Last week, social media erupted when allegations of sexual misconduct hit Christopher ‘Chris Stylezz’ Samuels, the popular host of D’USSE´ Palooza. Several women came forward with harrowing details about how Samuels either tried to force them to perform oral sex or exposed himself to them. Samuels eventually denied the allegations, but a day after that story surfaced, yet another well-known man was also accused of sexual misconduct.
Lamar Valentine, an entertainment writer who goes by the name Blogxilla, was accused of sexual harassment and assault by several women on social media. The first woman to go public with her story was 29-year-old former music journalist Lindsey India. In a series of tweets, Lindsey recounted her time working with Valentine at Global Grind.
In an interview with ESSENCE, Lindsey went into further details about her interactions with Valentine.
“After the allegations against Chris Stylez of D’Usse Palooza came forward, it triggered a lot of industry memories for myself, causing me to confide my experiences in others hoping to share it publicly one day. I originally was not ready to share, but one of those people got word to Xilla that I said something about him, leading him to call me multiple times and leave me a voicemail that took no real accountability,” Lindsey stated.
Valentine, in a series of tweets, did admit to his behavior and issued somewhat of an “apology”.
“I called Lindsey to apologize for disrespecting her and I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused her,” he tweeted.
“The bottom line is I was wrong and I take full responsibility,” he added.
In the now-deleted tweets, he seemingly blamed his actions on workplace culture, to which Lindsey, in her interview brought up as well, and also stated why she complained about Valentine making her feel uncomfortable, but didn’t mention the sexual harassment.
“I felt maybe I was too prude for the office culture or feared being fired if I accused him of something inappropriate, as he had a high position in the company,” she said.
Lindsey alleged that Valentine often discussed his penis size, and openly discussed female body parts, including her own.
As Lindsey’s tweets gained traction, other women also felt brave enough to share their stories and unsavory interactions with Valentine.
The above stories are just the tip of the iceberg, there are plenty more, which can be found easily by searching his Twitter user name.
When contacted by ESSENCE, Valentine issued the following statement, “I spent the last few days reflecting on the comments made about me on social media. I took each written word seriously and I want to apologize for conducting myself in a manner that made women uncomfortable, for that I am deeply sorry. Women need to be safe in the workplace and I take full responsibility for my actions and I am working to give everyone the best apology you can give — changed behavior,” he said.
During Valentine’s tenure at Global Grind, which ended on January 15, 2020, Michael Skolnik was the president, and when reached for a comment he stood by the women who’ve come forward.
“I believe all of the allegations recently brought forth by my former colleagues and admire their courage. The stories coming out about Blogxilla’s actions are horrific and my thoughts are with these brave women. I have not worked at the company for 5+ years, and I cannot speak for GlobalGrind, Interactive One or any other leaders of the company while I was there. However, over the past few days, I have thought long and hard about if I could have done more to help foster a safer work environment, and without a doubt, I could have,” Skolnik stated.
What many consider ironic is that Valentine often spoke out against sexual harassment and assault:
And he has even tweeted about protecting women:
Although Valentine has not been employed with Global Grind since January 15, 2020, a spokesperson from iONE Digital issued a statement saying, “The allegations made against a former employee of Global Grind are concerning and Interactive One, who purchased Global Grind in 2015, takes them very seriously. When our management was alerted to the social media posts late last week, we immediately contracted an independent agency to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, which is ongoing. Interactive One remains committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our employees and have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment or abuse of any kind.”
When it comes to talking about sexual harassment, especially during the #MeToo era, often times when women are subjected to it, they fear retaliation and the use of gaslighting techniques if they speak out about people they deem more powerful than them, and such was the case with Lindsey.
“He (Valentine) never took any serious complaint I had seriously, and would always find a way to twist it into it being my fault, or me being way too sensitive. It led me to work remotely and eventually leave the company just so I didn’t have to even cross his path in the office,” Lindsey explained.
Although ESSENCE did reach out to other women who’ve made allegations against Valentine, so they can also tell their side of the story, at the time of publication, we had not heard back. But Lindsey had words of encouragement for women who have experienced similar harassment, who may be afraid to tell their stories as well.
“I feel as though any woman with an unheard story should listen to their gut instincts right now with what action they want to take for themselves. Even though I have no regrets whatsoever, I originally felt immense pressure and intimidation behind my decision to come forward publicly, and I’d hate for anyone else to feel like they have to say something and put their private pain out there in order for it to end. If and whenever they’re ready though, we’ll all be here with open arms ready to support,” she said.
If you are a victim of sexual harassment or assault or know someone who is, to speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.