After the Runaways bassist Jackie Fuchs made headlines earlier this month for her first-person account of being raped by then-manager Kim Fowley, she received responses from her former bandmates Joan Jett and Cherie Currie denying they witnessed any such incident. Fuchs has now responded to these comments in a new interview.
“The important thing to focus on is that certainly the Joan of today would not stand by and watch a bandmate being assaulted in any way without doing something,” Fuchs told HuffPost Live on Thursday.
But, she continued, like most everyone else in the room, Jett was a teenager at the time and due to social pressures might not have felt comfortable doing anything.
“We all like to think that we are the type of people who would stop an assault in progress because most of us are good moral people,” Fuchs continues. “But even good moral people have a hard time acting when they see an event of bullying or of sexual assault or anything similar, especially when there are a lot of people around.”
Fuchs said this is due to a phenomenon called “diffusion of responsibility,” that’s part of the “bystander effect,” and affects other tightly knit social group such as sports teams and fraternities where people “dominant members” or people in a position of authority in that group may not have their actions questioned. She described the party scene on that New Year’s Eve in 1975 where everyone was doing their own thing and probably not paying close attention to what she said was going on with her and Fowley.
“I think by the time people realized there was something deeply wrong happening they had been there for a while and it probably felt a little strange to suddenly speak up and do something, especially when they looked around and everyone was trying to look cool,” she said. “They looked around, the adults weren’t doing anything, the people in the band weren’t doing anything, and they just didn’t want to speak up in case they were misinterpreting the situation.”
Billboard reached out to Jett’s rep for comment but had not heard back at publishing.
Watch a clip from the interview below and the full interview here.