Organizers of the Cascadia NW Arts & Music Festival have dropped Mr. C from the bill after they say they learned he engaged in a sustained, brutal verbal attack on respected Seattle DJ/electronic-music producer Chloe Harris on Facebook. A former member of British rave-rock stars the Shamen (best known for their hit "Move Any Mountain"), Mr. C (aka Richard West) has become a renowned techno and house producer, DJ, and label owner, and was slated to perform at the four-day outdoor dance-music event in Granite Falls, Washington, which happens July 25-28.
The altercation began on June 20 when Harris (aka Raica) accused West of being a racist. As Harris describes it, West wrote a Facebook post asking for more funding for the UK police. She replied, "Fuck the police" mainly in jest, but also with a degree of seriousness. "Then he said only uneducated people or wannabe bad boys say 'fuck the police,' which seemed like dog-whistle racism to me," Harris says in an email interview. "So I told him so and said that the police are murdering racism scum and anyone who supports them is, too. Then he said he has a cousin in the police and I'm a stupid vile cunt, and it all kicked off from there.
"I asked him if he'd ever heard NWA and he said, 'I stopped listening to most hip-hop when they started rapping about their fat gold chains, how much they make from their hoes & murdering each other.' Then he made multiple posts encouraging his fans to call me a cunt, which they did, with some enthusiasm." Two of Harris's friends who wrote supportive comments to her on Facebook also received similar insults.
Harris continues, "The best was his Trump-like statement in a post after he demanded I apologize to him. He started it with 'The bitter failed DJ Chloe Harris from Seattle has posted that I'm a racist, misogynist & sexist on her wall to whip up a frenzied wolf pack to attack me to justify her own bullshit bitterness.' And his posts were like [Trump's] 'lock her up' rallies."
West also dug up things from 10 years ago, trying to smear Harris as a bad person. "I got a bit scared when he started doxxing me, like on other places I was on the internet, Discogs, etc. That's just weird and creepy."
West defended himself on Harris's Facebook page, "Chloe & I had an argument after she called my family & I [sic] murdering racist scum. I lost my temper & called her a cunt for doing that. She then started a defamatory thread calling me racist & sexist, which I have shared on my wall. This is what people who follow me from around the world are taking the piss out of. I shared [Harris's] thread lying about me being racist in which you riled up your rabid wolf pack. Hypocrite. Had you not don’t that I wouldn’t have been able to share it [sic]. Sad woman.
"You’re dilusional [sic]. I haven’t made one thread about you. I actually shared your thread about me lying that I’m racist to call up your wolf pack to blow smoke up your ass to make you feel vindicated for calling me & my family murdering racist scum. You’re a pathetic bitter human being. Chloe has lied to you all in her original post on her wall about me being racist & you’ve all swallowed it & attacked me. I shared that thread, which is why people are up in arms on what I shared. So sad."
Harris concludes, "[West] pretends he's some spiritual healer or something. Dude has some serious female issues, imo."
Ultimately, Facebook deleted West's threads and Cascadia canceled his slot at the event. Seattle organization TUF, which champions female-identifying musicians and DJs and of which Harris is a member, posted a message in support of these decisions. Here's an excerpt:
This bold act sends a message that the PNW and Seattle electronic music and art scenes will not tolerate bigotry in any form, and acts of aggression or abuse towards any groups of people for any reason are not welcome here. We deeply applaud and commend them for this action and their commitment to making safer spaces.
The artist, Richard West, aka DJ Mr. C, producer, founder of Superfreq, Plink Plonk, End Recordings, and The Shamen frontman and co-owner of The End, engaged last week in a multi-day campaign of sexist, vitriolic, and abusive hate speech against one of our collective members, prompting many of his followers to do the same in hundreds of comments.
He refused invitations to reconsider his words. He was not receptive to attempts of being called in. His threads were eventually shut down by Facebook as they were deemed to meet the community standards for harassment.
Cascadia organizer Michael Manahan explains why the festival decided to cancel Mr. C's appearance. "We do not tolerate behavior that is aggressive, misogynistic, racist, or demoralizing. We are committed to creating a safe space for expression for everyone, including: children, womxn, people of color, and the LGBTQIA community, and that filters into the artists that we support. We will be announcing a replacement artist soon.
"We are also committed to continuous learning. Humanity is gorgeous in all of its fluidity and interconnections, and yet, our world becomes increasingly complex. As William Isaac states, the word 'dialogue' has Greek roots and 'signifies a flow of meaning' while a 'discussion' is rooted in breaking apart. We encourage more dialogue to uncover new ways of understanding each other, while learning and working together to break down institutional systems of oppression."