Monday, May 23, 2016

Anonymous Punks Launch Boycott of Legendary 924 Gilman Music Venue, Accuse Leadership of Discrimination

By Nick Miller
Mon, May 23, 2016 at 1:04 PM

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Update: The Boycott 924 Gilman Street" Facebook page appears to have been taken down, as of Monday afternoon.

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Last week, anonymous punk-scene activists launched a boycott of legendary Berkeley music venue 924 Gilman. The group, which has yet to come forward, dropped a litany of grievances against the nonprofit's leadership on a Facebook page titled "Boycott 924 Gilman Street."

The most weighty accusations focus on Gilman collective leaders and bookers allowing toxic environment of sexual and ethnic discrimination. Specifically, they complained about Gilman allowing bands to perform songs with what they viewed as hate speech against Muslims or women. They also claimed that the collective's leadership would not add the words "no transphobia" to a sign that showcases the venue's house rules until after much debate, and that they also refused to designate the restrooms as gender neutral. They also accused Gilman leadership of ignoring discrimination and violence against fellow women and transgender volunteers.

Comments on boycott's Facebook page grew to nearly 300 as of this posting. Some called the boycotters "crybabies" and "PC," and many criticized the group for not putting their names on the boycott.

924 Gilman co-founder Kamala Parks released a statement calling the protesters "too cowardly to openly stand behind this boycott." She did add that claims of discrimination "absolutely deserve serious attention."

Several local punk bands — including Composite, Silent Era, and Negative Standards — have publicly expressed respect or support for the boycott.

Some have accused legendary punk magazine Maximum Rocknroll, whose founder also founded Gilman in 1986, as the force behind the boycott. MRR denied this. But "the magazine supports the boycott," a spokesperson told the Express, adding that it will publish its thoughts on Gilman in next week's issue.

The Express reached out to the Gilman community via email and will add their thoughts to this discussion as soon as possible.

Look for more coverage of the Gilman boycott in an upcoming issue of the Express.

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