[Editor's note: Back in June, a fan-shot video circulated showing Dickies frontman Leonard Graves Phillips appearing to berate a female fan, reportedly for heckling and holding up a sign during the band's set at Warped Tour that called them “disgusting old men” and accused them of predatory behavior. L.A. Weekly writer Lina Lecaro wrote an op-ed piece weighing in on the controversy, published on July 6. Recently, Phillips responded to her story with the below letter. With his permission, we are reprinting it in full. All typographical marks are Phillips'.]
Dear Lina Lecaro,
As lead singer of The D&*^ies for the past 40 years, I've never had to counter false and slanderous accusations from a protestor who was shrieking that I was a “child predator” amidst the crowd of fans. So when that b*g, bovine, adult wom&n (NOT child or teenager as has been commonly mis-reported) called me a *%^&$% *!, I couldn't take anymore and I called her a v&ry b*d w^rd in reply. I apologize to the public for the ugly vitriol I shot back at one adult woman (and not at all womankind).
My tirade wasn't in response to the Parental Advisory representative simply standing there holding a sign as you reported. I reacted to the vicious, unending, slanderous garbage-pile of words heaped upon me by that beastly … LARGE ADULT CREATURE who was interrupting my work and ruining the fans' enjoyment of my show. I reacted (regrettably) in terrible anger — not at being “heckled” but at being falsely, publicly accused of sexually preying upon children. I didn't take kindly to being called a pedophile. Would you?
The Dickies have played the Warped Tour several times and there's never been a problem until “Safer Scenes” (SS) came along as the tour's very own thought police. After a spate of REAL child abuse allegations at Warped, the SS sprang into action. Dipping into their crowd-funded pile of loot, they purchased a dry-erase board with intent to protest and silence A SATIRICAL SHOW that involves apish antics, cartoon songs and some adorable puppets, if I do say so myself (*blush*). We've played all-ages crowds for decades and there has never been a hint of impropriety with a minor during The Dickies' entire 40-year career.
If a total rewrite of my comedic act would prevent the sexual abuse of even one child, I'd sign up for re-education camp in a heartbeat. I WISH I was “The Man” who had that kind of power. (I'd like to have his wallet, too.) But I'm merely an internationally acclaimed cabaret performer so the SS push for artistic censorship remains only that and nothing more. I — and many thousands who have voiced their support — view the lock-step mentality and actions of Safer Scenes to be far more disturbing than angry words shouted by The Man wearing a p&^!s puppet.
Leonard Graves Phillips