Solidarity Not Silence: We Must Win

Guest article written by Em Johnson.

Do you know what bores me? The left fighting the left.

Why do we burn our calories about Corbyn vs Blair and then sleepwalk into a Boris Johnson cavity of hell?

Why do punk kids bicker between themselves about sub-genres when the entire concept of ‘influencers’ has been allowed to become a thing?

Why do vegans turn on each other about honey and palm oil in Facebook wormholes when corporations are burning the planet?

This week The Guardian brought to public attention the defamation claim brought against five women by Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox of The King Blues, a band who were the darlings of the punk scene soon after their formation in 2004, but latterly shunned by many due to persistent rumours about Itch’s behaviour and character – often in relation to women. Five women now stand accused of a ‘persistent campaign of harassment’.

Reading about bands such as Petrol Girls and The Autonomads in The Guardian is almost as surreal as imagining punks facing punks in a courtroom. Hiring a barrister is hardly peak imagery – and is certainly unfathomably more costly than the sweaty basement gig existence that most of the UK underground scene is built on. So costly that the five women have been crowdfunding support for their cause since 2017.

Today I’m remembering that sometimes the left fighting the left is important.

In the wake of ‘Me Too’, which still has much more ground to cover in the music business, staying silent is not acceptable. Women are already marginalised in alternative music, and particularly in a punk scene that can be unwelcoming, snobby and occasionally dangerous. This case threatens to financially and emotionally cripple five women who have tried to do what is right, however hard it might be, and whatever risks it might pose. If they are beaten, the ‘dangerous’ part of our small scene will get even bigger. And the numbers and confidence of women within it will get smaller.

On the face of it this might be punks fighting each other, but what is bigger than all of it is the solidarity of everyone else involved. We must come together. We must lean on the values and passions that we share, and collectively oust those who threaten our community.

We. Must. Win.

You can support Solidarity Not Silence here:

This is a guest article written by Em Johnson. She used to pretend to be a cool ska/punk DJ, but now spends most of her free time eating cheese and walking her dog. She also writes for one of our favourite online music hubs, Apathy & Exhaustion.

4 thoughts on “Solidarity Not Silence: We Must Win

Add yours

  1. Sorry but the guy’s been straight up falsely accused and the evidence in his favour is huge. It’s time we question ‘call out culture’ where vigilantes decide to destroy people for kicks. There’s a huge amount of people with ‘issues’ in the current feminist movement who see abusers everywhere, monster men and seem to deny women have any agency at all.


    1. Sorry but 5 different women.

      We’re you there, like through every single second of the relationship he had with these women?

      When one woman is not believed its bad enough, when five women make very similar claims and are not believed that is just fucking….I have no words.

      I’m myself was in a domestic violent relationship, many didnt believe me until the day he literally text me telling me he was coming to kill me.

      Domestic violence is a thing that happens, how about men who are not involved in that two way relationship stop saying it didn’t happen.


      1. One woman, I believe one of the writers of the three blogs, has already settled, The blog that makes the most serious allegations, which Fox claims are disproven by various pieces of evidence, says she is now too mentally ill to deal with the case. Fox also claims that three bloggers sent him a photograph of them together ahead of publication with a threat to ‘take him down’. If he can prove his version of events beyond reasonable doubt then the defendants are probably in trouble.

        So, the ‘six women’ are the three bloggers, one who’s already settled, and the rest are women who simply took it upon themselves to destroy Fox vigilante-style. Imagine if some random Tumblr blog accused YOU of awful things and people, completely unconnected to the situation, started a campaign to destroy you?

        An angry-ex writing a blog about a semi-famous man, or a fantasist making stuff up, could probably just be let go. After all, plenty of stars have had unflattering anonymous blogs written about them. It was the campaign to destroy Fox that’s the issue. It was very effective in ending his career.


  2. Defamation cases are notoriously difficult to actually prove. There are four primary requirements: statements have to have been made, the statements have to be provably false, the statements have to be provably malicious, and the target of the statements has to demonstrate tangible detriment to their career as a result of these statements.

    Considering how expensive litigation is, and how difficult defamation cases are to prove, this does not seem to be anything that “Itch” has undertaken lightly. Worse still: even if his litigation is successful, you cannot litigate “good faith” in the eyes of the public.

    If the plaintiffs are telling the truth, then more power to them, and “Itch” will be wasting enormous amounts of money. Defamation cases are nothing to fear if the plaintiffs are telling the truth.

    If the plaintiffs are lying, well… I hope they are prepared to offer up a sincere apology, and are prepared to have to carry around the scar of a false allegation for the rest of their lives.


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