The people of Phoenix got quite an eye-opener while flipping through his week’s print issue of local media publication, The Phoenix New Times. Folks in search of things to do in The Valley for the holidays were greeted with an ad for local band Slowpoke‘s Annual Holiday Reunion Show at The Yucca Tap Room, which sounds tame enough, only this ad features a pro-rape graphic taking a jab at the recent #MeToo movement front and center.
We will not be posting an image of said ad since bad promotion is still promotion, but readers may feel free to read the New Times article that includes not only continued promotion of the ad, but also a wishy-washy response to how something like this could have passed by the editors.
Amidst the current #MeToo movement and the public outing of sexual predators in other more notable emo/ pop-punk/ punk bands in current national media, this incident is not only unacceptable, but has also crossed the line between dark or immature humor and downright bragging. When is a “joke” merely for shock value and when does it become a subtle admission of more nefarious intentions?
As we’ve all learned from similar situations in the past, the people that can and should hold offenders accountable are more likely to take a neutral stance, protect the guilty, dismiss those who are brave enough to speak out against such actions, or simply sit at the sidelines and deny any ill-intent while allowing the perpetrators to not only keep their jobs, but also access to a number of potential victims for the sake of not ruffling any feathers.
The punk rock community has to protect itself and those within it because no one else will. We cannot continue to allow these kinds of things to happen while speaking in hushed tones and pandering to whomever has the most money or status. We need to speak a little fucking louder and stop supporting the assholes.
In the event that you also wish to no longer support any of the involved parties, here is a rundown of what we know about the situation with information gleamed not only from what The New Times has stated, but also pertaining information from the community itself. All the included information is public and available (at least for now) for anyone willing to have a look for themselves and surmise their own opinion on the situation at hand.
The ad ran in this week’s print edition of The Phoenix New Times at the hands of “Director of Interwebs,” Andrew Meister, who also happens to be a member of Slowpoke.
He allegedly pushed the ad through to print without knowledge from other staff members, however former staff members of The New Times have noted that this is not the first complaint against Meister’s inappropriate behavior to the company and management, yet each previous complaint has been met with “a slap on the wrist.” If the New Times’ currently published stance on the incident and Meister’s obligatory apology contained in the article are any indication, the years of rumors may be worth an investigation.
While the publication is no stranger to blatantly ignoring conflict of interest policies already in place, and upon further inspection of the staff listing, one must indeed wonder if the half-hearted repercussions and apologies for Meister’s behavior might have anything to do with his wife also being on staff as an Associate Publisher, or perhaps because Meister is also an owner of Bud’s Glass Joint which is a major sponsor of the Annual Phoenix Flannel Ball (as well as other notable downtown arts events) along with The New Times.
As of the writing of this (Tuesday, December 19, 2017) Andrew Meister has been afforded the luxury of keeping his position at New Times while they continue to shift accountability to anyone but themselves. Meister has also been allowed to remain a member of defunct-but-still-available-to-cash-in-on-a-reunion band Slowpoke. Other members of the band have noted his antics previously and claim to not be associated with his actions, yet somehow have never managed to find a replacement for him.
While initially, owner of The Yucca Tap Room, Rodney Hu stated, “We have a good relationship with these guys, and we just want to keep it that way. We don’t approve of [the ad], we don’t condone it, but it is what it is.”
They have since made a very different statement on their Facebook Page which can be seen in the image below.
Obviously, we know you guys are capable of doing your own research and forming your own opinion on what should take place from here. We are merely presenting the situation as it unravels and will continue to update this as necessary to ensure that it doesn’t suddenly disappear or get forgotten about like so many other incidents of a similar nature.
Phoenix and the surrounding areas have been run by the proverbial Bro Club for far too long. Once upon a time, the punk and arts communities fought against their racist, sexist, and predatory bullshit. It seems we’ve forgotten or become tired of fighting in the interest of not causing a scene. Many have become conditioned and don’t see how this affects more than half of the community and tend to brush it off with a joke or claims of fragility when anyone attempts to alert others of possible danger. Many are afraid to have any opinion for fear of retaliation.
You may not agree or prefer to keep your head in the clouds, but deflection and excuses don’t make problems go away. If you care about keeping punk rock an open place for all the weird kids and underdogs to have a voice and fighting “The Man,” then you must also take a stand and make a scene worth staying in.
***UPDATE: December 20. 2017- Phoenix New Times has announced that Andrew Meister has been “suspended” yet not fired from his job. ***