Disclaimer: I have not been contacted or sent an email by Fable personally, so as far as I am concerned, I haven’t received any apology or any accountability plan from him that I can pass on so that alone means there as been no change nor real growth from the abuse. Fable’s growth was not the point or the intention of my call out. Healing, reparations and “growth” cannot happen without the abused and violated being centered and healing themselves.
However, I have seen response in which he named me several times. I’ve given it some time to read and process (which includes the comments) and honestly, it’s a fucking mess. Many other people have messaged me to express anger and hurt and rage about it as well, or posted on their thoughts on social media. At this point, I’d prefer to privately address the post and my concerns with him and follow up once that has happened (or if it doesn’t, at which point I’ll be much more angry about that shit). I’m just waiting for the email.
So I’m penning this follow-up to my call out of Fable and the ensuing response and fallout. This time, the people I want to address with this piece is the community of Grand Rapids at large: the people in the comments, the folks in my inbox, those who have been watching and reading and seeing this unfold.
I obviously wasn’t clear enough on this point but I believe that Fable, though wholly responsible for how he has (and frankly, continues) to manipulate and abuse in gendered and racialized ways, isn’t unique or special in this behavior. There’s lots of other people who are also pretty fucking guilty in that regards, whether as abusers or the people that protect, support, enable and encourage them though racist apologism and gendered dismissal of victims and survivors and the uplifting and idealizing of their male hero. Frankly, he wouldn’t exist without them. (BTW: there’s a difference between people that got your back and a hivemind that will strike at anyone who dare question the authority or position of a man in a community and that’s dangerous.)
There’s people who said my calling out the way we uphold and believe the experiences of men but dismiss women of color was inopportune or even attention-seeking. There’s people who first ran to pat Fable on the back, call him brave, tell him it was in his past, but not for a second think of myself or, most importantly, the women he has hurt way more than he has ever hurt me.
Even if Fable were to decide to disappear from town (which, as someone who in part believes in the idea of transformative justice yet aches to see it practiced well, I’m not saying is the solution), there’s still all of the people that believe he is innocent. There’s all the people who manipulated and twisted my words to fit their interpretation. There’s still all the people who haven’t reached out to me. There’s still all the people who stayed silent or didn’t share or believe the accusation when it first came out but are now running to share his response saying “See?? He owned up to it? He isn’t perfect, no one is! This is growth! What a great person!” showing that they never cared about the victims of abuse in the first place and are instead glad and eager to center the abuser.
The deep issues with Fable’s response aside, he states in it that what I said about his history of rape and abuse towards women of color and others was true. And I was still dismissed, insulted and discredited. It should not take a man, especially the abuser in question, verifying the accusation of abuse for the experiences to be believed as true. But even in this instance where you have such verification, people still behaved atrociously. I’m still being slammed and dismissed. It is clear that it doesn’t make a difference either way. It proves once again that in a world rife with rape and abuse culture, it doesn’t matter how glaring and damning the details are, people will still belittle and dismiss victims and survivors of abuse.
That all ultimately amounts to this: people who were mistreated and abused are no longer the center anymore, Fable is. And that’s OK with everyone. But they’re there, seeing the response and the backlash, reading the shitty comments, feeling horrified, feeling alone, feeling sick, feeling unwanted, feeling dismissed, being revictimized in many ways. Other than me and conversations I’ve had with a few people here and there, I haven’t seen or heard anyone uplifting or centering us. But it isn’t about us, right?
Will he and others actually try to understand and challenge these dynamics? Will they honor and elevate the words of people who will inevitably come forward and name their experiences with him? Will he and others call out all the other abusers and apologists and keep them accountable for creating unsafe and dangerous environments? Will you?
My overall goal isn’t to hyper-focus on one abuser and then walk away when he is dealt with. It’s to call out any and all abusers and apologism in whatever way it happens, and to educate community on what that means and looks like. It is start the dialogue of how abuse, especially towards women of color, happens and is erased or forgiven in community.
For example, the woman in the first screenshot is someone who, along with her husband, has already harassed me before for being a woman of color speaking out against the racialized misogyny and exploitation I experience at the hands of men, both within and outside of my community, all because I called out their friend Rob Bliss. It took our mutual friend, a Black man, telling them to back off for them to stop harassing me.
They aren’t Fable. What do we do with them?
Since the incident that happened to Fable and my publishing my piece exposing him, a young Black mother by the name of Korryn Gaines was murdered by the police, after being stalked and harassed for months. It has overwhelmingly been women, femmes, gender nonconforming and queer folks elevating her murder at the hands of the state. Men, and the community at large, have been very glaringly silent and many have called this out.
The point of my piece wasn’t to take away from the experiences of Fable or other Black men with racism in the city. It was that I am tired of being expected to care for and defend Black men when they experience violence yet I am not taken care of myself and am told to be quiet about the violence we experience (with excuses like “this isn’t the right time, you’re seeking attention, that happened a long time ago”, etc)
You cannot selectively choose what abuses you have an issue with. If you stand behind Black people, you stand behind all of us, those of us more marginalized than cis straight able-bodied cis men especially
When are we going to hold this community of people who abuse and apologize and excuse abuse towards women of color themselves accountable for their shit?