Sunday, April 17, 2016

OBSESSED: Troubled Man's Quest to Ruin "Queen of Controversy" Janessa Highland

Kyle Pedersen was known to the owners, employees and entertainers of the Soulard Supper Club after leaving reviews like the one below. 

In the following days Shain Tooley, owner of the yet-to-be-opened club, reached out to Pedersen in an attempt to understand his grievance. Tooley even invited him to visit the club when it opens later this month, and offered him a drink on the house. 

"He said if we fire Janessa Highland immediately his campaign against us would cease. If we didn't it would escalate. "

One of the most intriguing and controversial entertainers in St. Louis - a city where upsetting the apple cart will quickly get you blacklisted - Highland's known for her pull-no-punches style and is accustomed to vocal detractors. 

But nothing could prepare her for Pedersen. 

Grey Fox Show Director Jade Sinclair, a personal friend of Highland, recalls how the two first became acquainted with Pedersen. 

"He got my phone number off of Facebook and began calling me, then he drove all the way to Jefferson City to watch us perform" recalls Sinclair. 

Outside of the venue Sinclair said Pedersen hit on Highland, but his advances were rebuffed. Soon after, Pedersen, who identifies as heterosexual, hatched a most unusual scheme to exact revenge.  

Jade Sinclair, Show Director at Grey Fox

In a bizarre plot twist, Pedersen decided to launch his own drag career as a way to take Highland down, and debuted as her estranged sister, Vanessa Highland. 

The threats began to go beyond simply upstaging the Missouri All American Goddess 2016, with talk of bringing weapons to the stage. 

Based on Pedersen's apparent criminal past, entertainers felt they had reason to be concerned. One by one bar owners from Bar: PM to Grey Fox began banning Pedersen. 

Despite her best efforts, Vanessa Highland never stepped on a St. Louis stage. 

Pedersen began spreading rumors that Grey Fox had closed, and that Jade Sinclair was harboring "a dark secret." 

"In the beginning I was deeply disturbed that anyone would put such nasty things on social media about me - things that are not true and are not a joking matter. However I learned that by letting it bother me he was getting what he wanted. I could not control him but I can control how I let him effect me. I know who I am -- and hope that those who know me also know who I am. The ignorant things he posts on Facebook speak more about who he is than anything else." said Sinclair. 

Are we dealing with a mere troll, or is Pedersen's obsession far more dangerous? He's not yet responded to my request for an interview, but if he does I will update this story. 

"I definitely think he's unstable" began Highland, who is staying on guard, taking security precautions, and has told every venue where she performs that she won't go on stage if Pedersen's in the building. 

Despite her practical steps concerning personal safety, the Queen of Controversy lived up to her reputation when offering her final thoughts on Pedersen's quest to bring her down. 

"Better bitches have tried." 

****UPDATES**** 5:30pm 

Performance Art 

This afternoon the above story was used as performance art at Bar: PM to great fanfare. Highland and Adria Andrews  read the piece as the screen shots flashed across the televisions. 

Kudos from a Former Nemesis 

Springfield's Widow Hutchens has long been a nemesis of Highland's, and actually cancelled on my 2013 Jet Set event (immortalized in Delusions of Grandeur) - a gig that came with a private two-room suite at the Chase Park Plaza - because of her intense disdain for Highland. 

Today she shared the story and offered the following: 

** UPDATE 4/27/16** 

*The* Dustin Mitchell, out of concern for Highland and Sinclair, contacted Pedersen early this morning in an effort to understand his war on them. Pederson responded. 

I had Pedersen's number on file and it matched the screen grab. 

Later, Pedersen messaged and then blocked me. 

Periodically I remind my readers that, despite my history with Dustin Mitchell, which includes being framed for a hostage crisis hoax, we're friendly with one another and I've long maintained he's one of the most interesting people I know. 

***UPDATE*** 4/28/16***

Dustin Mitchell draws up orders of protection for Highland & Sinclair.

Meanwhile, I had my own exchange with Pedersen. 

Pedersen is still operating a fan page in the name of Highland and Sinclair, despite a barrage of demands to Facebook that it be removed.

Outrageously, Facebook replies that nothing is violating their terms of service.

Paul Emery had the following response:

***UPDATE*** 5/1/16



  1. AIDS-phobia as a ethical and worthy, snarky burn? Low down attack and especially for a gay-ish person. Crude and evil BS. I misread the first post by this gentleman to read as ''The place has terrible 'SAUSAGE' issues.." If you're going to effectively try to trash the quality of something, correct spelling and punctuation are mandatory, or you yourself then read as dumb and ill-informed. "Sewage"? really? This is why I prefer to have a relationship with EVOO, and occasionally a stray cat now and then. Save the drama queen drama for your new prison momma... Ova.

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  3. Chris when were messaging and you sent me the link to this blog post it honestly confused me. There seemed to be absolutely no reason for his outburst or irrational behavior. I love Jade and Janessa to death and as you well know...I will do anything to protect those I care about. That is probably one of my most personally destructive qualities. Regardless of that...I was concerned. So I reached out to Pedersen through Facebook initially and then I located his number on the wall of a mutual friend that he was trying to I sent him a text asking what all the drama was about and why he would attack my friends.

    His response alarmed me! He said that if anyone confronts him to his face that he will "kick the shit" out of them and that the gay community in St. Louis are just a bunch of "petty bitches and niggers."

    I will agree with him that a lot of the community thrives on petty drama. But he needs a reality check if he feels that he can call ANYONE a nigger. In my opinion it is the most offensive word in the English language and his use of it only served to validate my opinion that he is an emotionally unstable racist.

    BUT....As if that wasn't enough he went on. He told me that "I'm a skin head and it would be very dumb to start a war with me. My boys and I would love for people to keep talking. It would be very stupid."

  4. NOW I'M NO LAWYER...but just from his communication with me he threatened the physical safety of members of the St. Louis LGBTQ community. He verbally assaulted the same and self identified himself as a member of a hate group.

    State hate crime laws impose tougher penalties on criminals who target their victims because of the victim's race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. So, if a criminal assaults a person because that person is Jewish, the crime would likely be a hate crime.

    Pedersen can be charged criminally by the State of Missouri. Missouri hate crimes law explicitly addresses sexual orientation. §557.035 R.S.Mo. (2001). Sexual orientation is defined as "male or female heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality by inclination, practice, identity or expression, or having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one's gender." Pedersen's actions, if charged and found guilty, would be a Class C Felony.

    Because I my concern for Janessa (Nick) I called him first thing this morning. I have a MUCH better understand as to why Pedersen is upset, and I will leave it to Janessa to explain the history that has led up to his criminally actionable erratic behavior. I did suggest that she file for an adult order of protection against him, and I suggest that anyone that he assaults should do the same. I will email Chris the forms and he can post them on here for anyone to download and file with the court house. It is free for you to file for an ex parte.

    ADDITIONALLY!!!! Big fucking kudos to Jade and how she has handled herself despite his slanderous attack on her. She is right...she can't control him but she can control how she lets him effect me. Those of us who know Jade know better than to give Pedersen's comments a second thought...but after all this is the internet...and so many people believe the first thing they read without bothering to learn any actual history or facts. It's okay Jade...those people didn't need to be part of your life anyone.

    Those of us who know both you and Janessa love you and respect your tremendous talent as entertainers.

    Most of you don't actually know me. You've just been spoon fed a mixture of rumors and whether or not you like me or believe anything you've read about me...I honestly don't care. But what you can put 100% faith in is that I will do anything to protect my friends and loved ones. Janessa is one of those friends that I will go above and beyond to protect. So...Kyle I may not be a member of a white supremacy group. I may not have a plethora of "nigger hating boys" to back me up. But if you so much as post one more slanderous attack on Jade, Janessa, Chris or any of the establishing in which the perform...I will come back to St. Louis and give you the opportunity to meet me face to face...and to use your own words..."that would be very stupid" on your part.

    That's my rant for the evening. I encourage Jade and Janessa to file for an adult order of protection against him just as a measure of protection so that this emotionally unstable boy will have legal orders to stay away from them.

    Goodnight Everyone! I hope St. Louis is treating you well. I can honestly say that I do not miss one thing about that city...other than my friends. XOXO

  5. Missouri Revised Statutes

    Chapter 557
    General Sentencing Provisions
    Section 557.035.2

    557.035. 1. For all violations of subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of section 569.100 or subdivision (1), (2), (3), (4), (6), (7) or (8) of subsection 1 of section 571.030, which the state believes to be knowingly motivated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability of the victim or victims, the state may charge the crime or crimes under this section, and the violation is a class C felony.

    2. For all violations of section 565.070; subdivisions (1), (3) and (4) of subsection 1 of section 565.090; subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of section 569.090; subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of section 569.120; section 569.140; or section 574.050; which the state believes to be knowingly motivated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability of the victim or victims, the state may charge the crime or crimes under this section, and the violation is a class D felony.

    3. The court shall assess punishment in all of the cases in which the state pleads and proves any of the motivating factors listed in this section.

    4. For the purposes of this section, the following terms mean:

    (1) "Disability", a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities, being regarded as having such an impairment, or a record of having such an impairment; and

    (2) "Sexual orientation", male or female heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality by inclination, practice, identity or expression, or having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one's gender.