BTR News – From the start of the Time’s Up / Me Too movement started by white celebrity women who alleged they were victims of Harvey Weinstein, I have been opposed to campaigns like “Just Believe Her” as I intuitively knew that this movement was counter to justice and was also being used as a political tool highlighted by the Judge Kavaughn SCOTUS confirmation hearing. Then there was a “Just Believe Him” campaign as it relates to the Jossie Smollett case which based on the evidence presented by the Cooke County DA, is looking more and more like he lied.
I guess I was very sensitive to allegations without a preponderance of evidence showing the likely guilt of the accused. I was not just bothered by these campaigns because of the very long record of Black men being lynched on merely the accusation of white women, but a member of my family was convicted on the word of a white man that my brother broke into his trailer and stole property without any physical evidence like fingerprints, recovered stolen property, or video surveillance evidence. In fact, the local newspaper had said the white man had shot the intruder and there was blood at the scene except my brother had no gunshot wounds anywhere on his body. Going just off the word of a white man, an all-white jury in a trial overseen by a white judge, convicted my brother who would lose ten years of his life to prison slavery under the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution.
As a modern abolitionist opposed to legalized prison slavery, since 2014 when launching the weekly program New Abolitionists Radio, I have highlighted countless stories of men who had been convicted on sexually related assault or rape charges only to decades later, be exonerated by DNA technology.
What is so troubling to me about the alleged Jossie Smollett hate crime hoax involving a noose, is that thousands of Black men were unjustly lynched in the court of public opinion and physically hung from trees and worse, on just the accusation of a white woman. I think it safe to assume that many jumped on the Smollett bandwagon because they could use it as a political tool against President Donald Trump and those who support him. I think I should also mention here that Trump did the same thing by taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times pushing the presumption of guilt of the teens wrongfully imprisoned in the Central Park Five case.
Considering how the murder of Emmitt Till is kept fresh in our minds but those who rightly say “Never Forget” when it comes to the racial terrorism Black men, women and children who suffered and still are suffering in the United States, it was very troubling for me to see Black women and men so readily jump on the bandwagon of presuming guilt before innocence considering how we as a group have constantly been denied the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution like the due process rights in both the 5th and 14th Amendments. That we have been denied the presumption of innocence in a white supremacist society for hundreds of years.
Perhaps some people had been victims of crime and no one believed them, that is certainly a reasonable assumption that some would be speaking from the emotion of their trauma which is understandable but that still doesn’t make it right. Others, I reasonably assume, jumped on the bandwagon because the movement was seemingly targeting straight males as the only perpetrators of sexual assault and the campaign helped their misandrist agenda. Never mind it seems every week, a female teacher is arrested for preying sexually on teen boys but ignored by the MSM corporate news outlets that heavily promoted the “Just Believe Her” campaign to a mass audience, including potential jurors who could find themselves sitting in judgment on criminal sexual cases.
Now we learned today that the CEO of the Time’s Up organization has been forced to resign because she apparently has refused to just believe accusations of groping against her Black son that at this point appears to be he said, she said situation. The scant physical evidence referenced is from her son in the form of a text message he got from the white woman who is now accusing him of touching her genitals, kissing her on the neck and rubbing his erect penis against her through his clothes.
From the New York Post,
“Celia Gellert told the Times (Los Angeles) that Bowden, a life coach, photographer and podcast host, touched her inappropriately during a “healing session” at her home on Jan. 21…..Bowden’s lawyer Alan Jackson denied the allegations, saying he gave Gellert a massage that she requested. “My client vehemently denies that any inappropriate or nonconsensual touching occurred at any time,” Jackson said. The lawyer provided a text exchange between Gellert and Bowden that shows she thanked him for the massage and called it “gentle and authentic and loving.”
It must be pointed out that Celia Gellert, the accuser, told this story to her Facebook followers, the Los Angeles Times but as of yet, did not file a criminal complaint by telling her story to the Los Angeles Police and that is the whole point of the “Just Believe Her” campaign, to empower accusers, without any evidence, to punish people in a way that perverts justice and the due process rights of the accused. Now that the son of Lisa Borders is in the crosshairs of a movement she helped lead, she might take some time to reflect on her own actions considering she is now a casualty of a hashtag movement. Perhaps she and others like her, including the supporters of Jossie Smollett, will consider that no one should blindly believe accusers but allow those tasked with investigating such abuses, to do their jobs and develop evidence in individual cases that are brought to their attention through the appropriate channels.
It is time to stop punishing people solely on allegations against them, especially when there is no evidence to support claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Just believing someone has wrecked thousands of lives and is a gross pervasion of justice.
Scotty Reid is the founder of the non-profit media organization Black Talk Media Project which has been around for over 10 years. He is the host and producer of the BTR News podcast and New Abolitionists Radio which he has co-hosted for several years. He is a free-thinking Christian prison slavery abolitionist who can’t be put in a box politically, socially or otherwise. He is the father of three and a US Army Veteran of the Gulf War. He has been producing news talk programming since 2007 and has interviewed hundreds of guests on various topics over the years. His favorite movie line is from Forrest Gump, “Are you stupid or something?”.