Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Straight Talk, From The Source

Following the publishing of several articles which focus on the #metoo and sexual harassment issues of late, I felt that it was necessary for me to post, in context, the ACTUAL statements that I made to a journalist in a piece which was released in November 2017. The article, which did not include my answers in their entirety, has spawned a stream of negative online reactions from persons, perfect strangers, that I have never met, have never heard my music and don't know anything about me at all. While I am perplexed by the enormity and intensity of the reactions, I must admit that those few printed statements, in their current form, do appear as if I was condoning sexual misconduct or that I was making disrespectful references to someone's personal appearance. What appeared in that article was an out of context account of what I actually said during that interview, particularly because I have commented on this very serious issue quite frequently among friends, in lectures and in other interviews in recent times. And as a bandleader, producer, curator and educator, I have some very illuminating opinions about the subject from every possible perspective. (which I spoke at length about during the interview but were NOT printed.)

These types of allegations have become very common of late, and anyone that is accused of impropriety is automatically assumed to be guilty, which is not just. I, for one, will not accept being placed in a position of blame and I fully intend to address this situation professionally and legally. I refuse to simply let it "go away."

As my case is now nearing litigation, I can only offer a limited amount of details, but here are the statements that were printed in the article followed by the ACTUAL and complete statements that I made:

"Bottom line is, and this is a bit harsh, if anyone saw my girlfriend at that time and saw [his Berklee accuser] that would probably end the argument,” Osby said. “Why would I jeopardize my career for somebody like that?”

The full statement that I actually made was “I was in a new relationship which was a much needed and stabilizing force in my life at the time and if anyone knew my girlfriend, that would probably end the argument. They would know that I wouldn’t jeopardize my reputation or job over someone like that”

"Someone like that" was spoken in reference to the woman's behavior, which prompted me to move apartments to an undisclosed location, among other instances which will be revealed once my case becomes a matter of public record. I DID NOT say "someone who LOOKS like that," as has been erroneously repeated and printed.

I have no idea what "Bottom line is, and this is a bit harsh" means. It HAD to have been in reference to something entirely different.

Also, the statement “but after they graduate, it's open season” was also pulled from over an hour’s worth of my interview and suggests that I was actually condoning misconduct and predatory behavior, which is utterly ridiculous. (I don't know ANY other man that has advocated, stood up for, hired, recommended, signed, mentored, supported or sponsored more women than I have. I've lost gigs, had numerous arguments, fights and even been kicked out of venues defending my female friends and colleagues.The entire series of events resulting from the article has spiraled completely out of control.)

The entire statement that I made (which was also severely edited) was actually “I’ve taught at many schools where internal relationships are quite common…but after they graduate people are civilians and are free to make personal choices and to do as they wish, so for some, it's open season or a free for all, but many of my colleagues and teachers at other schools choose not to wait, and open cavorting and dating with enrolled students is fairly common at schools and even rampant." What I said was NOT an endorsement, and should not be interpreted as such. I clearly said, "for SOME," not "for ME." It is incredible that persons would think that I would make a public endorsement of sexual misconduct. That's insane.

IT WAS BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THAT THE JOURNALIST DID NOT RECORD OR MAKE A TRANSCRIPT OF THIS INTERVIEW. ONLY SELECTED WORDS AND FRAGMENTED STATEMENTS WERE PUBLISHED.) It has actually happened to me before, many times, but not to this degree of harm to my character or career. I have done hundreds of interviews in my long career and I know well enough not to make spiteful or insulting comments. I had absolutely no reason to assume that practically everything I spoke about would be omitted and yet, a great deal of emphasis would be put on a few well-placed, isolated snippets, offered for their negative shock value.

So yes, I did say "open season" during the interview. However, that phrase was part of an extended dialog, all of which was omitted. I would NEVER be so insensitive as to offer a singular hunting metaphor in reference to this issue unless it addressed a greater point (which I was attempting to make). Perhaps a different choice of words or reference would have made a better illustration, but it absolutely was not done with malicious intent and anyone that TRULY knows me is completely aware of this. (99% of the comments directed at me online are from persons who have never met me, DON'T know my work and wouldn't know me if I was standing directly in front of them.)
And let me be clear, I am not offering this post as some sort of lame attempt at damage control or as any other tactic designed to "clear the air." I am presenting it in response to my many friends who have urged me to say SOMETHING, and not remain silent even as my legal team is preparing their argument. I also recognize that the internet in general and social media in particular are a haven for idle talk and angry commentary. So my words here are not directed towards those who have never supported me before, nor those who delight in making uninformed noise in threads and comment sections. Facebook and Twitter gives voice to many who simply want to be acknowledged, regardless if the content of their posts is factual or rational. For them, it doesn't matter. Their only aim is to get online and shout obscenities from the security of their homes.

With this in mind, there also needs to be a respectful dialog concerning how easily random accusations cause a massive rush to judgement by the court of public opinion - WITHOUT KNOWING THE FACTS. Because of the frequency of these instances, the issues must be investigated from EVERY perspective. I'll conclude by saying that once my evidence is revealed, I'll be curious to find how many of my cyber-based critics retract and/or delete their pointed and harsh posts, or are reasonable enough to admit publicly that they reacted prematurely.

Thank you for reading.