Aug 9, 2017

That Time Blake Tried Blogging

It did not go well.

Blake Dyer is Teal Bosworth Scott Swan's long-time friend, roommate, ex-boyfriend, and business partner. You may remember Blake from such hits as Jason Freedman: Freelance Reporter, Blake and the Unanswered Questions, and Stop Destroying Teal With Your Worsening Depression. Now he brings you... a very thorough scolding. There is trouble in Teal Tribe and it's all because of "haters." People just seem to turn on teal, but it's never her fault. As she explained it, in one of her blog posts:

Again and again, I experience “haters”.  I especially experience people turning on me.  I guess you could call it a form of betrayal.  They go from being very close to me and “loving” me to “hating” me with verve and passion.  They go out of their way to try to injure my credibility or my success.

What can a very, very famous spiritual luminary do but respond in kind? Of course she doesn't do that dirty work herself, not publicly. She has people for that. For instance, her current and fourth husband Ale Gicqueu took on husband number three in a biting, personal attack on his blog, which has since been taken private. Now it falls to Blake, her all around guy Friday, to devote a very long post to taking on her growing list of "betrayers."

Blake explains that this pattern of betrayal stems from deep, unhealed wounds in the collective psyche, including his own. He further explains that the people who've turned on teal did so because of their own unwillingness to self-reflect.

Blake's claim that no one else takes personal responsibility is ironic (note the correct use of the term), given that the entire blog post is devoted to blaming everyone but himself and teal for everything. Nowhere in the entire post does he describe a single action that they took that just might account for these people breaking from teal. It's all blame throwing. The only thing Blake takes partial responsibility for is his own "personality disorder," for which he blames his parents. He's learned his tealisms well.

Blake's first target is Cameron Clark, whose mind he seems to believe he can read. He has many ideas about her internal motivations, which he states as facts. Cameron, for her part, has already described her motivations and experiences very clearly in interviews and her own posts. I find it downright hilarious that Blake accuses Cameron of not taking personal responsibility for her experience with teal, when she has clearly stated the exact opposite. You, gentle reader, can decide for yourself whose words seem more credible.

Blake also raises an issue that Cameron has not spoken about publicly, which is her split from Guru Ethics.

Another group that experienced the lies of Cameron Clark was called Guru Ethics. If some of you remember there was a group called Guru Ethics that was investigating Teal. They had released multiple articles against Teal. Debra Van Este [sic] created a group because she herself had been subject to a cult around the Chicago area when she was young. They quickly found Cameron and were working directly with her because Cameron had painted Teal as a dangerous Cult Leader, until something happened. They refused to air uncorroborated information that Cameron was wanting to spread about Teal and so low and behold [sic], now Cameron Clark turned against them. This planted enough doubt in their mind [sic] about the things that Cameron had said about Teal that they contacted us. They told us that they had discovered that Cameron was a liar and an unreliable source. It must have been bad because she apparently even tried to sue Guru Ethics.

I discussed with Cameron the best way to address these defamatory statements. Her hectic work schedule has not allowed her the time to publish a rebuttal. She has given me permission to address the issue and to publish the relevant portions of a previously unpublished interview, in which she explains what happened with the magazine. In short, she fell out with Guru Ethics, not because of their unwillingness to publish information about teal, uncorroborated or otherwise, but because of her own unwillingness to let them publish her private discourse with Gabriel "Kundalini" Morris, against his wishes. As is now a matter of public record, the two had exchanged a series of messages. Gabriel subsequently published his own conclusions on his blog. Cameron wrote a response, which can be found here and here. But their private discussion, which Guru Ethics pressured her to publish in the magazine, remains private.

The unpublished interview was with a teal follower who calls himself taofighter. He contacted Cameron about his intent to create a video about the Guru Ethics situation. She agreed to an interview, providing that they each had the publishing rights. To my knowledge, he never completed his project, but their lengthy email exchange still exists, in a very rough, unedited form. I have posted the relevant excerpts of that interview here. In that exchange, one of many things that is made explicitly clear is that even from the Guru Ethics perspective, the dispute was over the Gabriel Morris piece and Cameron's unwillingness to move forward with it.

Next, Blake took some swings at teal's most recent ex-husband.

I don’t want to peg the whole creation and reason for truth tribe onto Sarbdeep Swan. But the reality is, after Teal was gracious enough to put Sarbdeep in the pubic eye and people accepted him, he used that same level of notoriety that she gave him to connect with Cameron Clark and those who Cameron Clark had poisoned against us and they banded together to form an active hate group that is almost unheard of in the spiritual field.

It is amazing how much of this short passage is factually wrong. Sarbdeep never wanted to be in the public eye, which is why the first two episodes of the "podcast" he did with teal were devoted to arguments over his desire for privacy. All the "Tea Time With Teal" videos were removed from her platform, but those two were discussed in the comments on my blog here and here, as informal pre-noncasts. That this was a central problem in their marriage is something teal laid out again in her blog post announcing their divorce.

As many of you already know, when it came to the topic of openness vs. privacy, my husband and myself held conflicting values and we both held them very dear. A while back, I publicly said that if two people absolutely can’t agree on something that is wanted, it will pull them in opposite directions and if it is a core value, they will break up. This is ultimately what has happened. My life is public. This is the bottom line with fame. No matter how private I became about my personal life, my life is still in the public eye. And for someone who genuinely does not want a life in the public eye, being with someone who is famous, is a constant source of grievance. But there is another dimension. I have not decided to be private with my private life. I have decided to lead an authenticity movement. And I have as much conviction about this decision as any revolutionary does to the ideal that they espouse. This openness or shall I say transparency that I have dedicated my life to, is not just a lifestyle choice for me. It is a purpose. And so, it became a source of continual conflict between he and I; one that eventually caused us to question our future together.

Truth Tribe is not a "hate group." It's a support and discussion group on Facebook, made up largely, but not entirely, of former followers of teal's. You will find no mention of Truth Tribe, nor any "anti-teal" hate groups listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and teal is a privileged, white woman, not a disenfranchised minority group of one. Not only was Truth Tribe not started as a joint effort between Sarbdeep and Cameron, it was started by neither of them. It was started by a nice fellow named Nile. Its creation was spurred in part by Sarbdeep's "Black Swan" post, but he did not start it and has only intermittently been a member.

Yes, many people were upset by Sarbdeep's revelations in that post. It did spur more people to move away from teal, and Truth Tribe became one of a number of venues for people to process their disillusionment.

Despite Blake's apparent ignorance of this fact, many in the "spiritual field" have what he and teal characterize as "hate groups," or what I would call support networks for survivors of spiritual abuse and mind control cults. There are also some spiritual groups that are on the receiving end of genuine hate, like Muslims and Jews.

As a side note, when I was watching Rachel Maddow last night, she reminisced about Kim Jong Un's tirade against the movie The Interview. In his apparent world view President Obama was in control of Sony Pictures.

"U.S. President Obama is the chief culprit who forced the Sony Pictures Entertainment to 'indiscriminately distribute' the movie and took the lead in appeasing and blackmailing cinema houses and theatres in the U.S. mainland to distribute the movie," North Korea's National Defense Commission said Saturday, according to state-run media.

"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest."

The movie was an "act of war" against North Korea.

The spokesman did not elaborate, but said Washington was guilty of “provocative insanity” for mobilizing a “gangster filmmaker” to defile the country’s supreme leader. He also said the movie had inspired “a gust of hatred and rage” among the North’s citizens and soldiers.

As Maddow was explaining how we got to this point, on the brink of war with North Korea, all I could think about was how much Kim Jong Un sounds like teal, what with her delusional claims of conspiracies and hired assassins and plots hatched out of Truth Tribe to destroy her business. This may seem like a weird tangent, but when you understand the correlation between despotic regimes and mind control cults, the similarity really isn't that surprising.

Blake's primary target, though, was at one time a very close friend of teal's. She posted some of her story here. In the process of attempting to protect and defend his and teal's business associate from her charge of coercive rape, he disclosed both of their full names, which she had not. He has since revised his post to remove that information.

I have not commented on this situation previously, despite my knowledge of this man's actions and his prominence in the spiritual community, because his name had not been made public. But the cat is out of the bag now, thanks to Blake's stunning lack of discretion. The man in question is Jordan "Pearce" Duchnycz of Spirit Science.

Blake demonstrated ably that he shares teal's penchant for victim blame and perpetrator apologia. Echoing teal's dismissal of ghoste's assault, Blake blames it on her "poor boundaries."

She explains the night in full detail. She said no, she said no again, she said no again, then she said ok. yeeeeaaahh... That’s not rape. That is poor boundaries. I feel sorry for all of the real rape victims out there (including Teal) that will have their pain demeaned because of irresponsible statements and people like Tori.

I knew the moment I read it that his cavalier attitude would not go down smoothly, not even in the safety of Teal Tribe. And as expected, he got a lot of pushback. A good deal of it was predictably deleted. Comments on his blog passed 35 more than once, with the count going up and down for several hours.

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Finally, Blake shut down commenting entirely, leaving a grand total of nine comments.

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Many fantastic comments were deleted, including each and every attempt by ghoste to set the record straight. (Text is highlighted to aid in visibility against the execrable background.)

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Jason Freedman even wriggled out of Blake's sock drawer to remind him what reporting is all about. His comment, too, was deleted.

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Dissenting opinion did not fare well in Teal Tribe, either.

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Blake made a number of comments acknowledging that he was too dismissive of ghoste's "pain." Yet his revised blog post is still a victim-blaming nightmare.

Furthermore she spent the next year or more in a relationship with this guy. And again we have a person that is unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions. Why couldn’t that have been a story of “I don’t have good boundaries, so I let this person walk all over me?” Why do we have to be the projection of the pain in that relationship that we weren’t even involved in?

What kind of message does that send to battered spouses and victims of spousal rape? His ignorance about what constitutes rape and how victims process it is very disturbing and he shows few signs of wanting to learn.

Alexander Fred has been doing some excellent reporting on this controversy. He had already put himself afoul of teal by doing a very even-handed piece on the question of her cultiness. Fred addressed Blake's post and the recorded "pretext call" between ghoste and Jordan. I have also listened to this recording. It's hard to take. Jordan did indeed admit to many of the elements ghoste has asserted here and on her own blog.

Fred explains brilliantly, in that post, how Blake is perpetuating rape culture. I won't attempt to duplicate his efforts. He also broke down the legal ramifications very clearly here, explaining the gap between the current FBI definition of rape and the lag in state laws in expanding statutes beyond "forcible rape."

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program amended their definition of rape in 2013 to read:

“Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

This definition is gender neutral and includes all forms of sexual penetration, including penetration with a foreign object. The “legacy definition” included only “force” against a woman as a cause of rape, but this new definition is gender neutral, acknowledges all forms of sexual penetration, includes penetration with a foreign object, and includes more causes than just force including:
  • Intoxication
  • Distribution of intoxicating substances or drugs
  • Unconsciousness
  • Psychological coercion
  • Emotional duress
  • Prior physical or sexual assault or abuse
  • Threats of harm or punishment to another (e.g. a teacher failing a student or a boss threatening to fire a worker if they don’t agree to sexual intercourse)
  • All other acts which remove a victim’s ability to consent.

The FBI's broadened definition accommodates but does not control legislation, which is up to individual states. States are gradually updating their penal code to include a better understanding of what constitutes rape. California, for instance, is now an "affirmative consent" state.

“Consent” is defined to mean positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to the exercise of free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved. California Penal Code § 261.6.

It will take time and dedicated effort to make affirmative consent, or  "yes means yes," the law of the land, and it will happen state by state. This site tracks the legislative initiatives and their progress around the country. This article breaks down the massive resistance to these shifting definitions and what affirmative consent means in practice.

The current societal script on sex assumes that passivity and silence — essentially, the “lack of a no” — means it’s okay to proceed. That’s on top of the fact that male sexuality has been socially defined as aggressive, something that can result in men feeling entitled to sex, while women have been taught that sex is something that simply happens to them rather than something they’re an active participant in. It’s not hard to imagine how couples end up in ambiguous situations where one partner is not exactly comfortable with going forward, but also not exactly comfortable saying no.

Under an affirmative consent standard, on the other hand, both partners are required to pay more attention to whether they’re feeling enthusiastic about the sexual experience they’re having. There aren’t any assumptions about where the sexual encounter is going or whether both people are already on the same page. At its very basic level, this is the opposite of killing the mood — it’s about making sure the person with whom you’re about to have sex is excited about having sex with you.

So what it really comes down to is whether you believe women are sexual targets who do or do not acquiesce to sexual advances, or that women have agency and are entitled to actively and equally choose or decline sex.

The problem with Jordan's position, and Blake's, is that neither of them seem to see "no" as anything but the beginning of a negotiation.

No is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you_Declining to hear no is a signal that someone is either seeking control or refusing to relinquish it_Gavin de Becker

There was nothing wrong with ghoste's boundaries. She said "no" repeatedly, something no one is disputing. Jordan had no respect for that boundary and continued to pressure her until she just gave up. He fought a war of attrition against her boundaries until he got what he wanted. It's not ghoste who has a boundary problem.

Jordan's inability to respect boundaries was also apparent in the dialogue he had with Cameron (here and here), although thankfully for Cameron, his target was not her body. Anyone can see from that exchange that he's relentless, and that his aw-shucks charm evaporates when he doesn't get what he's after.

Since Blake's disclosure of the identity of ghoste's assailant, Jordan has made some attempts at addressing the controversy. During a recent "Spiritside Chat" he talked in circles for several minutes about it. The original video appears to have been withdrawn, but the inimitable James Beard grabbed the relevant portion.

He later wrote a couple of blog posts addressing the incident and ghoste directly. His posts do not comport with his own words in the recorded pretext calls.

James Beard has already done an excellent job of demonstrating the disconnect between the two, so I won't belabor it. But I do have a couple of thoughts on this horrible, horrible conversation.

In that exchange Jordan pressures ghoste to take responsibility for finally dropping her resistance to his advances. He, on the other hand, blames his youth, his hormones, and her irresistible beauty, not his own choices. He was just overcome by forces beyond his control, but she finally said yes after "a million" no's and that is what "led to it happening."

Says Jordan, "I didn't know what you were crying about. I thought there was something else bothering you."

That's how interested he was in her emotional state during their sexual encounter. Pro tip: When a woman is crying and "bothered" about "something" when you are performing sexual acts on her body, she's just not that into you. Weeping and emotional distress are the exact opposite of "enthusiasm."

In a video released sometime before this story broke, Jordan released this delusional and grandiose "rant." In it he blames rape victims for law of attracting rape, then does an inexplicable 180 to tearfully tell them it's not their fault. Why rape? Why did he go there? Why is that the example he chose to explain personal responsibility when bad things happen to you? Mens rea perhaps?

Jordan does not care much for justice. He prefers love and forgiveness. This is something else we learned in his conversation with Cameron. He also explores this idea in this very strange interview.

Jordan's obsession with forgiveness puts me in mind of a piece I wrote some time ago about the Amish community and its considerable problem with sex abuse. Forgiveness is a lovely thing, but it's not a cure-all. Some things don't resolve themselves through compassion or God's grace and one of those things is sexual assault.

Practicing forgiveness does not mean accepting wrong doing_His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Throughout this controversy, teal has remained publicly silent. It would certainly be nice to hear how the self-described "spokesperson and poster child for ritual abuse" defends her lack of support for a victim of sexual assault and her apparent unwillingness to speak out against rape culture.

There are some indications, though, that her recently rekindled business relationship with Jordan and Spirit Science is winding to a close. She quietly removed the Spirit Science intro from her Ask Teal videos, after June 24. This was the last of her videos to display Jordan Pearce's handiwork, so we won't be seeing this anymore:

Good riddance.

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