Last week, Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens were considered upstanding members of the unusually liberal Asheville, North Carolina community. As the owners of Waking Life Espresso, they had made a name for themselves in the town, supplying goods to a number of local establishments as well as coffee shops nationwide. But their star plummeted after it was revealed that they are also the men behind a misogynistic pick-up-artist web presence—and often used their business to aid their sexual exploits.
Rutledge and Owens run a podcast called “Holistic Game” (the tagline of which is “Putting sweet D in the tender V since 2013”), as well as an accompanying website and Twitter account in which the duo recounts their various encounters and details how seduction science has helped them score.
One post from March of 2015, entitled “A Breakdown of All My Lays,” provides a comprehensive list of all 50 women the author (presumably Rutledge since Owens has claimed he didn’t write any blogs) has ever “fucked.”
11. K. – Business – 6/7/7 – Played
Late thirties MILF that I fucked in her basement while her kids were asleep. Slamming body for her age, and I’d never fucked a woman that old. We didn’t hang out again – I think she was only really interested in something serious. Her exes were abusive and I think she wanted beta comfort and stability. I still see her around – she’s single and seems to be doing well.
35. K. – Tinder – 6/7/4 – Played
This is the K. I mention a lot on the podcast. Early twenties self absorbed stoner with zero ambition. The sex was amazing and I helped her through some dark times (perhaps a touch of Save-A-Ho on my part). She caught serious feelings for me but we navigated it, and recently she’s realized I don’t enjoy her company and we’ve mutually parted ways. I hope she does well but she’s damaged goods.
Rutledge and Owens’ identity was first discovered (and publicly proven) by a blog called “Jared and Jacob Said,” which made it its mission to document the duo’s repeated internet misogyny, including tweets that said:
Nothing wrong with fucking a fat chick (body fat > 25%) once in a while, but they’re catch and release. #ozbodypositive
One thing that mediocre skinny girls can do is be sweet, submissive and feminine. Makes a massive difference and can often add a point.
As well as:
I just fucked a plate in the garage next to my business. After telling her I wanted to stuff her socks in her mouth and fuck her stupid.
Most concerning, however, is one episode of the “Holistic Game” podcast, in which “Jay,” whose voice belongs to Owens, essentially admits to raping someone while she was drugged and hospitalized.
“It was still really fun because we had sex in the shower. Hospital sex is weird, when she’s drugged, it’s strange, but it’s really cool.”
“Could she give consent?” Rutledge asks. “Could she give consent, Jay?”
“Uh oh,” Owens laughs. “That’s my bad. That is my bad.”
“You might’ve violated some California laws. Good thing we don’t live in California.”
Ashevilleblog has published accounts of several women who have found their own sexual experiences documented by the Jays. One woman writes that Rutledge walked up to her in her restaurant and said, “You’re hot and I think we should hook up.” When she refused (and noted she was married) he followed up with an email that read:
“yo hot stuff, you want a case this friday? it’s $2.72 a bottle, 24 bottles per case, and a case minimum. so $65.28. MSRP is $3.89. i’ll drop it by myself if you’ll make me a sammich :).”
Since the news broke, some local businesses have stopped stocking their shelves with Waking Life products. A Change.org petition encourages those who still sell their products to immediately stop. So far, over 3,100 individuals have signed.
“Our town does not support such people,” the petition reads. “This has been shown in the outcry of rage and hurt we have seen and by the people who gathered outside their place of business to protest.”
Orbit DVD, a local video store, has taken bottles pulled from other business’ shelves and plans to donate $50 to Our Voice, a rape crisis organization, for every $4 bottle sold. The store will pay the difference in cost.
“These are literally the women of the community that we live with,” said the store manager Kayla Bott in an interview with the Asheville Citizen-Times. “These are our friends. These are our loved ones. These are our neighbors.”
“The problem is not sleeping with people or talking about it. The problem is using women as things to boost your own ego. This is an act of dehumanizing women for self-aggrandizement and that is not a good reason or way to improve your own self esteem.”
On Monday, the company posted an apology on its website:
We’ve said terrible and demeaning things — things that belie unhealthy thought patterns that do not contribute to a stable and equal society. Things our mothers and sisters had to hear. We cannot and will not excuse these things. We grieve for the systemic and ongoing actions we’ve taken. We apologize to the women in our lives and the greater community for the harm we’ve caused, and the potential danger
We opened Sunday in order to have conversations with some of our regular customers, and to give an opportunity for folks to chat if they wished. A few did just that, and we’re grateful for your thoughts and feelings. We’re humbled by and undeserving of the grace displayed by so many in the face of our actions.
We’re going to close for the next couple days so we can have some room for introspection. We want to allow ourselves to be accountable to our friends, family, employees, clergy, and counselors for our actions, and give ourselves room to be silent and reflect. These attitudes were not grown in a day, and they will not be destroyed in a day. We want to humbly commit to that process. We’re not good people, but we want to be.
We’re going to donate all our business profits through the end of the year to Our Voice. Many of you in the community have great regard for this organization, and their work is of immense importance. We know this is but a step, but it’s something to which we can commit. Our employees who have lost their jobs due to our behavior will be given severance to help as they transition.
Owens issued his own apology on September 19, in which he denies writing any of the blog or Twitter posts, but feels complicit anyway.
Rutledge also published an individual apology in which he neglects express any remorse for his actions:
“Most of my life I’ve struggled with insecurities around dating. I felt like, in the past couple years, that I’d finally gotten a handle on this and experienced more success. So I made a twitter, blog, and got Jacob to podcast with me,” Rutledge wrote.
“We didn’t always say nice things, and sometimes we were downright mean. Sometimes I just vented about frustrating experiences in an immature, hateful, and foolish way. It was in particular a breach of trust to post intimate details about lovers. I was naive enough to think it’d stay anonymous, and I was wrong.”
Update: This article initially identified Rutledge as the one who told the hospital story; it was actually Owens.
Additionally, Our Voice issued a statement noting that it will not accept donations from Waking Life Espresso. You can read it here.
As did former Waking Life Espresso employees John Linch and Sarah Winkler, who both resigned immediately after the news broke. In a statement emailed to Jezebel, they said:
We also believe that money can not be used to mend broken trust, absolve one of accountability, or assuage the weight of personal guilt. Therefore, we choose to decline any severance package that may be offered to us from the owners of Waking Life Espresso. There are personal friends of ours and members of our community who were affected by their actions more acutely than ourselves. We’re encouraged by the support our community is offering to those victimized by the ranting, misogynistic behavior of these two individuals.
Our community is provided with the opportunity to express the values we foster and confront the underlying issues of female objectification, emotional manipulation, bigotry, and aggression towards any individual with the intention of making them feel lesser. To this effect, we are in the process of actively organizing an event with members of the Asheville community. All of the proceeds from this event will go to support Our Voice NC and the important services they provide our city. We will announce further details about this in the coming days, as more definitive plans are made.
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