Sunday, January 28, 2018

When #metoo gets personal.

You have probably already heard about this, but my work community has recently been dealt a horrible blow.  A #metoo blow.  No, it wasn't me, and fortunately not my family.  However, a beloved icon and a guy who I personally considered a role model has been accused (and has admitted) to some pretty bad stuff.  
It's knocked me for a little bit of a loop.  And I'm not alone in this.  There are hundreds of people I know who are feeling this as a loss and as a betrayal.
If you haven't heard about what I'm talking about, here's the NYTimes article.
Grandma The Clown Resigns: NY Times article
The NY Times article about Grandma the Clown resigning.
It suffices to say that this is terrible news for everyone all around.  Of course, for the young woman, and for Barry, and for Barry’s friends, and for the Big Apple Circus, and of course, circus people in general.  To paraphrase my grandmother, whenever anything bad happened done by a Jew, this is not good for the clowns. And as Barry is Jewish, this isn’t good for the Jews either.
I was never a close friend of Barry, more like an acquaintance.  I’ve taken a workshop with him, I’ve talked to him over a beer, and he is a brilliant and very funny performer that truly has the power to move people. Nevertheless, this is far too close to home.  Barry has been a role model, a hero, and a guy who I would have been proud to have a similar career trajectory  (up until now of course)
There is no excuse for what he did, and I am not going to try to excuse him. He has admitted that it is true, and he stands ready to take full responsibility for his actions.  It is never acceptable to do what he did, and the fact that he did it with an underage girl is ... well, criminal.

I say NEVER, but let me say that if she were an 18 year old girl or a 30 year old girl and it wasn't somebody that he had hiring/firing power over, well, then, I don't think I'd  have a problem with it from an ethical standpoint.  Consenting adults, closed bedrooms, etc.  I do have a problem with his judgement, as being a clown icon and being a pornographer are probably not things that are going to fly together.  (That's not the only thing stopping me from becoming a pornographer, but it's one of them for sure.)
Barry Lubin as Grandma the Clown
What I will say is that throughout the course of his work as a performer, Barry Lubin has brought thousands of people to tears of laughter and joy as they watched him perform. I’ve seen him perform multiple times, and he is a true professional, in every positive sense of the word.
Unfortunately, this last episode of his career has moved people to tears, but not of joy.
The Big Apple Circus moved swiftly to replace him, as did Cirkus Smirkus for whom he was doing some teaching.  It’s hard to imagine that the police won’t be looking hard at Barry’s activities, to see if there are other victims. And they should.
I’m thinking good thoughts for his victim, and yes, for Barry, too.  I hope that everyone involved in this case finds a way to recover and to come back to a semblance of normal.
It is not going to be easy.

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