A quick Google search of Famous Dex will reveal an unpleasant past. From a 2016 video of him chasing and physically assaulting his then girlfriend for cheating to being arrested in New York City this past May for an outstanding warrant, he has proven from the beginning to be a very controversial force in the rap world.
Famous Dex’s scheduling as the midliner for Shocktoberfest 2018 was a bigger “shock” than ASUCI securing YG as the headliner. His past is no secret at all, and, in conjunction with Francisco J. Ayala’s sexual harassment scandal over the summer, their choice was off-putting from the beginning.
Dex’s lack of remorse has been evident after every instance of a negative public reaction to his behavior. In a Complex interview about the domestic abuse incident, he said that he wanted to be “truly forgiven” for his actions, but, in the aftermath of each following blunder, remorse seems to be the only thing he manages not to feel. Instead, the public is given excuses as to why his actions were justified instead of a proper apology, as shown by his Instagram live about what happened at Shocktoberfest.
When students questioned ASUCI’s decision to have Famous Dex perform in the first place, Student Services Vice President Dilraj Toor’s penned a tone deaf statement in response. Shocktoberfest would have sold out in minutes regardless of whether Famous Dex was slotted because the student body was excited to see YG. While there were some Famous Dex fans in the crowd, the vast majority had their hearts set on seeing YG. This was especially evident later in the night, when it was extremely difficult to clear out the Bren Events Center after the show was cancelled.
Even after getting the entire show cancelled for failing to stay within the confinements of the barricade and within a safe distance of his security, Dex was still incredibly smug. He refused to leave quietly, and, after having his microphone turned off, he chucked it into the crowd and went to the side of the stands closest to the exit before being forcibly escorted out.
Additionally, Toor urging us to simply look at Famous Dex as an “artist” is asking us to willingly ignore his abuse of his girlfriend. Famous Dex’s continued support is one of the reasons why it is so hard for women to be taken seriously after reporting abuse. Their abusers’ actions are swept under the rug and they face no real consequences, continuing to live their lives as if nothing happened.
There is no such thing as being able to separate the artist from his behavior. Music represents who you are as a person and what you stand for, and when you book an artist for a show, you don’t just book their music—you get 100% of who they are. Asking students to look at an entertainer as “just an entertainer” is near impossible as Friday night’s shenanigans showed.
In the end, Shocktoberfest wasn’t ruined because security failed to do their job. They could not have anticipated Dex leaving the stage to interact with fans in the stands. If they had, they would have had more security measures put in place. Shocktoberfest wasn’t even (entirely) ruined by the people who used Dex’s behavior as an opportunity to rush onto the floor. Shocktoberfest was ruined by a man disguising his selfish acts under the guise of “doing it for the fans,” and by ASUCI’s decision to “separate” an abuser from his behavior.
Ashante Robinson is a 2nd year student at UC Irvine and the Photography Editor for the New University. She can be reached at email@example.com.