So here is the story on Azcentral.com. That’s right, Rebecca Gau and Jaime Molera think that my weekly post of cosplayer pictures are racy and offensive. I should not be able to work at the Arizona Department of Education according to them because you cosplayers are just so scantily clad and inappropriate, that if I post cool pics of you on my site, somehow it will destroy the morals of children across Arizona. They also attack Cassie O’Quin, known to most of you as Cassandra S. Kyle. I met her and interviewed for KWOD Radio because of all her charity work with children. She deserves better than yellow journalism and hate-based accusations and innuendo.
Here is Jaime Molera’s lobbying firm contact information, if you wish to express your opinion:
300 W. Clarendon Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85013-3422
Here is Rebecca Gau’s contact information in case you think her opinion is what is “offensive”:
Racy photos on website of schools chief’s aide draw criticism
Michael Bradley, who is in charge of day-to-day operations at the Arizona Department of Education, runs a website featuring items of general interest, including pictures of dogs and quirky news items, as well as thousands of photos of scantily clad women in costumes, and sexually suggestive images and humor.
It’s the racy imagery, including an image of one woman touching another woman’s breasts and women eating phallically-shaped foods that has caused concerns.
Bradley, also an author of “PG-13 and R-rated” science-fiction books, defended the images posted at www.mbtimetraveler.com and on a separate social-media site as typical of the popular hobby known as “cosplay,” or costume play where women and men dress as characters inspired by popular culture. He says his website is a “re-post website,” and that most of the content is sent to him by those who want their images shared. He said similar images are also available on social-media sites such as Facebook.
“You see more at a nightclub,” Bradley said of the images on his site. “It’s really harmless.”
Bradley noted that mainstream news sites, including azcentral.com, post photos of women in cosplay. Bradley said Friday that he plans to delete a collection of sexually suggestive photos of women eating food.
Douglas has known about the website and his writings for months, he said.
A Department of Education spokesman said Douglas was returning to the Valley from Yuma on Friday and was not immediately available for comment.
On the website, Bradley identifies himself as a full-time author and public speaker, but makes no mention of his position as the No. 2 official in the state Education Department.
Concern over Bradley’s website has mounted in recent weeks as knowledge of it has spread, reaching the highest levels of state government.
The Governor’s Office did not immediately respond for a request for comment.
Former schools Superintendent Jaime Molera says he supports freedom of speech, but that given his position, Bradley’s online activity crosses a line for parents and teachers.
“If he’s a private guy and this is his genre of writing, that’s his decision, and certainly there’s a whole lot of people who are into that,” Molera said. “At the same time, he’s the chief of staff to the state schools superintendent and there is a standard that they have to portray to the public — particularly schoolkids.”
Rebecca Gau, executive director of Stand for Children and a former gubernatorial education policy adviser, said she learned of the website weeks ago. She said the content is “offensive.”
“There are pictures of women’s breasts, there are pictures of paraphernalia related to women’s breasts, there are comments about women’s breasts,” said Gau. “I take my children’s digital footprint very seriously, I would expect state leaders to do the same thing.
“When you’re paid by taxpayers … there’s a certain expectation that you’re going to conduct yourself at all times in a respectable way.”
Bradley said the criticism stems from disagreement with the policies and politics of Douglas. He said he warned Douglas that her critics might use the website as ammunition against her.
“It’s just enemies looking for a reason to get mad at me,” Bradley told The Arizona Republic. “I don’t think anybody at the Capitol even knew I had a website, so for them to go to it and complain about it, they just disagree with whatever policy … the superintendent has, and so they want to find something to criticize me. I’m a pretty clean-cut person.”
“People will try to destroy me because they hate Diane Douglas,” Bradley said.
Bradley was thrust into the spotlight in February, when he orchestrated the attempted firings of two Board of Education staffers because of their perceived support for the Common Core education standards. The incident led to a standoff between Douglas and Gov. Doug Ducey over who has the authority to hire and fire Department of Education staff.
Bradley launched the website before he began working with Douglas and said he intends to continue operating the site and writing after his employment with the state ends. Bradley said he told Douglas he was an author, and told her about his books, telling her they aren’t available in schools and “I’m not a famous author.” He said his website has had more than 1 million hits, and about 3,000 hits daily.
Bradley, who earns $150,000 a year, said he does not blog during work hours, but schedules some content to automatically appear during the day.
Asked if the website is appropriate, given his position with the state, Bradley said, “I’ve kept my writing life separate.”
One woman featured in costume on his website has been hired as an executive assistant to Douglas, a $40,000-a-year position Bradley describes as “low-level.”
Bradley said he met Cassie O’Quin through the cosplay community. He said they became friendly, and after researching her background he asked if she would be interested in working as Douglas’ executive assistant. Quin’s position is at-will since she reports to Douglas, he said.
Records from the Department of Administration show O’Quin was hired on Dec. 24, shortly before Douglas was sworn into office.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Administration said she is unaware of any state policy pertaining to employees’ personal websites.
Former schools Superintendent John Huppenthal, who blogged under pseudonyms during his time in office, declined to comment on Bradley’s activities, saying he’s now a “private person.”
Political analysts have attributed Huppenthal’s secret blogging, which included remarks that people who receive public assistance are “lazy pigs” and that Spanish-language media should be shut down, as one reason for his loss to Douglas in the 2014 Republican primary election.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or 602-444-4712.
Follow on Twitter @yvonnewingett
6 responses to “Cosplayers – Rebecca Gau and Jaime Molera think you are “Offensive””
A woman takes ownership of her body, choosing to dress in a costume which she finds empowering for charity events, awareness rallies, and many other good deeds. Yet all that you focus on is the fact that the photographs display her skin. Less skin, I might mention, than the bikinis that I can pick up every single day in Walmart – when will you decry those as racy and demeaning towards women? I can see more skin in the magazines on the table in the waiting room of my doctor’s office – and my children have *far* more ready access to those than to Mr. Bradley’s website.
A man repeatedly states that a woman’s choice of clothing does not give anyone consent to do anything that she does not permit – yet you focus only on the fact that the women are showing skin and that posting these pictures on a website that no child would access unless they already knew the location somehow makes both the man who displays them and the women who posed for them inappropriate, and offensive.
Having seen Mr. Bradley as a photographer, he is a consummate professional, ensuring that any woman who models for him is comfortable and never, ever taking any untoward liberties in any way, shape, or form. As a professional costumer, I have never observed a single cosplayer that has commissioned an outfit from me to be anything but professional – never inappropriate, always friendly, and always very aware of the clear difference between a costume meant for special occasion use and regular clothing.
By choosing to call photographs of women in costumes “racy”, you have chosen the path of attempting to shame every woman who dresses in clothing that shows more skin than those costumes as “inappropriate” for school aged children. There’s one slight problem with your views. You see, I have three elementary school aged children – and I have seen many elementary students both male and female wearing significantly less than Ms. O’Quin, in significantly tighter clothing, and in far more provocative attire. One small difference between their clothing and hers – All of theirs is purchasable at Target and Walmart. In other words, no “racy images” from a website that none of them have ever heard of inspired their clothing in any way.
Perhaps, instead of seeking to shame adult women who choose to dress in an empowering fashion, who often spend significant amounts of time and effort in creating their unique outfits, you should look towards the parents of those children wearing far less than any of those adult women. Perhaps, instead of attempting to use Mr. Bradley’s personal, non-work-related website in an attempt to shame a school superintendent whom parents of *actual* school-aged children think is doing a pretty good job with what he has available to him, you should take a closer look at who and what is impeding the availability of educational material in this state. Both of which are far better causes than private crusades which will only alienate you from the parents who vote in this state – and who choose to make costumes available to women.
Costuming is not a crime. Photographs of costumed women of legal age, wearing clothing which is legal in the streets of Arizona, are not criminal. Attempting to “slut shame” women who are wearing more than almost every swimsuit and the majority of young girls’ clothes sold in Walmart covers? That’s simply pitiful and pathetic.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I despise your boss’ policies, but I also support cosplay 100%. I think these articles are a terrible waste of time and a distraction from the real issues facing Arizona schools and school children.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I don’t like to keep a story going by responding over and over…however, I have no nudity on my site. I have posted around 200,000 pictures which go to a dozen different social media sites over 5 years, and not once have I even received a complaint. For Facebook users, you know how impressive that is.
The second thing is that my boss was elected by the people of Arizona to do what she promised during the election. I, on the other hand, am at the ADE to make sure operations run correctly, IT, finance, communication, building operations, etc. We have a ton of the PhD Ed folks that do education policy and go to schools. I am not one of those…
I’m not sure I was clear (and I’m sure you’re overwhelmed right now), but my basic point is that there are people who don’t support Ms. Douglas, but who do support your position on cosplay and your photo blog.
Thanks. I have been in and out of political positions and lead a clean life. I am used to political attacks and they don’t bother me at all. Jaime Molera and I have been on opposite sides for three decades. Rebecca Gau and the Arizona Republic are huge foes of my boss. None of that concerns me.
What did bother me is the calling of cosplayers, most of whom I know personally and are very cool nice people, racy or slutty. Attack me, not the nice people of cosplay. I think we agree on that.
I think it’s absolutely despicable that people are being held to some puritanical standard, and it’s absolutely ridiculous that working with the demographic who MOST reads comic books is being held against those representing them, for charity. 😡
LikeLiked by 1 person