Photo provided, Utah Senate
Utah Senator John Johnson distances himself from the director of a film that lawmakers helped fund that targets critical race theory.
Brandon Beckham, the director ofIdentity Marxism: The Rise of Critical Race Theoryand a Utah Senate prospect from Vineyard, faces one count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, in Provo 4th District Court following an incident on June 22 last year involving an acquaintance. Utah County prosecutors filed the charge Feb. 25, a week after “Identity Marxism” was published, though news of the court case only became public last week.
“I support law and order and unequivocally denounce the behavior of which Mr. Beckham is accused, and send my heartfelt prayers to all victims of sexual abuse,” Johnson said in a statement to The Standard-Examiner. Johnson, a Republican from North Ogden, served as the film’s executive producer, putting up much of the money for its creation.
Johnson said he was unaware charges may be pending against Beckham, who has denied any wrongdoing. If he had known, Johnson said, he wouldn’t have included Beckham in the production of the controversial film, which argues that critical race theory has seeped into the curriculum at Utah schools.
The film has been criticized by some who say claims that critical race theory is taught in Utah schools are misguided and untrue.
Image courtesy of brandonbeckham.com
“I had no prior knowledge of Mr. Beckham’s accusations; if I had been aware of the allegations against him, I would not have included him in the documentary. Unfortunately, these accusations were made public after production closed on the documentary I helped fund to defend parents and students,” Johnson said. “It’s really disheartening that he didn’t release this information before it became public because we certainly wouldn’t have included him. My goal has always been and continues to be to fight for families, students, taxpayers and the future of Utah.
Beckham, for his part, said the news that he was facing the charge came as a shock. “I had no reason to wait for them. I categorically deny the charges, the details of which I first learned from the media,” he said in a message to the Standard-Examiner.
Beckham also defended “identitarian Marxism” and suggested that forces were at play against him.
The “credibility of the film is solid. That’s a whole truth…as to what’s going on in Utah schools regarding Critical Race Theory and its negative impact on our children. The politically calculated accusations against me are false,” he said.
Beckham also questioned the timing of the legal charge against him, calling it “troubling”. Prosecutors filed the charge against Beckham on Feb. 25, online court records show, just three days before the start of the Utah nominee filing period, which ran from Feb. 28 to March 4.
“Unfortunately, we live in a world where too often accusations are taken for granted. We have all seen many cases in which accusations later turned out to be false, but only after great damage was done,” said Beckham, a Republican. He is challenging Senator Keith Grover, an incumbent lawmaker and also a GOPer, for the District 23 position.
As alleged in court papers, Beckham aggressively pursued a female acquaintance — stripping, undressing and rubbing up against her in a sexual manner — while the two were watching a movie, apparently at her home in Pleasant Grove. She rebuffed his sexual advances, but he persisted, according to a probable cause statement.
News of the accusation against Beckham prompted some of Johnson’s critics to take aim at him. “Great look for you, Senator, to be in such good company,” Taylor Knuth joked in a tweet last Friday. Knuth is an advocate for the Ogden community.
Knuth, along with many educators and others, strongly criticizes the film “Identity Marxism”. Knuth is a product of the Davis School District and has also studied at several Utah universities and says he has never witnessed clandestine efforts to inject the Critical Race Theory framework into the education system. .
“Put simply, critical race theory is not taught in Utah schools, especially K-12 schools,” he said. The film’s release, he charged, amounts to “frightening, panicking”.
Rather than a curriculum to be taught in the classroom, as opponents of critical race theory like Johnson see it, other scholars argue that critical race theory is a way of trying to understand changing norms. and racial attitudes.