NCSF Steps Up for Detroit
NCSF is there to help you when you need it. Just ask the Detroit
BDSM community, who recently came under fire from a local news
affiliate. The NBC Channel 4 Defenders were out to get a sensational
story on Robert Bashara, whose wife was murdered in January, 2012.
Since Bashara’s BDSM activities had become public, the Defenders
took concealed cameras in to a local BDSM party to take photographs of
people while they were playing.
Dateline NBC was going to air a show later that week about Bashara
that included his BDSM activities, so there was no possibility of
killing the story. The situation was further acerbated by a member of
the local community who gave an interview to the news stating that she
had seen Bashara at one of the local BDSM parties at the VFW Hall in
The morning of Tuesday, May 8th, NCSF started receiving phone calls
from people who were recognizable in the promotional clip. The story
was going to air at 11pm that night. NCSF Spokesperson Susan Wright
immediately contacted the news station to convince them to adequately
blur the images of the people they had photographed without
permission. She also coordinated a write-in campaign from those who
were recognizable, and communicated directly with several dozen local
community members and leaders.
The added pressure of outraged letters from the community convinced
the reporters to include positive sound bites about BDSM that Susan
provided. They also changed the title of the piece from “Dungeons of
Debauchery” to “Bob Bashara’s Alternative Lifestyle.” The
images that were recognizable were removed from the website and the
promotional clips that were released later in the day were much more
blurred. The news segment also contained images that were
The following week, on May 19th, NCSF hosted a full day’s schedule
of events at the VFW in Lincoln Park. NCSF Chairperson Leigha Fleming
ran town hall style meeting for the local BDSM community leadership from 2pm-4pm.
The leadership of more than 20 groups was represented. Leigha gave NCSF’s
workshop on how to protect your groups/events for local community leaders.
From 4-6 PM an open town hall for everyone in the community was held so
people could get their questions answered and discuss ways to
further protect the BDSM community and to promote education of those
outside our community. Leigha also gave the NCSF workshop on how an individual can
protect their privacy more effectively. A raffle and silent auction was held to raise
donations for NCSF. 2 organizations joined NCSF as Coalition Partners:
The Board of Education and Deviations. More than 20 individual
members joined NCSF as individual members.
A delicious dinner followed at the VFW Hall. Tim, the host of the
party that was filmed by the news channel, said, “Over the past
week, the VFW has been more supportive than we could have imagined.
The manager of the VFW told us this week ‘I fought in a war so that
people could have the freedom to do what they enjoy, even if it’s
not our own cup of tea.'”
In pride, the evening’s dinner was followed by the regularly
scheduled BDSM party. “This past week has been trying and tense,”
says Tim. “Several have asked where was the silver lining? We have
high hopes that this can be the silver lining. Rarely do we have a
chance to come together for no other reason than it’s the right thing
to do. Because we can support one another. If virtual strangers from
organizations and individuals from all across the globe have lent
their words and actions of support, we surely owe it to ourselves to
NCSF was proud to assist the Detroit BDSM community in their time
of need. It shows what when we work together, we can accomplish