Last month, Erick Morillo turned himself in to Miami Beach police in regards to an December 2019 rape accusation, for which a rape kit returned positive with Morillo’s DNA. Last week, days before his trial date, he was found dead in his Miami Beach home.
While any death is tragic, especially for a DJ of Morillo’s caliber, his immoralities and transgressions must still be taken into account. It’s unlikely that the dance music community, at this point right now, would mourn the deaths of other recently exposed rapists and abusers in our community, so why the outpouring of love and support for Morillo? (And don’t say it’s because he didn’t have his day in court, neither did any of the others.) Probably because he’s been an active DJ/producer and member of the community for nearly four decades.
However, put yourself in the shoes of his victim for a moment, and imagine that your abuser is not only receiving glowing accolades following his death from his contemporaries, but that his funeral is going to be live streamed with comments from thousands of others lauding him. The live stream will also benefit the Brian P. Stack Civic Association, a Union City, New Jersey-based charity, whose programs include a children’s Christmas toy drive, a Thanksgiving turkey drive, and “charitble assistance to needy families and children of the community for medical reasons, or to vicitims of tragedies or hardship with no other means of support.”
Like, perhaps, a survivor of rape.
The post announcing the live stream states, “[Erick] was always appreciative of the support he received from his fans and because of that we have made the decision to livestream services so together we can pay respect and celebrate the life he lived.”
Though admirable, celebrating the life he lived also serves to disparage the life or lives he’s destroyed.
By all means, mourn privately. If Morillo was an integral figure in your life, it is no one’s place to deny your grief. However, his victim, and other victims of rape and sexual violence, should not have to deal with the knowledge that thousands are openly celebrating him despite his enormous transgressions.
I leave you with this post from Richard West, more commonly known as Mr. C, an integral figure in early dance music and a man with a 32-year tenure in the music industry. He was a close friend of Morillo’s, and also a survivor of early childhood sexual abuse.
“Did I know Morillo? Yes for many years.
We’re we mates? Yes, like all us International DJs are mates.
Did we have fun together? Of course.
Did I post a photo of us together saying RIP & how much I respect him or feel for his loss? Not a fucking chance in hell.”