The Other McCain

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Meet Caroline Contillo (@spacecrone), the ‘Buddhist Witch’ Who Destroyed @devincf

Posted on | October 11, 2016 | 4 Comments

Caroline Contillo (photo via Twitter)

Film critic Devin Faraci’s career was destroyed when the “male feminist” was accused of sexual assault on Twitter by @spacecrone, who turns out to be New York-based Buddhist writer/teacher Caroline Contillo. She was featured in a 2012 article and video about “Occupy Wall Street”:

Caroline Contillo went to Occupy Wall Street on a whim. After staying the night with the help of some friendly anarchists, Contillo knew she’d found her call to action. Contillo grew up in a political family, with her father a judge and grandfather a New Jersey state senator, and she’d been politically active for much of her life. But she’d lost her enthusiasm for activism after years of feeling that it wasn’t accomplishing anything. Occupy Wall Street, with its community at Zuccotti Park and its lofty goals that would benefit everyone, reignited her passion. In her years off from activism, Contillo had picked up Buddhist meditation, so she naturally navigated toward Liberty Square’s meditation group, where she thought she could do the most good. The group members would go to meetings and offer to try and level off any tension before the meetings started.
“Caroline is a quintessential occupier, inspired to engage in activism after years of disinterest,” the filmmaker, Jackie Snow, said. “The meditation practice she brings to the movement represents just one of keeping the ways supporters do what they can to help.”

Caroline Contillo in 2012.

In her own article, Snow describes how her husband introduced her to Contillo: “Caroline is a Buddhist witch involved with occupy.” On her @spacecrone Twitter account, Contillo described herself as a “Buddhist lesbian climate justice activist and meditation instructor.”

She has frequently referenced this identity on Twitter:

 

Contillo writes for the Idealist Careers site, where her articles include “Without Judgement: How Mindfulness Leads to Being More Open-Minded,” and “What is Mindfulness?” In 2013, Contillo taught meditation at a restaurant in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

A Williamsburg restaurant is serving up mindfulness sessions followed by a meal.
Leading the workshops is meditation expert Caroline Contillo, a graduate of the yearlong immersion and teaching training program at the Interdependence Project in Manhattan who said the culinary and consciousness combo is great for socializing.
“Something I always liked about classes I took at the Interdependence Project was the way we’d often go out to dinner afterwards, to continue the conversation more casually. I really love this part of the event,” said Contillo, whose monthly sessions at Isa are free with a fee for optional dinner. . . .
The sessions take place on the second floor of the restaurant, where there is an open space for participants to sit on the ground and let their minds wander. . . .
The meditation sessions are a great opportunity to escape the busy routine of living in New York City, which has a ton of activities and distractions that for some, in the end, amount to an overwhelming list of things to do. Contillo hopes her workshop helps participants forget all this and just breathe.
“It can be difficult to get ourselves to sit down and ‘do nothing’ for ten minutes a day, because we can always think of something we ‘should’ be doing,” she said.
“In a workshop, surrounded by other people, it can be easier to sink into the method and really start noticing how we relate to our breath and the present moment.”

Contillo wrote an article about her identity in May:

At a young age, I realized that the accepted story about how my life was going to go didn’t match up with what I felt at my core. I wasn’t going to fulfill that story — wouldn’t date a handful of boys, wouldn’t find the right one, wouldn’t have a family. I wasn’t thinking about boys at all. I was too busy with my giant crush on Kelly Bundy.
Questioning conventional narratives and explanations is part of why I was so attracted to meditation. I wanted to apply such inquiry to my experience. On the cushion, I noticed my mind vacillating between the extremes of trying to prove that I exist and wanting to disappear into the dynamic flux. Back and forth the relative and the ultimate: I’m Here, I’m Queer, Get Used to It! and Everything’s Fluid, Labels Are Restrictive.
For me, the key to the middle way is remembering that my identity as a lesbian is my individuated experience, but it is a relational identity. It’s the beautiful and very human paradox that we learn to sit with: we are individual, yet interconnected. . . .
I think my identity is a verb, not a noun: I queer into being when my girlfriend’s eyes meet mine.

Now 33 years old, Contillo’s accusation that Faraci, now 42, groped her more than a decade ago led him to step down as editor-in-chief of a popular movie news and criticism web site owned by a theater chain. Contillo described the incident with Faraci to the Hollywood Reporter:

The incident dates back to 2004, when Caroline and Faraci, who grew up in New York, were part of the same group of friends living and socializing in the East Village. . . .
Friday night was when they would get together at a dive bar to dance to a jukebox and let off some steam. On the night in question, it was an early-evening gathering for happy-hour drinks.
Faraci was tipsy, Caroline says, but far from obliterated. “I liked him and thought he was funny,” she recalls, adding that he was well aware that she was a lesbian and was “not interested” sexually in men.
“We were dancing and he stuck his hands down my pants, very blatantly on the dance floor. I said stop. He did it again. I kind of didn’t know what to do. I stopped him again and pushed him away,” she says. “There was no penetration. He just kept sticking his hands down my pants and into my crotch. Then he came in to do it again.”
“I think I moved away from the dance floor at that point,” she continues. “I had to get away from him. I was just so shocked that it had happened and kind of grossed out. I felt mortified for him. That was the palpable memory I had. I felt sad for him.” . . .
Two years later, in 2006, Caroline confronted Faraci about the assault on an internet message board. Just as in this week’s Twitter exchange, Faraci claimed not to recall the incident. “He kind of disappeared after that,” she says.

Faraci has been silent on Twitter since Sunday. Contillo continues tweeting.

 

Comments

4 Responses to “Meet Caroline Contillo (@spacecrone), the ‘Buddhist Witch’ Who Destroyed @devincf”

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    […] that Birth.Movies.Death editor-in-chief Devin Faraci has stepped down after being accused by Caroline Contillo, a sometime blogger and meditation teacher who self-identifies on Twitter as […]

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