Newfangled NYC nightclub Schimanski AKA "The New Verboten" has found itself embroiled in controversy only weeks since opening. There was some excitement for the venue's opening after Verboten, the beloved nightclub that occupied the space beforehand, was forced to close after years of shady tax dealings. Early bookings included Axel Boman, wAFF, and Wolf + Lamb.
Unfortunately, it's bad vibes in Brooklyn after a pro-Trump Facebook post made by Schimanski head booker Thomas Dunkley last week.
ICYMI: The Booking Manager at Schimanski (new Verboten) is a Trump supportor. He posted this last night (and then deleted). pic.twitter.com/9YsPdGvuIr— Dance Bitch LLC (@DanceBitchBK) November 8, 2016
Donald Trump is a terrible dickhead, yes, and many of his supporters are some unfortunate combination of racist, sexist, and bigoted. That said, Dunkley's post, for the most part, is a reasonably stated opinion that is based on many of the same desires that liberals maintain. For example: Anti-War, legal weed, tax abatement for the very poor. True, there's some suspect neoliberal economics in there as well and an inexplicable blindness to Trump's very obvious sociopathy, but nothing the guy said could be construed as hate speech.
In the hostile social environment after Trump's victory in the Presidential election, the underground Brooklyn tech-luminati pounced. Dunkley was hounded on social media for his views while acts like Discwoman-affiliated Umfang and The Long Count Cycle canceled scheduled gigs at Schimanski. Shortly afterwards, Dunkley issued a public apology.
That statement was quickly followed up by a full-on resignation, which had all the hallmarks of a canned defeat speech after being forced out of a role. Andrew Inomata, who functions as Schimanski director and head talent buyer, told RA: "Due to recent circumstances, Tom Dunkley has voluntarily resigned as a member of the talent buying team because he was no longer able to perform the job he was hired to do," in an email statement. "We have since resolved any booking conflicts, and we are working on a makeup event with all talent who had canceled their gigs....We have zero tolerance for hate and discrimination of any kind."
Firstly, I respect and love dance music's history as an open social space with black and gay roots. I agree that must it be guarded against intolerance. But all Thomas Dunkley has done is taken to Facebook to discuss his political views, something that most of us have done recently. None of his words were hateful and his perspective on the issues was, even if inadvisable, still reasonably stated. He has a right to speak freely.
The fact that he has been forced to resign after a witch hunt of political correctness rendered his position untenable is, within itself, an act of intolerance. The community in Brooklyn has become so insular and dogmatic that erring from the dominant narrative is cause for banishment AKA we have reached a moment of fascism dressed as liberalism, set to a 4-4 beat. We're becoming a caricature of ourselves.
Yes, it is life-affirmingy amazing that underground dance music is so committed to gender equality, gay rights, multi-culturalism, and liberal ideals. That's one of the main reasons people like us dedicate our lives to it. But we cannot assume a mob mentality and police the opinions of everybody who does not agree. That is oppositional to everything we're supposed to be about. It seems that after a spate of entirely valid public outcries about sexism in the dance community, the PC mob has gotten tipsy on power and now everyone must parrot their narrative in fear of career-ending ostracization. That sucks!
Obviously, Donald Trump is a terrible human being and his reign may very well signal the end of humanity as we know it––and Dunkley may very well be a dickhead too (we don't know him)––but the fact that he got fired because of such an overblown reaction to an "offensive" Facebook post is pretty troubling. I think we may benefit from chilling out for a second and, y'know, focusing on the music for once?