OPINION 🏳️‍🌈 Why Diplo shouldn’t be performing at WeHo Pride

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The essence of WeHo Pride lies in its celebration of diversity, inclusivity, and the unwavering support for every individual’s right to feel safe and respected. It is in this spirit that I address the concerning decision to feature Thomas Pentz, popularly known as Diplo, in this year’s festivities—a decision that, regrettably, seems misaligned with the values WeHo Pride purports to champion.

Diplo’s inclusion is overshadowed by a series of grave accusations that paint a troubling picture of the artist’s interactions with women over the years, commonly involves young Black and brown women, and sometimes young women who are under the age of consent. From 2003 to 2008, Diplo dated British-born rapper M.I.A. who is of Sri Lankan descent. In 2017, M.I.A. accused the DJ of mental abuse. In October 2020, rapper Azealia Banks spoke out about her experiences, stating on her podcast, “I used to have sex with Diplo when I was 17 (Diplo was in his 30s)… He has always been preying on young ethnic girls.”

This statement is part of a wider pattern of accusations against Diplo, including those from Shelly Auguste, who, in July 2019, accused him of rape, grooming, and engaging in intimidating behaviors to dissuade her from coming forward after she claimed Diplo forcibly held her down and raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room after a performance. Additionally, in 2021, a fourth woman came forward, claiming she was raped by Diplo in 2019 after a Las Vegas performance.

These serious allegations have led to restraining orders and numerous criminal investigations, underscoring the severity and credibility of the claims made against him.

My commitment to advocating for survivors of sexual abuse, informed by over ten years as a human trafficking survivor advocate, published policy researcher and former steering committee member of #MeToo LA, compels me to speak out against this decision. I am also a survivor of sexual abuse and underage grooming by a famous fashion designer here in LA. When I finally shared my experience as an adult, the harms done to me were minimized by many so-called “friends” influenced by my abuser’s prominence in the art scene I was enmeshed in. This double trauma has influenced my work as a survivor advocate ever since, and echoes the broader issue of societal indifference to sexual misconduct when weighed against celebrity, social status, and financial gain.

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Over the years, WeHo has earned a reputation for harboring powerful sexual predators like Ed Buck and alleged serial child sexual abuser Bryan Singer, along with the unsettling allegations of sexual harassment against former City Councilmembers such as John Duran—not to mention the persistent rumors of gross acts involving minors surrounding a current councilmember that continue to go uninvestigated.

The choice to platform an artist like Diplo at an event as symbolic as Pride is not merely about entertainment; it’s a reflection of our collective values and the standards we are willing to uphold.

In light of these considerations, I urge a reevaluation of Diplo’s participation in WeHo Pride. This is not a call for punitive action without due process but a plea for introspection on the part of our community leaders and event organizers. It’s about ensuring that our celebrations do not inadvertently undermine the principles of safety, respect, and justice that Pride stands for.

Let this moment be an opportunity for WeHo to lead by example, to demonstrate that our commitment to the well-being and dignity of all community members transcends the allure of celebrity and spectacle. By doing so, we affirm that WeHo Pride remains a beacon of hope, inclusion, and unwavering support for survivors and the values we hold dear.

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About West Seegmiller
West Seegmiller is a national policy researcher and local advocate for survivors of labor abuse and human trafficking. He is a Co-Founder of the Free WeHo Coalition, www.FreeWeho.com

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dr. peel-
dr. peel-
2 months ago

well, so far WeHo is leading by example… but which example is a good one?

Outraged
Outraged
2 months ago

Let’s just take a moment to reflect the outrage that our Pride celebrations in recent years, especially with the new producers, have gone from a very very specific and historical celebration and commemoration of the acts of the stonewall uprising in 1969, specifically for gay/LGBT rights, and now it has become this mainstream, straight, commercial dilution of its former self. When we are looking at this year and the general election possibly losing our entire democracy to a fascist anti-LGBT dictator, and the stripping of our rights that pre-date decades before 1969, it is no time to have a “music… Read more »

hifi5000
hifi5000
2 months ago

Diplo is of a long line of celebrities who are using gay pride festivals to promote themselves.Like another commenter on here,I don’t know who this guy is and after reading about him,I don’t care to. For a long time,I have felt pride festivals are becoming too commercialized.In order to get the crowds in the door,pride committees have been hiring somewhat questionable singers and celebrities.I also don’t care for the emphasis on drinking,but pride festivals are very reliant on the income from their sales. I was thinking of attending Pride this year in West Hollywood,but after reading about this fellow,I am… Read more »

West
2 months ago

Thank you Brandon and Larry for running this op-ed calling for a recommitment to our community values, and also for allowing me to share my personal story. For anyone reading that can relate, please know that you are not alone. Male survivors in particular can find resources at 1in6.org 🙏❤️‍🔥

Cy Husain
2 months ago

I have NO experience in the music industry and, don’t know who this guy is. Now this article needs hyperlinks to credible sources & lots of them considering the serious nature of the accusations being made, they need to be supported by sources❗

Note: Diplo Accused of Distributing Revenge Porn in New LAPD Police Report.

Multiple Claims of Rape & Grooming Against Diplo. A small sample of what I found online by sources that could of been sued for libel if the accusations were untrue.

Last edited 2 months ago by Cy Husain
West
2 months ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Thank you for the hyperlinks, Cy

:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago

There is a lot here, but until there is evidence, charges and arrests, let’s remember we (gay) were the object of disapproval and accusations and persecutions as well. I won’t throw stones at anyone until arrests are conducted. Until then it’s heresay.

John Arnold
John Arnold
2 months ago

What is Diplo’s connection to the LGBTQ+ community?

Outraged
Outraged
2 months ago
Reply to  John Arnold

EXACTLY. What does he have to do with representing or being an ally specifically to GAY PRIDE??

SeeMe
SeeMe
2 months ago
Reply to  John Arnold

He has recently claimed that he has received oral sex from men and he apparently showed up recently at a predominantly LGBTQ rave (though I believe it was mostly gay males in attendance). Apparently that’s all it takes to get your gay card these days…and let’s not forget Christopher Street West choosing Paris Hilton and her mother years ago when neither has ever done anything notable for the community.

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
2 months ago

Candidate. Sweep your own front porch for once rather than continously pointing fingers at everyone but yourself. Seems to me you should be concentrating on making ammends to those you have lied about and caused pain, because what is saved that you posted publicly is not only lies, its slanderous candidate. And it’s coming to bite you in the a$$ Get off your holier than thou soapbox and own your own sh!t.
Nothing shows more weakness than grandstanding.

West
2 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

While I stand by my comments, I know you care about survivors, Jimmy. You helped me during a particularly dark time in my life, and I’ll always appreciate you for that. If you ever want to discuss these issues with me personally, please reach out at We do not print phone numbers please email to jimmy privately.

Cy Husain
2 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy palmieri

There is Rolling Stone and, People Magazine that are NOW running stories about the subject’s Distribution of Revenge Porn (without consent) and His Sexual Misconduct Allegations published in 2021 by The Cut and Buzzfeed News. These are all well established sources open being sued for libel if their claims are unsupported ❗
This should alarm our Politicians and Candidates if such a person is representing West Hollywood at a major event.

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
2 months ago

Accusations. Innocent until proven guilty. More importantly, why did you capitalize “Black” but not “brown”?

Cy Husain 🌹
2 months ago

That is in Civil and Criminal cases but, being cancelled from performing at an event due to bad publicity is a whole other matter. If I was cancelled from speaking at the event about the Gaza🇵🇸 Genocide, I doubt you would be making that argument in my defense ❗

Singleguywh
Singleguywh
2 months ago
Reply to  Cy Husain 🌹

Where are the hostages?

Cy Husain
2 months ago
Reply to  Singleguywh

Good point, over 9,500 Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank were in Israeli captivity, according to estimates from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a rights group based in the West Bank city of Ramallah that supports Palestinian prisoners.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
2 months ago

WeHo has become “the look at me” city!
As long as someone is famous, or a policy is the newest or most outrageous, or actually anything that will get attention, WeHo leaders are all for it and will promote it…residents and small businesses be damned!

Cy Husain
2 months ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

There are NO people or laws keeping you, other residents or even, any of the small businesses in the Great City of West Hollywood; from being as ostentatious as they want to be❗

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
2 months ago

Thank you for speaking up on this. Too often I’ve seen older, wealthy men take advantage of young BIPOC in West Hollywood. I’ve seen young men drop out of college or out of a career, lured into a relationship with an older gent, only to be abandoned with no skills, money or education. This is why I’m so bothered by people like that guy who bought the Abbey. He’s in a relationship with not one, but two young men of color, and who knows what will happen to them. Rather than criticism, these older men get a high five in… Read more »

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

That story of young men hoing themselves out to older men is their business. But what does that have to do with White men, as you infer? I moved to WeHo as a young gay man and never hooked. I worked multiple crap jobs until I made it. Everything is not about racism

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
2 months ago

I never said anything about anyone “hoing” themselves out, which I’m assuming is sex work to you. I also never indicated that these older men are always white. My point is that older men frequently take advantage of these young men (many of whom are BIPOC men), act as gatekeepers to the community, groom them and then dispose of them. We should all be ashamed that this happens in our community, and yes, it is our business. Maybe Ed Buck wouldn’t have killed anyone if we made it our business.

Cy Husain
2 months ago

Reality ✅ The verifiable existence of systemic racism & its ongoing impact is by NO MEANS an invalidator of the very real & unjust suffering you have experienced❗

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