Since everyone’s issuing statements with hot takes on my wife’s recent blog post, I’m going to do the same.
Let me start with a look at Josienne’s article. What she says, in summary, as simply & fairly as I can:
- Josienne left the duo because Ben made her feel bad (not an allegation.)
- Josienne wasn’t as good at the guitar as Ben (subjective, innit?)
- Ben never properly told anyone Josienne wrote the songs (100% fact, in my experience.)
- (‘The Tangled Tree’ & ‘I Never Learned French’ – actual examples of this)
- Josienne once asked to be collected from a petrol station because she felt sad but was left there, alone.
- Josienne is making a new solo album because that’s the only way she knows how to be properly credited for her work (a reasonable assertion…)
- Please stop mentioning my name in the same sentence as Ben Walker (a reasonable request…)
Now, let’s take a look at Ben Walker’s statement from twitter, in summary:
- He has tried to stay out of it but he’s worried if he doesn’t say anything, he’ll look guilty.
- Says the ‘accusations’ are ‘out-of-context’.
- He didn’t do the things the article says.
- He then credits Josienne, perhaps for the first time in their career.
- States that her name is on the credits & she got paid fairly (she never disputed this…)
- Josienne can be angry & difficult, he has examples (provides none…)
- Josienne emotionally blackmailed other musicians to support her (no, that was me…)
- Josienne is ridiculous to say a thing she said (resorting to insults?)
- People have shared her message.
Firstly, there are receipts. Show me the youtube clip where Ben says ‘Thanks Josienne, who wrote that” in an interview or at a gig. You can’t.
Two people then issue statements in support. They both say, in summary:
‘I’ve known Ben for years and he’s never done this to me!’
(At this point, I was insulting to those people. I’m editing this post to remove that insult. It detracts from my message & I am sorry for saying it.)
This is not about you. Stop denying people their truth; however inconvenient it may be to you, does not mean it wasn’t damaging to Josienne. And for you to negate that, then make counter-allegations that Josienne is “misappropriating feminism” by describing her experience is a real specialist kind of abuse & you know it. Your words are sickening.
I can’t even be bothered to say anything to the pathetic frog-faced avatars stepping up to be all threatening apart from haha, hilarious, big man behind your keyboard. Sit down, you flaccid dickheads.
Josienne doesn’t allege anything. She doesn’t slander or defame. She doesn’t ask anyone to ‘cancel’ or ‘boycott’ Ben’s music. Quite the opposite, she suggests people should listen to his records, if they want to. Her statements aren’t out of context or conflated. I had to look that up! it means ‘two ideas put together into one’. What?!
What Josienne does do in her post is beg for her own reality to be acknowledged. She pleads to be allowed to move on with her life & career, free of the negative associations working with Ben Walker has for her. If you worked with Ben and it wasn’t shit, fantastic! Be grateful! Maybe he’s learned to be nicer, more supportive. He was not that to her. Ben made Josienne feel small & sad & scared & he still does, and THAT is a reality she is allowed to express. Like she says in the article, why would she leave the duo behind if there wasn’t a good reason? Let’s say Ben is correct & Josienne is angry & awful, she is still allowed to say the duo decimated her emotionally, robbed her of credit, and in that case, Ben, you’re better off without her, eh?
That Josienne’s story is such a resonant truth for other women is *not* an angle Josienne is leveraging for ‘increased social penetration’, but it sure is unfortunate for Ben that Josienne’s experience is so relatable. That is not her fault, it’s yours. You should have been more careful, you should have taken care of the thing you were close to. You had a duty of care & you failed. Suffer the consequences of your actions, and I hope they taste sour.
Ben Walker’s limp-wristed, lily-livered, dispassionate statement is a typical pathetic weaselly defensive counter-measure non-apology. He regrets being named but sees no wrong doing on his part. Ben’s statement is a mere negation, it doesn’t even try to say ‘sorry for the injury I caused you…’, indeed, quite the opposite – he responds to her saying she is sad & wants to be left alone by insulting her & claiming she is wrong. Which for my money tells you everything you need to know about the kind of person he is.
And he doesn’t have to apologise anymore because Josienne has long abandoned the hope that he might. But his bullying her to be silent won’t work anymore.
99% of the noise around this is an outpouring of support for Josienne, mainly women who have experienced similar at work or college or at home or in bands. Other musicians who could never put into words like she has done.
The Josienne I know today is a rescue dog, flinching at the first sign of certain types of behaviour. Kind of broken, small & sad but growing, recovering. Understandable. She survived a thing she found hard and what she needs now is advocacy, to have her reality acknowledged. Anyone trying to negate her blog post, which is not slanderous or accusatory, but simply her lived experience, will not be met with kindness by me because yes, I am angry & yes I am spoiling for a fight when people I care about are wronged. I’m not sorry about that & you are welcome to fuck off. There have been many before you & there will be many after. But you never do fuck off, do you? You just sit back & watch from a safe distance, pecking at the crumbs on the floor at our feet, feeding off the failures of others, occasionally chipping in a message to keep yourself relevant, close to the commodity, just in case one day, there’s something in it for you. You greasy parasite.
Time to choose a side. If you’re not a friend, if you didn’t start any fights, then you are an enemy. I’m sorry, but it isn’t me making this about choosing a side, Josienne’s post begs for peace & resolution. Insults are a choice. Advocating other people’s rancid behaviour is a choice. Silence is a choice. A private message of support whilst saying nothing in public is a choice. Say what you think. Have the courage of your convictions and stand beside Josienne or be gone.
Honour Josienne’s request to be taken on her own terms. Respect her right to own the truth of her experience. Leave Ben Walker’s name out of discussions about Josienne Clarke from this sentence onwards, please.