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Cancel CeeLo Green's Gretna Heritage Festival Performance

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As a citizen of the greater New Orleans area and an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, I was disheartened to see that CeeLo Green is still slated to perform in October’s Gretna Heritage Festival, and demand that his performance be cancelled. By supporting Green, the festival and its sponsors are effectively supporting the rape culture that pervades our society. Green’s upcoming performance is an affront to the 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men who will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The Gretna Heritage Festival bills itself as a family friendly, community-based event. What message are we sending our children by allowing a known criminal on stage? We are telling them that sexual assault does not matter in our society. TBS and Time Warner have already cancelled Green’s reality show The Good Life in light of his recent remarks. Residents of Columbus, Ohio took similar action against R. Kelly, barring him from the Fashion Meets Music Festival this August due to his past sexual misconduct charges. We can take a cue from the outrage expressed in Columbus.

As media sources have extensively reported, in July of 2012, a woman awoke in CeeLo Green’s bed with no memory of the night before. Green later admitted to putting drugs in the woman’s drink, without her knowledge, and then having sex with her. This is rape. From a legal and an ethical standpoint, that woman was not capable of consenting. Green knowingly incapacitated a woman in order to rape her. This August, CeeLo Green pled no contest to a felony count of furnishing a controlled substance, receiving three years of probation. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office, however, did not pursue sexual assault charges due to lack of evidence. This is not unusual; it is estimated by the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network that only  3% of rapists will see jail time. This sexual assault survivor, like so many others, did not find justice through our legal system, and her perpetrator continues to live in the limelight.

This week, Green released a series of messages through his twitter account discrediting survivors and expressing untrue and dangerous opinions about rape. His tweets, which have since been deleted, included “Women who have been raped REMEMBER.” If a person has been drugged to the point of unconsciousness, they cannot consent and will not remember their assault. This is why rapists use these substances. These messages are harmful to our society, and perpetuate false ideas about the credibility of rape survivors. 

We, as a community, must uphold our commitment to supporting survivors of sexual assault, and we cannot do that when we are supporting a rapist like CeeLo Green.



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