Rob Walker: At the Center of Controversy

I suspect we now know how the tale of the taser is going to come out. Susan Hathaway is behaving on her Facebook page as if she’s been betrayed by someone she trusted, and one may conclude that the person in question is Rob Walker, a film student at Virginia Commonwealth University, who supposedly wielded the taser in question. Walker became something of a hero to the Flagger community several months ago when he produced a short film portraying Tripp Lewis at Oakwood Cemetery. Some people commented on the film when it came out, and Mr. Walker engaged in an exchange with Kevin Levin that contained several statements that look more interesting in light of recent events … so let’s raise some questions with you, Mr. Walker.

You said:

I am an unbiased filmmaker…. Your fight is not with me. I have not attacked your credibility. Please do not attack mine.

It appears that the Richmond Police Department impeaches your credibility, Mr. Walker. What do you have to say about that?

I feel that Tripp’s tactics are interesting. Is he looking to make a scene and be noticed? I believe so. Is it working? Yes, even people in Boston are noticing.

One might suggest that the report attributed to you was an attempt to be noticed … although that may have been Ms. Hathaway’s decision. Did she simply report what you told her? Did you in fact share this story with her?

I like your site (Mr. Walker’s addressing Kevin Levin). I have watched some of the interviews you have done and I have read up on you. I would like to give you a chance to speak, in contrast if you wish, to the points that the flaggers make. I am willing to travel to Boston or where ever you would like to meet to conduct an interview. Like I said, I am unbiased. I am not for or against the Confederate flag. I simply wish to conduct an investigation into the issue. Unfortunately, those who claim to be on the size more righteous than the Flaggers have refused to speak. Hopefully you will be the first.

Mr. Walker, it’s your turn to speak in light of the events of the past several days. Understand that these events have been publicized; understand that the VMFA, which is giving you funds, has been dealing with the Flaggers for some time. The story is now receiving wide play and interested parties in Richmond are aware of it, including several institutions.

I’d like to give you a chance to speak and to clear matters up if you can. I’m simply looking to conduct an investigation into this story, especially as Flagger leader Susan Frise Hathaway and vocal Confederate heritage activist Connie Chastain look ready to throw you under the bus to cover up Hathaway’s behavior.

The ball’s in your court, Rob P. Walker, Jr.

However, before you return it, could you help me out here? Ms. Hathaway says you were injured on the terrorist attack against the USS Cole. Yet I found this comment on your Vimeo site from “Lori”: “Why are you lying about having been on the USS COLE? I was there, you were not. Explain yourself, Rob.”

Why would someone say that, Mr. Walker?

Kevin Levin may well be right that it’s time to move on, although the activity at this blog suggests that many readers of this blog are avidly following this story. But I would not like to let this story die without giving you, Mr. Walker, a chance to explain what’s been going on from your perspective. After all, the Virginia Flaggers are in something of a tight spot, Mr. Walker. They’ve praised you, shared your film, distributed this story, and now they are going to have to figure out what to do about all this in light of the news that there’s no documentation for the story Hathaway published about you.

Maybe it’s time that you speak for yourself.

11 thoughts on “Rob Walker: At the Center of Controversy

  1. Rob Baker May 14, 2013 / 4:30 am

    Well, if Susan were really playing a deceived victim, then she would post a retraction. So either this is a blatant lie, an overly embellished small incident, or a great deception…..”tune in next week.”

  2. Michael Confoy May 14, 2013 / 5:27 am

    It’s like a good soap opera that just keeps giving new surprises. They do make it easy to sit back and enjoy. I think that the Virginia flaggers and friends are feeling that time is against them in Virginia as the most populous areas here keep getting bluer and bluer.

    • Brooks D. Simpson May 14, 2013 / 7:45 am

      When Susan Hathaway welcomes Connie Chastain’s support, you know she’s getting desperate.

  3. cc2001 May 14, 2013 / 6:56 am

    I suppose we will have to move on if neither Hathaway nor Walker will come forth to explain their roles in this sad attempt at myth making. For me it would be easier to laugh off if Hathaway had not invoked God in her sordid little tale. She either used God’s name to knowingly perpetuate a falsehood, or used His name to sanctify a petty overuse of violence. Really, that’s just gross.

    • Brooks D. Simpson May 14, 2013 / 7:42 am

      Well, I can report that the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has taken an interest in the story. I’m sure that both Hathaway and Walker will not be overjoyed to hear that.

      • cc2001 May 14, 2013 / 7:54 am

        Well, I think Hathaway will be happy as it will further her and the other flaggers’ sense of persecution. It’s what keeps their movement alive. Walker, however…

        On that point I have to ask a question. I don’t want to appear mean spirited, but his films on Vimeo are mediocre at best. I have done as good a job using the camera on my flip phone. How did he get a film fellowship from VMFA?? Maybe his still photography is better.

        • Andy Hall May 14, 2013 / 8:13 am

          VMFA has multiple levels of fellowships. His is for undergrads.

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