Good English drummer Leslie Rasmussen (far right) is under fire for supporting Brock Turner. (Photo: Steven King)
UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon, via her band Good English’s since-deactivated Facebook account, drummer Leslie Rasmussen issued a statement regarding her character letter supporting convicted Stanford sex offender Brock Turner – and the backlash that has resulted in multiple canceled concerts. Read her statement in full here.
Last week, 20-year-old Stanford competitive swimmer Brock Allen Turner received a shockingly lenient six-month county jail sentence for sexual assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a fraternity party. (Prosecutors had recommended six years in state prison.) Public backlash was, understandably, furious and immediate, especially after Turner’s victim released an eloquent, heart-breaking, 7,138-word statement about her horrific ordeal and shoddy treatment by the court.
More than one petition was launched advocating the ousting of Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky for handing down such a light sentence, lest jail “have a severe impact on [Turner].“ A letter from Turner’s father sparked outrage for dismissing the attack as “20 minutes of action.”
Now, a character letter penned by the younger Turner’s Ohio childhood friend, Leslie Rasmussen – in which Rasmussen mentions Turner’s “respectable family” and Olympic aspirations; calls Turner “a sweetheart”; blames “political correctness” and "idiot” college drinking culture for Turner’s arrest; and claims “rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists” – is making the rounds. And Rasmussen’s controversial words are creating serious repercussions for her band – which is ironically called Good English.
— Teressa (@muerk)June 7, 2016
— Team Brady (@goteambrady)June 7, 2016
— George (@GeorgeThoroBad)June 7, 2016
— book_listener (@book_listener)June 6, 2016
At least one gig by the Dayton-based indie-rock trio Good English, in which Rasmussen plays drums alongside her two sisters, has been canceled so far. The band was slated to play Brooklyn’s Northside Festival this week, but after online protest, the festival’s organizers tweeted Tuesday morning that Good English have been removed from the bill.
Due to recent information brought to our attention, Good English is no longer playing Northside Festival.— Northside Festival (@NorthsideFest)June 7, 2016
UPDATE: According to Gothamist, now all of the band’s five Brooklyn-area shows have been canceled. One Northside Festival venue, Bar Matchless, released a statement saying: “Good English will not be playing Matchless. We do not support victim blaming or rape apologists of any kind.” Later in the day, the Dayton Music, Art & Film Festival, in the band’s own hometown, also axed an upcoming performance by Good English and released a strongly worded announcement.
The group’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp page, and official website all appear to have been taken down. Yahoo Music has reached out to the group for comment and has yet to hear back, but their former publicist, Mike Abiuso of Behind the Curtains Media, supplied the following statement: “Behind the Curtains Media previously provided publicity for the band and music of Good English, not the individual members. Behind the Curtains Media, its affiliates and artists do not support or endorse the former client, Good English or the statements made by individual members and therefore we have severed ties in all capacities. All further inquiries should be directed at the band and members themselves.”
Congrats to Leslie Rasmussen for ruining the band Good English’s career before it even started.— erica (@ehhhhhrica)June 7, 2016
DEAR VENUE & FESTIVAL MANAGERS: Please remove Leslie Rasmussen & Good English from all your lineups. Support survivors of sexual assault.— boobsweatandtears (@boobsweattears)June 7, 2016
Leslie Rasmussen is in a band called Good English and are playing a string of shows soon. Please don’t support them— literally $wagmoney (@dangitanh)June 7, 2016