A Portland, Oregon, musician has taken to Facebook to confess to sexual assault. Indie musician Joel Magid says he’s taking accountability for his actions. But some—including a different woman who accuses Magid of raping her—accuse him of seeking sympathy in order to cover up other assaults.
On Saturday, Magid addressed his followers in a public Facebook post.
“I recently sexually assaulted someone,” Magid wrote. “In this encounter, I pulled out my penis, and forcibly lifted the woman’s skirt. A friend intervened and stopped my behavior. I was blacked out drunk when this happened and don’t remember any of the situation. That doesn’t excuse what I did.”
At least one commenter lauded his apology as “brave”. Others say it’s anything but.
“For the past 2 days I have been living in hell,” a woman calling herself Wanda Bones on Facebook alleged in her own open letter Wednesday. “I have recently discovered that the man who sexually assaulted (i.e.raped) me almost 6 years ago has publicly announced his apology to his most current victim. What I have seen on his page from his post is a discussion about his situation involving words of praise for him being so ‘brave’ as to come forward and acknowledge what he has done.”
Magid has publicly denied having sexually assaulted anyone prior to the assault that he wrote about on Facebook. Portland Police told The Daily Beast that they haven’t received any official reports that match up with the assault Magid described, and that the department couldn’t consider charges until victims step forward—even as Bones, whose real name is Erica Ordway according to the Portland Mercury—says that she has done just that.
“Joel, this is reprehensible and inexcusable,” Portland DJ and radio director Theo Craig commented Sunday on Magid’s post. “You need to admit that this wasn’t the first time. You need to admit that you’ve dragged at least one past victim’s name and reputation through the mud, that you pitted a lot of people against a friend who was doing her best to stand up for a friend and protect others in our community from you.”
Magid replied in his own comment denying Craig’s accusation. “I cannot and will not accept responsibility for things I haven’t done,” he wrote. “It wouldn’t be the truth. You don’t have to believe me but if you’re curious as to how I respond when I do something bad, even terrible, you’re witnessing it, I call it out.”
Magid did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday from The Daily Beast.
“We are aware of (Magid’s) post and Sex Crimes Unit detectives are investigating the veracity of the information,” Sgt. Peter Simpson told The Daily Beast. “At this point, no victim has been identified or has come forward to file a report with the Portland Police Bureau.”
But Ordway told the Portland Mercury that she had filed a report against Magid Wednesday morning for the alleged six-year-old assault.
“Maybe its time for you to admit there are others, maybe even countless others, you have done this too,” she wrote in her Facebook post.
Portland’s vibrant music scene is one of the city’s claims to fame. But that close-knit scene has its own, under-examined history of sexual assault, many insiders say. Speaking to journalist Luke O’Neil last year, Portland musician Sam Pape said many of his friends had been raped by local musicians.
“The internet has made the problem more upfront and urgent than ever, but it’s always been there,” Pape said. “I’ve personally had plenty of firsthand experiences witnessing sexual assault in Portland’s tiny, isolated music community alone.”
Several women have used Magid’s confession to start a conversation about their own experience with sexual assault, particularly at the hands of male musicians in Portland.
“It’s someone in our music community and I never said anything because ‘I was drunk,’” one woman wrote, describing an attack by another Portland musician. “The men in this town need to step up for their sisters. This is a good first step but a lot more needs to be done to repair the damage.”
Bones said it’s time to end the culture of silence around assault, in the Portland music scene and elsewhere.
“Why do we give men a pass for coming forward and admitting something horrible they have done,” she wrote. “Our local scene is indicative of a greater problem, the ‘boys club’ of music where when someone has done something shitty FEW men come forward to speak against the abuser and the cycle goes on and on. Why do we leave it up to women/female identified persons for the most part to call out shitty behavior and abuse? WHERE ARE THE MEN WHEN WE NEED THEM THE MOST?”