Several months ago, I wrote about the Amanda Knox case. You will recall that Ms. Knox, an American study abroad student in Perugia, Italy, was found guilty of murdering her British flatmate, Ms. Meredith Kercher. Her family is appealing this decision and they are preparing, strategically and financially, in light of this.
On January 25, 2010, Examiner.com reported that a lifelong family friend of Mr. Knox, Ms. Renee Perrault, decided to hold a fundraiser at a comedy club. Ms. Perrault is an “amateur comedienne” and firmly believes that Ms. Knox is not guilty of such a crime.
When I started to read this article, I seriously thought I had gone to the wrong web page; I thought that I must have accidentally visited www.theonion.com. For those of you don’t know about this site, it is a comical “made up news” site of the most ridiculous fictional stories. For example, today’s humorous headlines include:
– Ford Mustang Recalled for Being “Too Cool”
– Bald Eagle Tired of Everyone Assuming it Supports War
– and if you live in the US, you’ll find this one particularly timely: Tiger Woods Announces Return to Sex.
I was certainly confused. After all, Amanda Knox was first convicted in the media and by the public long before she was convicted by a jury. There is no sequestering of jurors in Italy per their law and the media influenced this case directly. With this in mind, why on earth would her family and friends agree to a fundraiser that could be perceived as distasteful, even if jokes were not made about the case or its location? After all, if one were more strategic in fundraising efforts, perhaps they could have done something else – ANYTHING else: Hosted a dinner at an Italian restaurant in Seattle? Asked local businesses to donate items or gift certificates for a raffle? Held a car wash? ANYTHING but a comedy night! Didn’t they imagine how the situation could be perceived by Italians and Brits who support the verdict? Did they not think about the cultural perspectives of this “innocent” fundraiser?
I will state for the record, as I did in my previous posting: I have no idea if Amanda Knox is guilty of not. I was not there, I do not know all of the facts from this case. However, with that said, I have to ask the obvious question: What the hell was the Knox family thinking by agreeing to a comedy fundraiser? While I am certain that the intention behind this gesture was nothing but to support the Knox family, I am still floored by the lack of awareness of how it could be perceived and how it may, ultimately, harm her public perception abroad further.
Punchline Magazine’s interview with Ms. Perrault provides her explanation of why she wanted to organize a comedy show fundraiser.
I’d be interested in hearing opinions from around the world. Feel free to comment!