Monday, March 23, 2015

Sacrilege: The Otep Civil Unrest Scandal

While procrastinating a paper for a class, I decided to dick around on Facebook and just seen what was going on with random bands. Otep came up on my newsfeed and I was going to skip it until the first few words caught my eye: "Before the rumor mill begins..." And then I realized things were about to get juicy. In the posting, she claims to have been dropped from the upcoming Civil Unrest tour because the singer from an opening band groped her lady parts.

Now before I go further, let me just say that I love Otep. She's one of the few nu-metal artists I still enjoy. She's aggressive and can scream with the big dogs. People may find her abrasive as a person, but let's face it: if you're gay or a woman-- in her case both-- in the metal scene, you HAVE to put up a tough exterior. As far as I know, she's the only openly lesbian taking the stage and she has been a vocal proponent for gay rights and acceptance. You can tell I like her because here's a photo of us together and I'm grinning like an idiot.

As much as I love her, something didn't feel right. Two things came into mind. A) if the vocalist from Terror Universal touched you inappropriately, why are you the one getting off the tour? You'd be the bigger draw. Kick the opener off! There are probably hundreds of other good candidates. And B) you say the incident happened at a meet-and-greet in front of fans, but I'm not seeing any commenters who claim to have witnessed the event. Surely there's going to be others who saw what happened?

But then my search brought me to Terror Universal's page, where there is a statement from the singer's wife (not the singer himself) on what went down. I find this strange. Why is the singer not standing up for himself? Was the wife out on tour with him or is this what HE told HER. It's very easy to claim "oh, I just touched her leg to say 'bye', that's all". However, the events also happened four weeks ago. After reading Otep's post, I thought it had happened the other night. Bring it up at all?

Then there's ANOTHER post from the Civil Unrest Tour page, that side's with Terror Universal. Long story short, they're saying she's a liar looking to get more money out of tour people. However, if the tour you're going on is pointing the finger at you, that's not a good sign. Is money really what this is all about though? Surely she'd be raking in the cash by going on this bigger tour with Kittie, Ill Niño, and 36 Crazyfists.

I'm really conflicted here. Much of the 'evidence' is pointed in favor of Terror Universal's singer. I'm leaning towards believing them at the moment, but I can't imagine that Otep would lie about being sexually assaulted in front of fans; it is against what she stands for. This just leaves me angry and confused, wanting to know the truth. I'll update should more news arise.

Who do you think is at fault here? Is Otep lying or is Civil Unrest trying to cover something up?

UPDATE- 10:13 AM, March 24

 Last night, Otep posted that the allegations that she is trying to extort money from Civil Unrest is bull, citing her accomplishments as a musician, author, voice actor, and owning her own merch. While these are indeed noteworthy, that doesn't necessarily mean she's selling a lot. Though with over half a million Facebook followers, I imagine she is making a name for herself in spite of nu metal's decline in popularity this past decade.

I found a statement from Ill Niño via (I couldn't find it on the band's Facebook page or website, so I don't know where it originally came from) which states that both Otep AND Terror Universal will not be participating on the Civil Unrest Tour. Is this a sign that the tour management no longer sides with Terror Universal or is this an attempt to distance themselves from the drama altogether? Will one band rejoin the bill if they are deemed to speak the truth (unlikely) or is this a permanent cut (very likely)?

There's also rumor that Otep is going to speak on the Metalsucks Podcast. I know Chuck's trying to get in contact with her. I have a feeling Godless is going to have a field day with this if it pans out!

UPDATE- 11:36 AM, March 25

 Chuck Loesch from the Metalsucks podcast was able to nail an interview with Otep yesterday and it's been posted today. One point that really stuck out to me is that the drummer and manager from Ill Niño also manages Terror Universal, as well as is a key collaborator for the Civil Unrest Tour. He had promised Otep the singer from Terror Universal would be sacked or that they'd drop off the tour; neither happened initially. She feels amicability-- though hurt-- for him still, but I feel that he may be the one who created the rumor of Otep's extortion.

It is clear to me that Otep's telling the truth. Looking back at all the stuff from the singer of Terror Universal's wife's post, it all seems so silly. Hell, HE hasn't been the one to stand up for himself. I admit I've had skepticism in the beginning of this fiasco, but now I wholeheartedly standby Otep and my respect and admiration for her has increased tenfold.

UPDATE- 12:07 AM, March 30

There's been another post on the Otep page. They say she has been having a conversation with the wife of the singer from Terror Universal and she now sides with Otep. The Otep camp has screenshots of the conversation. They'll be brought up with an attorney should things go down that route. Whether it's true or not, it's a good idea to keep this stuff private.

I had a chat with a friend about these shenanigans. Her gripe was "why should we care? Why is this being all brought into the open?" Of course, no one likes to see musicians they admire get caught up in something like this. I would have loved it if this had been dealt with under the radar and we only heard about it after the fact. However I find it's important because this situation-- depending on which side is deemed truthful-- makes the bands in question a liability. Would a venue really be willing to risk allowing a band play if it knows the member has a history of sexually harassing people? If someone were to make a serious accusation for the sake of money, who would be willing to do business with them? At least, that's the way I see it.

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