Orange Juice blogger Greg Diamond spent considerable time on a reply to an OC Weekly story about the OCYD #MeToo panel to suggest journalist Matt Coker do some journalism and consider several alterative facts in regards to a sexual harassment investigation against OC Labor Fed chief Julio Perez.
It’s kind of hard for Coker to follow up since Perez isn’t returning calls and no one is really talking. Diamond start’s his comment by doxing OCYD president Danielle Serbin’s employer making a subtle suggestion that her #metoo bombshell press release was issued in response to “anti-union” legal work her employer allegedly does. Classy of Greg, but not true as Serbin acted in her capacity as OCYD president with the approval of her board of directors.
I’ve blocked Diamond on social media but it doesn’t stop friends from forwarding me his crazy commentary and posts on a regular basis. Here’s what he wrote in response to Coker’s story without addressing the additional women who have come forward to accuse Perez of inappropriate actions or comments.
Here’s what Diamond wrote as the sole comment on the story (I had to retype and tried to type exactly including his typos). I’m impressed by his knowledge of porn and sexual practices, but his logic fails on so many levels:
If Danielle Serbin now devotes her efforts to uncovering sexual misconduct going back as many years at NAME OF EMPLOYER DELETED – the conservative Republican union-busting law firm at which she is an associate – I’ll be far more impressed and her bravery. Getting the whole real history on OCYD’s past would also be admirable. Otherwise we’re picking and choosing.
As for Julio, it’s hard to know what to make of the all the alleged newly uncovered allegations. I do vaguely recall him talking about discipline (of the non sexual variety) in the union movement, *the union* being one’s “master” whose interests one must serve faithfully. This would have been in the context of my critiquing (or, in his eyes, quibbling over?) some union stance with which I disagreed. In other words, they term conveyed the message that, even when he was not the one calling the shots, he was an operative who must stand in solidarity with those who do. That’s *completely consistent* with the text of the reported comment.
Coker here repeats a notion implying that he was informing the intern that she had now unwittingly entered into a “master/slave: relationship with him *personally*. This is *compatible* with the reported words as well – but that construction of them seems far-fetched. I saw Julio in lots of social and work situations with women, and I *never* recall seeing the sort of shows of dominance towards them that this would suggest. I can’t rule out that this was *intended* in a malicious way – or more likely that the intern could have taken a comment about fealty to the movement as one regarding sexual submissiveness, it’s just so extraordinarily weird that I’d expect such a kink to have been visible often and elsewhere.
As for “this is porn,” Coker doesn’t consider the obvious question: *what WAS on the CDs*? I get that Julio hasn’t returned his calls (perhaps on a lawyer’s – not me! – advice) but isn’t there eventually SOME journalistic responsibility to note was even the ALLEGED higher-order hearsay evidence SHOWS?
One possible scenario: Julio kept pornographic videos in his office and either coming on to this intern, along the lines of “go home and watch these tonight and contact me when you’re sexually aroused, or keep these in mind when tomorrow morning I take you into my broom closet.” I don’t want to pre-judge anything, but this seems like a REALLY bad pick-up line, especially for an intern he just met. If he really was inclined to try it once, presumably he had tried it multiple times on various women; that should have likely to come out by now. (That or he’d just be clonked hard on the head that day and was out of his mind.)
A second: he was just an idiot bully trying to torment her with, say, some old AOL disks as props. Possible, but I’d want some corroboration. He GOT that award because women liked and respected him.
A final possibility is that – maybe site down before reading on, Coker — *the word “Porn” is sometimes used in a metaphorical rather than literal sense*. Certain cooking shows or movies are sometimes described as “food porn”; some money flaunting/investment shows are “wealth porn.” What IS this metaphorical usage? It means roughly “something designed to appeal to the watcher’s animalistic instincts for gratification.”
What CDs might Julio have had in his office that he might call “porn”? How about anti-union videos produced by union-busting firms (at least some of which are in OC) to convince workers to reject unionization efforts by presenting them “enhanced” facts designed to appeal to their greed and (who knows, I don’t watch that stuff) perhaps an enjoyable angry sense of superiority. In other words, “porn” would be a *negatively* coded term there , for “this is something bad produced by bad people, so I may want you to watch it to see what we’re fighting against, but I’m warning you about it so you don’t get ‘turned on’ by it.”
Julio hasn’t been in contact with me directly or indirectly since this story broke, and I had no idea it was coming up, but – knowing Julio’s politics and his dry sense of humor, I’d certainly want to know from those around him *what CDs he kept in his office*, and from his interns what if any role they had n training. If they came in covers reading “How to Bust a Union in 3 Easy Lessons,” he might have presumed that the joke would be obvious. Regardless, he’d have been negligent there by not recognizing that a young intern might have essentially have gone into a blind panic at his words and not NOTICED that the CDs were NOT actually porn. That mistake would warrant employee counseling, but it would be the sort of thing that such counseling would likely fix – unlike the salacious inferences we’re here invited to make.
As a friend, I can’t pursue this credibly. But COKER could send a reporter – a woman, maybe? – to OCLF and its former employees to ask such questions. It’s WAY past time to do so. I DO take this VERY seriously Editor – now, YOUR turn!
So let’s accept all of Diamond’s explanations about Perez and assume each choice is true. What we have is the universal theme of “victim shaming” or “victim blaming.” Additionally, if any option is true, it demonstrates that Perez is a lousy communicator and a poor manager of people.
I’m somewhat heartened by Jennifer Muir Beuthin’s social media comments regarding the ongoing investigation. Muir Beuthin wrote:
“OCLF takes all matters involving sexual harassment very seriously. That’s why earlier this year we adopted a policy to handle allegations of discrimination and harassment. And it’s why the Board hired an independent attorney to investigate these allegations. As you know….it is critical that this process be conducted fairly and thoroughly, and that’s what we are doing. Please give everyone the space and time necessary to do this thoroughly and appropriately. We will let you know when we have more information to report.”
There are many that doubt OCLF will conduct a fair investigation; Perez is on leave and there are a number of concerns these accusations will be swept under the rug.
if the women accusing Perez or former DPOC Executive Director Erik Taylor really want the #metoo campaign to succeed, they need to come forward and share their stories with investigators. A social media post making an accusation only raises questions that need to be answered, and the answers are not likely found in the wild imagination of Greg Diamond, but the answers are needed for action to happen.