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The Ghost Inside's Jim Riley

Ex-The Ghost Inside Bassist Jim Riley On Past Racial Slur Usage: “I Have Fundamentally Changed The Way That I Think About Things Regarding Race Since Then”


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Jim Riley, former bassist for The Ghost Inside, participated in a video discussion this past weekend, offering insight into into his past usage of racial slurs and how he has changed since and hopes to continue moving forward. Riley was called out by Bracewar drummer Rashod Jackson last week after The Ghost Inside launched a benefit shirt for the NAACP.

Jackson accused Riley of having used the n-word to describe a black bus driver while on tour around 2014-2015. Riley would later go on to apologize with The Ghost Inside parting ways with him this past Saturday, June 06th.

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Speaking of his past usage of the slur in this below new interview, Riley offered:

“I admittedly have been reckless with that word in the past, and I don’t mean to diminish it—I don’t want to try to downplay it, I’m doing my best to be here own it in every way that I can. Looking back today is a person that I think is dramatically different than the person I was in in 2013, or ’14 or 2015—even when I offered that first apology to Rashod, when we spoke on the phone.

He called me out on this in 2015. I reached out to him immediately, we spoke on the phone. I owned it that day. I said I have used this word before. And I apologized and he told me it wasn’t enough and that really shook me. I know people are gonna say that’s bullshit or whatever, but that incident changed my mindset. I have fundamentally changed the way that I think about things regarding race since then.”

He continued:

“…I have to do what I can to make amends for it. Some people will forgive and some people will never forgive me. And I’ve gotta own that. And I’ve gotta own all the consequences that come with that. The damage I’ve done to the reputation of the band can’t be undone.”

Since making the accusation, Jackson himself has been called out for making homophobic slurs on social media in the past. Riley voiced his thoughts on that:

“I don’t want to wade into the shit on social media, It’s so unproductive. Seeing Rashod get dragged through the mud for his shit makes me sick to my stomach.”

“…What I know from our mutual friends, he’s [Rashod Jackson] a great dude. I know he’s active in his community. His character and being called out by him is one of the reasons is why I took that so seriously. I know that he is a good person. And here I am, if I’m gonna ask for the ability grow, Rashod has to be granted that same ability to grow.

And I’m not a gay person—that’s not my fight to be in. But for anyone to say that Rashod can’t have an opinion about this because of what he has said in the past is totally invalid—that’s not how this shit works. He is a black man, he’s speaking out about injustice in the black community and that’s his right.”

As for how he hopes to move forward in a positive manner, Riley stated:

“I don’t get to demand forgiveness. I can offer an apology, I can try to change. I can try to grow. I can try to be an ally. But it’s not ever going to be enough for some people and I have to accept that and I gotta wear that and I gotta own it.”

Riley later revealed that he was ‘the driving force’ behind The Ghost Inside launching a shirt to benefit the NAACP last week. That shirt was what led Jackson to renew calling out Riley over the past racial slur, as Jackson had previously called him out in 2015 via Twitter. Riley had the following to say about the band’s intention with the shirt:

“I felt—and I was the driving force behind putting that shirt up—that in this moment our band, because of what we’ve been through—because of all this… because of our position in the world—that we were going to get a lot of media attention from a lot of places that other bands that we’re adjacent to don’t reach.

And that it was our obligation to take the message into those spaces. And that rather than put up a t-shirt that was gonna make us money the day before this record comes out, I made the point that we should participate in what’s going on and make a statement and put this shirt up, and try to raise a whole bunch of money to help what’s going on.

And I know that it looks like a PR move… All I can tell you is the band didn’t need help marketing, that’s not what it was about. The album was coming out and it was going to be well-received regardless.”

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Open dialogue addressing Jim’s past use of the word nigger

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