May Day in Seattle got weird as 'superheroes' confronted protesters

May 2, 2012

Seattle May Day protest took a turn for the weird as self-described superheroes Phoenix Jones and his sidekicks confronted protesters at the federal courthouse in Seattle. Jones has been accused of pepper spraying protesters in his efforts to protect the building, but a video released by him shows he didn’t spray people.

However, the video does make it apparent that one of his sidekicks might have.

In a phone interview, Jones (whose real name is Benjamin John Francis Fodor) said “Phoenix Jones pepper sprays no one” and that the video released on YouTube proved it (you can see the video below). After watching the video, however, it’s clear someone with him did spray in the direction of protesters.

Jones admitted that a sidekick who goes by the name of Midnight Jack did release pepper spray and that someone he described as an anarchist also released pepper spray.

Here’s the video Jones released that he says came from a camera he has on his chest (caution: there are several bursts of profanity audible):

In the video, Jones tells protesters who are confronting him about the spraying incident:

“I’m not going to spray you. If you go and break federal property, maybe.”

Later in the video he and someone off camera tells Jones that he did spray protesters who were throwing rocks. Jones tells the person “don’t spray that s___!” and orders him to put it away.

Jones described the situation to Q13 Fox TV this way:

"At a certain point we're standing in front of the building, stuff on fire, dudes throwing rocks and stuff and there's 60 people in front of us and literally can't leave, so now we have to defend the building because we can't go anywhere else. It was sort of intense that way," Jones said.

"Then I got hit with a little of the pepper bomb, so we went back-to-back to make sure they couldn't circle us. Once we went back-to-back, we went in front of the door. I was like this and Jack was on my back.  We just stood there basically and made sure no one came in."

See KPLU's full coverage of the May Day protests

Phoenix nemesis declared

An apparent Seattleite and “super villain” called Rex Velvet has declared himself to be Phoenix Jones’ nemesis. Velvet released a video earlier this week calling Jones out for a “showdown.”

When asked for his response to the nemesis, Jones said “I don’t have anybody of any consequence out at all so I have no comment.”

The website sums up the video and super villain this way:

Who is Rex Velvet? We're not entirely sure, but he A.) has a better videographer than Phoenix Jones; and B.) he "greatly dislike[s] vigilante superheroes." If we go by the superhero power chart as delineated by 1992 Marvel Comics trading cards — diagram here — I imagine Rex Velvet would score paltry on "Energy Projection" and "Fighting Ability," but he might garner a solid "3" for his "Speed" rating.

Benefit event announced

Jones has also been in the news for putting on an anti-domestic violence benefit scheduled for May 12 at Nectar Lounge in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. The event is sponsored by Jones and his wife — also self-proclaimed superhero — Purple Reign.

Called “The Purple Reign Campaign ~ Everyday Heroes Against Domestic Abuse” proceeds will benefit Northwest Family Life, the group’s website says.

The site adds that, as a survivor of domestic violence, Purple Reign has a unique perspective:

“I use my 'superhero persona' to raise awareness about this cause. It is my dream to inspire victims and to give them the resources and strength to transform into survivors as a hero once did for me.”

Now a motion graphic cartoon too

Just into our KPLU email box this morning, was the announcement that real-life superhero Phoenix Jones “now has his very own song, comic-book and comic motion music video! All courtesy of Seattle pop-punk band Quickie.”

Quickie is a 3-piece pop-punk band from Seattle.

The press release states:

“After Quickie penned an anthem about the Emerald City crime-fighter, they commissioned talented local cartoonist Travis Bundy to illustrate a “motion-comic” featuring band-members Lou Trez (bass/vocals), Joe Wolf (guitar), and Kelly Lichtenwaldt (drums) hitting the streets with Jones. The result is a fun, stylized, tongue-in-cheek escapade that brings back childhood memories of Saturday mornings in front of the TV watching the Superfriends.”

The band says it will donate half of the proceeds from the cartoons and downloads to the the Purple Reign Campaign.