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Comedian Kelly Bachman made headlines last week when she confronted Harvey Weinstein at an event put on by Actor’s Hour at the Downtime Bar in New York City. During her 10-minute set, Bachman called out “the Freddy Krueger in the room.” Along with fellow performers Amber Rollo and Zoe Stuckless, Bachman was heckled and asked to leave the event after she addressed the disgraced movie mogul.
Weinstein, whose rape trial is set to begin Jan. 8, was invited to the event by a singing duo that was set to perform. Following Bachman’s set, the comedian soon realized that the audience was on the side of the disgraced Hollywood mogul when she was met with a negative response.
Actor’s Hour organizer Alexandra Laliberte took to Facebook to address the incident the following Friday. “I want to apologize for the events that occurred because what happened was the complete opposite of the community I have built this past year,” she wrote. “I am deeply saddened that this was not only triggering for attendees, but that they ultimately felt unsafe — some even outraged — when a safe environment is, at its core, what I set out to create. Creating an environment that is at once safe but also leaves open forum for free speech is an extremely fragile endeavor.”
Now, in an op-ed for The New York Times, Bachman is reflecting on the clip from her performance that went viral. “People keep asking me what I want to say next, and I’ve had a fear of saying the wrong thing for a long time. I’m not surprised that anyone would ‘boo’ me for calling out a man accused of rape, because that response is so terrifyingly familiar to me and most survivors,” she wrote.
Bachman added that she spent the night after the performance thinking that she “had let down other survivors by not punching up harder.”
Bachman also opened up about being sexually assaulted three times.
“I’ve felt weak for not being able to name my attackers when others could. I’ve hoped that the rapist from high school, the rapist from college and the rapist from my Brooklyn apartment never become powerful, because I’m not at all prepared to endure the consequences of speaking out against them in hopes of protecting others,” she wrote.
In the piece, Bachman also wondered about all of the opportunities and relationships she has missed out on while spending time thinking about her rapists. “When we talk about the consequences of rape, we often don’t account for the time we survivors spend healing. The time we spend finding our voice after feeling silenced,” she wrote.
“I’ve felt robbed of a decade of my life, because I know that the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about three horrible nights of my life is probably the amount of time I could’ve been laughing with an audience,” Bachman continued. “Now I’m 27 years old, and I finally feel that I have the strength to use my voice. I feel lucky that I’ve found it again this soon. I feel lucky to have found positive communities and support. Not all survivors are so lucky.”
While Bachman said that she has healed over the past two years, she admitted that she is still afraid. “Right now it feels like I have the support of the entire world because I’ve spoken out against someone who most people agree is a villain. But I also feel like I could lose that support the moment I might speak out against someone who has their respect,” said Bachman.
“I’m proud that I spoke up about Harvey Weinstein that night. The overwhelming support I have received has made all of the difference, and it feels like I’ve somehow gotten a little bit of my lost time back,” she wrote.
Bachman added that survivors are often held responsible for calling out rapists. “We are the ones screaming out while others fall silent, boo or demand we ‘shut up,'” she said. “I want other people to speak up for us so that we don’t have to. I want it to become normal to name the elephant in the room. And I don’t ever want to become comfortable sharing space with a monster.”
“When I stood onstage last Wednesday, I remember thinking that I really just wanted to get back to my set. I didn’t want to lose even 10 more minutes of my life to a rapist. I just wanted to let all of the rapists know what I think of them, and then get back to telling jokes. So that’s exactly what I did,” she wrote.
Bachman concluded the piece by asserting that she finds power in laughter: “If I can laugh at the monster from my nightmares, if I can laugh at the most powerful predator in the entertainment world maybe my pain doesn’t control me as much as I thought it did.”
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