The group Vasquez helped to form and run. From Vasileia's website.

Alison White and Jeremy Michael Vasquez became fast friends when he first arrived at Mission High School in 2016.

White is an English teacher and anti-racism educator, so it felt natural to her to bond with Vasquez, who was spearheading a branch of the African American Achievement Program at the school. The class was for Black male students. In the beginning, teachers and students alike were enamored with Vasquez. 

White remembers getting to know Vasquez, in his late 20s at the time, at a happy hour in the first week of school at the 500 Club on Guerrero Street. “He was unapologetically loud and boisterous and charming,” said White, “and witty and talented.”

“He was wonderful,” she said. “I also felt like this was a really awesome person and someone that I was excited to collaborate with professionally.”

Vasquez’s curriculum was designed to empower young Black men and teach them about their history. In his class, Vasquez had his students perform a special handshake when they walked through the door. He encouraged them to call each other “King,” played music by famous rappers, and papered the walls of the room with posters of “Black history figures, superheroes.”

“It was like their opportunity to step into Wakanda,” said Vasquez, now 34, referring to the fictional African country featured in the Marvel superhero movie, Black Panther.

“I really trusted him, and admired him, and respected him as a colleague,” said Nicole Rodriguez, who worked at Mission High School at the time as an Upward Bound Education Advisor in the school’s college center. “When I met him, he approached me about bringing resources to the young men, and providing a presentation,” said Rodriguez, who identifies as queer and goes by they/them pronouns.

“He provided a space for me to talk about information about Black trans women to young Black men, which is a space that I feel like I never really had an opportunity to have before,” they said.

Mission High School.

But White’s first impression of Vasquez quickly soured as a litany of inappropriate behaviors rattled her and three of her colleagues. He became known for frequently using cuss words and slurs, and discussing sexual activities with his students, according to three teachers, who noticed his students acting “hypersexualized” and “aggressive” outside the classroom as well.  He quickly connected on social media with his students.  SFUSD Board Policy policy stipulates that electronic communications between adults and students should only be for legitimate educational purposes. Adults should not have personal contact with students unless a parent/guardian and/or school principal are included, it makes clear. 

During his six-year tenure as an educator, Vasquez has been placed on leave, fired, or banned from multiple schools and after-school programs, and watched the youth-led organization he wanted to make a nonprofit fail to get off the ground. 

Vasquez, however, has always walked away from wreck after wreck, simply picking up and moving on, unabated, to the next opportunity, his work history shows. At least until recently. The youths who looked up to him and the colleagues who worked with him are now speaking out — about how Vasquez repeatedly used his position as an artist and educator inappropriately.

A photo of Vasquez from his public Instagram, posted on June 4, 2020.

And, some within the state’s public school system are raising questions about why there isn’t a nationwide system to warn other schools and districts about such cases. 

“There needs to be some kind of nationwide system, whereby if somebody is inappropriate with kids who just turned 18, that they are somehow put in some kind of system to warn other school systems,” said Linn Lee, a curriculum specialist at Santa Ana Unified School District where Vasquez hosted several workshops in multiple classrooms in 2018 and 2019, but was later banned from the district.  

In the case of Vasquez, individual schools have acted on their own, but this past summer, over two dozen accounts owned by women banded together over social media on an Instagram page, @downfallofvasquez, to share their own stories of how he purportedly lied to them and hurt them to further his career. Mission Local spoke personally with more than 20 women, white and of color, most in their early 20s to early 30s. Around seven are former students or youth who have worked with him, eight are former colleagues, a dozen are ex-girlfriends or romantic partners, and seven are fellow poets and artists. Five of them were in their late teens and two were minors — one 16 and one 17 years old — when they said, Vasquez exposed them to inappropriate behavior. The two minors, who Mission Local spoke with, are now both 20. They said that the inappropriate behavior included consumption of alcohol and marijuana and witnessing sexual situations between Vasquez and other women.   

Screenshot of the @downfallofvasquez page taken Jan. 19, 2021.

All feel that the time has come to hold Vasquez accountable for his actions. For co-workers such as White, she’s still unsure what that should look like; for Rodriguez, it was spreading awareness of his history, and for a teacher who worked with him in Santa Ana, it’s making sure he can’t come into classrooms any more at all.

None of the women filed lawsuits against Vasquez, but in multiple instances, they filed complaints with their superiors.

Vasquez acknowledges past transgressions of the law, with two convictions against him in Riverside County for burglary and failure to appear in court, as well as public disturbance in 2012 and 2014, when he was in his early-to-mid 20s.

But he denies any wrongdoing related to the current accusations against him as an educator. He has his own theories as to why women are speaking out against him now. “For every room that I’m in, for every space that I go into, I’m very much a unicorn,” said Vasquez. “I’m usually the only Black or brown male in every space.”

“I know that something exists called ‘Jungle Fever … ’ A lot of women are attracted to that to the mystery of it, to the fire of it.” 

jEREMY vASQUEZ

“I know that something exists called ‘Jungle Fever,’” he said. “A lot of women are attracted to that to the mystery of it, to the fire of it.” 

Vasquez could not be reached for comment by phone or email after Oct. 16, 2020, despite repeated calls and messages. But Mission Local interviewed him three times between Sept. 22 and Sept. 30, 2020, and exchanged more than two dozen emails with him in which he answered some questions. 

White, who is still teaching at Mission High School, became alarmed in 2016 by Vasquez’s behavior outside of the classroom as well as inside of it. During their brief friendship and working relationship, she witnessed instances of binge drinking, public urination, and a party at his house at which friends of his snorted lines of cocaine. At one point, according to White and multiple teachers who asked not to be identified by name, Vasquez attempted to bring two 19-year-old women into a bar during a work happy hour, leading to him being forced to leave by bar staff (Vasquez was in his late 20s at the time).

White was especially disturbed by an incident she recalled in which Vasquez asked her what she did to unwind from job stress. 

White was picking him up from his house in September, 2016, to give him a ride to Church of 8 Wheels, a roller rink in Hayes Valley, where they were joining other colleagues. He wanted to change and make himself a drink before they left. He was in his kitchen looking for a bottle of wine when White remembers him asking her, “Do you drink, do you smoke, do you masturbate? Do you do all three? Because I know I do all three,” White recalls him saying. “Then he proceeded to tell me, in graphic detail, and also with hand gesturing, the ways in which he masturbates with a sock and lotion.” 

White nervously laughed it off at the time and tried to push it out of her mind. Another colleague of White’s had already reported him to the school for posting a picture of her rear end with a peach emoji that he’d taken while they were at a party. The colleague saw him do it. When she told him it was inappropriate, he didn’t seem to care, and posted to his Twitter account. The teacher declined to be named for this story.

The final straw came after White says she was told by a friend of Vasquez’s that he wanted to have a threesome with her. All of this behavior compelled White to report him to their assistant principal at Mission High School, Valerie Forero, in early October, 2016. Forero could not be reached for comment.

Despite that, Vasquez continued teaching for another five months, and his behavior continued unabated, White said.

Eric Guthertz, Mission High School’s principal at the time, is now the Supervisor of the Transformative Leadership for Equity and Excellence program (TLEE), a leadership development induction program for new administrators at the San Francisco Unified School District. He sent Mission Local an emailed statement: “Any report of a complaint or allegation of misconduct requires investigation, due process, and collaboration with district officials, and, in Mr. Vasquez’ case, a separate supervisor. These investigations take time to complete.”

“I know and regret that this may have caused frustration and discomfort for those that made the complaints,” Guthertz added. 

Vasquez, who has since worked as an educator at other schools and programs, denies the accusations against him from his time at Mission High School. He says that his friendship with White ended because he spurned her romantically. “I noticed feelings of getting attached, she was getting an interest in me,” he said. “And I wasn’t interested in her like that, I didn’t see her like that at all. So I put the brakes on.” Around then, the trouble started, according to Vasquez, and he started hearing the accusations of harassment.

“Like, I’m new here, and now this white teacher doesn’t feel comfortable because I don’t want to date her,” said Vasquez. “And now she’s got a few of her friends giving me the stank eye, and I could feel the discomfort.”

A school investigation came to a more substantive conclusion. Taking the complaints from White and two others seriously, Mission High put Vasquez on paid leave in the beginning of the 2017, spring semester, according to Vasquez. His contract lapsed five months later, according to the terms documented in a Sept. 13, 2016 Board of Education agenda. 

Altogether, Vasquez only worked six months of his 11-month contract for that school year. But Vasquez’s presence didn’t fade with his absence. He stayed in touch with many students, who supported him in absentia. 

During the public comment portion of a May 9, 2017, school board meeting, two students and two parents of students made statements in support of Vasquez knowing he would not be returning to Mission High School. Those who spoke highlighted Vasquez’s positive influence in the classroom and expressed disappointment over his dismissal. One such student, named Joseph, a senior at Mission High School said he was there to “speak on Jeremy’s behalf,” documented in the recording of the meeting. 

“When Jeremy was teaching our class, he showed us that he cared for us,” said Joseph. “In our class, he taught us that we were kings and queens,” adding that it felt like a brotherhood. But now that Vasquez was no longer teaching at the school, it felt like everybody “vanished,” he said.

He praised Vasquez for motivating him to go to college. “Without the help of him, I’d probably have been on the streets somewhere.”

“We want our teacher back,” said the second Mission High School student.

The second student who spoke in defense of Vasquez at the May 9, 2017, school board meeting.

One of the parents, Sandy, stated that she believed Vasquez was a “victim of false accusations.”

After Vasquez’s supporters spoke, public comment returned to the usual fare, such as parents asking for more staff appointments at schools or lamenting lack of financial resources for low-income families. His name did not come up again.

Vasquez, however, continued to show up sporadically to school events, such as sports games, despite being banned from campus, according to White.

“The way that he explained it to me, he just told me that white women are against a Black man,” said Rodriguez, the Upward Bound advisor at Mission High. “And so, you know, for me, I am a critical thinker, and I just felt like he took advantage of my way of thinking.”

The turning point for Rodriguez came much later — this past summer, when allegations started coming out over social media about his behavior. “I started seeing everything that was happening,” they said. “As people kept speaking up, I just realized that that’s what he was doing to me as well — manipulating me for his favor.” 

White recalled how many students changed their attitude towards her because they believed the stories Vasquez had been telling them about her. One moment that struck her in particular was when one male student of hers revealed that Vasquez had told his class that he and White had slept together. They had not, according to both White and Vasquez. White spent the next two years wondering what her students thought of her and mourned the loss of some of those student-teacher relationships. 

“Our community has so much healing to do,” said White, who still teaches at Mission High School. “Following that year, relationships between teachers that had lasted for years, or decades, were fractured.”

“Our community has so much healing to do.”

alison White

Growing up in Fairfield, in Solano County, Vasquez was always writing. 

He suffered from a debilitating stutter, and learned that writing helped get his thoughts out. “It was therapeutic for me,” he said.

But when he got to college at Cal State San Bernardino in 2005, Vasquez learned communication and public speaking skills. “I just found that I was able to memorize my poetry, and I pretty much put them together,” he said, around his freshman and sophomore years, which is when he also first started performing at open mic nights. His love for spoken word was born.

“When you become afraid to do something and you learn how to do it for the first time, you kind of get addicted to doing it more,” said Vasquez. “I was able to not only empower myself in those moments, but I was able to see the difference I made in everyone that listened.”

Vasquez’s work hits on his personal struggles, his love for his family, and his journey with race and identity. But it’s not just his poetry that captivates audiences. His presence dominates whatever room he inhabits.

Charismatic, magnetic, handsome, bedecked in tattoos and frequently sporting a large afrohawk, Vasquez is well-known in the Bay Area poetry and arts community. People are drawn to his energy and his art; he makes friends easily and attracts the attention of women everywhere he goes. He is a frequent performer at local open-mic events and has published three books of poetry — the most recent, The Past to Freedom, in late 2019.

The cover of Vasquez’s book, The Past to Freedom.

“For the past three years, I have been traveling the country, going to classrooms, going to juvenile hall institutions, going to mental rehabs, pretty much delivering spoken word and delivering human workshops though my poetry, and Afro-Latino pedagogy, and through my personal experiences,” said Vasquez.

In doing so, he seeks to be the role model he felt he lacked. “Most of my problems came in high school. Most of my self-discovery came in high school, when I was at my lowest GPA,” said Vasquez. “I wanted to be who I needed.”

After his contract at Mission High School lapsed in spring, 2017, Vasquez moved on to a different community.

That summer, Vasquez met Harmony Moses at a program for youth to work on music, called History through Hip Hop, with the Mural Music & Arts Project in Rincon Hill in San Francisco. Moses had been affiliated with the program for years, going from student to instructor just that summer. She was 18 at the time.

Moses remembers when Vasquez first registered on her radar. She said he was brought on as a new instructor, which was unusual, she said. Most of them, like her, transitioned from students to instructors. “I had never heard of him,” she said. “I just kind of walked in one day and he was there.”

Her first impression of him was not positive. “His energy was wishy-washy”

But after a while, she said, she went against her initial judgement, and they became friends. Over the summer she shared with him an idea she’d been mulling over — to start a youth-led performance nonprofit. She wanted to call it Vasileia, which is Greek for “royalty,” said Moses. It was a theme back then among her and her friends to hype themselves up by calling themselves kings and queens. “And he [Vasquez] presented himself as a person that could basically make that happen,” said Moses. Some of their members were around her age, or a few years older, and some were as young as 16.

After putting together their mission statement and jotting down ideas, Vasquez suggested they drive to Sacramento to, “fill out the paperwork and get a receipt of the title of your business and blah blah blah,” said Moses. They began the process to file as a 501c3 nonprofit. 

It was Moses’ name on all of the documents, but according to her, Vasquez immediately started taking credit for the organization, referring to himself as the CEO. 

“It was just really freakin’ hard to want to tell anybody or think anybody would believe me,” said Moses. “Because everybody knew him and I basically met everybody through our connection.”

At first, things went well enough. The group members mostly conducted operations out of Vasquez’s residence at the time, a sprawling property in Bernal Heights known by locals as “thug mansion,” where artists and educators often rented rooms. According to multiple sources, Vasquez allowed multiple teenagers to illegally sublet from him, crashing in his room or on the couch, while he was living at thug mansion. 

Vasileia members performed at schools and events, and led workshops. They held one small fundraiser on Aug. 22, 2017, just after launching, to showcase their talents. If people felt like donating, they could donate. It was meant to incentivize the students to perform.

According to Moses, Vasquez then split the money between the students. But Moses said they weren’t legally supposed to be taking donations at the time, and she started getting worried when people began asking her about it, leading to accusations of fraud, or “swindling and panhandling.”

According to the California Secretary of State’s office, Vasileia was suspended in 2017 for never filing a Statement of Information after registering. An SOI is a document that provides up-to-date information on an entity, such as the physical address, CEO, Officers or Managers, and/or members’ names and addresses. The Secretary of State office sent Vasileia a delinquency notice on Dec. 29, 2017, only four months after it had filed initial papers. 

Because the address on their registration form was Vasquez’s, Moses says she never received any notices.

According to steps outlined in the Attorney General’s Guide for Charities, Vasileia only advanced to step two out of the 10 needed to form a nonprofit: registering with the Secretary of State’s office. Because the nonprofit never finished the steps to establish itself, it was not supposed to “solicit for charitable purposes” or accept donations at all.

Moses maintains that was the only time she knew about donations being made, and from that event, each artist only made around $16 to $18.

After a while, she started hearing that Vasquez was soliciting donations from others. Her girlfriend at the time asked her, “Where’s all the money going?” Moses recalled. “I’m like, ‘what money?’”

Much to Moses’ surprise, her girlfriend said that Vasquez was taking donations. 

Vasquez declined to answer questions about donations. Sources are unsure as to how much he actually collected in cash amounts. “Depending on the instance,” said Perseus Argent, one former Vasileia member. He was only 17 at the time of membership with the organization. “Sometimes there was as little as $1,500, sometimes it was whole trips that were free, and other different things,” he said. 

Vasquez’s photo from the Vasileia website, identifying him as the Community Outreach Coordinator and Event Coordinator.

Like Moses, Khaia Ritter, 19 at the time, had been apprehensive about Vasquez initially, but eventually she was won over. 

Ritter met Vasquez through Moses and others at the Mural Music & Arts Project, and she quickly joined Vasileia as well, becoming its unpaid co-executive director, according to the organization’s website. 

However, after a few months of working together, she became disillusioned. At one Vasileia meeting at her house, she recalled, Vasquez became both inappropriate and predatory.

According to Ritter, Vasquez “whips out the alcohol, and I was like, ‘whoa, I didn’t sanction for any of this stuff to happen at my place, like, what are you doing?’” Ritter remembered. “And he starts feeding everybody alcohol.”

According to Perseus, who was also present that night, around a dozen people were in attendance, including three minors. Only three people were over the age of 21

“It’s one of the first times that he allows himself to get like, unchecked, like no stipulations, no boundaries whatsoever, just super drunk,” said Ritter.

According to multiple sources, Vasquez initiated a truth or dare-style game among the group, which led to him describing sexually explicit scenarios with some of the young women in the room, including Ritter. He’d made comments to her before, in passing, about her body and her looks, but this was different. 

“This was the first time he ever said to me, ‘oh, I’d take your pants off,’” said Ritter. “Basically throw me down on the table at my own home.”

“I was so, like, disturbed and freaked by the way he was salivating, pretty much as he said it,” recalled Ritter. “He had this disgusting look in his eye that I had never seen before.”

That fall, eight of about a dozen members started abandoning Vasileia as Vasquez’s behavior began making them uncomfortable. Moses felt humiliated by the accusations of fraud and the dissolution of her dream. But Vasquez was unfazed by the result, and self-published a book of poetry, Unshackled, that December. “Jeremy apparently was taking donations from people,” said Moses. “And eventually accumulated enough money to print his books that he then sold, and left Vasileia and its members behind.”

Argent and Ritter confirmed Vasquez solicited multiple donations for the so-called nonprofit. 

The cover of Vasquez’s book, Unshackled.

While still helping run Vasileia, Vasquez also landed a placement at Sunset Youth Services on Oct. 2, 2017, a Five Keys Charter School community program in San Francisco. Most of the participants are between the ages of 18 to 24 and are seeking to earn their GED or recover school credit. But even before his first day, he raised red flags. 

According to Amerika Sanchez, the Five Keys Principal of Community Sites in San Francisco, he wore inflammatory t-shirts saying things along the lines of, “’fuck the police’ kind of thing.” Since the charter school was run through the Sheriff’s Department, Sanchez was taken aback that Vasquez would wear things like that during his new-hire training. 

On his first day onsite, he raised another red flag for bringing the 19-year-old Ritter with him and referring to her as his “assistant” when staff asked him about her.

“I was like, okay, that’s weird,” said Sanchez, “She looks like a child. She looks like one of our participants.”

And so, after only a couple of days on site, Sanchez and other staff decided he wasn’t a good fit. 

When he was let go, Ritter said he blamed her and her presence on his first day. 

Although Vasquez was asked not to come back to Five Keys after just a couple of visits to the Sunset site, his pattern of behavior only continued. So did his career trajectory. That spring, in April, 2018, Vasquez performed his poetry and led a workshop as part of an ethnic studies conference at Chapman University in Orange County. Liz, then in her senior year at Santa Ana High School, and attending the conference on a field trip, was one of the students who saw Vasquez’s show.

“Everybody was so struck by it,” said Liz, who asked to go by a pseudonym for this story. “I went up to him and told him, ‘Oh you’re so amazing, I loved your piece,’” she said. “It eventually ended with me asking him to come over to my school and perform.”

Afterwards Vasquez struck up a friendship with Liz, first sending her cheerful postcards when he was traveling, then coming back to her school four more times that year. He told her that, “out of all the schools he had visited that year, my school is the one he came back to the most,” she said.

In the fall after Liz turned 18, she and a former high school teacher of hers, visited San Francisco for a short trip. Liz went on the trip with the intention of seeing Vasquez. Her teacher confirmed Liz’s account with Mission Local, asking to stay anonymous due to job-safety concerns.

After attending an open-mic event together, Vasquez stayed over in their hotel room. He stayed in their room for the duration of their stay. That’s when their relationship first became physical, according to Liz. It felt innocent, she said, because that first time, they only cuddled together, clothes on. “I think he definitely took his time to get to the point where eventually we had a relationship with each other,” she said. Then after she returned to Santa Ana, they began a flirtation over social media and text. He would send her poems and tell her he missed her. Liz believed they were in love. 

When he visited her school district to lead more workshops, they would meet and have sex, she said. But only when he had his own hotel room, not when he was staying with friends or teachers. She didn’t tell anyone about him until long after the relationship ended. 

“I knew that it was wrong from the get-go for me to even be talking to him that way, let alone allowing him to get to the point where we had sex,” said Liz. 

Vasquez denies having had a relationship with Liz or having sex with her, admitting only that they did cuddle together. “But never, like, in a romantic way,” he said.

According to Liz, the relationship fizzled out after a while, and she began focusing more on her college studies. She remained friendly with Vasquez until, during one of his frequent visits to Santa Ana, she noticed him getting closer to one of her friends. Her friend was older than her, but Liz still felt protective, knowing what she knew about Vasquez.

“I realized that she was getting him food. She then provided him housing,” Liz said. “I thought: This is another person that he’s going to use.” Though the friend broke it off, the experience convinced Liz to tell her former teachers at Santa Ana what had happened.

After the teacher who’d accompanied Liz on the trip to San Francisco heard the whole story, her first reaction was, “‘What do y’all need me to do?’ I had reservations about him a long time before that,” the teacher said.“There’s a lot of cracks in his story.” But the teacher said that she wanted the decision to ultimately be Liz’s. 

According to the teacher, when they were discussing options, Liz was troubled by the ongoing criminalization of Black men, and together they decided simply to alert all the other teachers in the district who had hosted Vasquez, or had him conduct workshops. Most believed Liz’s account, said Liz’s teacher, but there were still some who dismissed it as a love affair gone bad.

Linn Lee was one of the believers. 

“He was clearly inappropriate,” she said, adding that he was trying to befriend the students during his time at Santa Ana. “I just think more needs to be done to protect our students.” 

“I just think more needs to be done to protect our students.” 

Linn lee

A Curriculum Specialist at Santa Ana Unified School District, Lee heard the story from another teacher and swiftly decided to report it to Child Protective Services and the assistant superintendent of the district. 

According to Lee, CPS told her that there wasn’t much that they could do because, when the relationship started, Liz was an adult. 

Lee also reported it to the school district’s risk management department, which arranged for Vasquez to be flagged in the district’s Raptor system, which scans the driver’s license of any visitor to a school’s campus and checks if they are an offender of any kind. 

According to an emailed statement from Santa Ana Unified’s Chief Communications Officer, Fermin Leal, “Mr. Vasquez wasn’t an employee of ours, but did come onto several campuses as a guest speaker. We have terminated our relationship with him and he has been prohibited from coming onto any of our campuses. We are unable to comment on any disciplinary matters involving any of our staff members, or provide any further comment at this time.”

“And so, immediately, they put a ‘do not let this person in’ on the system,” said Lee. “And he’s not allowed to come into the schools anymore. At least for Santa Ana Unified.”

But banning Vasquez from Santa Ana may not be enough to satisfy his critics. 

Women have begun coming forward on the Instagram page about their experiences with Vasquez, some for the first time.

Heidi Kidd, an author and moderator of the @downfallofvasquez page, had her own bad experience with Vasquez. According to Kidd, Vasquez charmed her after meeting remotely during a Zoom open mic in April 2020. While pursuing her romantically, he asked her to paint some portraits of him. She did, mailing them off, but according to Kidd, Vasquez told her he never received them. It slipped her mind until one of her friends noticed he posted the portraits to his Instagram account, without crediting her. 

One of Heidi Kidd’s portraits of Vasquez. Kidd is also the moderator of the @downfallofvasquez Instagram page.

By then, she’d been long suspicious of his romantic intentions towards her and many other women in the poetry community. Hearing similar stories from others, she and a friend set up the page. Kidd acknowledges that there was a large burst of activity over the summer, but many of the youth and women flocking to the account were only comfortable contributing anonymously. There was some friction amongst community organizers about how to handle it. Some, according to Kidd, tried to put pressure on the youth, which made her uncomfortable.

“Each person’s story belongs to them,” she said. “And it’s really not fair to try to force them to come forward before they’re ready.” 

Things appeared to fizzle out as Vasquez vanished from Instagram altogether at the end of July, and Kidd took a step back from the page in September.

The question that many, like Kidd, were grappling with is how to hold him accountable — for presenting himself as an ally to women and youth of color when his many detractors say he’s more a manipulator of others for personal gain.

For one such member of Vasquez’s poetry community, Latasha Turner, her stance has been to discontinue promoting Vasquez’s work. Turner, a fellow poet, met Vasquez in March 2019 at an open mic night at the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley she hosted every second and fourth Tuesday before the pandemic.

Turner said that she thought Vasquez’s work was “fire,” and had previously helped him get gigs and booked for shows in the Bay Area. 

Turner doesn’t buy the more inflammatory accusations against Vasquez, but she sees boundaries that were crossed, and believes that Vasquez needs to do some personal growth in how he conducts himself with youth.

As for his behavior with adult women, it’s nothing new to Turner. “He’s not the only man in our community, in our poetry community, that has dogged out women,” she said, adding that for her, this conversation should be focused on the youth who’ve been affected by Vasquez’s actions, not on the adult women who’ve dated him. 

Her form of accountability is simple. “I’m not turning my blind eye to anything that I’ve seen or heard, because I do not promote him anymore,” she said.

Some who know Vasquez professionally are likely to agree with Turner. “People I’ve worked with in the past were better at setting boundaries,” said Marcel Glover, who used to work with Vasquez as a case manager at the Bayview YMCA in San Francisco. “I think that’s something that Jeremy has to do a better job of.”

“And I’ve told him this before, ‘honestly, you have to set boundaries for them [students], and not put yourself in situations where things like this can happen,’” said Glover. “Where they can say something about you, even if it’s not true.” 

As Lee from Santa Ana pointed out, no system exists to warn other school districts of a problematic individual. And without that, Lee notes, Vasquez is easily able to move on to the next youth program, the next community, the next school district.

As for Kidd, there’s been a resurgence of youth coming back to the page, sharing their stories with her in the last week of December 2020. “They’re less willing to hide things,” she said. “They’re just kind of blurting things out to me now, whereas before it felt like I was trying to drag something out of them.”

The reason, she’d guess, is that after months of being dormant, Vasquez is back on his Instagram.

One of his most recent posts is of him naked, except for a rainbow-striped apron, holding a bottle of champagne, celebrating his 34th birthday in Oakland.

This article has been corrected. It first reported that Latasha Turner met Vasquez end of 2018. They met in March 2019. 

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  1. PLEASE DO NOT PRINT THIS COMMENT

    I was one of the women he was sending poetry and love messages to on Instagram everyday. He would send me a video first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I noticed red flags when I noticed him sharing my personal messages to him on his stories, to make himself look super in demand or something? I don’t kno. I asked him to stop, he did for a while and then he posted a bunch of other messages of mine on his story later. but that’s not even the half of it. This guy is such a f****** scam artist and creep. anybody who gives him any benefit of the doubt, has obviously never dealt with narcissistic sociopaths, or psychopaths because he is straight up soulless. he pretended to love me, and then he tried to get me to book schools in Canada for him to visit. And expected to stay with me when he visited. Then a woman I follow on Instagram but don’t know in real life, wrote me when I shared his poetry to my page, and told me that she had edited his third book for free and that he never paid her or even credited her. But he was also pretending to be her partner on Instagram LOL so dumb. not long after that is when the downfall of Vasquez page started and then I started to see this is a pattern and I was one of probably dozens of women currently and hundreds of women in the past who have been swindled. I bought his books, unfortunately before meeting some of the young women who he plagiarized from. the other thing about his poetry, if you read his poetry books, so so so many of the lines in it are just taken from popular Instagram memes, that have been shared and quotes that have been widely circulated. He’s not a genius. He literally is a predator, who seeks out genius women with hearts that love way too much without boundaries, and he latches onto those women in a way that he knows will keep them loyal, he plays off of their bleeding hearts and empathy, he does so much good work from such a bad place. He has impacted people positively, but only as much as a lie can. He’s a fraud. And I’m so grateful that our relationship didn’t go further.

  2. Campers,

    Sounds like the guy is a one man rock tour.

    Let me get this straight now.

    They want to write a specific piece of legislation that allows a line of a Lotharios’ conquests to blacklist him at how many school districts?

    I can’t see where he did anything illegal anywhere in the piece.

    Is this a new chapter in Cancel Culture?

    Go Warriors!

    h.

    1. He fed alcohol to minors, for one.

      Recommended reading: look up “the al capone theory of sexual harassment”

  3. Umm, look at the @downfallofvasquez page on IG. Believe survivors. This reporter was tryin to look at all angles and offer an unbiased perspective, but those kids aren’t lying.

  4. Campers,

    I think the piece was brilliantly researched and written.

    My problem is creating new laws that provide anonymous back channels for bad mouthing someone.

    I wouldn’t want my granddaughter hanging out with him but she’d figure him out fast.

    I strongly approve of your piece here because it’s Public.

    He’s a cad.

    Sue him in Civil Court for money lost in various ventures.

    A record of your suit will turn up every time he sneezes.

    Go Giants!

    Posey’s “heavier” for what will probably be his last year.

    Steroids to go out w/a 50 homer year, Joe?

    lol

    I was a Special Ed Teacher/coach/bus driver for many years and rule one was never be alone with a female student.

    Never had a problem in 40 years.

    h.

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