Thursday, January 24, 2013

Luca Atalla speaks for GracieMag about Lloyd Irvin

If you haven't read Luca Atalla's post about Lloyd Irvin, it can be found here, but I'll comment below.  (And my apologies for any readers who found the red font color difficult;  I'll present my thoughts in italics this time.)  And what a shame-- Luca has blocked me from commenting further on his page.  I'm crushed!  :(

"You know I am against rape. I am against any type of violence, domestic, urban, between countries or whatever its may be.

way to minimize rape

This is obvious. I think everybody who follows me or GRACIEMAG has the same opinion.

apparently not, as I keep reading comments from men like Phil Proctor who think victims of gang rape are probably just dirty whores who got a train run and then regretted it later...

I was avoiding speaking about this recent case involving three Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in Maryland for several reasons.
The main one is that Jiu-Jitsu cannot be blamed for anything.  Human beings are capable of doing bad things, students, teachers, competitors, practitioners, etc… I do believe with all my heart Jiu-Jitsu can make people better.  But sadly it doesn’t always make changes in them.

straw man argument
The case is  being covered by many news outlets with commitments beyond our mission that is “To Promote Jiu-Jitsu”.
I fully support the victim and stand in sprit with her in her recovery. That said, we at Graciemag to this point didn’t think we had anything greater or positive to contribute to this story.  Actually we felt that the more we addressed it the more Jiu-Jitsu would suffer, which is not our mission.
However, for the last two weeks people took advantage of the situation to practice what a famous Brazilian journalist calls “reputation murder”.  In this case specifically the murder of Lloyd Irvin Jr.’s reputation.

as I said in my initial comment to your piece-- there's no reputation murder here.  It's reputation suicide.  Would you say that people crying out against the Sandy Hook shootings were committing reputation murder against Adam Lanza? 
Is there anyone seriously thinking he has a “rape culture” in place?

My "tidbits" post repeating the comments of Madgrappler addressed this.  Did Lloyd intentionally foster a rape culture?  of course not.  He's not that stupid. 

Even if you don’t like his teaching style or marketing style or anything about him, how is it possible to blame him for the actions of two of his students (one with him for less than a month, the other for seven months).

straw man argument.  I never had a problem with Lloyd prior to this-- he's apparently a good coach, though I really don't like the email marketing and got off all those lists.  But no one is blaming him for Nick and Mateo.  We're blaming Lloyd for Lloyd.
Look, it does seem that these two guys truly did something despicable.  But the truth is… no matter how bad the circumstances seem and how strong are the evidence is against them, the world we live in gives people the benefit of being innocent until they are proven guilty by the legal system.  As much as I don’t approve of the circumstances as fellow human beings we owe them this.

I agree with you.
I understand that people have differences with Lloyd Irvin, his language, his way to do business. I’ve disagreed with him on a few things in the past.  I have called him and told him directly.  We talked about my disapproval, he explained his side.  I may not change his views,  and he may not change mine, however at least we respect each other and speak honestly to each other.
But now I must speak equally as honestly to some in the Jiu-Jitsu community and say that I think using this sensitive moment to attack him is cowardice and disrespectful to both him and the woman who suffered the night of this attack.

We would probably have had this conversation earlier if we'd known.  Too bad they came up around the same time.  I don't think the survivor of 2012 would really object to a community taking a stand against rapists.  If anything, I imagine she might be objecting to all the assholes out there saying things like "just goes to show you shouldn't be getting drunk" and "she was the team whore" and "she'd just broken up with one of the rapists."  Because yes, those things are being said too-- thanks TLI for sharing your insider info-- and that kind of victim blaming is coming out of the same mouths that are so hot and heavy to defend Lloyd.
People are kicking the dog, because they think it’s dead. They didn’t stand against the dog when he was alive and barking.

When Lloyd was barking, he wasn't barking about his criminal past.  Now that it's come to light, he's barking another tune.  See my open letter post from yesterday.
Bringing past stories (no matter how unsightly they may be) to associate with this isolated case will not push me to judge him.
Lloyd has wife and son.  I know this man NOW and have for many years.  He has been a significant contributor to the betterment of our beloved Jiu-Jitsu for over a decade and a half (admittedly not I am not in agreement with ALL of his contributions but on a whole they have done far more positive and good for us than anything else) And unless something relevant that links him DIRECTLY to this particular case comes out I’m backing him.
Because I feel the information he has shared with me CAN make a positive come from all the negative I’m providing a forum for him to share his side of this story and hopefully bring some healing and growth for us.

Just because the man was paid to be a good coach (and apparently earned his pay) doesn't mean he deserves a pass on his gang rape.

If any of you should ever find themselves in need of a safe haven to fairly tell their side of a story I am open to listen.  Our channels are closed however, for attackers, or reputation murderers, whatever reasons they have.

 I am sure we would all like to hear from Lloyd's rape survivor.  But would you consider her a reputation murderer or attacker?


And now, let me share some of the comments I found most interesting.   Again, if I have a response I'll do so in italics.

[from Luca] Rebecca, thanks for your position. I agree we should examine sexualized violence within our community always, as much as all other types of violence, to be honest.
Don’t think, however, that choosing one person to lynch (as a sample) would fix or better a system. Most people criticizing in truth don’t care about bettering our community or the world, they will be happy solely to put him down. That’s it.
I always welcome any discussion that intends to make our society/community safer and less violent. I prefer to leave to the legal system, however, any judgement of a person with name, face and family. I don’t fill like I have the resources and knowledge to condemn people and make it public.

Lloyd isn't being lynched and to use the term so lightly is insulting to the real victims of real lynchings.  Here's the difference-- not only are we posing zero threat of violence to Lloyd, we are critiquing him in a public forum for actions he took and continues to take.  We are not a lawless mob acting outside the legal system to retaliate against an innocent person who did nothing wrong aside from having the wrong color skin.  Lloyd properly is being held to account for his actions which are in conflict with his words.    

And for you to say we're lynching him, criticizing him unfairly, attacking him, kicking him while he's down and murdering his reputation and then in the next breath say you don't have the resources and knowledge to publicly condemn people??  laughable.

[from Alon]
With all due respect, this is a complete cop-out.
You say, “As for the 1989 case, I don’t have enough information to assess it properly, but fact is that I cannot judge again someone who was acquitted.”
The evidence of his testimony is out there, you are either ignoring it, or not understanding the what he said under oath. You are also ignoring the sworn testimony of the victim. You are also omitting that the acquittal had far more to do with the fact that the juries (all of whom agreed this girl was raped) did not have the legal mechanism to convict him for the crime he committed, because rape law in 1989 in MD was woefully inadequate. The juries did not say, “Lloyd Irvin did nothing wrong,” they said, “according to the legal standard we can’t convict him of rape and there is no lesser ‘attempted rape’ charge we CAN convict him of.” That is a HUGE difference.
So please, stop hiding behind the acquittal and answer the question. What is your response to his statement, given under oath, that he really wanted to actively participate in the gang-rape of a 17 year old girl, but could not get it up?

Yes.  Yes.  Exactly this.


[Luca responds to Natalie]

There are two sides of this story, like all others. One is the victim’s side. The other is the accused side. We are all open to the victim when and if she wants to speak. We don’t demand investigations, we don’t judge what is an appropriate response. That’s the difference. You wrote “I would (…)” Everybody has a choice. Unlike you, we are not judges.
We are not defending anybody, we are defending to preserve someone reputation just hurt in this case because he didn’t act like you think he should have acted. Are you the owner of the right and wrong, the owner of the truth? Congrats, but we are not, so for that reason only we let the legal system work.

[and I responded]
Wow, Luca. I think you vastly misstate the situation to say there are two sides– Lloyd’s and “the victim’s”– number one, the issue you keep missing is that there are TWO survivors here. (Since neither died, neither is a victim– they’re rape SURVIVORS.) One from Lloyd’s gang rape in 1989, one from Nick and Mateo’s gang rape in 2012.
But there are other sides to the issue– what about the public, the audience, the consumers of your magazine and of Lloyd’s products?
I’m glad, though, that you are acknowledging your role in this. You’re not seeking the truth, you are seeking to preserve Lloyd’s reputation. And you minimize the complaints by framing them as “he didn’t act like you think he should have acted.” Excuse me, any crime, any immorality, any hurtful behavior towards others can be likewise minimized. People aren’t upset with Lloyd because he didn’t hold a door for a lady, or because he cut in line at the post office. Those are behaviors which would more appropriately be described as “not acting like people think he should have acted.”
Nope, Lloyd participated in a gang rape. And yes, pretty much everyone here (except you?) can agree that that is wrong. And pretty much everyone here knows the difference between a finding of not guilty by the legal system and innocent. Lloyd was found not guilty of a specific legal charge but he was NOT innocent.
But please, continue defending him. He didn’t give you much to work with, but it is entertaining to listen to you try.

[Luca replies]
Again, you didn’t understand what I wrote. The accused is not even Lloyd. They are the two involved in the NYE tragedy. The 1989 episode has nothing to do with that.

You can insist that we're not supposed to talk about Lloyd all you want.  They are separate crimes.  You're right.  But to insist that you're defending Lloyd's reputation from attacks related to the 2012 gang rape is to willfully obfuscate.  You're also defending his reputation regarding the 1989 gang rape.  Let's just be honest about that.

You claim to look for all “facts”, but some anonymous person writes a comment saying he’s a black belt (he can be, but it’s an assumption, not a fact), and then you write: “So heartening to hear this coming from a blackbelt. Really encouraging. Thank you!”. You act like you own all the facts, but what you’re doing is only finding things on internet and giving them exposure.

You're right, I don't know if that guy (in an earlier comment) is really a black belt.  So?  Is there some other fact that I don't have support for in the public record?  is there some other fact I have wrong?
Did you try to speak or help or support the victim?

Straw man.  The survivor of the 2012 gang rape is anonymous and rightly so.  I also do not know the name of the 1989 gang rape survivor.  I have, however, tried to support them by speaking out in a way that I hope someone would do for me, were I the survivor.  Because I am a sexual assault survivor.  And at least I can empathize with how they might be feeling.
Are you doing anything to help stopping future cases of violence?

I'm a prosecutor.  I'm also a volunteer sexual assault/domestic violence crisis counselor, have been since 1993.  I also help teach women's self defense seminars a few times a year.  Bring it.
Or are you just amusing your time (you probably have a lot to spare) living this episode? Please let me run that I have more people to help.

Yeah, this is so AMUSING to me.  You and Lloyd definitely did bring a smirk to my lips.  But I chose to MAKE time to address these issues.  I don't have a lot to spare, what with working full time, training, and all life's other activities.  Oh, sorry, I shouldn't keep you, from your job which is all about helping people... by .... oh yeah, running a jiu jitsu magazine.


Anonymous said...

Luca actually helps a lot of people not just running a jiu jitsu magazine. Just because you are certified and have more things to do than Luca doesn't change the fact he has a good heart. he's known to stop everything he is doing to lend a hand. You do not know Luca personally, I think you might be a tad too harsh on some comments.

Georgette said...

Nope, I'm going to disagree here. I didn't start it-- he did, with his unsubtle, passive-aggressive insinuation that I don't do anything to prevent violence against women and that I have nothing better to do with my time but write about it on the internet.

But I damn sure will finish it. I'm not "certified" (not sure what the heck you mean by that) and I never said I have "more things to do" than he does. Nor did I say he doesn't have a good heart (though I do think he's misguided and ignorant, based on his comments.) I'm glad he's a nice guy and I never said he wasn't.

But don't fucking accuse ME of not doing anything but talk especially when you're not working in a profession that FOCUSES on achieving justice for victims of crime. (Yes, I said victims, because I am a death penalty prosecutor, so all my cases have victims, not survivors.)

John said...

I think Luca is completely NUTS. And saying it's okay to participate in a GANG RAPE like Lloyd Irvin did is DISGUSTING.

Tree Frog said...

In our infrequent and short talks, Prof. Luca Atalla has been very polite to me and occasionally helpful. That was nice to encounter.

But that doesn't prevent me from thinking that he is so wrong with his approach to this issue and the responses to the feedback that he has no idea how wrong he is.

It's a "not even wrong" situation.

Prof. Atalla is not making a valid point in this discussion, may not even understand the nature of the discussion itself or have a grasp of the things that need to be understood in order to participate in a publicly professional, respectable fashion.

I really hope that people - especially the Callos/Cornelius family - can unwind from this and prevent this stunning tsunami of stupidity from overwhelming life and souring everything else.

Stay healthy and happy, G.

Anonymous said...

Every comment response Atalla made further confirmed his weak grasp of basic logic and further exposed the precarious foundation of his arguments.

In related news, what journalist worth their salt would begin an editorial piece with the sentence "You know I am against rape."

How much more inane can it get than that?


Anonymous said...

Dropping my subscription. I will not support a koolaid drinking rape apologist like this. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to your opinion........

This whole LI case has really bothered me and consumed my thoughts for weeks. I just can't let it go. That's probably a good thing. I feel a lot of anger and it's mostly directed at LI himself, however from a logical perspective I ask myself if my anger about the situation is amplified because the legal failed in 1989?

Can you explain how and why the legal system failed in this case, would it still fail under today's system?

Anonymous said...

Luca and Martial Arts community (everyone, actually), LLoyd Irvin and his gang of merry men have earned the honor of being the Poster Children for rape education (as in what NOT to do).

Lloyd himself earned his No. 1 Poster Child status by standing around doing nothing (supposedly) with his allegedly dysfunctional member as his party friends sodomized, punched, and threatened to kill (throw her off the highrise balcony) that poor 17 year old daughter of a heartbroken, devastated mother and father.

If you think Lloyd's daddy cried, imagine how the parents of that dirty little 17 year old (expletive deleted) felt. Yeah.

We will, we must, keep the dialogue going, as anything and everything we talk about BEFORE another rape takes place, is a thousand times better than anything we can say after another incident. Lloyd earned his current status and attention much the way anyone earns special status, thru his or her actions.

Lloyd, by the way, didn't want to "have sex" with that girl, but couldn't due to erectile dysfunction, he wanted to RAPE that girl. Rape is not sex, not close, not by a long shot. Rape is an act of violence.

And Luca, in "rape culture," men place the blame on women, they discount their own involvement or responsibility, and, like so many of the goons in this incident, they use negative female insults to describe inadequacy or weakness (are you acting like a little girl? Sitting in an old lady's knitting circle? etc.).

That Gracie mag's editor has aligned Gracie Mag with this sociopath-rapist and his twisted life and business ethics is unfortunate for an otherwise respectful publication.

Georgette said...

Thanks Tree.

Anonymous who said the following:
"Can you explain how and why the legal system failed in this case, would it still fail under today's system?"

This is a complex question I'm going to address in a future post. Thanks for posing it :)

Alon said...

I'm Alon from the comments section on Graciemag.

The entire premise of Luca's article is so breathtakingly bad and --like Lloyd Irvin's statement--so full of straw men and equivocations, it makes my head ache.

What is inescapable is the facts and that is a problem that Luca has in defending Lloyd Irvin. Rather than trying to undermine the facts, he's using logical fallacy to redirect the conversation. It's a well-worn, completely absurd tactic that shows what kind of man Luca Atalla truly is. That is a shame.

Thank you Georgette for fighting the good fight on this.

Anonymous said...

I was very disappointed with most of what Luca said.

You make some very good points Georgette!

Like what has been said already,it wasn't / isn't abt blaiming LI for what happened recently.

Erik Anderson said...

Luca is showing a breathtaking amount of ignorance in his inability to see the problems in his Lloyd Irvin defense article. I don't think he has the capacity to understand the underlying problems with his world view.