Alexander Wang · Florida Man Murders · Chicano Squad
Plus: Dateline on police violence
|Best Evidence||Jan 7||5||3|
Wild times. As I write this, I’m watching CNN, which is covering the riots at the Trump-encouraged U.S. Capitol. “This is treason,” pundit Van Jones says as I type, wondering what the scene would be like if the protesters were Black or Muslim. It feels weird to write about true crime from a pop-culture perspective when one of the biggest true crimes is unfolding in D.C. I hope you’re all staying safe and hanging in there. — EB
Fashion designer Alexander Wang is denying multiple allegations of sexual assault. It all began on TikTok: on December 11 and December 13, model and designer Owen Mooney posted videos alleging assaults by the designer, then fashion industry gadfly shitmodelmgmt published an Instagram post a couple weeks later that amplified and added to the claims. According to Vogue, other social media users have made similar allegations against Wang going back to 2016.
It wasn’t until this week that Wang responded, saying — again, via Instagram — “I have never taken advantage of others in a sexual manner or forced anything on anyone without consent” and “It is important for people to speak up and be heard, but there is a need to ensure accusations are credible, so that we don’t harm these important causes,” by which I guess he means the cause of selling clothing?
ALSO via Instagram, high-profile attorney Lisa Bloom says she’ll be representing “several young men and talking to many more” in an effort to mount a civil case against the designer. Speaking with the Daily Beast, Bloom says that “she has heard ‘credible’ accounts from ‘at least three’ men” regarding Wang’s alleged behavior. Regarding his denials, Bloom says that “I think it’s unfortunate when you come out of the gate calling people liars, especially when there are a number of people making similar allegations.”
All that’s context for this interesting piece from Paper headlined “Where Does Alexander Wang Go From Here?” It begins, “‘Why aren't more fashion news outlets reporting about Alexander Wang?’ It's a question that's been asked quietly for years,” and goes on from there. The suggestion in the piece is that though journalists knew of allegations for years, fears of litigation in this post-Gawker world prevented them from reporting anything on their own…but they were free to report on the social media reports, if you follow me.
The rise of social media call-outs has made for a brave new world in crime reporting, with the news breaking on TikTok (etc.), and traditional media doing the rewrite and follow-up. In a certain sense, it provides a loophole for traditional journalists to write about stuff that, in other circumstances, a media company’s legal department would have tried to quash. — EB
My colleagues at Vox Media have launched a podcast that’s totally up my alley. I don’t have a hand in the show, and the first time I heard about it was when it was announced in the Vox Slack. It’s called Chicano Squad, and the pitch is this: in 1970s Houston, “a new all-Latino homicide squad, with little training and few resources, [was] assigned to solve the city’s most vicious crimes” as a divide grew between the city’s Latinx community and the cops.
It’s hosted by Cristela Alonzo, aka Cruz Ramirez, and includes interviews with members of the squad, as well as voices of area activists and historians. You can check the first episode out above. — EB
Hey, remember that NYT longread on Miriam Rodríguez I talked up a couple weeks ago? You know, the story about the mom who tracked down her daughters’ killers and helped bring 10 suspects to justice.
Well, we weren’t the only people who thought reporter Azam Ahmed’s story was something else: Variety reports that Blumhouse, the well-heeled production company behind basically every scary or thrilling movie you’ve seen lately, bought the rights to adapt it for the big screen, presumably as a fictionalized (as opposed to documentary) tale.
I’ll note that Miriam Rodriguez was in her 50s when she started her crusade against the cartels, and Salma Hayek is — brace for it — 54. Just throwing it out there. — EB
Here are two shows to set your DVR for in the next few days (that is, assuming they’re not preempted by breaking news, shudder):
Dateline “Journey for Justice” // From the release: “For the first time on television, the families of George Floyd, Jacob Blake Jr. and Eric Garner open up together in a raw and emotional conversation about their pain, anger and frustration over police violence. During the one-hour special, NBC News’ Craig Melvin speaks with Floyd’s siblings, Blake’s father and sister and Garner’s mother and son about police brutality, racial injustice and their shared commitment to turning their pain into advocacy work.” Also appearing on the episode are lawmakers and experts including Rep. Karen Bass and Jim Palmer, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. Airs on NBC on January 7 at 10 PM ET.
Florida Man Murders // Speaking of Blumhouse, the film studio is also behind this Oxygen series on “America’s most notorious and outrageous killers from the Sunshine State.” This is perhaps best enjoyed with the Miami New Times’ explainer on how the whole “Florida Man” thing became a thing, but the Naples Daily News will also come in handy, as they’ve got the backstory on the cases featured in the show. Its two-ep premiere is Saturday, January 9 at 7 PM, and two more episodes drop on Sunday.
Friday on Best Evidence: Paid subscribers — and paid subscribers only — will get Sarah’s reader-Forcened review of The Murders at White House Farm, so if you want to get it, you know what to do…