A controversial punk band which claims to have invented the genre of "rape rock" plans to headline a metal show in Portland next month, and local activists are threatening to boycott the venue unless it's canceled.
The Mentors, formed in Seattle in 1976, have faced plenty of backlash in the past. Their lyrics are deliberately misogynist and shocking, and politicians have used them to advocate for the censorship of the music industry for years. Past appearances in Portland, however, have occurred without much conflict.
But their inclusion in a metal showcase at Rock Hard PDX called Sickness in September on September 8 is part of their "Anti-Antifa" tour. It faces significant controversy online, where locals have taken to the show's Facebook event page to voice their concerns.
"I had a lot of respect for you before you decided to host pro rape racists," reads one post on the event's discussion board. "Stupid ignorant move. You just lost my business."
Lauren Watson, another Portlander who also opposes the band's headlining performance, alleges the venue's manager Derek Smith has been hostile to anyone voicing concerns.
But Smith claims the opposite is true, and that he's received hostile messages toward him and his staff. Smith has since contacted local authorities about those messages, some of which have been unidentified phone calls.
"You understand that there will be hell if they play," reads one email. "Antifa and Resist groups will be out in force."
"People are just running their mouth and creating whatever they want," Smith says. "I think a lot of it started when the [Other Words Feminist Community Center] put our number on blast."
The OWFCC are organizing a protest against the Mentors on Facebook and posted Rock Hard's contact information in an effort to cancel the band's appearance. "Contact the venue and tell them that rape isn't funny, racism sucks, and that they shouldn't host these pathetic edgelords," reads the post's About section.
Smith insists he isn't anti-protest, and that he simply seeks to protect his venue. "I'm not slamming anybody," he says. "[But] you're not gonna come in and push me around…it's all about respect when you walk in my door."
There's little sign the protests—or the band's Portland show—will be canceled.
"It's imminent harm. It's clear and present danger," Watson told WW. "It's not something that needs to be encouraged in any community."
This post has been updated to provide Smith's comments and more context.