Josh Fox, an acclaimed documentary producer who promotes environmental issues, has lost his New York radio show opportunity after the program director looked into his history of what is being described as a pattern of “abusive” behavior towards staff and other organizers.
A series of the Gasland film director’s recent actions as well as his treatment towards radio staff members seems to have cost Fox his radio program that would have aired in New York on WBAI 99.5fm. The ousting occurred after nearly 2 dozen hosts, producers, and activists (many who were from the show ‘Revolutions per Minute’) wrote an open letter asking that he recognize his “abusive” behavior and remove himself from the station’s environment. This isn’t the only instance where activists have cited concerns over Fox’s behavior, either.
“After seeing his pattern of abuse continue this year, I simply cannot remain silent” explains one activist in the letter published on Medium who had worked with and developed a close relationship with Fox for years.
“The hosts and producers of Revolutions Per Minute on WBAI 99.5fm, the officially-endorsed radio show of NYC-DSA, have learned of a pattern of professionally and interpersonally abusive behavior from Josh Fox, host of “Staying Home with Josh Fox: Your Revolutionary Guide to the Green New Deal”. Those coming forward with stories about Fox include our collective member Lee Ziesche. In solidarity with Lee, RPM (and the undersigned) are uplifting the stories of those who have negative experiences with Josh Fox. We ask that he recognize the abuse he has perpetrated on Lee and others and that he voluntarily remove himself from the station environment of WBAI 99.5fm.”
Upon learning the allegations Linda Perry, WBAI’s interim Program Director, decided to pull the plug on Fox and immediately cancelled his radio show.
Activist And Former Girlfriend Speaks Out About Josh Fox
Lee Ziesche, a grassroots activist who worked with Josh Fox for over 3 years and was involved in a romantic relationship with him as well, recounted her experience in the letter explaining how she witnessed abusive, condescending, and gaslighting behavior on multiple occasions with others.
“I saw him verbally abuse local organizers who put a lot of time and often unpaid labor into organizing screenings for his film tours.” – Lee Ziesche
Lee describes one instance where Josh Fox tried to use her to cover up for for a meltdown that resulted in him calling someone a bitch. “He sent out a big email in his own defense which said Lee will tell you I’ve never called a woman a bitch. I told him I was upset that he had used my name without asking me and that it was untrue because I had heard him call a woman a bitch before. Instead of apologizing he yelled at me for not supporting him.”
During the course of their personal relationship Lee describes how Josh would often gaslight her and the two would argue after he would press her for sex. “Ironic that the filmmaker of Gasland gaslights people,” she says. After dealing with a breakdown in 2016 Fox decided to end their relationship over email. A week later his producer fired her from the project she was working with them both on. “I considered suing him for sexual harassment because it was clear the only reason I lost my job was because he broke up with me but a lawsuit wasn’t, and still isn’t, where I want to put my time and energy” she says.
NY Theater Cancels Josh Fox Event After ‘Abusive’ Encounter
An earlier instance occurred at the Public Theater in New York when Josh became so enraged and began harassing crew members. Shareeza Bhola, the spokeswoman for the theater, told the public that what ended their relationship with Fox was “a series of verbal abuses to the staff.” Josh Fox went on the defense claiming that working conditions at the theater were “disastrous,” and later accused the theater of being funded by oil money saying in a Twitter post, “The Public Theater’s donors have multiple ties to Oil and Natural Gas and foundations that sponsor the Public Theater were created by the oil companies themselves.”
A statement from The Public Theater: pic.twitter.com/7K3KoELAO7
— The Public Theater (@PublicTheaterNY) January 18, 2020
Indigenous Woman & Youth Exploited For Profit
Another startling incident occurred when Josh used the indigenous activist featured in his film entitled “Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock” to acquire a quarter million dollar grant.
Floris White Bull is a Lakota activist who worked with Fox on the documentary project and is prominently featured on its cover; it’s her vision statement which helped inspire the messaging in the film and her interview that helped him access the massive amount of funding from the NOVO foundation.
White Bull, pregnant at the time, found herself responding to passive aggressive emails and witnessed a lack of concern for the indigenous youth who were involved in the project.
AWAKE won the Best Feature Award at the Freeland Film Festival! 💖 I accepted "On behalf of the people of Standing Rock,…
In a public Facebook post, shared on 1/13/2020, White Bull fully outlines how her identity was used by Fox to acquire a grant worth $250,000 and how Josh was dismissive and abusive towards the young native adults seeking his mentorship.
I am a full blood indigenous woman, a mother, a student, and a member of my community with traditional societal…
One young man had simply asked Josh for a recommendation letter but after weeks of not getting a response he was finally able to communicate with Josh only to be met with hostility and egomaniacal behavior (photos attached in the Facebook post she shared). The indigenous youth describes in his letter to the ‘Awake’ team that Fox “did not look at any of the materials” he was sending him and states he would “prefer not to work with Fox unless there is a third party moderator” after Josh tried to dominate the conversation and made the aspiring media enthusiast feel invalidated.
Floris ended up not being able to get the funding needed to pay for the youth media programs that she had envisioned from the start. They denied giving her a budget that would have allowed for the youth to receive media mentor training, travel to an event or inspiring location, or indigenous art which was supposed to instill a sense of pride in their culture while also supporting their local economy and artists.
Instead, they sidelined the emails she was sending and used the youth money for a MMIW event they hosted without her. “I feel regret that the youth that took part in this program that they did not receive the support they could have because of the reluctance to hold Josh accountable,” says White Bull regarding the incident.
Floris goes on to describe how Fox is actively getting away with using her imagery with his claim that the money generated from the film goes to the “Pipeline Fighters Fund” and the “Indigenous Media Fund” – neither of which even exist.
“I have a duty to warn against working with them because I do not want anyone else to be hurt or exploited.” – Floris White Bull
We Can All Do Better
It’s true that the left often tries to apply nearly impossible standards with one another and we are constantly infighting and tearing each other down but the reality is that we can all do better – Josh Fox certainly needs to do better.
If we have a talented cousin who is speeding through like a train and hurling abuse towards other family members, year after year, then we have to get those railroad tracks fixed so the train doesn’t keep running off course and causing chaos. If we can’t do that then we can at least warn people about the incoming disaster that lays ahead.