Why I Won’t Be Listening to Phil Gigante Anymore

22 01 2016

As a big supporter of the audiobook community, I feel like I may lose some “friends” over this one. I was just going to let it be when I first read about Phil Gigante’s guilty plea for accosting a minor for immoral purposes and possession of child sexually abusive material. As part of his plea deal, two additional charges of using computers to commit a crime were dropped.

All together his charges could have gotten him 28 years in jail. He will serve 4 months in jail, and three at home.

As someone who has promoted Phil, interviewed him, praised him, and on that weird world of online interaction, considered him a friend. My initial thought was to stay quiet on the issue. I truly don’t know the whole story. Basically, all I know is that he was charged due to an inappropriate online relationship he had with a 14 year old girl. He said while pleading “”I had inappropriate conversations on Facebook private messenger” and admitted to having inappropriate pictures of her. I have heard rumors of other actions, but this is all I know for sure.

Honestly, it’s more than enough. There is no excuse for a 49 year old man to knowingly engage in this type of behavior with a minor. Personally, I will never be able to listen to one of his books again.

Yet, I still felt like I should stay quiet. Yet, a few comments have forced me to reconsider this. First off, Author Karen Moning who has been supportive of Phil Gigante and wants him to continue reading her books has stated that what’s being reported isn’t really what happened, that many people know the true story and that he is not a sexual predator.

So, first off, if what is being reported, That he has an inappropriate relationship with a minor and that he admitted it in court isn’t true, then why not tell us the real story? If you know the truth, what is stopping you from sharing it. If you are one of the many people that know what really happened, then feel free to come onto my blog and share what you know. Yet, your super secret inside information that you can’t share has only done one thing, it has given license to those who response is to blame the victim to once again scream and rant about grown men being lured into this kind of behavior by underage vixens.

Even, in some strange fantasy world, this girl initialized and sexualized the interaction, Phil is a 49 year old man taking advantage of a 14 year old girl. He alone is responsible for his behavior. There is this strange idea that men cannot control their corporeal sides so they can’t truly be held responsible when they are lured into inappropriate sexual relationships. This is the ultimate bullshit of scumbag assholes who look to justify their abhorrent behavior.

Yet, what really bothered me was this comment in a group I’m on:

“my guess is it wasn’t as bad as it seems because otherwise 4 months seems a really weak sentence to me? they were probably both pretending not to know which is of course wrong but I’m just glad it wasn’t worse cause I love the KMM books and had he been a “pedophile” I don’t think I could have listened to them again.”

Basically, it can’t be bad because he only got 4 months. This shows a dangerous ignorance to the trend of plea agreements and sentencing that treats such interactions as “minor.” Those who argue against the dangerous rape culture in America as another over reaction of the so called Social Justice Warriors, have not read of the institutional victim blaming that has resulted in Judge’s blaming toddlers for luring grown men into raping them, to plea bargains that allow child rapist and sexual predators to stay off the registry and the blind eye turned to celebrities who abuse their position to prey on women and children. When a formerly obese spokesman for a sandwich company was discovered to be a child rapist our collective response was fat jokes. The fact that Phil only got 4 months in jail should not been seen as a mitigating factor to his crimes, but as further proof of a ineffectual, dangerous and corrupt system and a culture that allows said system to exist.

I have often said that Phil is my favorite narrator. He is a tremendous talent, and has brought many books I love to life. It makes me sad, because he has narrated books for Andrew Vachss, one of the preeminent warriors against the rampant abuse of children. He read Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series, which will soon become a TV series I am very excited about.

As an audiobook enthusiast, I am saddened by this. As a human I am sickened by this.

After writing most of this, Moning has come out and admitted she didn’t really have super secret info, and will not work with Phil in the future. Sadly, this is way too little too late.

Links

Defending the Indefensible: On Phil Gigante and Karen Marie Moning from Bibliodaze

Red Hot Books: Where is the Feverborn Review

Trout Nation

News Articles on the case:

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2015/07/facebook_suspicion_leads_to_ar.html

http://www.shorelinemedia.net/ludington_daily_news/news/local/phil-gigante-pleads-guilty-to-accosting-a-child-for-immoral/article_502116d2-71d4-11e5-a921-8b0e8f496b4a.html#.Vp2TfdoHX0g.twitter

Michigan State Sex Offender Registry

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19 responses

23 01 2016
Jeff

I’m floored with this, as I’ve also been a couple of more times in life with folks I actually knew in real life, well outside this industry. It’s REALLY scary when folks cross the line from fantasy to reality. I don’t idolize performers; only appreciate their performances.I realize EVERYONE in life is flawed. That said, I’m also a friend of Karen Moning in this forum. This is beyond creepy and criminal. NOTHING about this is good. Thanks for posting this!

23 01 2016
Kaetrin

Well said Bob. Thank you for speaking up.

23 01 2016
Lynda aka FishWithSticks

“There is this strange idea that men cannot control their corporeal sides so they can’t truly be held responsible when they are lured into inappropriate sexual relationships. This is the ultimate bullshit of scumbag assholes who look to justify their abhorrent behavior.”

I want to print this out and wallpaper the world with this. THANK YOU.

I didn’t have a problem with KMM standing up for Gigante. It is, after all, her right to support any scumbag pedophile she likes. What I couldn’t tolerate was her allowing people to victim shame a 14YO girl. Someone actually asked “who should we blame.” The 49YO man gets my vote, not the girl who is 4 years away being legally being able to decide anything for herself.

I haven’t been a fan of KMM for some time, however I do have a number of PG books in my audiobook collection. One of them is the first book in a trilogy I tend to listen to at least once a year. I’m sad I’ll no longer be able to listen to it.

This whole situation is nauseating.

23 01 2016
Literate Housewife

I am so very sorry that you had to write this post at all.

When I found out earlier this week I just saw a relatively brief post from another blogger with a link to the newspaper article. That was enough for me. I hadn’t realized that there were those defending him. As a culture we certainly have a way of giving men a pass on their bad behavior, especially when they have celebrity status. It is sickening and I thank you for taking a stand here when I can imagine how personally painful this must have been to learn.

23 01 2016
theguildedearlobe

I think it was tough because I did consider Phil a friend. I searched out books that he read specifically and often promoted his work. When I listened, it was like having a friend read a book to me. As you know, when you become so immersed in this community it becomes impossible to separate the performance from the performer. It’s one of the reasons I have pulled away from reviewing. I can’t stay as objective as I like to be. I can’t see listening to one of his books and not thinking of what as happened. I don’t want to act like I’m a victim. I’ve worked with too many true victims of abuse and I know my suffering is minuscule in comparison. I feel like because of this and because outside a small community this isn’t being discussed I had to say something.

23 01 2016
Melanie Simmons (@mlsimmons)

Very well said. Thanks for sharing. It is gross and there are those who are still defending him both on the new post on KMM’s FB page and on Jeaniene Frost’s FB post about it. One person even said “I think we should blame the whole society This will include her too”. This was on the post where KMM admitted that she wouldn’t be using him any longer. I’m struggling to stay away from these pages. I just can’t get into it with these stupid people any longer.

Anyway. Thanks again for your well written post and getting the word out.

23 01 2016
Jonetta (Ejaygirl)

Nicely stated. I also sense your sadness about it underneath your outrage. It’s what I’m feeling, too, and thanks for speaking so honestly.

23 01 2016
thegeekyblogger

I share this sadness and really sickened by it. Plus her apology made me ill as it didn’t tell her Fandom to back off the victim blaming. (the comments in the apology post are worse than the original) What Phil did was inexcusable for me. It is sad because I can’t listen to a beloved narrator any more (can’t separate the art from the man and no way am I contributing to his future) and quite frankly I am done with Moning too. The fact is this is bigger than just a friend sticking up for a friend. This is supporting, encouraging, and not stopping a culture of thought that men can’t be responsible and women/children are lurid. Insulting to both sides! I loved your post! Bravo!

24 01 2016
KMM, Phil Gigante, & I Guess It’s Okay When It’s Not YOUR Daughter | 38 Caliber Reviews

[…] I read about this whole unsavory situation. Jenny Trout weighs in here. The Gilded Earlobe posts this, and Jeaniene Frost had this to say. What started all this was an announcement by KMM on her FB […]

24 01 2016
Blogger Confession: Public Statements, Using Your Platform, & Victim Blaming |

[…] Why I Won’t Be Listening to Phil Gigante Anymore […]

24 01 2016
Nuchtchas

Well said, it’s horrible people act in this way, I’ll never understand it.

Anyone saying it’s not that bad, he only got for months, really don’t know the nature of sex crimes on minors. He has four months and is on the sex offender registry for 25 years! That’s huge! Most people think once on you’re on for good, that’s not the case, there is an expiration and often it’s short. A case I know with the prep on tape admitting to physical sex crimes against a disabled minor served no jail time and was only on the list for a year, they had done other restrictions, but the important part was he had to admit what he’d done in court. No one can claim innocence our it’s not that bad when you take a plea because part of the plea is explicitly starting what you did and it will always be public record. Four months and twenty five years on the registry is severe

25 01 2016
Valerie Howell

You want to know why those of us in the know can’t tell you what really happened? It is because this whole sickening situation that happened is not done in the legal system yet. None of us can talk until it is all over. All I can say is that I hope you have to eat every word you just posted when it finally is over.

25 01 2016
Kaetrin

It is over. He pled guilty and he’s doing his time.

There’ll be no eating of words.

27 01 2016
Valerie Howell

There is an appeal coming. Start chewing….

27 01 2016
Kaetrin

Good Lord – how can he appeal a guilty plea??

27 01 2016
theguildedearlobe

First off, I would love the facts of this case that have been reported to be wrong. I would love to discover that this young women was not put through these tragic events. I would love to learn that Phil was not involved in this behavior. I will not be eating my words because, based on the facts that are being reported, I stand by everything I said. If those facts are wrong, then I will be happy.

I am highly skeptical of people who claim to have “insider” information. As I have said, I considered Phil a friend, and know people who know him personally. One of the reasons I waited a day was to contact these people, Not one of them told me I had my facts wrong. This is not saying that they confirmed anything, but know one I know, who I know know’s Phil has at any point come out and told me that what is being reported is factually wrong, even in a private email.

Those who claim “insider information” have been highly inconsistent with their so called facts. I have heard three different reasons why the information was false, two of them I know are just outright falsehoods, and one is impossible to prove. All three have involved blaming the victim on some level.

Even your reasoning for why you can’t share it is inconsistent. Phil’s criminal trial is over. There is a possibility for an appeal, in some vague way, but then I am unsure why you would be gagged from speaking out. Are you a direct witness? Are you scared of being sued? Does some gag order extend to those tangentially involved? You seem to imply that there are multiple people with this information, but are all barred from publicly defending Phil for legal reasons. I am not a lawyer, so I don’t know how this is even possible, I don\’t know you, I have no reason to take you at your word. Feel free to engage me privately, or here on this site. I won’t remove any negative comments, unless I feel they achieve legal slander against the victim.

Is there a possibility that Phil pleaded guilty, despite being completely innocent and having competent counsel? Sure… I guess. But, that possibility seems so remote to me. I am not a court of law, or a juror. I feel like the burden of proof, for me personally, should lie on the person who publicly admitted to an inappropriate relationship.

As I have said, I cannot continue to support Phil professionally by recommending or reviewing his work. I don’t feel like I can separate the performance from the performer, because whenever I listen to something he read I have always felt like it was a friend telling me a story. Yet, I still believe that Phil and I had a friendship of sort. If he ever wanted to reach out to me, to talk, I would be OK with that. If this reaching out is just to tell me how disturbed his accuser is, and how it’s not really his fault, I’m sure the conversation will be short, but, on a personal level I am willing to listen.

And before you state it, I am sure that my opinion of him rates extremely low on list list of concerns, But, I do feel for his family, no matter what the facts of the case are,

31 01 2016
Valerie Howell

Appeals after a person has pled guilty can be done if someone was coerced into a plea deal by way of false information or false promises.

23 02 2016
dogearedcopy

Nope, that’s not the way that works. Before the plea bargain can go into effect, it needs to be approved by the court to make sure the defendant is entering into it voluntarily. If there is a breach by the prosecution, the court can enforce the promise (e.g. if the defendant was promised a light sentence, but received a harsh sentence instead, the court will reduce the sentence) If the defendant breaks his side of the deal (e.g. failure to provide witness testimony in a related case,) then the promises made to him can be revoked and he’s open to a harsher sentence/re-sentencing.

But the guilty plea itself cannot be appealed unless there’s evidence of gross misconduct on the part of the judge or malpractice on the part of the defense attorney.

2 12 2016
audioaudits

Thank you for this information, I hadn’t heard about it!

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