Owning up

DJ at NYC’s ‘Rona Rave’ says it was a “stupid decision” to attend party

DJ Alec Brian
DJ Alec Brian (Images: Facebook and Instagram)

The DJ at last week’s infamous “Rona Rave” in New York City, where around 30 party goers attended a gay house party despite the city being in lockdown, has posted a Facebook video in which he admits he made a “stupid decision” in attending.

DJ Alec Brian begins the video by thanking frontline workers for the job they’re doing in fighting the virus, before explaining his attendance at the gathering. He says he was asked at 9pm Monday last week to DJ at the event.

“Like the rest of America, we’re all struggling for money … I, in the spur of the moment, made a stupid decision and agreed to DJ this party.”

Related: A group of gay men threw a days-long “rona rave” in NYC. Some of them are healthcare workers.

Brian says he showed up, worked for a couple of hours, and then returned home. He says that before the party, he’d been the biggest advocate of following the COVID-19 guidelines, wearing gloves and a mask when he leaves his apartment.

However, “I made an irrational decision because I didn’t weigh up and pros and cons … and I needed the money and I could use the money. Also, music is kind of my release. It’s what makes me happy. It’s what makes me feel good. So the thought of being able to do that to a room of people and also making them happy … it made sense in my head at that moment. But again, it wasn’t the right decision or the right timing.”

He goes on to say that there have been “parties like this going on for weeks now: ‘Underground kikis’, and I have been purposefully avoiding them.”

The DJ suggests people do not judge him solely on this one act: “I don’t think one wrong decision should determine my future, determine what kind of person I am or my character.”

He thanks friends who have reached out to him to check on how he’s doing and tells those who have harassed him online to try and learn the full story and not believe everything they read on social media. In particular, he shoots down one claim he read that he received a blow-job at the event.

He goes on to repeat that he did not organize the party, that he was paid to be there, and that he’s now used the money he made to buy masks. When they arrive, he will donate them to those in need.

He asks people to take “some time to reflect, and learn and educate,” without impulsively “tearing people down” for making one mistake.

He finishes by saying he hopes to see people on the dancefloor after the pandemic is over, but “If I don’t get booked any more … that was my fault, I did it to myself. But I know, deep down, that I am a good person.

Last week’s event was first picked up by Twitter user and LGBTQ advocate Phillip Henry. He posted videos taken from the Instagram Stories of adult entertainer Ian Frost. Henry said, “People are fucking dying left and right and the gays are having full on house parties on a Monday night in NYC. JAIL.”

As the tweet went viral, Frost and others tagged in the videos swiftly deleted their social media accounts or locked them to private. Frost has not commented on the videos.

Related: “Rona Rave” attendee’s non-apology decries “cancel culture” & says gays like to tear others down

Alec Brian is not the only attendee to issue a video response to the controversy. Last Wednesday, Chris Weaver, who works as drag queen Nedra Belle, confirmed he’d attended the party. He criticized those, particularly those in the LGBTQ community, of being quick to judge.

“The videos were released, and I was in the video, and now of course … they’re dragging us on social media — and there’s this call for some of us who were involved to be cancelled,” said Weaver said.

“What I will say is that I know some folks have removed themselves from social media and stuff like that. I’m not doing that. I’m a human. I make mistakes just like you make mistakes.

“Was it dumb? Yes, it was. If I could do it all over again, would I have attended the event? I would have not.”

“Let me tell you something about the gay community, the LGBTQ+ community,” he went on to say.

“What we do is we are so good at building each other up but we’re even better at tearing each other down, and the problem with that is we can drag and drag and drag folks all day and all night but there is never a chance, where is the chance for redemption? Where is the chance for somebody to make up for their mistakes or get it right?”

The videos have prompted a mixed reaction online. Some agree that we shouldn’t be quick to ‘cancel’ others. Many others remain scathing that anyone thought it a wise idea to attend a house party during a pandemic that has cost thousands of lives. It’s led to at least one parody video.