The Story The Skate Industry Doesn’t Want You To Read | A massive cover-up not just involving Jason Jessee
“This is not an article about Jason Jessee.” The headline starts underneath the above image on the Free Skate Mag website. What comes next is about J.Jessee and the recent Nazi call outs, but it is also about much more. Kyle Beachy’s original article was turned down by hoards of skateboard media sites, even Jenkem, before being posted by King Shit only for them to bow to the pressure of the skateboard gods (advertisers) and pull it down. Pretending it was to give Jason a chance to respond in an interview. Um, that’s not how it works. He can respond at any time with the article still live.
Anyway, the free speech champions at Free Skate Mag weren’t having it. After all isn’t that why you start a media outlet. To do whatever you want.
So Kyle Beachy’s masterpiece, the one the skateboard industry doesn’t want you to read, finally lives again.
One of the highlights of this incredible Pushing Boarders weekend was meeting Kyle Beachy and hearing the story of his failed attempts at getting this piece published. Why are Jenkem, who are often held up as the most independent free thinking skate media turning this down? How does it make it online via King Shit, only to be taken down 24 hours later? We don’t want to do a magazine if it means not being able to publish stuff like this, so here it is: Primitive Progressivism
The real issue at hand here is not Jason Jessee but the system that was complicit in putting him into his current role despite knowing the Bad Things in his past. The big problem is the prevailing silence and empty emoticons that defined the skate industry’s response to his apology. Those who spoke did so obliquely, and few I talked to were willing to go on the record with any comment remotely specific to Jessee. Ryan Lay was, for a time, the only known skater who commented. “I really would prefer not to be the only person addressing this,” he eventually wrote to the public, “but a lot of people in the skate community are really upset and rightfully so. They basically feel like the industry has let them down.”
Jim Thiebaud posted his own apology for the role he played in the complicitness, and reached out to me to say emphatically, “Bigotry and hatred don’t belong in skateboarding. Period.” Hearing his voice, hearing Bob Denike’s voice and Andrew Cannon’s voice, it was clear that those first few days after the story broke were tough on them.
Reckonings are, by their nature, difficult things. Far easier to go the route of The Nine Club, who responded to a DM by explaining how they “try to avoid all that negative crap. Jason is a great skateboarder and person who said some really dumb stuff back in the mid 90s…no need to revisit it.”