Photo: Rockstar Burgers, the Kansas City establishment owned by recently exposed abuser and predator of women Brian Smith
By Gail Miller and Daniel Reed
Yesterday Kansas City restaurant owner Brian “Rockstar” Smith confirmed that he would be closing Rockstar Burgers after being exposed as an abuser of women. Leading up to his announcement the community launched a campaign against him including protests and details of his abuse posted around Kansas City and online.
Details first began to emerge after a picture surfaced on social media depicting Smith’s ex-girlfriend’s head covered in blood, claiming that the wound was inflicted by Smith pistol-whipping her. According to employees of Rockstar Burgers, Smith was violent and possessive in his relationship with his ex and had beaten her in a fit of misogynistic jealousy after accusing her of cheating on him.
Seeking to humiliate her further, Smith then posted several videos online depicting his ex, who is visibly drugged, performing sex acts with a dog while he records. His attempted smear campaign against her would immediately backfire when the videos went viral on the night of November 25.
Smith’s personal YouTube channel is full of videos of women passed out or otherwise incoherent. In one of these videos, several photos can be seen on his phone of naked women lying face down on the floor tied up. He has also been the subject of sex-trafficking allegations as well as sexual abuse of minors.
Even though violent acts against women have happened before at his restaurant, and were reported in October by local bourgeois news outlets, the police have not launched an investigation into Smith or Rockstar Burgers. The restaurant has been frequented by famous athletes, musicians, and other celebrities in the past and prides itself as being a “police-friendly establishment” where cops eat free.
One eyewitness told Incendiary about her experience on the floors above Rockstar Burgers where Smith and others live and where he is suspected to have committed many of his crimes. She had been invited by one of Smith’s tenants named Armondo.
“[There were] tiny hidden rooms behind doors, and behind drywall. It was just like a maze, and very poorly lit,” the eyewitness said. “If you didn’t know about the rooms, you wouldn’t know how to get in or out of them.”
These observations are more disturbing when considering Kansas City’s history as a hub for sex trafficking, due in part to its central location within the US. Last August, two teenagers and 35 adults were freed from a sex trafficking ring in the city after a federal investigation, and in November police arrested 21 people in a human trafficking sting operation.
On the morning of November 30, posters were seen in Midtown detailing Smith’s crimes and calling on those outraged to “Unleash the fury of women.” Later that day, a protest took place outside Rockstar Burgers itself, with demonstrators holding signs that read “Brian Smith is a rapist” and “Rockstar Burgers = sex trafficking.”
Marching up and down the block, activists yelled slogans at the patrons inside, confronted those who left, and turned away at least two carloads of customers who hadn’t heard the damning evidence of Smith’s crimes.
Some protesters focused on Smith’s animal abuse over his abuse of women. “I think it’s nasty to position women’s rights below an animal’s,” one protester told Incendiary in response. “We can’t let this turn into a story about a dog, when women are being trafficked and raped.”
These protests and the larger campaign against Smith have exposed him and targeted him as an enemy of women. Sex trafficking is not an abstract sickness of society but a black-market business run by enemies of the people. The state works to curb these crimes, but it cannot end them because sex trafficking is a product of the poverty created by capitalist society which the state protects.
It is through people, especially women, organizing to treat misogynists like Smith as enemies who deserve retaliation for their crimes that the revolutionary violence of women will be unleashed.