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Steve Coleman’s Rebuttal

... to Natalie Weiner's article on Maria Grand.

I would like to thank the current JazzTimes editor for allowing my voice to be heard. This is being addressed two years after Weiner’s 2021 heavily biased article because Mac Randall (JazzTimes’ former editor) would not allow my story to be told.

Steve Coleman. Photo DIMICOLOGY.NET | All Rights Reserved

My complaint is about the biased, one-sided depiction of my legal dispute with Maria Grand, which was never ethically investigated by Weiner. The article should’ve been limited to Grand’s music.

My defamation litigation is ongoing, despite what was falsely claimed in Weiner’s article. It shouldn’t have been mentioned at all without proper vetting — unless the purpose was to help Grand. Grand’s narrative relies heavily upon the tendency to dehumanize Black men as violent, scary, and distrustful, in keeping with this nation’s long history of confirmation bias.

The details of the sexual relationship between Grand and me should have remained private. However, Grand chose to ignore the advice of an attorney, Lisa Miller, and instead published her knowingly false narrative. Grand distributed her lies to my friends, professional colleagues, and to music industry professionals (journalists, promoters, publicists), while weaponizing her white privilege and the #MeToo movement to circumvent the need for evidence. Grand engineered an environment that discouraged people from hiring me and, by extension, those who worked with me.

For those who are unaware, in November 2017, Maria Grand began covertly sending several versions of the letter(s) to the aforementioned individuals, falsely accusing me of rape, kidnapping, and sexual assault. Grand (and the many individuals she conspired with) made it their mission to prevent me from working. Contrary to what Weiner wrote, Grand did identify me by name to almost all recipients. Had Weiner vetted Grand (or contacted me), she would have learned this.

Weiner would have also discovered that Grand spent years in a consensual relationship with me, which many knew about yet said nothing against. This relationship turned sour when I rejected Grand’s desire that I leave my wife and marry Grand. From there, things grew worse, devolving into threats to harm my career, which she later made good on via her letter(s).

In an effort to whitewash Grand’s letter(s), Weiner ignored multiple criminal accusations of three years of repeated forced sex, instead falsely portraying Grand as never claiming that our relationship was anything but consensual.

Weiner: “Coleman replied with a more widely distributed and considerably more explicit letter of his own, which included a slew of personal text exchanges intended to prove that it had been a consensual relationship—although Grand had never claimed otherwise.”

The “text exchanges” are of Grand continuously asking me for sex, throughout the same three-year time period that Grand falsely claimed she did not desire ANY sex with me, proving that she knowingly lied. Grand’s letter, falsely describing me forcing her to have sex and lying that I told her that she owed me a “lifetime of pu**y,” is not explicit?

Here are examples of the criminal accusations in Grand’s accusation letter(s):

“In September 2013 he broke up with me … By that point, though, I wasn’t in love with him anymore. I didn’t want to be intimate with him anymore. That period is when the sexual harassment started.” Document 87-1

What Grand refers to as “sexual harassment” is really forced, unwanted sex, allegedly obtained through extortion and coercion, for three years (October 2013 thru September 2016). The following “explicit” accusations of forced sex in Grand’s letter(s) were presented to the district judge but never referenced or quoted in his ruling:

“However in the last three years of my interaction with him, I have been sexually harassed and pushed into saying yes to sexual acts I did not want to do.” Document 102-4

“Whenever he offered me more work, he would wait until I actually slept with him to solidify the dates.” Document 87-1

“On tour I would have to sleep with him at the end of the day lest him be absolutely angry and sometimes refuse to rehearse the band the next day.” Document 87-1

Coerced, extorted, unwanted sex is a federal crime called sexual abuse — 18 U.S. Code section 2242 — commonly referred to as rape.

“Rape is a type of sexual assault involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without their consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority …” (Wikipedia)

Harvard Professor Vijay Iyer, whom I mentored, conspired with Grand to harm my career. Iyer, a ringleader conspirator, required no evidence, choosing instead to reflexively believe Grand without a shred of proof. Private communications obtained via subpoena later revealed that I was presumed to be guilty, while Grand was presumed to be a victim, simply based on our physical appearances — Grand is a young- er white woman, and I am an older Black man. Statements made against me and three other Black male musicians surfaced in private communications written by Iyer. Iyer has for years refused to publicly address both this statement and his role in helping Grand to harm my career.

In November 2017, Grand and Iyer assembled a group of 25 musicians and journalists, about a third of whom (all non-Black members) covertly plotted to destroy my career. Subpoena documents reveal that Grand manipulated this group from behind the scenes. Yet in her deposition, Grand repeatedly lied under oath, denied contacting journalists, denied receiving help editing her letter(s), made no mention of her multiple conspiracies to harm me, and issued many other lies, apparently unconcerned about perjury.

Grand also lied to key allies, such as Iyer, telling them that she was only sending her letter(s) to friends while actually distributing to influential promoters and journalists. Grand lied that I abused and physically beat my ex-wife, the great pianist Geri Allen. Grand specifically sought out journalists (New York Times, two from NPR, New York Daily News) to publish articles on her false accusations, which she admitted in deposition testimony she knew would damage my career. The falsehoods in Weiner’s JazzTimes article amplified this harm.

Grand’s letter(s) created a lynch mob with their sights set on me, a Black American man (almost all who assisted Grand were non-Black). Once I moved to defend myself against her false accusations, Grand’s weaponizing of #MeToo gained her financial backing to cover her public relations efforts and legal defense. Grand knew that in America, few would believe that any Black man accused of raping a white woman was innocent, especially within an environment where multiple men were being canceled.

Of course, I would like to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in my lifetime, I’ve learned that innocent until proven guilty is rare for Black people. Thus, I have pro- vided a link to mountains of evidence proving that Maria Grand’s criminal accusations of forced sex, kidnapping, and sexual assault were knowingly false.

Both Grand and her unethical lawyers know that she is lying. The evidence is overwhelming. Their only chance is to silence me and keep this dispute from going to a public trial. One cannot simply make criminal accusations knowing that they are false. This is some Emmett Till shit. Grand and her co-conspirators wished to destroy my career via eliciting emotional outrage, without evidence. Review the evidence at the QR link below. Make up your own mind.