquire if there were plans to cancel the group’s concert. An employee said the venue wasn’t aware of the response against the group in New York, and added that the managers of the venue would be in touch.