Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Anon via email (re: staff concerns at THE)

 I received this via email: 

Overall I have good memories of my time at Turtle Hill.  There were a few concerns I had over my time there however, and a few more came up later on.  These mostly revolve around Asha Storm and Fred Friedel, who to my knowledge run much of the hands on part of THE events.

First of all, the events are overwhelmingly white.  As far as I know, everyone in leadership and most of the volunteers were white.  I saw two volunteers get in trouble with leadership during my time there: one was a white man who opened a bottle of beer in front of several department heads while on duty, and the other was the only black person volunteering during a shift shared with white people (I don’t know how legitimate it was that the black volunteer got in trouble in the first place, but I do know they didn’t do anything different than their white colleague).

Secondly, comments were repeatedly made to me or in front of me that implied THE leadership cared more about potential liability than people’s well-being. I think these were all said by Asha, so I don’t know if her views were shared.  She would say things like “we can’t ban him because since he’s disabled, he could sue” Or say that she couldn’t ban someone she believed was violating consent because they could protest the measure.  She also told me about people who were banned for not paying or for harassing staff, so it seemed liability wasn’t a concern all the time.

Asha also made a lot of comments about not believing survivors.  She told me multiple stories of someone reporting an assault to her, in both her capacity as a THE worker and in her personal life, and in each one of these stories, the victim was really at fault.  While false accusations do happen, unless they are all happening around Asha, this seems statistically unlikely.

I didn’t interact with Fred too much at events, so this is more about his character overall than something that happened at THE.

Fred told me he’d been falsely accused of rape several decades ago.  He told me the mother of his son accused him, but that she had enjoyed the encounter at the time.  He also told me she was under 16, and he was over 18, when they met (I believe this was in the 1980s).  She was black, and she died, and he got custody of their son.  He complains his son is racist, and supports or possibly joined the KKK.  

Obviously what Fred admits to is statutory rape today, but this was in Germany in the 80s so I don’t know what the law was, but law doens’t equal morality.  While this happened a long time ago, Fred also recounts parts of this story with a degree of cavalierness that’s chilling.

In short, Fred admitted to sleeping with an underage teenager, was later accused of rape by her, and then raised her biracial son, who is now a self-proclaimed racist.  

Fred likes to use his son as a reason he is not racist.  Yes, the son who is himself racist, and whose mother was a black woman Fred victimized, is Fred’s “get out of racism free” card.

Fred is really fucking racist.

Fred also reiterated many of Asha’s comments about survivors lying.  While I didn’t personally report anything that happened at THE, I am very concerned that survivors are not being believed based on Fred and Asha’s comments about both assault allegations from THE events, and survivors in general.

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