The Ghost Inside Part Ways with Bassist Jim Riley over His Use of a Racial Slur
As part of their album rollout last Thursday (June 4), the band launched a charity T-shirt, intending to donate proceeds to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In response, Bracewar drummer Rashod Jackson brought up the 2015 incident involving Riley.
"This is cute," Jackson wrote of the shirt. "Y'all gonna act like your bitch ass bass player didn't call y'alls bus driver a n****r that time? I ain't forget that shit."
The following day, Jackson continued: "What's good Jim! The people wanna know. Don't be a fucking coward speak up. Tell them you said what you said... If you think this is a joke then you're part of the problem."
Riley then responded on Twitter, writing, "Rashod called me out in 2015. I called him, he put the screws to me. I deserved it, and I apologized to him. He told me that wasn't good enough and he was right. It's shameful and fucking embarrassing. I present myself as someone who gives a shit about progressive movements and ideas, and I was not living up to that."
Riley added, "Because of that conversation I had to take a big fucking look in the mirror and recognize a lot of bullshit that I was selling myself. I made too many excuses for being brought up without exposure to the black experience, and I should have been better. I make a conscious effort to purge stuff about myself that still sucks when I find it, and to be mindful that I'm just a passenger on someone else's ship in any movement related to black lives. I'm sorry. I know that's not enough. I'm going to keep doing the work. That might still not be enough. I'm going to do it anyway."
To that, Jackson replied, "Hey coward…[email protected] me motherfucker. Apologize to ME. Apologize to my fucking PEOPLE. You were a coward then and an even bigger coward now. As long as you're in that band, I'll make sure you NEVER play a show. Mark my words."
Following the altercation, the Ghost Inside announced their split with Riley on Saturday (June 6), sharing the following statement:
The Ghost Inside was born from a scene of forward thinking, understanding and progressiveness. Our music and message has always been one of hope and finding that light at the end of the tunnel. Racism and bigotry of any kind stifle that journey the light. It closes and locks doors that need to be broken open.
We have decided to part ways with bassist Jim Riley. While we didn't hear these words spoken directly from his mouth, we did hear mutterings of the incident. At the time we thought this to be just a rumor, but it offended and hurt a community. A community we are meant to bring together.
We should've spoken up back then and we didn't, we should've dug deeper. We acknowledge that we were silent. We are self educating and growing and learning as individuals. We are here to say that we as a band fully condemn racism and support the black community in the fight against systemic racism.
After making his comments, Jackson was forced to share a statement of his own about past personal tweets using homophobic language that had surfaced.
"While calling out racist behaviors of The Ghost Inside, the band and their fans brought up some homophobic statements I made years ago," he wrote. "The things I said in the past are not a reflection of the person I am today. I had to unlearn some of my behaviors when it came to the language I was using, and I am aware of how harmful these things are."
You can see various posts from the exchange below.
What's good Jim! The people wanna know. Don't be a fucking coward speak up. Tell them you said what you said. https://t.co/bL6KnabduH— Shod Exotic (@RashodJackson) June 5, 2020
Rashod called me out in 2015. I called him, he put the screws to me. I deserved it, and I apologized to him. He told me that wasn't good enough and he was right.— The Jim Riley (@SpartaDTD) June 5, 2020
Its shameful and fucking embarrassing. I present myself as someone who gives a shit about progressive movements and ideas, and I was not living up to that.— The Jim Riley (@SpartaDTD) June 5, 2020
I made too many excuses for being brought up without exposure to the black experience, and I should have been better.— The Jim Riley (@SpartaDTD) June 5, 2020