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Digging deeper into Thursday’s case study

I hadn’t really intended to write more on this, since the initial article was intended as a one off for using game development techniques to investigate a current debate, however after the influx of emails and other happenings over the last few days I figure it’s time to roll up my sleeves and jump in the deep end.

Firstly, I’d like to address a particular situation that occured around 20 hours after the article was posted, someone who clearly did not like the idea of there being an article that was in support of Clayne Crawford took it upon themselves to DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack the server this site is hosted on and for a short stretch of time the site was inaccessible for certain users until the DDoS attack was addressed, it boggles my mind that someone would go to such lengths over a tiny indie development studios blog post.

Anyway, the past few days have been extremely interesting for the case study, so hopefully I can address each development as clearly as possible, though by no means in the order of which they occured (in part due to the nature of some of the events).

News media’s failings.
This one’s largely expected on my part, pick any search engine you want and search for “Clayne Crawford”, “Damon Wayans” or “Lethal Weapon” and you’ll find yourself looking at an endless list of sites parroting Damon’s claims without any verification attempts made at all, and at the very best, tossing in the word “allegedly”, but by and large the general flow of each of these articles is to parrot Damon’s now-deleted claims, throwing in some images of the tweets and then close up by mentioning the apologies Clayne made through social media, which gives the impression to the reader that these apologies are in some way a response to the accusations Damon has made, when in fact they were apologies in response to the earlier claims made this April.

Even the People.com article which tried to position itself as taking a neutral stance, when tackling the issue of Michael Raymond-James coming out in support of Clayne, as if the claims made by Damon are without question true and that the support from Michael essentially boils down to a friend defending a friend, and not really questioning the legitimacy of Damon’s claims, infact both People.com and the tiny contingent of websites that have followed suit with that story, have used the “no one is perfect” part of Michael’s tweet to suggest that Damon’s claims are true and that rather than dispute that, Michael is instead attempting to excuse the behaviour, which isn’t the case at all.

Why are the media afraid to question the claims?, why are they trying so hard to stick to the initial narative, a narative that Michael Raymond-James himself aluded to in his tweets, something these sites glossed over, specifically:

There is/has been a false narrative being spread about in an effort to humiliate and vilify a friend of mine who thus far has been too classy to fight back

It’s telling that this specific part of the series of tweets, unlike the rest included in People.com’s blog post that were unpacked and commented on, get’s skipped and in place of a comment, they instead mention Clayne’s replacement, and the disciplinary action taking place, opting not to comment at all on the “False narrative” part.

Ultimately, none of the mainstream media outlets have attempted to apply basic journalism, despite Damon’s initial now-deleted claims having enough information to do a fair degree of fact checking before running these stories, (including but not limited to actually contacting the actor supposidly maliciously hit in the face with a bottle of green tea), they demonstrate a form of bias which, as things further unfold, becomes ever more blatent.

Take for example the Michael Raymond-James situation, it’s only really People.com that’s covered his support for Clayne, and a few smaller sites parroting the People.com article, but where is everyone else on this?, and why does People.com and everyone else seem oblivious to the ever growing industry support for Clayne?, Do you really need other people to do the leg work for you? because if you do, you’re welcome to check my earlier article, Jo Ridout’s blog, or Get-whumped’s tumblr.

“I was hacked”
While Damon may have deleted his account, the internet is eternal, and thanks to google cache, we see that at 4:29pm Damon Wayans took to twitter on 12th May to claim that his account was reportedly hacked.

I’ve seen quite often across twitter people using this particular tweet to suggest that all of the accusations made by Damon Wayans towards Clayne Crawford were the actions of a supposed hacker, the problem with this line of thinking is that the now deleted tweet aluding to an account hack was made on May 12th, and the tweets during his meltdown were made May 14th, two days after the supposed hack was mentioned.

As you can see here, 7:38pm, May 14th. we will circle back to this tweet later.

Additionally the problem of this approach (claiming he was hacked and thus didn’t make the incendiary tweets about Clayne Crawford) is, aside from being easilly proven wrong by the dates, would also suggest that the current media narrative and accusations being constantly repeated in the news and social media, were all based on malicious account hacking and thus, even more untrustworthy than they already are, which makes Clayne Crawfords current situation even more unfair.

Unpacking all of Damon’s claims.
I figure the best approach we can take is to individually look at each of Damon’s claims and do as much verification as we can for them, so let’s begin.

First of all, we have 2 days prior to the announcement that the series would infact be renewed for Season 3, here we can see that Damon was, at least outwardly, upbeat and supporting his Co-star.

Then, in the late evening of the 13th May, the show was renewed for a third season, with the following announcement made over twitter:

Along with the third season renewal came the announcement that Seann William Scott would be joining the cast, with everyone already expecting a recast of Clayne’s character, this was immediately taken as Seann William Scott taking on Clayne’s roll as Riggs.

In the afternoon of May 14th, less than a day after this announcement, seemingly in response to the flood of fan dissapointment for Clayne’s removal, and indeed support of Clayne, Damon launched a series of tweets attacking his former Co-star.

Here we see Damon making it clear that he had been waiting for the announcement of the show being renewed for a third season to flip on his earlier stance of supporting Clayne (Likely didn’t want to drop all of the accusasions then find out he would infact be doing a third season along side the actor he just publicly dragged).

The first claim, which basically and inexplicably attributes a minor accident caused by a special effect being Clayne Crawfords fault purely because he was the director for this particular episode.

2 minutes later Damon followed up the initial accusation with a shot of the cut sustained by the effect, again suggesting that the sole responsibility for this accident lay at Clayne Crawfords feet.

6 Minutes later this tweet was followed up with what looks like an explanation given to Damon for how he came to be injured, and suggesting that he was never offered an apology by Clayne for the accident.

About 80 minutes later, Damon followed up with the above tweet, which we unpacked already a few days ago, Since the above outburst, co-star Michelle Mitchenor tweeted (and shortly after, deleted) making mention of a make-up artist who was brought to tears at one point, which would seem to suggest the crying bit is partly true, however to suggest Clayne Crawford relisihed in doing so, and more to the point, to suggest it in a way that could easilly be misread as Clayne taking enjoyment out of making female cast and crew cry generally (as evidenced by the media doing exactly this multiple times).

The above tweet followed 5 minutes later, suggesting that actor Lance Henriksen was hit in the mouth intentionally, again this is worded to sound like Clayne lost his temper and intentionally hit Lance in the mouth, why Damon feels the need to mention Lance’s skin color I’m not even going to try and find the logic to.

It’s worth noting that a twitter user who claims to be a cast member, (and further legitimized by both Clayne and Michelle interacting with them, and Michelle in particular suggesting she even knows who the person is), mentioned that the particular incident was part of the script and Lance Henriksen was later replaced with another actor, and the incident with the bottle was actually part of a script and resulted when Lance failed to catch the bottle, which seems likely as Lance has not made any public statement regarding the matter, and had he intentionally been struck by Clayne Crawford, he would likely have come forward after hearing the news this part week.

Just 9 minutes later, Damon posted a parting message announcing his intention to leave twitter, calling the people he had previously been interacting with, “Weirdos”, and to “kiss the dark side of my ass”, then suggesting that Warner Brothers have a file of infractions for Clayne Crawford, choosing to end his rampage with the hashtag, #releasethetapes, again suggesting that Warner Brothers or Fox have video footage that would legitimize Damon’s claims, but no such announcement, release or even addressing of the matter has thus far been made, Damon shortly after deactivated/deleted his twitter account.

Again, for me personally it seems most likely that throughout filming of the first two seasons, a rift between to main actors gradually worsened, it seems given Damon’s apparent two-faced approach to the last few days (siding with Clayne and fans only to do a complete 180 the second Season 3 was announced and Clayne was officially ousted), it’s at the very least possible that infractions were filed maliciously for minor reasons and, as with the content of Damon’s last day of tweets, substantially embelished with an aim to force the studio’s hand in replacing Clayne.

That of course could be entirely conjecture, I could be completely wrong, but I feel that given the events of the past few weeks that it warrants a full investigation, internally at both Warner Brothers and Fox TV, if the result is that Season 3 ends up cancelled then so be it, as it seems at this point highly unlikely that Warner Brothers would suddenly re-introduce Clayne to the show and even if they did, I suspect it would not sit well with Damon and the tension on set would be such that it was entirely unworkable.

However, I don’t see this as being about whether or not the show runs Season 3 or not, or with Clayne Crawford or not, but that an actor’s reputation is potentially being ruined.

You can read the previous article here.