The True Story of Kai vs Netflix
Earlier this week I interviewed Philip Fairbanks, author of a new book that contains critical details omitted from the recently released Netflix film.
Earlier this week I interviewed Philip Fairbanks, author of The True Story of Kai the Hitchhiker, a new book that contains critical details omitted from the recently released Netflix film, produced by RawTV. Patreon supporters will recall that Phil and I have been close for almost a year now, and I'm extremely proud to have the opportunity to help him produce and promote this essential book.
Initially, I was only supposed to contribute the afterword to the book, but when the person who was helping Phil prepare the book file for the printer failed to make critical changes, I stepped into get it back on track. This pushed back the book's release by a few weeks, but I'm happy to report that the book is much better off. Between a new cover contributed by Darren Herridge, another supporter of Phil's, and the polish I was able to add to the interior print design and e-book functionality, it's something I'm really proud to have contributed to.
Now the book is on track to be available on Amazon by the end of the month, and I'm stepping up to help Phil with the promotion. I registered and built the website truestoryofkai.com, and am working on more content to help spread the word.
I've done all of this work because I believe in what Phil's doing and want to help out a fellow indie journalist who's got no PR or marketing team behind him. And then there's the fact that I'm utterly incensed at the injustice of Kai's story and want to see him released.
Phil isn't the kind of guy who's entirely comfortable with pro-bono work, so he has setup an IndieGogo to fund the launch and promotion of the book. Every level of contribution will get you the book in some form. I'll be paid out for the many hours I've put into the project, and Phil will have some time to hit the podcast/book tour circuit a bit to get the word out.
I am revolted by the story told by the filmmakers at RawTV, and want to do everything I can to see that the truth being told by Phil outshines the polished turd that Netflix released.
Rather than leave you on that crass image, I'd like to share my my afterword with you for the book:
When I met Philip Fairbanks in early 2022, I was only two years into a mid-life career shift into journalism. At the time I was dealing with the first legal threat I’d received that actually gave me sleepless nights (the Dan Kasaris story mentioned in Chapter 13). Fairbanks was getting similar threats at the time, which is why a mutual friend on Twitter introduced us. We talked on Zoom for nearly six hours about our work, lives, and perspectives. That first meeting was, without hyperbole, one of the best conversations I’ve ever had. It laid the foundation for a friendship and professional respect that would land me here, writing my first afterword to a book.
This is just any book, but an essential book, one that I fully believe needs to be widely read, discussed, and acted upon. Fairbanks, like myself, is as independent as journalists come. There’s no team of PR folks arranging podcast appearances and morning talk show spots, no slick marketing website, no social media managers riding trends and scheduling targeted ads. If there is one thing I want to impart to you, it’s to humbly ask that you do everything you can to help spread the word about this book.
I have always loved this quote from Tom Robbins’ Still Life With Woodpecker:
“There are two kinds of people in this world: those who actually believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.”
While I still appreciate the truth of this as it applies to the totality of an individual, I do believe that firm delineations do exist in the roles individuals play in society. There are journalists who only care about breaking the news, and those who take the time to fix it. There are journalists who serve themselves: prioritizing careers, prestige, and access to power-brokers, and those who serve the public interest by exposing the abuses of the powerful.
In both cases, Philip Fairbanks has shown himself to be firmly in the latter category. The pages of this book are littered with lowlights of the other types of journalists. Careerists who can’t be bothered to see Kai’s humanity, and won’t allow their minds to be disturbed by seriously considering his allegations of corruption and conspiracy.
Fairbanks is also the kind of journalist who allows Kai all the space he needs to share his story directly with the reader. What’s more, Kai contributed vital research and insights that Fairbanks didn’t hesitate to consider, scrutinize, and build upon. It would be to the detriment of any journalist to do the opposite, but sadly this attitude is not universally shared in our field.
Shortly before writing this, Fairbanks and I discussed bias, objectivity, and personal attachment. Both of us believe that far too many journalists have a bias towards the status quo, and a lack of personal attachment with the subjects they work with. Fairbanks and I are not constitutionally capable of being indifferent to the pain and suffering of an individual whose life has been mangled by a corrupt individual or system. We look at the sheer volume of injustice that is never reckoned with by the majority of the press and understand that something is objectively broken.
Neither I nor Fairbanks know how to fix a system so broken that it continuously churns out farcical tragedies like Kai’s. What we do know is that the solutions must arrive from an honest accounting of the facts, no matter where they lead.
Please check out TrueStoryOfKai.com to learn more about the book and how to support Kai in his pursuit of justice.
Great job on this important story!