David Starr issues lengthy statement reacting to major allegations

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/17/david-starr-issues-lengthy-statement-reacting-to-major-allegations/

On Wednesday, allegations were made public against independent wrestler David Starr (real name Max Barsky) by a woman named Victoria. The two had a prior relationship several years ago.

Victoria, who is @slaymysterio on Twitter, posted messages that she sent to Barsky. In the messages, she spoke of the pain he caused and alleged that “You rape women and you gaslight them after.”

Below is a portion of the message:

It took a long fucking time to get over the trauma of dealing with you and trust me I’ve tried all of the ways. Anger, sadness, trying to be nice. Literally anything. I left Twitter for a year to never see your name again, I left wrestling, the only thing that meant anything to me because you shat on it and I hate who I became after you.

But I did it, I healed and I came back and I was fine so why do I have a girl I don’t know reaching out to me to discuss the shit ways you treat women. Emotionally. Sexually. Mentally. You rape women and you gaslight them after. I know you know you do it because you told people you were scared I would speak up. How dare you have the audacity to tell me you don’t remember that night in the hotel and then telling your future girlfriends about it. That wasn’t even the only time you pressure me into sex. You pressure a lot of women into sex it seems.

You’re evil and disgusting.

I don’t want to bring down your career. I have nothing to do with pro wrestling aside from tweets, I don’t attend and will never see you again so that doesn’t matter to me. Plus it’s a pandemic so that wouldn’t even make sense if this was about your career. I want you to stop hurting women and I want you to leave me the fuck alone when it comes to your relationships. You can save this for your Victoria folder and read it however many times you need to.

On Twitter, Victoria made claims that Barsky held onto old screenshots to use against her to make her look angry and crazy and added that he allegedly has folders for several people.

Barsky has responded to the allegations with the following tweets sent on Wednesday evening:

I didn’t do what Victoria is accusing me of.

I am not a sexual predator

I have been an awful partner.

If this is the end of wrestling for me, that’s ok. I know I’m not a predator and I know the truth of this situation. I know that I’ve learned from my wrongdoings. There’s no sense in going on the offensive. No matter what I say, I’m the bad guy. No pity party. It is what it is.

I’m gonna keep working on me so that I can be the partner i need to be to someone someday.

To be clear, I am not a sexual predator, but I’ve been a dickhead to my partners. I’m owning up to that and taking this time to grow. I will not go on the offensive. I was a cunt to Victoria. I know I’ve been an emotionally immature dickhead to my partners, Victoria especially.

The tweets by Barsky followed a lengthy statement he posted on his Twitter account, which is dated June 8th, 2020:

I did a lot research on the topic of “grey rape” after discussing with multiple victims of SA.

In my letter I wrote to Victoria (never sent) on the same day I wrote the other message: pic.twitter.com/uQ3U8SFVRe

— (((David Starr)))🌹 (@TheProductDS) June 17, 2020

In the letter, Barsky addresses the night in question in a hotel room following a concert the two attended and stated:

There is no way I will invalidate your lived experience. Since I’ve been beginning this course of self analysis, I have thought about what you described to me a few years ago in that DM. I thought about my response where I basically absolved myself of responsibility because “I didn’t know”. Even though I didn’t invalidate your feelings, I still didn’t accept responsibility. Through conversations with other women (including victims of sexual assault) about it all, I started looking into the subject of grey rape. There’s no way that I can apologize enough for not recognizing or understanding what had taken place. At no point did I ever think that something was non-consensual, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t. At no point did I think that something was non-consensual, but that doesn’t mean it was consensual. A lack of a verbalized “no” doesn’t mean consent.

In an exchange the two had on Twitter as a result of Barsky’s letter he posted, Victoria alleged the following:

There was a verbalized no and a “I don’t want to do that”. Why else would you tell me i liked it and gave me the silent treatment all day? You’re remembering it wrong for the internet.

Barsky’s response to that accusation was:

There wasn’t, but it’s ok. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I was a cunt to you (and others) as a partner. Regardless of the anger I felt towards you for your repeated harassment and leaking of my nudes, I know that came from a place of hurt that I caused.

It’s ok. I am not entitled to a platform. I am not entitled to wrestle. I’m not entitled to be believed when I say I’m not a predator. I know I’m not.

I hope that you’ve found peace with this as I found mine over the past several weeks. I’ve let go of my anger. I’m looking inward and taking responsibility for things I’ve done wrong. I’m gonna move forward and be better. That’s all I can do.

Gross, frustrating, and upsetting news all around. Not just for his actions towards these women, but also it pretty much nukes his movement to unionize wrestlers. I was a fan of Starr’s work too, especially since he’s from around the same area as I am.

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Was there a less likely guy in wrestling to be cancelled for something like this?

I believe we have a responsibility to believe women. I also believe it’s important to point out to younger males who visit this board that “grey rape” is not a thing.

“Grey rape” is a term that was invented by rapists to try and excuse the absence of express consent, and it’s why most progressive states/countries are moving towards a reliance on express consent and the ability to withdraw that consent at any time.

I really liked Starr. I originally posted that I don’t believe that people are irredeemable. But re-reading this bullshit about “grey rape” makes me so angry. He’s not trying to learn. He’s not trying to be better. He’s trying to exonerate himself. And for a “progressive guy” who is “good at twitter” he should’ve known better than to delve into the misogynist playbook.

edit: also, OTT have stripped him of the belt. Which seems appropriate in how quickly it happened, but also seems like it’s going to set a tone.

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I’m shocked at the rush to condemn him for anything more than he has taken responsibility for. There are two sides to every story.

The allegations are extremely serious and once made will forever taint his character, even if found to be false. They therefore require proper investigation by the relevant authorities and, if found to be true, the assailant(s) will (hopefully) be dealt with appropriately.

I am dismayed at how many women think that Twitter is an appropriate place to make these allegations. Allegations of sexual assault should be reported to the police, not made on Twitter.

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Yeah do we even know what happened yet and already this guy is being destroyed?

Police are notorious for not doing a damn thing about rape.

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In what country?

Is that just an observation or an argument as to why she was correct to make the allegations on Twitter?

All we know so far is that both sides agree he was an asshole in relationships. If it extended to him being a rapist or not is where there disagreement is and no one in an objective position has enough evidence to just assume one way or the other. If you actually acknowledge this as a serious situation then you don’t just go with “I don’t have much to go on but I feel it’s true”. It might be the social media position to put all your weight behind the woman without knowing much but it’s not the right position in my opinion. The right thing to do is to try and create an environment for truth (easier said than done I know) rather than to, as usual, rush to lynch someone.

I think the last paragraph is kind of harsh. Some women who have been through sexual assault or rape want to understandably move past it in the best way they can and don’t want to be overwhelmed by having to confront the situation. Mentioning it on twitter years later is easier and less overwhelming.

[quote=“Bdubz, post:4, topic:9545, full:true”]I am dismayed at how many women think that Twitter is an appropriate place to make these allegations. Allegations of sexual assault should be reported to the police, not made on Twitter.
[/quote]

Do you know that she hasn’t spoken to police or to his employers?

Women don’t make these accusations on twitter because it’s fun. No one enjoys reliving traumatic moments in their lives to potentially billions of strangers. No one likes discussing the shame and stigma associated with sexual assault.

But they do it in the absence of any other justice. If police don’t believe you, or if there isn’t enough evidence - the reason this term “grey rape” exists is because rapists successfully introduced doubt around consent, which is a straightforward concept - you’re going to seek your justice however you can.

It does lead to an interesting philosophical discussion - is it worth 1 innocent man having his life destroyed if another 100 guilty men are found, and all the women that know those men are a little safer? In criminal law they say it’s better for 100 guilty men to go free than for 1 innocent man to go to jail… but that ignores the reality of 100 victims without justice, it ignores their families and their friends, and it ignores the future victims. I don’t have an answer to this philosophical question.

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Less overwhelming? :open_mouth: Have you used Twitter? I haven’t read her post because I don’t really use Twitter but I will guarantee you she is being abused en masse by a section of the public.

Announcing it on Twitter is not only unfair on the person being accused as, no matter the truth, once the accusation is out there it follows them forever but reduces their credibility in my eyes. This is a very dangerous weapon and one only available to women which can have a devastating effect on innocent men and does not serve justice.

Just consider how you would feel if an ex-partner of yours had an axe to grind and accused you on a public forum.

And for the avoidance of doubt given the inability of people to not interpret a dispassionate and reasoned position as being against the aggrieved party, I absolutely hope that if what she said happened did happen, that the perpetrator is held to account.

Perhaps she has spoken to the police but I very much doubt it as I am sure they and the prosecutor would have told her not to post anything on Twitter as it would hurt her credibility.

And why would it be acceptable to approach his employers?

Check the hashtag #SpeakingOut… British Wrestling is blowing up right now.

The British Wrestling scene was set on fire today, who knows how much worse it is in North America. I would just like to quote this tweet

@evefingdonnelly
In the girl’s group chat like teehee so which innocent man should we all accuse of sexual misconduct today!? We’ll probably get death threats, ppl saying we’re lying whores, our nudes leaked, address’ doxxed, and careers ruined but haha what a fun prank

What the women who’ve used #SpeakingOut is not easy, all the power to them

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Over 40 names mentioned, including some major ones from WWE, AEW, NJPW, Impact, PROGRESS and RevPro.

That’s a disgraceful culture that’s been allowed to perpetuate.

Because, as has been made painfully obvious in the last two months, you can always rely on the police to solve issues

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‪From tactics used by promoters to revelations about performers there is never a shortage of reminders that Pro Wrestling - for all we glorify it - is a con. And we are all Marks.
Today kayfabe really broke. I’m surprised people are so shocked to be honest. I for one, while appalled and completely turned off, am not surprised.

Consider this, the most talked about company in the industry is responsible for so many aggrgious things - I mean, the Owen doc came out less than a month ago(!) - and yet still dominates most conversations about wrestling. It’s still viewed as the pinnacle of the industry. They take advantage, marginalize, and show little regard for the well being of talent. They try to paint talent who speak up as having issues or axes to grind - how many times have we seen a company do that to a talent??
That is really similar to how it appears many wrestlers treated women. So am I surprised that an industry with companies like this would breed a culture who behave this way. Hell no.

Why would we not expect there to be some people in the industry who are every bit as bad? It’s disgusting and gross. It’s potentially criminal.
But you know what else is disgusting and gross - going to Saudi Arabia after the murder of a journalist…firing talent during a global pandemic…being willfully ignorant to drug use and steroids until enough people died it couldn’t be ignored. Not having health and safety standards at independent shows. Not diagnosing concussions while evidence piled up for years. Not paying talent fairly. Not providing healthcare to talent. Same industry.

And these stories aren’t even the first time things like this got discussed. Are we that ADHD that we forget the Elgin story a few years back. Or that one of the biggest stars of all time Stone Cold beat his wife.

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Years ago, I was talking to someone and she confided in me about her sexual assault/rape issues. My response was, you need to tell the police, or if there was stuff going on at work, you need to tell people at work, these people need to be fired, justice needs to be done. And I was told it doesn’t work like that.

Part of me still does believe that yes, it does work like that. But, especially recently, the cops are a problem. They’re a huge problem and this kinda goes into the whole “defund the police” thing. The cops simply can’t handle rape allegations.

One issue is, a lot of wrestling companies aren’t the best when it comes to issues of this sort. Let’s be honest with Impact for instance. Joey Ryan and Dave Crist were named as some of the people doing lewd things. Impact has a history of hiring some problematic people, so you know that obviously nothing will happen in Impact. And I think there does have to be almost a zero tolerance policy with wrestling companies and stuff like this, going on twitter, does help. Because it puts the pressure on the companies to deal with this.

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