Mark Stryker

Steve Coleman & #MeToo Moment in Jazz

154 posts in this topic

I am amazed that three different people here are misrepresenting the decision in the case.

@bresna The decision had nothing to do with any change in laws related to "MeToo" which are criminal in nature and mostly amount to a substantial re-setting of the clock for statute of limitations purposes. It is the winning attorneys who are claiming a great victory but I can find nothing that indicates the Anti-SLAAP law was conceived with MeToo specifically in mind.

It's interesting to note too that this amendment to existing law took effect in November of 2020 when this was case had been filed two years before then but the law references "continuing" cases as subject to the new requirements. 

Would a competent attorney have counseled Coleman against proceeding, had all this happened since? None of these protections as 'free speech" existed when Coleman filed his suit. 

@Niko: " so what the court had to decide here was whether whatever happened was so obviously not an abusive relationship that she was lying when she claimed she perceived it like that in retrospect " is not what was at issue. The deciding factor was that her opinion that it was abusive and that she was "groomed" is now protected speech.

You see, its all about feels now, not proven facts.

@Rabshakeh  " having considered the documentary evidence and testimony of the witnesses, " Uh, no, sorry, none of that came in.  They got summary judgement that her opinion of the facts of the relationship is protected speech:

In October 2019, on behalf of Ms. Grand, LBKM and Baker Hostetler filed a motion for summary judgment defending her letter as a protected expression of opinion incapable of being proven true or false to attach defamatory meaning and liability. Judge Eric Vitaliano agreed.

http://www.lbkmlaw.com/news-events-first-amendment-me-too.html

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This 'always believe a woman' nonsense has gone way too far anyway. As if women can't have a sociopathic streak.

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3 hours ago, Niko said:

Besides that, I agree with what others wrote above - you have a moral responsibility as a teacher and as a mentor which goes beyond the 18 year threshold... If SC wants to date an 18 year old he meets at a country club, that's creepy enough - but it's still completely different. Similarly, I do think that SC made matters worse by forcing her through all this legal stuff - even though, from a legal perspective, he can sue whoever he wants to sue

This is it in a nutshell, and is true regardless of the other specifics of the case.

I’d add that, aside from his ethical responsibilities as a mentor and educator, Coleman also had professional responsibilities as her employer.

Finally, I think it’s worth stepping back.  Woman are underrepresented in jazz.  This kind of stuff (which unfortunately is probably not limited to this one incident) reinforces that problem.

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14 minutes ago, Guy Berger said:

This is it in a nutshell, and is true regardless of the other specifics of the case.

I’d add that, aside from his ethical responsibilities as a mentor and educator, Coleman also had professional responsibilities as her employer.

Finally, I think it’s worth stepping back.  Woman are underrepresented in jazz.  This kind of stuff (which unfortunately is probably not limited to this one incident) reinforces that problem.

All of this, well said.

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1 hour ago, Guy Berger said:

This is it in a nutshell, and is true regardless of the other specifics of the case.

I’d add that, aside from his ethical responsibilities as a mentor and educator, Coleman also had professional responsibilities as her employer.

Finally, I think it’s worth stepping back.  Woman are underrepresented in jazz.  This kind of stuff (which unfortunately is probably not limited to this one incident) reinforces that problem.

Agreed - especially since most of the jazz/improv musicians I know of in NYC are supportive of woman musicians - and there are more great woman playing than ever before.

I believe that the *only* thing that matters to any of the great leaders in the scene I love dearly is if you can play. And the standard to play with these musicians is exceptionally high.

 

This type of bullshit behavior has no place in this world.

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4 hours ago, Niko said:

 

Besides that, I agree with what others wrote above - you have a moral responsibility as a teacher and as a mentor which goes beyond the 18 year threshold... If SC wants to date an 18 year old he meets at a country club, that's creepy enough - but it's still completely different. Similarly, I do think that SC made matters worse by forcing her through all this legal stuff - even though, from a legal perspective, he can sue whoever he wants to sue

He sued her because of his belief that her actions were meant to damage his earnings and his career and that they did in fact damage his earnings and his career. By his description of the aftermath of her public actions, it seems that they did (certainly the degree of damage is up to debate). What else is he supposed to do than sue? She started it with her (let's remember) opinion of the facts and circumstances of their relationship. She went public, with what somehow turns out to be be protected speech, meant to punish (and apparently did punish).

1 hour ago, Guy Berger said:

 

Finally, I think it’s worth stepping back.  Woman are underrepresented in jazz.  This kind of stuff (which unfortunately is probably not limited to this one incident) reinforces that problem.

And here we have, in a nutshell, the problem of only and forever seeing categories of people, instead of just plain people.

 

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4 minutes ago, Dan Gould said:

And here we have, in a nutshell, the problem of only and forever seeing categories of people, instead of just plain people.

Jackpot!! :tup

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Dan Gould said:

And here we have, in a nutshell, the problem of only and forever seeing categories of people, instead of just plain people.

Dan, there seems to be a widespread feeling that jazz is traditionally not welcoming to women (especially instrumentalists).  In other fields with this problem, it’s generally recognized that behavior like Coleman’s contributes to it.  Do you not think it should be frowned upon?

Edited by Guy Berger

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It has been stipulated by both parties that the relationship was consensual.

To me, that means that both parties were fucked up. So that means that older people can be approached by younger people and as long as the age of consent has been reached, it's game on. Per Kissinger, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, right?

The lesson to Coleman is obvious, but is there any indication that Ms ,Grand has learned the lesson that a body and it's pleasures are easily weaponized, and that weapon ownership comes with a deep moral responsibity of its own? Not seeing that, just seeing that Steve Coleman blah blah blah.

Well, that part is right. But part is not whole.

I mean, they fucked for how long? It must have been good to them until it wasn't. You don't keep coming back over and over for a totally  bad fuck. Humans aren't wired for that.

There's a deep catalog of written and musical literature about shit like this. Expect to see more in the centuries ahead.

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Posted (edited)

I'm teaching 19, 20... year olds myself - if you do a half-decent job, some of them will think you're pretty cool (both sexes, of course, and even more so if you're Steve Coleman but even if you're not)... in a situation like this, it's the job of the teacher to redirect that energy towards more learning, and to not fuck up. What will it feel like to look back on your education as years of vanity fucks with people in a midlife crisis... Much better to luck back on a history of learning and crushes that didn't lead anywhere... And at that point, Steve Coleman apparently fucked up big time. What was at stake in court was Maria Grand's right to openly express on Facebook how disappointed she is. Seems like a nobrainer to me - even if it makes Steve Coleman look like a jerk.

Edited by Niko

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24 minutes ago, Guy Berger said:

Do you not think it should be frowned upon?

Are you really ready to open up the can of worms about the sexual tensions and very real histories of White Women and Black Men, not just in Jazz, but in general? There are true love stories and true pimpho stories and true jungle fever stories and everything in between. And now, this...

There are certainly frownable aspects to this whole sordid story, but a sterile cluckcluck really advances nothing.

Peoples and their legally consensual sex gets complicated in a big hurry.

 

10 minutes ago, Niko said:

What will it feel liWhat was at stake in court was Maria Grand's right to openly express on Facebook how disappointed she is.

Has she expressed disappointment in herself yet?

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Posted (edited)

16 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Has she expressed disappointment in herself yet?

1) I'm not worried about her not feeling bad enough about herself 2) She didn't sue herself for defamation so that wasn't the question. He sued her.

4958344-6265369-The_two_were_involved_se

sorry. [find the one who's basically still a child... and the one who has trouble facing the fact that he's passed the middle of his life a decade ago]

Edited by Niko

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Right, but surely she has regret for thinking that fucking _____ will get me ____ . And healing only comes with full, not selected honesty.

Or hey, maybe she really loved the guy, or maybe he fucked her so damn good that she thought she did. Maybe she now feels regret for letting the dick get to her like that  She wouldn't be the first.

Same with Coleman, dudes get into a good pussy and don't have any kind of good sense about getting out  i would hope that he has regrets about ding that, and that he expressed them.

I mean, legalism and contemporary mores aside, we're talking about two people consensually  fucking for a few years outside the bounds of a typical romantic relationship, and then, uh-oh, it goes bad. There's more than enough disappointment to go around if they want it, not that they do.

14 minutes ago, Niko said:

1) I'm not worried about her not feeling bad enough about herself

 

Whoa, that's just wrong. Honesty with oneself about oneself is the ultimate empowerment! And  an enlightened empowerment feels good, not bad!

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, JSngry said:

 

I mean, they fucked for how long? It must have been good to them until it wasn't. You don't keep coming back over and over for a totally  bad fuck. Humans aren't wired forthat

Oh but sadly some are in some circumstances.

There's far too much evidence of people 'coming back for more' in relationships that are abusive or where the power dynamic rests against them. That's incontrovertible I'm afraid, as anyone who has worked in the field will attest.

Not saying that's the case here but it sure feels like it to me, maybe not the abusive elements but definitely the power dynamic.

 

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Of course, the power dynamic. That's pretty much how life works. Not a question of if it's there.

Whoever among us is not preparing our children to be clear-eyed, sober, and mentally armed with the necessary ammunition about how these things work and how they can be made to stop working is not doing their job.

And that includes strongly encouraging victims identifying whatever might be inside them that predisposes them to accepting a domination that diminishes them and then .along all the noise in the world about that. Not what makes a pig a pig, but why did I let that pig have that power to begin with.

The ultimate power, the ultimate freedom, lies within, not without. The sooner we get people locked into that ttruth, and the more people we get there, the better we are doing our job to stop the pigs.

This playing with the fire of powerful long is anything but a new phenomenon, so we either identify all root causes and evolve forward or else accept it as our natural destiny and wallow down for the long haul. 

Not sure that Facebook shaming is really going to get it done, but hey, lingua Franca, I suppose. Still, people are usually lazier than the pigs of power, so...but let's at least try.

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17 hours ago, Guy Berger said:

Dan, there seems to be a widespread feeling that jazz is traditionally not welcoming to women (especially instrumentalists).  In other fields with this problem, it’s generally recognized that behavior like Coleman’s contributes to it.  Do you not think it should be frowned upon?

Sorry, can't figure out what "it" is referring to, for a proper response. Are you referencing the "problem" of "jazz not being welcoming to women" or Coleman's specific behavior during their affair? Or Coleman taking legal action against her?

If it's the last one, then no I absolutely don't think his actions should be frowned upon. Nothing more American than a good old lawsuit. It's just too bad that a change in a law rendered "opinion" as unactionable. 

If it's his behavior during the affair, I doubt he's the chivalrous type but no one truly knows the facts here.

Lastly if its the first thing .... what's the solution to this "problem" you've identified? Affirmative action for women instrumentalists? Quotas for festival gigs?  How about an intensive educational program to convince the dwindling jazz audience of the value of women instrumentalists?  This is where the improvement in the fortunes of record stores could really come in handy:

"Hey! Instead of buying that 8 LP set of Lee Morgan - there are only six tunes repeated over and over!. Try Ingrid Jensen instead. She's really good!"

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4 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

If it's the last one, then no I absolutely don't think his actions should be frowned upon. Nothing more American than a good old lawsuit. It's just too bad that a change in a law rendered "opinion" as unactionable.

This law was changed to allow for "opinions" to be protected speech in cases where it involves a "non-public" figure. Don't you think it's wrong that Steve Coleman has been denied that classification? I think the protections for a public figure should apply here. Clearly, he is a public figure and it is likely that his career and ability to work will be affected by what she wrote. The term "public figure" should not be reserved for politicians.

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2 minutes ago, bresna said:

This law was changed to allow for "opinions" to be protected speech in cases where it involves a "non-public" figure. Don't you think it's wrong that Steve Coleman has been denied that classification? I think the protections for a public figure should apply here. Clearly, he is a public figure and it is likely that his career and ability to work will be affected by what she wrote. The term "public figure" should not be reserved for politicians.

I honestly didn't realize that the law required that someone who alleges damages has to be found a non-public figure. I absolutely think he should have been allowed to proceed ... anyone with a 40 year career even a niche entertainment field ought to be a "public" figure.

It's actually an interesting Catch-22 when you think of it. If he had been found a "public figure" he could have moved forward ... but then the standard to prove damages applies for public figures, right?  Which I believe are reckless disregard for the truth and actual malice. 

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Captain Howdy said:

Except Coleman was not a college professor teaching a course she needed to graduate. He was a successful musician who initially declined to teach her because she was in her own words "a complete beginner". And when he agreed, Coleman explicitly stated the terms of their contract were to be sexual: "Shortly after, he told me not to contact him if I didn't plan on having sex with him. He said it was not interesting for him to talk to me if there was going to be no sexual interaction." She knowingly and willingly entered into a sex-for-tutelage arrangement and therefore has no reason to complain about it. As someone once said, "We’ve already established what kind of woman you are; now we’re just haggling over the price." Grand hired a teacher and paid with her pussy -- or perhaps we should say Coleman hired a prostitute and paid with saxophone lessons.

ok, you guys have won, I am speecheless... what do people mean when they say the jazz world is toxic and unwelcoming for women... hmm... and now she even dares to diminish his income by complaining about the sex-for-tutelage arrangement she willingly entered... and the judge refuses to let her pay for the financial damage because due to a new law she is entitled to having an opinion on what happened... such an unfair world for men in their best age

Edited by Niko

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20 hours ago, mjazzg said:

Oh but sadly some are in some circumstances.

There's far too much evidence of people 'coming back for more' in relationships that are abusive or where the power dynamic rests against them. That's incontrovertible I'm afraid, as anyone who has worked in the field will attest.

Not saying that's the case here but it sure feels like it to me, maybe not the abusive elements but definitely the power dynamic.

 

yeah, agree. He is a complete scumbag, that much seems obvious. 

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trusted-instant-death-spell-caster-dr-mu

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10 minutes ago, Niko said:

ok, you guys have won, I am speecheless... what do people mean when they say the jazz world is toxic and unwelcoming for women... hmm... and now she even dares to diminish his income by complaining about the sex-for-tutelage arrangement she willingly entered... and the judge refuses to let her pay for the financial damage because due to a new law she is entitled to having an opinion on what happened... such an unfair world for men in their best age

Yeah temptresses the lot of them. Such a trial being a middle-aged male faced by that.  You'd think society would be more fairly stacked towards men by now wouldn't you...

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