One of the more long running, cross-scene kink events is the Montreal Fetish Weekend, a multi-day little sister of things like the Folsom Street Fair. Taking advantage of the city’s traditionally liberal attitudes, it’s a giant party and celebration of BDSM and fetish. Unfortunately not only is Herr_Kommadant a regular volunteer, but his venue, Urban Dungeon, is closely affiliated. This year (2016) it was one of the venue spaces used with a great deal of cross promotion.
For Herr_Kommandant’s alleged victims, this creates a great deal of stress because it creates the impression that his (alleged) behaviour is condoned by the larger community.
As I already mentioned in my last post on the subject, different event organizers in Montreal have taken different positions on the subject, some explicitly supporting Herr Kommandant and some condemning or even confirming that they witnessed dubious behaviour. Montreal Fetish Weekend became aware of the issues shortly after I posted the first blog post, and their original organizer (MasterSin) reached out to me to schedule a meeting.
We met last week, and here’s how it went.
He listened, but it is his position that he does not discuss allegations of any kind. This included presenting any evidence to him or providing his own opinion other than that it is very serious and not to be taken lightly.
MasterSin explained that he had discussed with his lawyer and that participating in a conversation about possible abuse in the BDSM community might make him an accessory in a police investigation.
He also stressed the role that Herr_Kommandant had in supporting the staffing of the event he oversees. He feels that if he personally witnesses something he intercedes, but he does not feel that anything other than being present (or the intervention of the police) are adequate means to intervene. It is demonstrable that Montreal Fetish Weekend does not have a formal harassment or abuse policy in place for internal handling. They do, however, hire security personnel for the large events like the annual masquerade and latex fetish ball.
It will be interesting to see if Urban Dungeon keeps their close affiliation next year. Montreal Fetish Weekend certainly made their entire team open to contact but it’s hard to tell if it’ll have any impact on global opinion of the internationally known event.
I should also probably address the threats and warnings I got.
Outside of the conversation I had and hints made that I too could be dragged into a police investegation, I’ve been told I could be sued a lot. It’s important to stress that it is very unlikely that a libel case would be successful in Canada. This comes up whenever you talk about abuse in the community, that someone could sue you for defamation. This is not the UK or even the US- it’s challenging to get traction on these matters and since all I am claiming in the truth (I received 8+ allegations and in my judgement this is troublesome) or that Herr_Kommadant has a reputation, a fact that even those close to him have affirmed, it doesn’t fit the guidelines for slander.
As far as a criminal inquiry into Herr_Kommandant, I’m ok with being questioned. I hardly want my sexuality being made public, but can survive being outed with only moderate discomfort,
My perspective is that I care about the (alleged) victims getting help and support, and I am tired of them being frightened of everyone judging them poorly for something that happened to them. I am tired of not being able to trust experts and venue owners based on a flow of stories about people, particularly women, who have been assaulted.
This has to stop. I’m a relative nobody- my opinion is not all that important, but if I have any social capital at all I will happily put it in a pile and set fire to it if it protects anyone else from being abused, having their consent violated or any of the other terms we use to describe being on the receiving end of fucked up behavior.
- Part 1: Urban Dungeon & Montreal Fetish Scene Issues
- Part 2: Herr Kommandandt + Urban Dungeon
- Part 3: Urban Dungeon & Herr Kommadant
- Part 4: Herr Kommandandt, Abuse & Montreal Fetish Weekend
10 thoughts on “Herr Kommandandt, Abuse & Montreal Fetish Weekend Pt. 4”
Grateful that you care about abuse in the #bdsm community- it’s inevitably destructive if it isn’t stopped. Folsom Street Fair is just one outdoor event during a long weekend of events, parties, gatherings at various private venues. We have heard of abuse at some of these parties (and some wild stuff has been documented) – but the Fair does not endorse it. It’s a “attendee beware” situation out here. Also, our bigger dungeons have been rated on sites such as Yelp and they won’t survive too long if the reputation sinks – but there are problems still such as a shooting at a nightclub that is only remotely connected to Folsom (it’s on the same street). I hope the group you are in can spread the word about abusers or dangerous venues so that tourists who are not likely to know the reputation can find out before they enter. Is there a Canadian “Yelp”?
Fetlife would be a logical information source but it is very hard to find things on that site. Also, I’m not sure about the guy who runs it.
Really? His lawyer told him that wilful ignorance is a good legal defence?
unfortunately, it works in courts…
the ”I didn’t know about it” is sufficient to raise a doubt.
especially in big events
although, I hear, that he’s now, less and less able to say it, as more and more people are talking about it, and coming forward with information
I have been entrusted to publish a statement on behalf of HK (it was my idea). It was given to me via messenger, and other than a few corrections to spelling and grammar, the text is in his words:
“I’ve been seeking professional help and got on serious medication a couple of months ago…I have a follow up regularly…I know I haven’t been an angel and lived with a depression for many years. I did hurt indeed a lot of friends or partners perhaps in the process…I realize it…but I’m fighting it big time to erase my demons and errors that I might have made. I ask no forgiveness. But I know I had and still have a problem. But I’m taking action on it. That’s why I’m leaving the scene indefinitely as a workshop presenter and venue owner…
I finally know my problems and take action on it with the help of strong and true friends supporting me in all this.
I do it for the scene, for the urban, and for the community that I love and cherish. I’m stepping down until I’m a better person. It wont come quickly but I do wanna solve my personal issues and become someone else, a better person. I’m having pro help and medication to help me go through all this.”
I am one of those friends, someone whom he has had many deep and personal conversations with, and someone who does not hesitate to dish out ‘tough love’ and tell it like it is, and call him on his crap. He needs allies to stay on track, and I will be one of them. I do not wish to pronounce myself on the allegations, shocking as they are to me, they are unverifiable, vague and have generated an escalating rumor mill. But I have been paying thorough attention, I have been dialoguing, and I do care. Be assured that he is beyond being given a chance at this point, is not a threat, and will have to do the work necessary in order to re-enter the scene at some later date. He may not have been convicted, and proof either way is improbable in this complex ‘case’, but this will follow him for a very long time nonetheless.
I will continue to frequent the Urban Dungeon and it’s twin sister Ecrin d’Opale, as I think they are great and pleasant spaces, and I have always felt comfortable there. But that’s just me, anyone else can make up their own mind, there are several other venues, parties, and even private spaces, and I have no doubt there are more to come. To each their own.
I close with stating that claiming victory in this case is not the right call. It’s a start, a measured concession, an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and a pledge to right those wrongs. As for apologies and restorative justice, all in due time.
I won’t reply to comments on this blog. This is all I have to say. As I stated in the first post of this series, people know where to find me.
well… he can sure start by paying back all the money he owes… me and many others …. can still be found on fet… as for those whom will have disappeared from fet, HK knows their name. and can find them.
I will happily document any effort to pay back the victims, but I suspect I’d be waiting a long time to make that post.
He didn’t admit to owing anyone money, he said he’d allowed his girlfriends to support him. Which is different.
He has admitted to me, more than once, that he owes me money. I have been waiting a year for a single bit of the money he has promised to pay back, again and again. While ‘allowing [me] to support him’ is a way to look at what happened, it is not entirely true. I only felt useful to him when I paid for things. It would stop many a screaming fight if I just pulled out my credit card.
Herr Kommandandt Your a Coward, once again your taking the easy way out, do us all a favor DON’T COME BACK!!
Voila qui prépare son retour