Race and assault collide: the Adrianne Curry incident‏

By Arturo R. García

After her turns on America’s Next Top Model and various other reality shows, Adrianne Curry has garnered support in geek fandom because of her open affinity for cosplay and Star Wars. But her appearance at last weekend’s Star Wars Celebration V event has led to multiple instances of ugliness.

Earlier this week on MySpace, she blogged that what she initially thought was “a breeze” underneath her Slave Leia costume skirt was in fact a man groping her.

As I tried to push down my skirt I felt an arm underneath it. Then I was grabbed, hard, downstairs. At the time, my mind had trouble computing what had just happened. However, adrenaline kicked in and suddenly my heart was leaping out of my chest. it was like a ray f god shone down and I felt instantly sober. I whirled around and elbowed whoever was behind me to find myself looking eye to eye with a glassy eyed very stocky mexican man. He spoke NO english and was NOT a Star wars fan , nerd, or con goer.

Make no mistake, this type of incident is despicable and should never be condoned. But as you might expect, the Victim-Blaming Brigade came out of the woodwork, suggesting that Curry was “asking” to be touched inappropriately because of her costuming. So columns like this one are quite correct in calling out that kind of nonsense.

But while it’s understandable for Curry to point out that the assailant wasn’t affiliated with the convention, her continued, emphatic presumptions on his race and immigration status are uncalled for. When it was pointed out to her on Twitter that his being an “illegal immigrant” or not had nothing to do with the assault itself, she responded:

i dont care! he has no reason being here praying [sic] on americans … my brother is half mexican, his dad is from mexico city

Which also has no bearing on either the incident or her response; if anything, you’d hope having Mexicans in the family would make one more aware of the dangers of not only labeling someone as an “illegal immigrant” without context, but in portraying immigrants as some sort of Boogeyman.

In this case, The Orlando Sentinel reported that the man who groped Curry had allegedly been harassing other guests at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando that evening, and was booked on disorderly intoxication charges, though Curry herself will not file any charges, citing advice from Orange County deputies on the scene.

But Curry’s insistence on racially profiling the man adds an unsettling air to this tweet:he kept trying to get to me! so, my friends kept smashing his head in the cement … and i took great pleasure in watching it.” Curry subsequently expanded upon this statement by tweeting that the man was injured because he was “pushed the f-ck away,” and in an interview posted Tuesday, Curry said she told her friends not to harm the man at all. Yet she continues to focus on labeling him as Not American.

It must also be pointed out that this isn’t Curry’s first instance of making questionable statements regarding race. Just under three years ago, she declared her intention of boycotting Black History Month and Black Entertainment Television, on the grounds that they promoted “special treatment”:

Yes, I get it. Black people were slaves here once. You know what? That does suck some major balls, however, it is time to move the fuck on. Do we hear the Jews crying that they were made slaves for thousands of years? Do we hear them whine that they should OWN the pyramids in Egypt because THEY broke their backs making them? Do we hear them bitch and moan about Hitler, etc? (my hubby is a Jew)Nope, we dont. It’s time for us to UNITE AS ONE. I do not think that singling out one race, giving one race opportunities to go to college (I know a TON of poor white.asian, indian, american indian, etc etc that could use that too!), giving one race the EXCUSE to blame things on others for being whatever nationality they are, is a good way at making sure we NEVER kill racism.

Again, let me be clear: I do feel badly for Curry that she was assaulted. But race-baiting comments and the “my [x] is [x race]” card only derail the ensuing discussions about safety and gender issues at conventions. If the assailant had turned out to be a Celebration attendee – let’s say, one attending with a legitimate passport from Mexico, or Argentina, or El Salvador, or any other Spanish-speaking country – it would be just as unfair to use him as “an example” of the Star Wars fanbase, or geekdom in general. And if Curry did/does feel that BHM keeps racism alive, what makes her think pronouncements like these won’t?