The Ray Carney-Mark Rappaport saga carries on. Following the attempted mediation by several of Carney’s sympathetic former students, who spoke with Professor Carney regarding this, with some false hopes of a resolution which went apparently nowhere, the situation today remains as it was: Carney remains incommunicado, in possession of Mark’s materials, and thus far has suffered no consequences from Boston University owing to his behavior, which includes, transparently, as seen in the items shown below, previously published, perjury in a legal setting, not to mention a seemingly endless series of falsehoods and lies regarding what he has, what he has done, and so on. While stating he has emails which show Rappaport having “gifted” him these materials, bizarrely claiming “the high ground” and moral rectitude, Carney has never produced these emails.
Recently Mark sent me a kind of announcement/letter on the matter. I print it here.
HOW DOTH HE DISSEMBLE? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS…
To those who’ve come to this story late, let me bring you up to speed. In 2005, when I moved to Paris, Ray Carney, tenured professor at Boston University, eagerly offered to take digital videos and extra prints of my movies and keep them for me at Boston University until the time I would need them back. He now claims they were “a gift” to him, given to him forever and ever—although I can’t imagine for what reason I or anyone else would do that—but that’s his story. He refuses to return the films I wrote, directed, edited, and produced, films which he had nothing whatever to do with, which he does not have the rights to, and can’t do anything with, and claims they’re now his. His actions, which I’ve made public, for some reason that I don’t understand, now seem to focus not on his atrocious behavior but on how much money he spent taking “care” of these objects. For some reason that I also don’t get, no reporter has ever held his feet to the fire regarding various improvised figures he says he spent or the inventive strategies that he keeps coming up with—different ones for each interview—and lets him get away with these fantasy figures and fabrications he keeps throwing out there.
Here are his feet. Here’s the fire.
1. So far, no reporter has questioned him (isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?) on these sworn, perjurious statements regarding the inventory of items I entrusted to him. These statements were made under oath.
This one from July 13, 2012
Then there’s this sworn statement from August 27, 2012
Now, really! Would you buy a used car from this guy? After this shabby performance, would you believe anything he said? Ever? And if you were a reporter, why wouldn’t you pursue this in an interview?
As for the “careful visual inspection by a trained inspector” (Carney himself, I presume), you don’t inspect a digital master or any other video by eye. You have to play it on a very expensive lab-quality, studio-quality machine that Carney doesn’t have access to.
2) Carney makes himself available, through a friend of his, for an interview in Artinfo
in which he claims he was willing to return my materials to me but he needed $27,000 to send the stuff to me in France!. I never wanted or asked him to send the stuff to me in France. I had given him my credit card number so he could FedEx it to a friend in NY on my account and, then, much later told him to deposit the stuff at my lawyer’s office in Boston, the same city where Carney teaches. So, it seems he did not need the $27,000 he asked for shipping costs, after all. He just thought it might be a good idea to have $27,000.
He has still not returned my stuff to me.
3) In an interview with the Boston Globe,
he claims to have spent $40,000 (!!!!!) “restoring and preserving” my materials. First of all, you don’t restore videos. Nor do you restore films. You can clean films, you can remove scratches— and that’s very cheap— but you don’t “restore” them. You restore negatives, Mr. Carney. Secondly, how much does a tenured professor make? $100,000 a year? $125,000 a year, before taxes? $40,000 of his own money???? $14,000 more than is the average annual income of most Americans??? If you believe that someone would spend that kind of money “restoring and preserving” materials by, in his own words, an “obscure” filmmaker, who gave him “trash,”
there’s a bridge I’d like to sell you real cheap. He says in his deposition, the one in which he perjured himself, that he has a special place where he keeps many other such “gifts.” In other words, whatever Taj Mahal he claims to have built for me alone, had been already built. Not that I believe that story, either. And assuming he did spend some money building a garage where he also keeps films, what does that have to do with me? You let a friend stay at your house for a few months. He does major renovations and then stiffs you with the bill for renovations you never asked for. Are you responsible for that?
3) While being interviewed for Indiewire
Carney lets on that he would return my stuff to me for $10,000 to cover his legal expenses. This time it’s not $27,000 or $40,000 but a more modest $10,000. I think it’s sort of unethical to use an interviewer as a go-between—maybe that’s just me— but Carney, even though he talks about ethics with a capital “E” ad nauseum, doesn’t let them get in the way of his own actions. He floated it past the interviewer in order to make himself look like a very reasonable, accommodating guy. The interviewer bought it hook, line and sinker. When I responded, through the interviewer, that I would pay him $7,000, which was my final counter-offer when he initially demanded $27,000 in ransom money for returning my work to me, the owner and creator, Carney called the offer “just another veiled (or not-so-veiled) set of threats.” HUH? Do I not speak English as well as I think I do? What is the threat here, “veiled or not-so-veiled”???? In other words, saying he would return my work for $10,000 was just a public relations ploy, to make himself look good. He floated a trial balloon, for publication only, that he wasn’t in the least bit serious about acting on.
4) through 84) Despite Carney’s endless blather about “restoring” and “preserving” that which cannot be either restored or preserved, when I asked him for video masters of several of my films in 2010, this is what he wrote
January 21, 2010
Rest assured that I will do ANY AND EVERYTHING to help you. And no money necessary (except for shipping)!!! DON’T WORRY!
(Capital letters and exclamation points his, not mine.)
January 30, 2010
Again my apologies. I was out of town for about a week and only received your message about a week ago….. and I’ve been totally crazy busy every day of the week I’ve been back (publishing crises, what else is new?), but I did retreive all of the stuff, brought it home, and have it here now, and shall go through it today (Sat) or tomorrow (Sunday) and locate Postcards and Garfield, assuming they are in the stuff you sent, which I have no reason to doubt… As soon as I paw through the boxes, I can mail the two things to you.+
And this from February 1, 2010
You almost stumped the stars today, the stars of fate, I mean; but I think I came up with everything you need. I done me darnedest! Some of those suckers sure were hiding from me underneath stacks of VHS tapes or other rubble! Here’s what I came up with. In every case, it was the best I could do. I looked hard and long! Went though the material twice in fact! You’re lucky I’m giving you a steep discount on my usual hourly rate!!! (Zero dollars an hour just for you, my friend!)
I always looked for a Beta SP Master in NTSC and (even though you didn’t say to do it), just in case, tried to find a BetaSP PAL version of the same thing if it was there, which I am also including in each case I could find one.
In other words, he had not even opened the boxes, did not know what was in them, and even subtly suggests that the things I ask him for might not be there. They were all there. In fact, the boxes had not been opened 5 years after he got the materials. When he was, in August 2012, forced to deliver a complete inventory to the courts, after he swore that he gave away and/or destroyed much of my material, he goes through the materials FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER and—guess what?—it’s all there, everything I itemized. How do I know that it’s the very first time ever (well, second time—he rummaged around in the boxes in 2010 to give me back films I asked for)? In a email dated August 27, 2012 he writes that he was
spending something like forty or fifty hours doing this inventory to fulfill the court order.
In other words, he never knew what was in those boxes which contained all the materials that he so carefully “restored and preserved.” I would also question the “40 or 50 hours,” but that’s the standard Carney hyperbole, suggesting how difficult everything is and how manfully he overcomes every obstacle.
85) through 100) And here’s the real kicker, the photo of the materials which the court demanded he place in his lawyer’s office.
I know those boxes. The Samsung box on the left was the box that the DVD player I bought came in. The box underneath it is the box my Sony DVD player came in (to replace the Samsung player which died exactly after the warranty expired). In short, these items that he so preciously cared for, restored and preserved, built a special palace for, even though he hadn’t the vaguest idea what was in the boxes, and is hanging onto with such tenacity, were in the same darn boxes I sent him seven years earlier. Now, I ask you—can anyone believe a single word this man says? Does he ever tell the truth? And why, you ask, does the university he works for permit him to get away with these whoppers? Isn’t he, as a tenured professor, also a representative of the school’s integrity? Don’t they have an ethics code that has been repeatedly violated? But I guess that doesn’t apply to tenured professors, only to poorly paid, non-tenured adjuncts, lecturers, and janitors.
You have to wonder what the upside is for Carney, holding onto this material. He didn’t make my films, he doesn’t have the rights to them, he doesn’t even know the formats the digital masters are on, and even if he did, he doesn’t have the equipment to use them. At this point, I suspect that he doesn’t even want the materials and, if those unopened boxes are any indication, never did. They’ve been nothing but a burden to him and haven’t done his reputation any good, either. The longer this continues, the more his reputation is damaged. All he has to do is give everything back. But he won’t give them up. Because he has them and I don’t. Go figure! He keeps whining incessantly that it was “a gift” and he has a right to hang on ferociously to a gift he has no use for—“a gift” that he himself describes as “trash” by an “obscure filmmaker.”
Maybe my films will be digitized from the original negatives two years from now. Or three or four. It may take even longer than that. It may not happen until after I’m dead. America, after all, is not very sentimental about its living artists but gets very misty-eyed about dead ones. Carney, however, will have to live the rest of his life with the consequences of his actions. I don’t envy him. Even if everyone else thinks he’s wrong, he pretends not to care because, to paraphrase the Barry Goldwater campaign in 1964, in his heart he knows he’s right. So be it. His obit, assuming he warrants one, will not start off with “Inspirational Teacher, John Cassavetes Scholar,” the way it was meant to. I suspect it will read like “Ray Carney, The Man Who Walked off with the Bulk of Mark Rappaport’s Life’s Work.” I would write, if it were up to me, something a little more colorful—like “The Man Who Casually, Cavalierly, and Maliciously Hi-jacked a Major Portion of Rappaport’s Work Out of Narcissistic Spite.”
But you don’t have to worry about it, Mr. Carney. In your heart you know you’re right. Sweet dreams.
At risk of a kind of over-kill, I asked Mark to send me the actual legal documents listing those items which Professor Carney holds, and I print below Rappaport’s initial claim, itemizing those things which he had shipped to Carney (and which, under penalty of perjury in his deposition for the court Carney claimed not to have). Juxtaposing Carney’s sworn statement below, to his sworn statement above, made in a legal context, Professor Ray Carney, Ph.D, tenured at Boston University, is a self-convicted perjurer. In light of his constantly shuffled statements regarding this case – the numbers, the money, the reasons – along with his pious claims of virtue, Professor Carney shows himself to also be that classical American archetype, the Jimmy Swaggart sort of preacher snared in sin while exhorting others to virtue (and raking in money for it): a con man. That a man of this dubious moral and ethical example is left to teach raises questions exactly of the kind he has charged to Boston University about a form of corruption. Had Professor Carney a modicum of honesty within himself, he’d return Rappaport’s materials with an apology, resign his teaching position, and seek out the psychiatric help he so clearly needs. However, I wouldn’t make any bets on his doing so.