Thursday, August 17, 2017

John Ventre, Racism and the Mission to Civilize

(Blogger’s Note: Before anyone misinterprets this post, I am not defending John Ventre’s racist rant, only his right to make it. That is a real but sometimes overlooked distinction. If we begin to limit free speech by labeling it as “hate speech,” and deny a person the right to make a racist rant, how long will it be before someone else decides that he or she doesn’t think we should be talking about UFOs and a government cover up of the information because that is an attack on the government that could be helping our enemies ((whoever that might be and, BTW, an allegation slung by some skeptics), so such speech should be banned… or how long will it be before someone proposes that those who engage in what others might consider as hate speech should be arrested? Free speech allows us to say anything we wish and free speech allows me to disagree with things you might say… Yes, there are often consequences, but when we begin to label parts of free speech as something else, we open the door to censorship.)

Back on The Newsroom, Will McAvoy, the anchor of the fictional News Night, declared that he had a mission to civilize. He got the idea from Don Quixote, a somewhat delusional old knight with a similar mission. I always thought this was a good idea, especially with all the nastiness that has been going around in various circles, including the UFO community. I have never figured out why it is wrong to disagree with some people. If I express an opinion that is counter to what they believe, their tactic is to demand and to attack. It never seems to cross their minds that I have the right to my opinion, the right to express that opinion and they have the right to challenge that opinion with facts but not with nastiness, personal attacks or bullying.

John Ventre
A case on point here is the John Ventre fiasco that started when he posted a racist rant to Facebook triggered by some article or program description that appeared on a Netflix site or a review of a program available on Netflix. A number of people objected to the rant, and Jan Harzan, the executive director of MUFON made it worse by suggesting those who objected were haters. That caused a few to reject MUFON and Harzan finally, belatedly, fired Ventre from his positions in MUFON.

Ventre told me that the trouble had expanded beyond his MUFON associations and that some were sending emails or messages to his various contacts which were affecting his financial situation in a negative fashion. He thought that was dirty pool, and there is something to be said for that. I did a little checking and found that his claim was not far off the mark. He had been cut from the list of speakers on the alien cruise, for example, because, what he told me, was they were afraid others might not attend or other speakers might quit.

Jan Harzan
So now we drop into an argument about the First Amendment and how far we’re allowed to go with free speech, which, or course, sounds somewhat counter intuitive. Ventre was free to post his rant, whether the information and statements to which he was objecting were accurate or not (which means some have suggested it was a “fake” news post). But he must accept the consequences of such a rant, knowing that it will offend some portion of the population. I found it offensive, and don’t mind saying as much. But that is the point where I stop.

In the world of the UFO (and in many other worlds) that is not the stopping point. There were those who felt it necessary to contact others and suggest that Ventre should not be employed by them or invited to speak to their organizations because of these racist views. Frankly, that is going too far. If those organizations learned of his bigoted view and terminated their association with him because they found his words offensive, that is one thing. But contacting them as a way of harming Ventre because you disagreed with him, that is something else.

Why do I say that?

The first thing that comes to mind is that one of those who found a home on the UFO lecture circuit had spent six years in prison for child molestation. There wasn’t a message from the man that I cared to hear because of that, but I would never think to contact his sponsors or those who invited him to speak because of his conviction.  I wouldn’t attempt to get them to cancel his appearance. I just would not attend and if he was there, I would not interact with him. My choice.

Others, though, go out of their way to cause trouble for those whose beliefs don’t match with theirs. A case on point is Philip Klass. Years ago, I had suggested that Klass had done just that… he had called or written employers suggesting, for example, Dr. James McDonald, had used Navy funds to research UFOs. The allegation wasn’t exactly true, but the Navy cancelled a number of McDonald’s contracts for that reason. You can read the whole posting here:


The other thing that I learned during this admittedly short investigation was that one of those might not have been overly offended by Ventre’s rant, but saw this as an opportunity for some payback. Ventre had attacked him and his friend for some time and now was the chance to get even.

Would I have taken the chance?

I like to think, “No.” I have had a couple of chances and in one of them, I did take the opportunity. In others, it just seemed to be pilling on. So, the answer is that I have done it in the past, but in the world today, I think I would just ignore it and move on. The best example for today is that I haven’t published the name of the pedophile here… most know who it is and the point is now moot anyway.

Ventre suffered the consequences for what he had said (posted) and he has lost the positions of importance that he held in MUFON. An organization cannot stand the sort of bigoty expressed in the rant. Society should be quick to condemn that bigoty. Free speech doesn’t mean that you can say anything without consequence, but it should not result in others using it to damage an individual. That sort of thing inhibits free speech. Besides, he, or she, can do that all by his or herself by simply saying or posting those sorts of things.

We all have choices to make and if we are offended by a point of view, then we are not required to any attend lectures given by those with that offending point of view. We are not required to share the stage, the venue, a book byline or even talk with that individual, but we should not call their business partners and contacts and should not attempt to get their invitations to speak cancelled because that smacks of suppression of free speech. Disagree with their investigation methods, argue for a rational point of view on the cases, dislike their opinions but do not suggest that their rants are a reason to interfere with their lives.


Yes, I know that I haven’t made the point as well as I might. I am suggesting a little civility in our interactions with others. I am suggesting that we don’t have to resort to dirty tricks and the get even mentality. I am suggesting that Ventre might have suffered enough for an ill-advised rant that seemed to expose his bigoty. I am suggesting there has been enough of a consequence for his rant without most of us using it as an excuse for revenge, and yes, I know for a fact that this happened.

32 comments:

John Ventre said...

This is the first sensible post I have seen in 3 months. When I read a post that "blacks would benefit from white genocide", I went ballistic. I absolutely felt justified to blast that remark. I fully expected a debate and/or a Facebook unfriending. I believed my angry reply was nothing compared to the suggestion to kill white people or any people. I was stunned that there were no replies and to find out that one person was already on the phone the following morning contacting my associates to get me fired from various projects I had listed on my website. This seemed like cowardice and revenge. That is exactly what is was. Watching this w/e's fiasco, I ask, does the Communist Party have a right to a march when they obtained a legal permit? Is it racist to discuss whether Hollywood should have a black James Bond or a white Michael Jackson? What is wrong with people who can't debate but retaliate? I'm sorry this event occurred but I'm also extremely disappointed in many people who attacked me personally.

J.E Nicassio said...

I've known John Ventre a long time through Mufon! He is not a racist! It's not fair assuming that he is by one post. Enough is enough.

Bombastic Bill said...

Kevin,
I know of who you are speaking about in terms of the pederasty, but I had always heard it was a set up by "the government". You were inside baseball during those times, the way you state your case sounds like you know pretty well that the charges were true, was that the feeling in the rest of UFOlogy as well?

Bombastic Bill said...

John,
while I whole heatedly disagree with your statements (you are no better than the people you are attacking, both ideas being racially supremacist) I will defend your right to say it. What I will not defend is you putting in your book "the UFOlogist" 2 preface chapters that were not clearly labeled as "theatrical interpretations" for use later if say they wanted to make a movie of it (This is all in a Coast to Coast interview with George Knapp on Youtube BTW). Someone in this field should know that making up any story, especially one that makes it's teller seem special in some sort of way is not what this field needs. We need less people trying to make a buck and sensationalize material and more people who don't want the spotlight, only the truth.
I don't know if this is too incendiary Kevin, hence why I split the comments in twain.

Louis Nicholson said...

I doubt there are many, if any, people who were more offended by Mr. Ventre's remarks than I. However, I never considered contacting any of his business associates to get him fired or do any other harm. But that is me. As Mr. Ventre has found out (and Kevin you point out) everyone is not so civil. Therefore, whenever one feels he or she has become emotionally "ballistic," they should take a deep breath, calm down and think before publicly uttering such offensive remarks. As Mr. Ventre found out, not to do so could incur the wrath of the immoral as well as the moral. Those are the consequences. We have to lay in the beds we make.

Mr. Ventre, if all you did was "blast the remark" as you now claim, I would have had no problem with that (in fact, I would have applauded it). Instead, you egregiously attacked all African-Americans in a bigoted way. Despite that, my Christianity compels that I offer you forgiveness, which I sincerely do. I pray that you have learned from this incident and are now a better human being because of it.

KRandle said...

Bombastic -

There is no doubt the man spent time in prison and there is no evidence that it was a set up to silence him or discredit him. Too many seemed not to care about his record and believed everything he said. It is an old dodge... "I was set up by the government so you wouldn't believe me."

John Ventre said...

Bill, page 29 of The Ufologist says, "That was the theatrical version of my experiences. Later on you will read the true version". Is that not clear? It was a literary device that I also used in my book "An Alternative History of Mankind". That is my style to mix fiction with non fiction but let you know.

erickson said...

I have no idea what was said about Ventre or how it was said. As a general principle I can see how he currently is a lightening rod that would make a conference organizer wary.

Ventre has long been on my "do not attend" list for any conference for reasons that have nothing to do with the current controversy. There are several others on my list. Some presenters have said they will not speak at an event where certain people have been invited. For myself I see no reason to give my money to enable certain people to speak at a conference. But what if anything should or should not be done from there?

Boycotts have long been part of our civic arena. So I would have no problem telling a conference organizer that I would have attended except that their scheduled speakers include ________. They are free to determine whether that person will bring more people to their event than is kept away. But once that decision is made, I would make my choice and let it be. I can always spend the time kayaking or chasing down petroglyphs, which we did when returned our tickets to one conference earlier this year.

There are some things that might demand a more active response. If a conference was sanctioning the appropriation of Native ceremonies, engaging in overt racism, or advocating unlawful action it would be a different kind of matter. Rather than inhibit free speech, I would hope that any action might lead to a greater dialog - race, racism, and privilege is one area we need to explore as a nation. So I agree that it should not be a matter of revenge.

Brian Bell said...

If you consider recent events in this country, you can see why John Ventre's racist comments are so harmful. Not just to MUFON, but society as well. As Kevin pointed out "free speech" means you can say just about anything you want - but there are consequences if those comments are so vulgar as to offend such a large group of people. Everyone has opinions, but that doesn't mean they should be shared publically; especially if they are the kind that cause others undue pain, are insensitive, or show a lack of empathy towards others. I don't agree with calculated retaliation either, as this is just as bad as the offense itself. However I do agree with the decision to remove Mr. Ventre from MUFON leadership positions, and I would go as far as saying that this should include the "inner circle". John you gave your money to be in the inner circle, but that doesn't give you license to offer racial slurs to purposely offend others and still remain an influencer in MUFON direction. In any other nonprofit organization you'll be told to exit the advisory group immediately.

John Ventre said...

Brian- I responded to a post about blacks benefitting from white genocide. No one mentions that. Put that on a scale; white genocide vs my comments regarding blacks failure to succeed. I don't think there is a comparison. If a black person ranted about a post regarding black genocide nothing would've happened to him. There is no free speech unless you say what the left wants.
Also, I have a JV page and a MUFON pg. What do my personal comments have to do with UFOs? It wasn't on the MUFON page for an obvious reason. MUFON also didn't have a personal conduct clause in their handbook. I could sue them but chose not to. I could sue the one person who retaliated against me causing personal loss. I chose not to. God will settle up with him.

Brian Bell said...

John - When anyone declares that one race benefits from genocide, or that a particular group of people can't succeed because of their skin color, you're going to encounter a lot of opposition.

You and others might say that you have a right to express your views publically, and you do, but you can't be so foolish as to think you're not going to get push back on that kind of racial slur. You and many others might think it's no big deal, or that all of the hell-a-balloo is just "leftist" radicals causing you trouble. However generalizing every person who disagrees with you as just another "leftist" only exacerbates your problem. It doesn't matter where you made these comments, whether that be Facebook, a conference engagement, the MUFON journal, or anywhere where people can read your comments publically.

However you are correct in saying that your views on race have nothing to do with UFO's per se.

But that's not the issue.

The issue is that your personal viewpoints on race have A LOT to do with UFOs in the context of MUFON leadership.

What are people supposed to think regarding the influence you hold over MUFON and how that might illegitimately impact their membership, speaker requests, viability of investigative research, etc. when they know you see certain races as inferior?

Do you believe ufology is a subject best investigated by "whites" because they are somehow superior? That's bizarre if true. I'll also say that it's quite annoying when racists claim God is on their side.

purrlgurrl said...

After reading Ventre's last comment here, it seems time for MUFON to develop and implement a personal code of conduct and ethics document that it enforces. All officers, senior leadership, advisory group and Board members should be required to sign it before taking part in MUFON activities. In fact such a document should also be signed by field investigators since they represent MUFON to witnesses. Violate the code and you're out. No more gray areas.

The fact that MUFON doesn't do this now should be a matter of deep concern to all current or potential MUFON members. It brings into serious question the personal integrity and honesty of not only the leadership, but also the investigators.

I think I've said here before I have zero respect for MUFON and consider it to have no credibility. Now I have one more reason to feel this way. But nevertheless, if MUFON is going to continue to try to present itself as some sort of authority to be taken seriously, it needs to clean up its act. Sooner rather than later.

John Ventre said...

Brian, should members of BLM, Antifa and the New Black Panthers have to resign from non-profits also? Should they be harassed at work or be fired like I was? One person said "Now that we know Ventre is a proven white supremist KKK neo Nazi". Really, I'm 22% Jewish and don't qualify based on their guidelines. I belong to no such groups. Does the harassment work both ways or only one way or no way if you truly believe in free speech. Why should there be any repercussion for speech other than inciting a riot? Think about it. This was retaliation with zero debate. We accept "There will be consequences if you say anything racial" but why?

KRandle said...

John -

I do not understand your need to justify the rant and the need to double down. It's not helping your situation.

I note that during the New Year there was a YouTube post about New Year's Resolutions for White Guys which was nearly universally condemned for its racist content and was soon removed.

I note that an African-American legislator, over the weekend posted a note that she was hoping that the president would be assassinated... Although she has apologized for it, there are calls for her resignation.

While it seems to me that one side is held to a higher standard than the other, I also see that both sides are condemned for their violence and their hate. And while condemning free speech that offends you (or anyone) we do have to be careful because some of it does have consequences... But I don't really believe that this forum is the correct place to debate free speech because I control the blog. I am not forced to post anything that I don't like.

KRandle said...

All -

Before we descend too deeply into this free speech quagmire, I think we all might be operating under a misconception. Freedom of speech allows us to express ourselves without government interference or regulation. So when we talk about free speech, what we're actually saying is that the government can't stop you from saying what you want or publishing what you want.

On the other hand, free speech says that you can't be held liable for anything you write or say in a criminal or civil court as long as it is based on fact or is an honest opinion. But, it says nothing about the ramifications for offensive opinions and statements objected to by others. They can point out to you where you are wrong or just object on general principles.

Legally, what I'm saying is that the government can do nothing to abridge the freedom of speech (except in certain circumstances such as inciting a riot) but if you make offensive comments, then you must be prepared for a backlash to them. While I find it offensive that some would call employers, or conference organizers or some such because of what someone else has said, and while I think of that as underhanded, there is no legal recourse for the individual when that happens. You could only hope that those called would react in a civil manner before acting.

Or, in other words, we should be able to discuss some things without the hostility that is present in the world today. We should engage in the mission to civilize, which, I realize is a lost cause... but some of this has now gotten way out of hand.

Louis Nicholson said...

Kevin, you said

"While I find it offensive that some would call employers, or conference organizers or some such because of what someone else has said, and while I think of that as underhanded, there is no legal recourse for the individual when that happens."

Not being a lawyer, you wouldn't know that this may not be correct. You may want to google or ask a lawyer about the civil causes of actions called "tortuous interference with contractual relations" and/or "wrongful interference with business relationship." Depending on the State, these (or a legal variation thereof) may be grounds to file a lawsuit against someone who intentionally causes someone to lose a contract, business or expected business without a legal justification for doing so.

I just wanted to point this out in case there are any unscrupulous individuals out there reading this blog who think its legally ok for them to contact Mr. Ventre's, Mr. Harzan's or anyone else's employer or business interests with the intention of economically harming them because of offensive statements. As Mr. Ventre said in an earlier post, he could have sued the one person who caused him personal loss. He is probably right.

KRandle said...

Louis -

Thank you for the clarification. I was thinking more of those who had lost their jobs when employers or bosses had seen them engaging in activities that might reflect poorly on their businesses. I probably should have said, simply, "...there may be no legal recourse..."

John Ventre said...

Thx Louise- I have legal counsel on this matter. They have encouraged me to sue civilly. I really-really struggle with leaving my anger towards this individual at the door or getting even. When I look at my life accomplishments compared to this person who did a similar thing a few years ago to a female who created a paranormal group that he "worked" for, the comparisons in his under handed tactics are text book. I am a better person than him.
I also had a true real angel-demon encounter that lasted from Nov 2015 to April 2016. It is well documented. I am very aware of my soul and the tactics used to trick someone into anger. I think a lot about how I was baited into this argument that night after giving a lecture on demonology earlier that day. I take responsibility for what I said but I also realize there are other forces at work and we are just pawns. Time will tell if I seek vengeance or turn the other cheek.....I think about this every day.

Bombastic Bill said...

I think this comment page is an excellent example of how free speech should be handled in our country. While there have been some words that edge on ad hominem (mostly from me! Sorry John, I still think that fiction and non fiction should be oil and water especially in this field!) and certainly there have been some controversial comments (mostly from John) but all in all we have been civil and we have even had civil words from a POC (sorry to presume your identity Lou, I apologize if I am mistaken) clearly stating the issue at hand even though he should be rightly outraged. If anything, I think this has been nothing if educational, referring to the last comment by Lou. So I guess I'm saying Kevin Randle for Chief Justice?

John Ventre said...

Bill- I agree. Kudos to Kevin for moderating. My point all along was debate, don't retaliate. If you have a strong argument that is all you need. If you need to retaliate, you have issues. I really try to be honorable and this person isn't. Everyone gets angry at times.

albert said...

I am not a lawyer either, but:

* Here in the US, -protected- speech includes facts, opinions, hyperbole, and satire.

* Organizations -not- funded by the gov't are free to censor anyone and anything, for any(or no) reason.

Unfortunately, here again, anyone can sue anyone, or anything, for any reason.

Also unfortunately, most lawyers are not experts in 1st Amendment cases.

I agree with John in his decision to avoid lawsuits. They are very stressful, and can be expensive, which is even more stressful.

Finally, I refer you all to an expert on personal attacks:
http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/search?q=philip+klass++fbi

. .. . .. --- ....

KRandle said...

All -

For a look at the other side of this coin see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN3Iz9ykbLk

Louis Nicholson said...

Disgusting comment and she should be penalized. At least she apologized and admitted it was a mistake unlike Mr. Ventre who to my knowledge has not. I think whether she should be forced from her job should be a decision made by the voters in her State since she only holds a State position. If she was a U.S. Senator I would say remove her. She caused the Secret Service to investigate her for crying out loud. She definitely should have known better.

And yes, Bombastic Bob, I am a "POC" (if your use of that term is to mean I am a "person of color").

John Ventre said...

Louis, I apologized the following day on my FB site but the barrage continued and got worse because of one mans vengeful manipulation so I took my apology down and any comments regarding this. It became obvious that I could not talk to or reason with the left.

KRandle said...

All -

I put up the link to the African-American state senator and her comment because there had been an allegation that those on the other end of the spectrum were allowed to say anything they wanted without consequence. This showed that it wasn't true.

My opinion?

She should not be fired from her position unless the voters throw her out. She is their representative.

She had been strip of her committee assignments, there is talk of censure for her comments, and there is outrage expressed at what she said. So there are ramifications for saying things no matter who you are...

But it strikes me that our instant communications are partly at fault. You say something that offends me and I immediately respond without giving it the proper thought. I hit the key board and pound out a tweet or a post to Facebook and then hit send. I don't reread it before that, I don't think of the consequence before that and I just don't think the thing through. Back in the old days of snail mail, if I was offended and wrote a response, I couldn't mail it right away... I had to wait giving me time to cool off. Today there is no cooling off period. Maybe when we're angry would should just disconnect from the technology for a few hours.

Anyway, the point is that many of the things said by the left, by the right, by the middle, by liberals and by conservatives, result is some form of trouble. In the mission to civilize, might I suggest we wait a while before hitting the send button because, once you do that, you simply can't undo it.

Brian Bell said...

It's never a good thing when someone wishes an untimely death upon anyone regardless of their position or stature in society.

As Kevin has written, she cannot be fired because she's an elected official. It's up to her constituents to take action to remove her. And yes she did apologize, although four days later, which is what she needed to do. I have no idea if it was sincere or genuine but it was publically said.

Clearly her comments have had a negative effect on her elected position and her responsibilities.

John - My suggestion would have been to leave your apology up for all to see while simply ignoring what anyone posts about it on your Facebook wall (if that's where it was originally) and temporarily blocking any postings to your page altogether.

Of course, you have a right to your own opinion, but it sounds odd to me that you continue to publically claim that you're a victim of "the left". I don't think that's helping you.

PBR Street Gang said...

Offensive and false are different. If your girl friend is really fat and I say, "Your girl friend is really fat," that is offensive but not false. I did find Ventre's post somewhat offensive, but it was not false. C'est la vie!

Louis Nicholson said...

Kevin,

If you are going to post anti-African American comments from racists such as PBR Street Gang who say that Ventre's statements (i.e. "The last thing blacks want is for white males to organize and thats not too far away", "Everything in the world was created by Europeans and America," F'ing blacks didn't even have a calendar, a wheel or a numbering system until Brits showed up, "Google serotonin by race, IQ by race and violent crime by race and then compare that to the f'ing message the media portrays," "The media also attacks us constantly with interracial couples in every show.") ARE NOT FALSE," then I am done with you, your books, your radio show and everything concerning you.

Louis Nicholson said...

PBR Street Gang:

I will reiterate what I said in another posting on this blog in response to Ventre's racist statements which you just recently said are "not false" (See http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2017/06/john-ventre-mufon-and-racism.html):

Ventre said in his original statement:

1) "The last thing blacks want is for white males to organize and thats not too far away" (which you PBR Street Gang say is "not false").

I said in response:

As a black man, I couldn't care less if your "white males organize" to do harm (as you implied) to blacks or not. I, and all other black people, have the definite means to nullify you people. One such means is THE LAW. You say its "not too far away?" Sounds like you are in the process of organizing such egregiousness. That's not racist?

Ventre said in his original statement:

2) "The media also attacks us constantly with interracial couples in every show" (which you PBR Street Gang say is "not false").

I said in response:

I have a stepdaughter (who is African-American) who is married to white man. They are both wonderful people who have a wonderful marriage. But to people like you, they are an abomination only because of their skin color. That's not racist?

Ventre said in his original statement:

3) "Everything in the world was created by Europeans and America. F'ing blacks didn't even have a calendar, a wheel or a numbering system until Brits showed up" (which you PBR Street Gang say is "not false").

I said in response:
Nonsense. Us "F'ing" Black people invented the three signal traffic light, close circuit tv, the street mailbox, the potato chip, the laser phaco probe (a device used for laser cataract surgery), touch tone phone technology, 3d special effects technology, blood bank technology, refrigerated trucks, improved electrical resistors used in computers, street sweepers,the first American-built striking clock, first Farmer's almanac, hundreds of uses for peanuts, soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes, lubricants used in high flying aircraft and NASA space missions, a microcomputer system with bus control, various systems for space travel including, a parachute release mechanism, rocket engine pump feed system, air frame center support, multiple stage rocket, air breathing booster, emergency release for extraction chute mechanism, rocket motor fuel feed system. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-inventors_us_56d0d33ee4b0bf0dab3236d5 and http://www.rense.com/general35/contri8.htm.

Ventre said in his original statement:

4) "Google serotonin by race, IQ by race and violent crime by race and then compare that to the f'ing message the media portrays" (the implication of which you PBR Street Gang say is "not false").

I said in response:

More abject racism. Why don't you. Mr. Ventre (and you PBR Street Gang), google such notable black people as President Barack Obama, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, George Washington Carver, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Benjamin Banneker and the many others like them and then tell us how these people had issues with serotonin, low IQ and violent crime tendencies?

KRandle said...

Louis -

I have grappled with this from the moment that I read your comments. You didn't mention that PBR Street Gang had also said that Ventre's comments were "somewhat offensive." That is an important point... and I read the rest of the statement as nothing more than opinion of PBR. I posted your lengthy response to it, providing solid information that shows the many contributions to our society made by African-Americans. I stand with you on this. I am appalled that in the world today some people can subscribe to such racist inaccuracies.

However, what worries me about your first comment is that if I post Anti-African-American comments, then you are through with me. I started this series of posts because I was outraged not only by Ventre's racist rant, but also by MUFON's failure to acknowledge it or take immediate action (though I probably should say Jan Harzan's support of Ventre until the backlash reached an appropriate level).

I provided additional information and responses to it... but I was also appalled that some would use the incident as a means to gain some sort of retribution... that is, get even with Ventre from some of the things he has said and done and not because of the racist nature of the comments.

My point here is that we move onto a slippery slope which is an abridgment of freedom of speech. I have said that there are consequences for those who engage in unpopular speech, such as that of Ventre... he has been chastised for his rant, and rightly so. But now, I post a comment in which the commentator agrees (somewhat reluctantly, I would say) the comment was offensive and then adds something of a throwaway line about it not being false...

Your second comment here, was a proper way of handling it. An intelligent, well-reasoned response that proved that the only thing true in Ventre's rant might have been his name. I would have been delighted to post that immediately... but there was that first, implied threat in your initial response that bothered me.

While this blog is concerned with things Ufological, sometimes paranormal, and a few times in things that interest me, political commentary is not something that I wish to delve into deeply here. However, we were all dragged into it by Ventre's rant and MUFON's original position on it. In this case, I allowed those with comments (for the most part) to post them. I deleted those with a clear, racist tone, or those containing personal attacks (whether on me or those who post here), and provided a forum for your response to it.

Rarely have I ever banished a commentator here... Some of then just can't seem to say anything intelligent without also attacking someone about an opinion. I like the freewheeling nature of the discuss and maybe, sometimes, allow it to go too far, but rarely do I banish anyone... you'll notice that Ventre has commented here (but not all his comments have been published). I am not suggesting that I would ban you because your commentaries are well written and insightful. I'm merely letting you know that the racist material isn't posted here.

If you feel that I have been unfair in some fashion or that I have supported any sort of racist agenda and that you must end our Internet relationship, then I say, "I'm sorry to see you go." If you can understand my position, and continue with your intelligent commentary, then I say, "Thank you."

Louis Nicholson said...

Kevin:

Let me say right upfront that I apologize for my admittedly strong, overly harsh comments directed towards you. I am an African-American who grew up in the 50s and 60s and experienced Southern Jim Crow laws (such as, when my sister and I were only a few years old, our family having to sleep in our car when traveling down South because no hotel would accept us) and many other forms of discrimination most of my life. As a result, I am very sensitive to racism, whether the victim is black, white, yellow, red, green or female. I know I have to watch my emotions when I see or experience that sometimes.

While I appreciate your response to my comments, I still do not understand why you did not think PBR's statement that Ventre's view of African-Americans is true does not contain a "clear, racist tone" and elect not to publish it or at the very least condemn that part of his statement while publishing it.

You say PBR made an important point that Ventre's statements were offensive. Okay, I agree with him on that. But as to his other statement (which is equally offensive to Ventre's original statements) you simply say you look at that as "nothing more than opinion of PBR." What? Everything Ventre said in his original statement was an opinion, but you, me and many others expressed tremendous outrage that he uttered such venom. But when PBR concurs with the same opinion, there is no outrage, its just "nothing more than an opinion." I'm not saying you are a racist, Kevin, I'm just VERY surprised you didn't see the trick PBR pulled. He used the old magician's trick of diverting attention from what he was really doing by saying something we all agree with while at the same time attacking African-Americans and getting away with it. If I were to express a racist opinion against white people, "in a throwaway line" (as you described PBR's racist remark) ethically the entire statement should be deemed as poisoned and not publicized.

I know it's your blog and you can post what you want, but after you have correctly and thoroughly condemned Ventre's remarks and MUFON'S initial responses to them both here and in your radio show, you seemingly let PBR off the hook for concurring with them. I'm sure when he reads what I have posted here, he will congratulate himself for getting me upset and laugh for hours.

I sincerely hope you are more careful in the future in deciding what is clearly racist in tone.

Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day holiday.

John Ventre said...

He struck again. My lecture at the Shag Harbour 50th anniversary has been cancelled after they purchased my plane ticket. I don't believe plane tickets are refundable to the purchaser anymore. Laurie Wickens never attempted to contact me to ask a question. He just cancelled me. Maybe I should start giving lectures at race based events?
This individual is the most vindictive hateful person I have ever met. Coward is too mild to describe his terroristic tactics.