In America, we do have freedom of speech. You are allowed to say whatever you want without repercussion from the government, for the most part. But, that freedom of speech also gives others the freedom to call you out on your bullshit and potentially excuse you from your job.
Such is the case with (now former) Lionfight bassist Bryan Patrick Cole. Cole decided to go on a long winded rant last night about the ongoing Baltimore riots, and some of the comments he said naturally offended more than a few people. Lambgoat grabbed this screenshot of the now-deleted status:
Not surprisingly, people responded by calling Cole ignorant and racist. Lambgoat followed the course of events, and shortly after this was posted, the band's Facebook posted the following:
"No matter what color your skin is, your race, gender, whatever… We are all beings on this planet. We should be here for each other. Burning down buildings and smashing cars with weapons will never solve anything. The end."
And then Cole with the now stereotypical, post-offensive-status-update followup update calling out his lack of freedom of speech:
"It's a sad world we live in… Freedom of speech is dead."
Of course, freedom of speech is not dead because if it were, he wouldn't even be allowed to make his initial remarks. Freedom of speech is alive because people can immediately call him out on his bullshit.
Lambgoat then reports that 30 minutes later, he was retracting his statements:
"I made a mistake and I am truly sorry for what I said and how I said it. But what's happening in these cities is terrifying and horrible and it should be stopped. If you have anything to say to me, say it. Let's talk it out instead of trying to outshine each other. We are all human."
We all agree that what's happening is horrible, but you are not helping matters.
Feeling external pressure, Lionfight eventually announced they are splitting with their bassist:
"Today an ex band member of lionfight decided on his own to say some really shocking and racist remarks on his personal page. Not only did he offend many, including the other band members, he set back the social clock greatly by his ignorant remarks. We say ex because we cannot have that mindset and mouthpiece be a representative of us personally or what we've worked so damn hard for. Bryan will no longer be playing music with us. We love him like a brother and we will always be there to pick him up when he falls but we cannot move forward with him being a part of this. He made a really bad decision today and hopefully one day he will earn the forgiveness of each and every one of you, including ourselves.
"As for lionfight, even though it was one band member with these opinions, the entire band took a major blow today. He was a part of lionfight and therefore the band was guilty by association. The lionfight name was all over the press today in a very disgusting light that DOES NOT accurately represent us personally or professionally. Regardless, something like this isn't easily repaired. It may not even be repairable at all. It's crazy to think how one moment can literally flip your world upside down. We apologize that this formal statement took us a while to post but it has taken us this long to even begin to gather our thoughts on what has happened today."
And like clockwork, Cole then offered a full apology:
"No matter what happens with me or lionfight, I want to say how sorry I am about my post about Baltimore. I spoke completely out of anger an frustration and I never meant for my words to be read in that way. I was angry about the destruction of a city that I've always wanted to visit and I have NO HATE against any race, gender, or sexual orientation.
"You don't have to believe me but if I was a racist, I wouldn't have been so sick to my stomach to the thought that people actually think of me as a hurtful, judgemental person.
"I would love if anyone wanted to talk to me about any concerns they have, but I assure uo again that I am not racist and that I made a HUGE mistake… And as we all make mistakes, I hope you find it in your hearts to forgive me for my selfish idiotic actions.
"I believe in peace among ALL humans, and I hope that we can get passed this and understand that I never meant to act like such a fool. I'm so so sorry."
The lesson here? Think before you post a controversial status, or, if you care about keeping your job, don't even post something that would create such an uproar that it could affect your job. But if you're a freedom of speech warrior, then go right ahead and say something that will get you in trouble.