Sexually Harassed by Cal Clowns

by Steed Dropout
April 21, 2016


Stephanie Nicolle Garcia, right, surviving. Photo by Ted Friedman.

As U.C. Berkeley belatedly curtails sexual harassment, with forced resignations, firings, and other sanctions, the radical group, “By Any Means Necessary, (BAMN)” could claim a victory, of sorts.

And BAMN claimed such a victory to me, this week in Sproul Plaza, where I ran into one its most effective spokespersons, Stephanie Nicole Garcia at the BAMN table.

Berkeley Reporter had featured Garcia in a recent piece on sexual-harassment at Cal.

“You look different from my photo of you [the photo, one-thousand views], I told her.”

'He raped me and called me a cunt.' Photo by Ted Friedman.

“That’s because I’m not screaming like I did when you took my picture,” she said.

I had quoted her as screeching, “He raped me and called me a fucking cunt.” She had repeated “called me a fucking cunt”, until it took on a life of its own.

Now she was relaxing with her friends at the By Any Means Necessary information booth in Sproul (Free Speech) Plaza, and seemed like another person.

Still her message was still on her mind as she reminded me that her alleged assailant had been re-admitted to Cal.

“We want him off campus,” Garcia insisted.


Busted for grabbing. Photo by Ted Friedman.

I might have told her about the incident—a likely sexual assault, not far from Cal, at a popular Southside sports bar in which a not-so-young man had allegedly “grabbed” a Cal co-ed and been arrested.

To friend, left, 'he grabbed me!' Photo by Ted Friedman.

That the co-ed was almost hanging out of her loosely fitting garb was no excuse. Even the alleged assailants drinking pals, who said their “bro had had a few” admitted he had crossed a line. The Alameda County D.A. will decide whether to charge Bro with sexual assault.


Outside student union, evacuation. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Two nights later, I was photographing the evacuation of the Cal student union building, during an event, when a female stuck her face in my viewfinder, screwed up her lips, and snarked, “what if I don’t want to be in your picture?”

“Outstanding warrants?” I snarked back. “And so young,” I added.

Bring on the clowns. Photo by Ted Friedman.

I continued shooting a group of co-eds dressed like clowns. “I guess you want to fill your lens with photos of young girls,” Outstanding Warrants needled.

I was too flustered to respond, ‘but they were fully clothed…in clown suits no less.’

I countered that I was shooting for a local publication. My assailant wanted the phone number of my editor.

At some point, I pointed my finger at one of the clowns as I delivered my usual sermon about photographers’ rights. The clown said, “don’t touch me!”

I reacted with, “stay back,” as I bolted backwards.

A lot of thoughts might have gone through my mind, but one thought stood out. What if the clown charged me with touching her, as the perp at the sports bar was charged. And what if the other clowns supported her, just to spite me for having photoed them.

Clowns stick together.

That would have been one helluva story. ‘Photographer Pokes Clown—Charged With Sex-Assault.’

Sexual harassment has many forms.

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