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.
News Articles on the case: