Film blogging is great…well, it can be. Even if it isn’t the most paying gig. I do this out of a certain love along with a kind of necessity for some fulfillment, and part of that includes getting to meet some of the people I write about on this website which I’m privileged to share with Eileen Cruz and the rest of my PopGeeks counterparts.
Leave it to a chance meeting one evening back in early 2016 right here in New York City with two of the co-stars of Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange, including now former celebrity martial artist and actress Zara Phythian while at a Starbucks (and no, I’m not a Starbucks person, but the location was the most convenient place at the time, and I’m not a fan of their lattes).
I thought I struck gold when I got to sit for a bit with Phythian and her fellow co-star after all I’d heard about her from mutuals in martial arts circles from here to the UK, in addition to some of the stuff I had covered involving her, including an independent project called Enter The Streets Of Myth, which sadly never came to fruition.
It was a fine evening to say the least, and I made sure to end it with a picture of the three of us.. a picture that I now no longer have since I removed it from all my records, including a rare post I did for TikTok and our site’s Instagram page. And for obvious reasons, of course, for those of you who are well engaged in recently-reported matters involving Phythian and her martial arts mentor and husband Vic Marke.
For the not-so-engaged, the news that’s been breaking since late April should probably bring you up to speed with a proper Google search but in a nutshell, and after more than two weeks of litigation, Phythian and Marke were convicted of multiple accounts of sexual assault on a minor – crimes with histories dating back to the mid 2000s – as reported on websites like the Telegraph, Nottinghamshire Live and BBC News.
I’ve been in touch with several people who knew the above-mentioned, as well as a few directors who have worked with Phythian in the past, and the consensus among everyone, including many of my fellow blogger colleagues and friends and acquaintances on social media is the relief and hope that justice will have been served for the victim(s) in light of all that’s been revealed. The shock and disbelief hasn’t fully waned, and as we speak, the jury is still out on at least one other update about this story which I will discuss in a seperate report at a different time.
For this, I’d like it to be known that I know there are other writers like me who have considered altogether removing their Zara Phythian-related posts, and I fully support whatever decision my colleagues and any filmmakers looking to wipe their slates clean make. My articles, plainly and simply, will stay up, partly in support of everyone I’ve written about who has worked hard in some degree to get projects off the ground and perform in film and television projects which otherwise ultimately involved Phythian.
Additionally, it is also why I am writing this op-ed, in an effort to acknowledge the travesty that’s occurred in the martial arts community as a result of the crimes for which Phythian and Marke have since been convicted and sentenced. As a blogger who writes about movies and covers pop culture topics therein, in a field that’s usually more passive and anodyne, I felt that owed it to my readers to discuss this. Marke, who I’ve never quite had a rapport going with, and Phythian, have hurt people, and accordingly, their long fall from grace has only begun, which is something I believe we can all sleep better about knowing as we move forward, with some grace, and return to some kind of normal.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to go on some performative, hyperviolent QAnon-loaded anti-pedophilia tirade, nor will I entertain any of those fake, myopic and unproductive, cultist fringe expressions. I am not here for that. I am here though, to lend my support to the victims and their families. And, I am also here my friends, and for anyone with any thoughts they still have lingering about this case following Monday’s verdict which you can read about here.