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The latest on Jeremiah True, accused groper, “MRA God” and self-proclaimed “most powerful man in the Free World.”

Jeremiah True, seated on floor, protests his exclusion from a class discussion section
Jeremiah True, seated on floor, protests his exclusion from a class discussion section

The story of Jeremiah True — the Reed College student who made headlines last month as a self-proclaimed free speech martyr, and who was arrested last week for harassment and sexual abuse — only seems to get stranger the more I look into it.

The latest development: On Friday, True pled not guilty to charges that he groped two young women on a high-school Rugby team who were practicing in a Portland park; he remains in custody.

We now have some more details on what he’s charged with. The Oregonian newspaper has reported that

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, True walked up to and caressed the hair and arm of a female who was among a team of students practicing at Normandale Park …

True walked off, talking to himself, but returned to the park about 30 minutes later and approached a 17-year-old female and touched her breast with his open hand, and make a remark about her chest, the affidavit said.

Several witnesses restrained True until police arrived.

Portland police Officer E. Lamonte Johnson said True’s pupils were constricted and he was responding irrationally to questions and appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance… .

This is not the first instance of disturbing behavior from True since his story originally hit the headlines. In late March, he engaged in a bizarre series of protests against Pancho Savery, the Reed College professor who had banned him from class discussion sections for his disruptive behavior. These protests got him booted from campus.

Then last week, he posted a bizarre 114-page manifesto online in which, among other things, he declared himself “the most powerful man in the Free World.”

First, the protests. On March 30th, according to a detailed account in the Reed College Quest,

True sat on the floor at the front of Vollum Lecture Hall during Hum 110 lecture under the chalkboard which read: “Restore Jeremiah True to their Conference” and “Your hypocrisy is showing Dr. Savery.” True remained on the floor wearing earbuds and removed his shoes while Professor of English & Humanities Laura Liebman proceeded to lecture on Virgil’s Aeneid. At the end of the lecture, True yelled out “Cowards!” to the general audience.

Just before 10 a.m. that same day, True stood outside of Professor Savery’s Humanities 110 conference on the third floor of the Performing Arts Building. When Professor Savery and the Humanities students began class, True approached the glass windows of the class, looking at the class and staring into the room. According to Professor Savery, the students were “upset and disrupted” by his presence, and the class proceeded to lower the blinds.

True persisted, walking back and forth along the length of the glass wall, occasionally peering through the cracks in the blinds and into the classroom. Professor Savery says, “I think people [in the conference] made the decision to ignore him, so as to not let him take class away from them because they thought that had happened too many times. We tried to have a normal class and ignore his presence.”

True showed up outside Savery’s next class as well. One student told the paper that

“[True] was stalking back and forth by the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, aping and mimicking Pancho’s [the professor’s] gestures, glaring at Pancho, flapping his arms, and making strange theatrical movements. It was one of the worst conferences we had, and everyone was extremely quiet,” Garriss says, “If he was protesting, I don’t know who his audience was.”

School officials were called to the scene and asked True to leave; he did, only to return five minutes later. The next day, he was banned from campus pending the result of an investigation.

Last Wednesday, a day before his arrest, True posted a bizarre document that he described as “The Senior Thesis of Jeremiah True ‘18.” (True is a Freshman.) In it, he declared, among other things, that “[m]y controversial actions both online and offline have partly been a sociological experiment and partly been performance art.”

He described Prof. Savery as a “Clever Devil” and claimed that

Within this document, I will claim that Pancho ghost-wrote much of what I was saying, and I believe this to be true. While he did not directly aid me in writing any of this document or previous documents, I have adopted his philosophy on life so entirely that I fully consider myself to be the disciple of Pancho Savery and would bow down and worship him if he would let me. After I met Pancho Savery, I became a completely different person, and I don’t know how to explain it. I love Pancho like I love my family. He has put more faith in me than anyone in my life ever has. It has been by his power alone that I learned what it means to be a father, to be a teacher, to be a Reedie, to be a Black man, and to be a Philosopher-King.

After admitting that he had gone “too far with my protest of Pancho’s conferences,” he went on to say that

The actions that I performed outside of Pancho’s classes were, to me, tame. When I was warned that I was being disruptive, I was completely incredulous, as I had not been loud or naked, nor had I attempted to forcefully gain access to the classroom. I did not realize how low the bar was set at Reed for what constitutes disruption, and what constitutes threatening behavior, especially since I have observed White DMABs perform aggressive behavior without consequence.

DMAB stands for “designated male at birth.” I can only assume he is using the term sarcastically.

He claims that his disruptive behavior was a part of a deliberate if indirect plan intended to open a debate about free speech.

Rather than challenge a noteworthy scholar of the First Amendment [ie, Prof. Savery] , I instead chose to play upon the nation’s perception of Black men in order to foster the belief that I was disruptive in class. This was further reinforced by Dr. Savery’s insistence that I was disruptive in class and my numerous instances where I engaged in using profanity.

So far I’ve only read portions of the entire 114-page document, but what I have read veers wildly between lucid arguments and bizarre assertions; his thinking (as has been the case in his previous statements) appears highly disordered and grandiose.

In one of his most grandiose moments, he declares himself

the most powerful man in the Free World. Stop me. …

I am the God of MRA’s, Anti-feminists, Anti-Marxists, Libertarians, and White, heternormative men and women everywhere. I also claim that I am the God of Reed, as I have called forth miracles and created earthquakes in the student body. Kanye has nothing on my ego. Eminem thinks I’M his Rap God. … I am a misogynist and a misandrist, a racist, and a feminist.

Despite the jokes, he seems to take himself very seriously indeed, and to believe a good deal of his own hype.

I may return with more thoughts on his case once I’ve read some more of it.

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Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
7 years ago

Um, well okay then. He was on something when he was arrested. Maybe he’s been enjoying some acid here and there or something? That would explain some things, right? Maybe he could just lay off whatever he was on, he could, you know, stop being such a douche?

Just chill, man, chill.

Whimsicalrogue (@whimsicalrogue)

I’m not a doctor, but I sincerely hope this guy gets all of the help he needs.

talbotfish
talbotfish
7 years ago

“DMAB stands for “designated male at birth.” I can only assume he is using the term sarcastically.”
Unsure why this can “only” be sarcasm?

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

Dude’s ideas are def detached from reality. Not going to posit why that might be. Could be a million things. The grandiosity of his writing makes him sound delusional or high though.

GiJoel
GiJoel
7 years ago

Loopier than a bowl of fruit loops

Bina
7 years ago

Kanye has nothing on my ego.

This much, at least, is true. (Pun fully intended.)

Damn, what drugs is this dude on?

andiexist
andiexist
7 years ago

Um. Someone needs to make a saving throw against reality. Anyone. I don’t care who. The sheer amount of WTFery there is just mind-boggling.

I will think about the kitty walking all over me at this moment instead.

Faint Praise
Faint Praise
7 years ago

114 page manifesto of performance art, sociological experiment? I guess this is a new thing where people have serious stuff going on but they’re the last to realize how serious they are. Raised on the internet they’ve adopted trolling as an identity and think it’s all there is to themselves.

andiexist
andiexist
7 years ago

@talbotfish

I assume it’s because he’s a creepy WTF factory who is extremely unlikely to care about trans* people and therefore is just using the term to… something. Make himself sound more educated? I don’t know. The kind of person who gets talked about in these blog posts isn’t likely to be using the term in good faith, though.

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
7 years ago

If he wasn’t actually arrested, I would think he was a Poe. He has done more damage to his “cause” than … Actually he’s about average when it comes to damaging his cause.

Never mind.

Since I missed my chance in the last thread… here’s ten hours of Nyan cat, smooth jazz edition

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

Loopier than a bowl of fruit loops

OMG let’s not go here again.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
7 years ago

@C.S.Strowbridge

Welp, now I have another reason to hate smooth jazz: The catchiness of the song. Fuck.

MaudeLL
7 years ago

I hope he gets help. He doesn’t appear to be in a lucid place, and though I can’t and won’t diagnose him, I doubt he’s at a good place in his head. What he did is clearly wrong, but I’m not sure it’s a case of your standard Elam type of asshole. It seems to me that he really does need the help.

andiexist
andiexist
7 years ago

@MaudeLL

I forget whether you were one of the people who was doing it before, but seriously. No. Stop. It doesn’t magically become less of a problem when you don’t mention a diagnosis, and therapy can’t cure being a nope inducer.

And pretending that “getting help” is some magical cure for everything from mental illness to generally being an awful person is seriously Not Cool.

We clear on this now? Because it would be lovely to be able to stop with this.

alaisvex
alaisvex
7 years ago

I can’t tell if he seriously believes what he’s saying or if he’s like a five-year-old who heard his parents accidentally swear in front of him for the first time and is repeating the words over and over again without knowing what they really mean becuase they’re new words and saying them gets him attention. Maybe he realized that taking controversial stances and engaging in bizarre and confrontational behavior got him attention. Maybe he realized that throwing anti-feminist rhetoric around would get him support for his antics, and this week he decided to up the ante by progressing towards actual sexual assault to see if that would get him more attention (people, including his supporters, had begun to ignore him and forget about him) and possibly more support? Either way, he’s a terrible person. Even if he’s a college student desperate for attention, he’s doing it in a way that’s hurting and upsetting people.

talbotfish
talbotfish
7 years ago

I’m remembering some GG/mra creeps this one who was definitely a leader/rallying point..who had youtube videos about how gender/sex is “assigned” at birth. So there’s definitely people who subscribe to that idea on the “mra/gg side” ..so to speak.Surprised you never encountered them. This person was a utter predator to the women targeted by GG

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

I think we can admit the possibility that he may have undergone a psychotic break, or that he was undergoing a manic episode. Or that there is some other psychiatric issue here.

I can admit that possibility.

I can also admit the possibility that his disordered thinking is not due to madness, but due to a desire to get attention and knowing that behaving like a crazy person is a very fast way to accomplish that.

And I can admit the possibility that he is both a horrible individual and mad, in which case there i a high probability that treating the mental illness will do nothing whatsoever to touch on the underlying opinions and attitudes that make him horrible.

If he has a disorder, then he deserves treatment for it and I hope he does receive treatment for it. I just don’t see how talking about that is useful or constructive. I can see many ways in which it is actively destructive.

andiexist
andiexist
7 years ago

@David

I’d agree with you that it’s certainly possible, but all the handwringing over “I hope he gets help” as if it is a given isn’t the same thing as noting the possibility. Which is what I (and probably what the other people here, though I can’t speak for them) have a problem with. :/

Hambeast, Social Justice Hoo-Ha Glitterer
Hambeast, Social Justice Hoo-Ha Glitterer
7 years ago

…I had not been loud or naked…

Naked?? Just, wut?

andiexist
andiexist
7 years ago

Ninja’d by PoM, who said it much better than I did.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
7 years ago

I think a good way to think about it might be this: I have known people whose thoughts were just as disordered as True’s seem to be, but who would never in a bazillion years walk up to a girl or woman and grope her. Given this, how is it a good idea to change the conversation from True’s misogynist actions to his apparently-disordered thinking? The disordered thinking didn’t cause him to do a horrible thing, although it may have given him the idea that he wouldn’t face social sanction for it.

Being mad is, in some ways, a lot like being drunk: a drunk person may become less careful of social norms and their actions may be more exaggerated, but the basic personality doesn’t change. A person who isn’t inclined to go on a gun spree when sane is not likely to go on one when insane. A person who isn’t inclined to treat women like objects when sane isn’t likely to do so when insane.

I realize you’re not actually conflating the two, David, but there is nuance in what you are saying that isn’t going to be caught by someone who isn’t reading very carefully. This post doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but within a social structure that handles mental illness very poorly. That larger social context is important.

Sissy
Sissy
7 years ago

“…I had not been loud or naked, nor had I attempted to forcefully gain access to the classroom.”

…and that excuses disrupting the class discussions HOW? I mean, you were LOOKING INTO THE ROOM and stuff!

Holy crap, bad logic stumps me a lot sometimes.

Minode
Minode
7 years ago

I’m calling it right now.
His next huge self-important screed will describe, with bombastic rhetoric, how his open-handed touching of a high-school girl’s breast was really a piece of feminist performance art and a social experiment commenting on the sexualization of breasts. Because he, as a black man, would never consider it sexual harassment to have his chest touched, and #FreeTheNipple, and professional victim SJW double standards etc etc etc.
Calling it, that’s his next move.

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