What has been tried in the past and didn’t work?
What we have tried to do
We’ve tried many one-on-one attempts and group conversations requesting acknowledgement for how we were treated and trying to make for better relationships. At one point there was a formal mediation process, which failed. We’ve contacted their partners Clementine and Leigh to intervene. All of these attempts have had no sufficient results. A few smaller ‘callouts’ have happened in the past but were instantly covered up and silenced by Jay’s supporters.
Why all that didn’t work
Their responses to our requests for accountability have been mostly denial, exasperation, gaslighting, and being bombarded with explanations that use impersonal or academic language both by Jay and their partners or friends.
Often Jay would just bring up things that we did wrong or act as though they did not understand what we were saying. Sometimes they would admit to miniscule situations but never to any of the larger issues, or foreclose grievances by speaking first and promising huge changes before even listening to anything others have to say or want to ask.
“They just dismissed me saying I’m crazy and need therapy etc. They sent their partner Leigh to ‘deescalate’ me. They messaged a friend of mine who they never met to say: “she’s acting strange. Is she okay?” Then blocked me and we haven’t interacted since.” – ex partner
“They went first at the mediation, with a prepared statement apologizing for causing any harm, detailing the steps they would be taking to change etc. They didn’t care to hear what was up, like, to know what they were apologizing for. It felt like they were framing it as a trial. It felt useless to talk, even if i knew the original point was dialogue!” – ex roommate
Why this is everyone’s business now
In our experience, Jay has mobilized their academic background and symbolic capital in their network to avoid and dismiss issues. They protect themselves behind their other partners, Leigh and Clementine, who often step up to defend them on public platforms. Clementine in particular has a huge public following on social media and therefore whose reach for defending Jay is huge. Most recently, Clementine and Jay started seeking to make money from alternative discourses on accountability, with their podcast. This platform conveniently appeared after other online “callouts” surfaced about Clementine, and after she was repeatedly confronted about Jay’s behaviour by people in her life. We are of the belief that this podcast offers both of them the ability to control the narrative surrounding calls for accountability, and shield them from having to question their behaviour by simply labelling themselves as “cancelled”.
We believe that accountability processes with Jay haven’t worked and won’t work because they do not care about encouraging dialogue, harm reduction, or anti-oppressive practices when it doesn’t benefit them. Over the years, we’ve witnessed the care they put into leftist aesthetics and discourse without actual substance. For instance, behind displays of variously antifascist, anti capitalist, anarchist, and leftist aesthetics in their lifestyle and academic career, they approach and talk about people in a way that reproduces dynamics of unequal treatment and respect according to social, intellectual, and financial capital (how you pay rent, your level of education, your ability for abstract thinking, how many followers you have, etc).
Most recently, Jay is now publicly flirting with conservative views on ‘free speech’ being trampled by the ‘liberal mob’, and pretending their critique is the true leftist and socialist thinking. They often framed relationship/collective living issues so as to portray themselves as the one being victimized, misunderstood, or more right about what anti-oppression looks like : now, their recent theories and speculations about “cancellation” generalize this strategy.
We’re seeing Jay, with Clementine, participate in rhetoric that really smells like alt-right conspiracy messaging, and that’s another reason why we doubt there can be accountability without addressing our communities at large.