Yesterday, information was released about the two owners of Waking Life Espresso, in which it was made public that Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens had admitted to using their place of business to further their sexual escapades. Since 2013, Rutledge and Owens have been running a podcast, Twitter, and online blog detailing the women they slept with, rating those women, and outlining the sexual acts in detail.
Women who have been a part of the duo’s unfortunate mission have started reaching out to others and coming forward. At her request, we are publishing the following statement made by one of Rutledge and Owens ‘conquests.’ The authors name has been omitted to protect her privacy.
I was shopping earlier today when my social media started blowing up about recent comments, blog posts, podcasts written by Waking Life owners. In their now deleted blog and podcasts, the owners of Waking Life wrote details of sexual exploits of women as well as other distasteful messages of racism, homophobia and equating women to basically sub-species. What is most alarming is that I discovered one of the sexual conquests described was myself.
I never spoke ill about the owner after the sexual experience but he did. He wrote in his blog nasty and horrible misogynist things about myself and other women. Now, I am in a loving and committed relationship with a wonderful man who loves and supports me for me. I first was angry and wanted to lash out, but now watching protests erupt and other wonderful men/women supporting women’s rights makes me feel better. This sexual “conquest” happened years ago and it makes me feel so much better that I have evolved into a whole human being who loves and supports others while the owners of Waking Life finally got exposed on who they are.
An apology is a good start, but attitudes don’t change over night. I hope that the owners take a long look at their lives, who they affect and hopefully get into therapy. It sickens me that stories like these still come to light in 2015 (on the other hand, nothing shocks me anymore) Men need to support women and men. Men need to see women as not “conquests”, fish that can be “tossed back” and start seeing them as beautiful human beings that should be lucky to even give them a chance. Please continue to boycott Waking Life and give your hard earned money to other local businesses who love and support everyone.
A second women also tells us about her experience with Jared Rutledge:
Thanks for sharing such a big, and perfectly timed (with their new downtown location about to open its doors) story. I don’t take pleasure in the misfortune of others, but I really believe the demise of Waking Life is creating something so much greater. It’s been straight up delightful to see the Asheville community speak up against what Jared and Jacob had going on, and have now come to represent.
When I was 19 I was sexually assaulted and held at gunpoint, and when I went to the police they asked me why I was wearing a dress that night, and that they knew of girls that told the same story I did to try to get money. When I didn’t change my story even after they told me they could prove I was lying, I guess I passed the test, because they backed off a little and told me they were just doing their job. I moved on to the next level, where I got to pick out the perpretators face, which I did accurately, and they told me he had a lot of clout in town but they’ve gotten complaints before, so they’d see what they could do. I got a couple more calls saying they believed me, and were working on it. Then the calls stopped for awhile. Then someone called me and said sorry, that kind of stuff just isn’t stuff you can prove happened, and even though they believed me, they couldn’t help me.
About a year after that I moved 10 hours away to Asheville. Since then I’ve spent a lot of time healing, feeling a lot more like myself again, and having a lot of fun. I met a really wonderful man and now we’re happily married. My family also moved to Asheville, and my father recently bought a local business, and I helped him out for the first couple months, working at the West Asheville location. The previous owners of the business did business with Waking Life, and one day my father introduced me to Jared at the store. We were considering selling their bottled cold-brew coffee. I stood next to my father, across from Jared, and he gave a courteous smile and shook my hand. I gave him my email address, and it was agreed that he would send me the price of the product and ordering/delivering info.
A week or so later, Jared came into the restaurant with a friend, while I was working. I delivered his food and we chatted for a little bit, nothing too memorable. I reminded him to send the email and he said he would, then I went back to the register. I was training a new employee, and it was a fairly busy lunch pop. On his way out, Jared made his way to the front of the line and pretty bluntly said, ‘So, you’re hot and I think we should hook up’. The kid I was training looked at me awkwardly, as well as other customers that were in line. I felt like an idiot. That feeling I knew very well came back and enveloped my whole body: shame. I tripped over my words and overcompensated by apologizing if I had somehow led him on, but explained I was married and had no interest. I think he reacted by saying something like, ‘oh, really? How old are you anyway?’ and then made some comment about how ‘all the good ones’ in certain age ranges and… i don’t know exactly because it didn’t really make sense. But he confidently recovered and said he’d email me.
It felt odd that I felt way worse than he did, even though I was the one shutting him down. It’s something that is difficult at times to explain, but I imagine it’s something a lot of women (and men) can relate to. It’s a certain kind of gross narcissism that I think Jared really exemplifies.
So later I checked my email and this is what I read:
I felt really insulted, but still kind of stupid, like it made sense that he would say something like this, because he’s trying to make a joke, and he’s funny, right?
But no. I angrily told friends about the situation and they told me I should respond back and tell him that shit isn’t cool. And I agreed, but for some reason I never did. I felt like if I did, he would just insult me further or tell me I couldn’t take a joke or something. Or maybe write a blog post about what a bitch I was…
Anyway, I realize my story isn’t nearly as degrading or disgusting as others. But in my instance, embarrassed me while I was trying to help establish my fathers business, and in front of customers and the employee on his first day of training, which translates to no respect for me, my father, or the business. With the email the followed, it emphasized the lack of respect for me, my marriage, and my work integrity. Luckily I haven’t had any physical interaction past our handshake, but I wanted to share it because I think it’s important to air out every time he and Jacob made a woman uncomfortable. I think his apology missed the mark, and mainly because he doesn’t really know what he did wrong, he just knows his business is sinking.
A protest was held at Waking Life yesterday at 4 pm, where a crowd of over 20 men and women peacefully stood on the sidewalk in front of the establishment, holding signs against sexism and misogyny. Another peaceful protest has been planned for Monday morning.
A local has created a petition to remove Waking Life’s Flash Chilled Coffee from the shelves of local businesses. You can read and sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/whole-foods-desoto-lounge-orbit-dvd-west-village-market-and-deli-hopey-co-earthfare-appalachian-vintner-ben-s-penny-market-diamond-brand-duncan-and-york-horse-hero-roman-s-deli-and-c-pull-waking-life-espresso-s-flash-chilled-coffee-off-the-shelves