The talent-booking agency that has helped the University of Missouri’s most famous protester launch a speaking tour at elite institutions around the country appears to have dropped him, following the publication of videos and blog posts that show him saying and doing disturbing things.
Earlier this week, Heat Street published a story with exclusive videos and blog posts from five years ago that show Jonathan Butler, the hunger striker during protests at Mizzou last fall, talking derisively about women and low-income workers and singing about crack cocaine.
Apparently in response to our story, Butler sent out a series of tweets Tuesday evening proclaiming that he’s not the same person that he was five years ago.
Meanwhile, we’ve unearthed another set of videos by Butler, and they are equally odd. It’s unclear when Butler filmed the three videos. One, excerpted below, shows Butler sitting at his computer. “There is nothing going on right now,” text on the screen says. “I GOT a job And the weekend is 5 minutes away So what should I do to celebrate? How about……… A One Night Stand?” The rest of the video features Butler dancing alone to a song about how “a one night stand is all I need.”
In a second video, also excerpted here, Butler says that both capitalism and America “piss me off.” The footage is shot in a Walmart, where he’s shopping for a new camera. Throughout much of the nearly four-minute video, he questions why one camera is more expensive than others.
“Really, America?” Butler asks. “Is this what we’ve come down to? I don’t know. It’s just been a rough night. I’ve been thinking about life. And America just kind of pissed me off.” The video ends with text saying “Capitalism Kills” and “Don’t Buy into America’s Hype.”
A third video appears to show Butler throwing some sort of powder in the air, like the LeBron James chalk toss. It intersperses highly edited footage of Butler, an inspirational interlude from Christian rapper Da’ T.R.U.T.H., and text including: “The Man. The Legend. The Chosen One. The Saga Begins May 2012. The Man. The Legend. The Man.”
Butler’s seven-day hunger strike during two months of race protests last fall led to the resignation of the University of Missouri’s president, Tim Wolfe, and contributed to the ousting of school’s chancellor, Bowen Loftin.
Since then, Butler has been invited to speak on diversity, equity and inclusion about a half-a-dozen times across the United States, including at both Duke and Harvard law schools, as well as a keynote speech at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.