We, undersigned community members, believe the article “Musician facing felony charges” published Friday was recklessly biased.
The story’s details come from a single plaintiff and portray Matthew Donald, a black man, as a sadistic offender. Matt says he will plead not guilty because the offenses are imagined.
He will not use this letter to publicly criticize the plaintiff. But, this sensational, unsubstantiated story could follow Matt for life, even if a follow-up article reports his acquittal.
Matt said he’s woken up panicked, reminding himself, “Remember who you are. You’re not guilty just because people saw this story.”
We believe defendants should be innocent until proven guilty, in media and law.
This article’s bias lies not only in its gaping lack of information from the defendant or witnesses, but also in its loaded wording, including repeatedly describing the plaintiff as “the victim.”
The Evergreen contacted Matt’s attorney, who only shared Matt’s plea. This month, two Evergreen reporters contacted Matt about music, yet no reporter contacted him for an article implicating him in felonies.
One quick call with the defender didn’t balance this story, nor justify its distribution.
The regurgitated narrative is months-old, shallowly investigated and involves a single complainant. Is it much more than publicized gossip?
Matt has been an upstanding, contributing community member. He’s faced biased systems since childhood and persevered, earning his GED and attending WSU. He isn’t the monstrous caricature in circulation.
We believe this article should be removed online. The Evergreen should apologize and transparently enact policy to prevent damning community members before their defense in court.
Gabriella AragonEvelyn BondJames CarterMatthew DonaldKyle HardingAdam HureauAlexander LoweIan Ndambuki Yayun QiaoJoel RoeberJacqueline SewellHunter ThompsonLiuel TibebeTania VargasKeenan Wright