The #FREEKOOTZ hashtag began on Twitter Friday, when fans and friends of Justin McNulty, better known by his DJ name Kutmah, was taken into custody by immigration authorities.
Details on the situation are vague, but sources told L.A. Weekly that McNulty, who was born in the U.K. and moved to Los Angeles at the age of twelve, was picked up by authorities at his home on the morning of May 5. By that evening, he had been transferred to a facility in New Mexico. The DJ does have an attorney and, given the response of his friends, it appears that all efforts are being made to keep McNulty in the United States. Freekutmah.com debuted late last week to collect donations for McNulty's legal fees. It was followed by a PetitionSpot page that, by Sunday evening, had collected over 2700 virtual signatures in support of the DJ. Saturday morning, Dublab, where he hosts the show “Sketchbook,” released a statement.
McNulty is well-known as both a visual artist and DJ. His list of club credits include Low End Theory, Firecracker, Sound Lessons and many more. He had several gigs lined up in L.A. over the next few weeks, Echoplex with Flying Lotus on May 14 and at Verdugo Bar on May 18. Flying Lotus has already announced that the Kutmah will be unable to make it to the May 14 show.
Fellow DJs were amongst the first to spread news of the situation on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. J-Logic (@J_Logic), J. Rocc (@jrocc), The Gaslamp Killer (@gaslampkiller) and Flying Lotus (@flyinglotus) all tweeted their support. Throughout the course of the weekend, friends and fans began using “Free Kutmah” graphics as their default Facebook photos.
By Saturday night, the campaign had moved from the online world into the art scene. At Saturday night's L.A. Art in Numbers event, silk screeners The Hit + Run Crew added “Free Kutmah” to their group of prints for the event. Fundraisers have been mentioned on Twitter, but we have been unable to confirm any details in this regard. More details to come.