By on August 2, 2011

The auto world was rocked — ROCKED, I tell you! — yesterday by allegations that Carroll Shelby did all sorts of bad stuff recently. We here at TTAC have no opinion about this kind of thing. We don’t know any of the people involved, we don’t have access to any inside information, and we’re really not qualified to dive into the deep waters of rape, privacy, violation, money, power, lawsuits, and whatnot.

Luckily, our friends at Autoblog aren’t so shy.

Quoth Autoblog’s John Neff,

None of us here at Autoblog know Shelby on a personal level, but we’ve met the man on more than a few occasions and have always been charmed by his natural charisma, genuine love of cars and friendly nature. Hopefully the truth is reached in this case and it’s not as bad a picture as these allegations paint.

Our august founder, Robert Farago, famously called Neff “insane” a few years back. I don’t know if this latest comment is so much insane as it’s simply in horrible, horrible taste. Try to read a bit of the potential subtext here: Hey, maybe he made some tramp bring him pornography, but he’s NATURALLY CHARISMATIC! Sure, it’s possible that he just possibly could have acquiesced in the drugging and rape of an innocent woman, but HE HAS A GENUINE LOVE OF CARS!

But just when you think that Neff is too busy fluffing an [Ed: alleged] sex criminal to turn towards the pursuit of truth, he proves you wrong:

Hopefully the truth is reached in this case and it’s not as bad a picture as these allegations paint.

What a wishy-washy sentence! You could read it as, “I hope they nail that molesting bastard to the wall” or “I hope that bitch gets countersued into the ground for daring to bother the man who motor-swapped an AC Ace fifty years ago!” I’m not even sure what he’s getting at with the second half. What would satisfy Mr. Neff in this case, bad-picture-wise? Is he hoping for less penetration? Less fondling? Less rape? Less of the ol’ Four Loko/roofie combo?

Nor will the comments — on either Autoblog or Jalopnik — raise your spirits. Most of them are along the lines of “she was asking for it.” One has the distinct feeling that if ol’ Shel had a pinball table, the Autoblog commentariat would be standing around it cheering away like in that one porno Jodie Foster did…

…and yes, that was an authentic “My Name Is Earl” reference. We only follow the serious shows around here!

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26 Comments on “Autoblog’s John Neff Kinda Clears Carroll Shelby Of Rape Charges...”

  • avatar

    Oh Jack, you’ll always be our favourite sex criminal with a genuine love of cars.

  • avatar

    I’m not going to comment on any of this innuendo except to say that I got some good laughs. And I like the super snake logo. But then, I took herpetology with David Wake, one of the greats in the field, whose wife, Marvalee, is one of the world experts on caecilians.

  • avatar

    Some of the comments on the article are in poor taste, but many do bring up some good points:

    If she was a secretary for Shelby for six years, why is this just coming out now?

    If the alleged rape happened over half a year ago, why is it just now coming out, why did she bring it to Shelby’s attention instead of the police, and why is she bringing just a civil suit instead of criminal charges against the accused rapist?

    No one but those involved know all of the details, but the circumstances do set off my ‘money grab’ meter. I don’t have a problem with Autoblog sticking up for Shelby, even if it’s only done halfheartedly. Accusations of sexual misconduct make front page news, but exonerations gets buried in the back pages if they are reported at all. I’m inclined to lean towards the side of innocent until proven guilty, or, in this case as it’s a civil suit, innocent until proven liable.

    • 0 avatar

      If she was a secretary for Shelby for six years, why is this just coming out now?

      This is actually pretty common in employee/employer abuse cases (and not restricted to sexual assault) as well as domestic violence, and for the same reason: one party is position of power and the other chooses to put up with it, either until they’re free and clear, or they break down, or the abuse steps up a notch.

      The other, horrible, problem is that victims will try to rationalize or acclimatize to abuse, and it doesn’t come out until years later.

      As to why this is going civil? Civil court is easier to obtain a conviction in—recall OJ?

      • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar

        psar, there might be something to that. A gal I worked with was seriously harassed by her supervisor, and when she went to the EEO person in our code, that worthy turned out to be a friend of the harasser’s wife and told her all about the case. (Nobody in a government job would do something like that, right? Wrong!!) She ended up not doing anything more about it, and the guy eventually left of his own volition a few years later, not long after he threw his (full) coffee cup into his briefcase, stormed out of the office, and flung his entry pass at the gate guard on his way out the gate.

    • 0 avatar

      Because unemployment is upwards of 10% right now? Seriously, it isn’t out of the ordinary for someone who is assaulted at their workplace to stay there and shut up for a while because they enjoy things like “being able to afford rent and food”.

      I have no idea if the allegations are true or not but the fact that they’re about an event a whole six months ago is not extraordinary at all.

      • 0 avatar

        Extraordinary or not, if whatever she had to put up with wasn’t bad enough to quit her job over, it sure as heck isn’t worth dragging any legal system I help pay for, into.

        The mere fact that the kind of misguided “victim understanding” CAN be exploited by someone for financial gain, is good enough reason for the law not to touch it. No legal system can catch every single criminal, or prevent every single crime; but it should before all else, make sure that it never, ever, as much as inconveniences anyone innocent.

        People ought to look after themselves. IN grave circumstances, it’s nice to have a legal system back you up, but it should only react in the very obvious cases.And this is surely not one of them, based on the linked stories, at least.

  • avatar

    Well I for one am SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I tell you; that AutoBlog engages in the sin of wishy-washy auto-journalism!

    -Besides, I hear the whole ‘grope’ was just an unintentional Murmansk-Brushing-Incident during some very enthusiastic applause at a live performance of “Yakety Sax” by the Benny Hill Show house band.

    Word has it Carroll then allegedly smacked an old bald guy in the face several times after he’d finished chasing the receptionist, 3 Las Vegas showgirls, a gorilla and an oom-pah band around the grounds for 1/2 an hour.

  • avatar

    Is “Rape” when you beat a Supra in less than 12 seconds in the 1/4th?

    cause if so – I’m a rapist.

  • avatar

    It’s Autoblog, the guys who retype pretty much every press release they get and pass it off as news. I don’t know what you guys were really expecting…

    As far as the whole Shelby case, there are only a few people who know the truth of the matter. I’ll admit that it looks a little sketchy, waiting so long and then going straight for the lawsuit and not the police.

    On the same token, Shelby has been suing the hell out of people and companies for some time now. Sounds like Karma to me, if you believe in that sort of thing…

  • avatar

    “But just when you think that Neff is too busy fluffing a sex criminal”

    Really Jack? Like, you know the what the outcome of the trial is going to be? Or do you have some kind of inside info that tells you that these allegations are true? Or is it just you have an opinion and dammit you must be right, but Neff, he can’t say ‘I hope it’s not true ’cause you know I really like and respect this guy for what he’s done in the past’. Pot meet kettle.

  • avatar

    Jack, your commentary on Jalopnik and Nell commenting on a sex allegation is just as retarded as their commentary. In the end of the day, ya’ll are just a bunch of bloggers with affinity for cars and average writing skills, which is where the problem really starts. “sex criminal” seriously?

  • avatar

    To begin with, though the accusations are serious, either the plaintiff didn’t take her case to police and prosecutors first, or they decided that they didn’t have a case against Shelby and his associates. Remember, this is a civil lawsuit, where the standard is “preponderance of evidence”, not “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

    Now I can understand her suing Shelby over a grope that the police didn’t think was serious, but she’s claiming that a Shelby associate raped her at Shelby’s house. That’s something that the cops and prosecutors in today’s PC world would have taken very seriously and most likely investigated. The fact that there was no apparent criminal case in this matter makes me skeptical of the plaintiff

    I understand Neff’s comments about ‘Ol Shel’s natural charisma, having met the man and watched him schmooze with his friends, Ford folks and the media, but I’m as cynical as anyone is about the man, think he’s traded on his past accomplishments (admittedly great accomplishments, no doubt), and think some of his litigation has been a bit predatory. No question that the guy whores out his name a bit, but it’s his name to whore out.

    My favorite part of this case is where the plaintiff said that it started with him sending her for groceries and progressed to having her pick up porn for him. I’m trying to imagine Shelby, in that well known Texas drawl, saying something like:

    “Darlin’, would you be a sweetheart and stop by the QuickStop and grab a half gallon of milk and some coffee? Oh, and while you’re at it, stop over at the Adult News and pick up the latest copy of Barely Legal Teens With Really Old Men.”

    I wonder if the “pornography” is something like an issue of Maxim or some similar publication that was running an article or photo relating to Shelby cars.

    • 0 avatar

      The discovery process should produce some interesting results. If there is some truth to this it will likely settled out of court before Shelby’s proclivities become public. A man that trades on his good name cannot afford nasty publicity, and the pre-trial discovery process can produce a lot of dirt.

      BTW, of course Neff is fluffing Shelby; he wants the neat cars to keep showing up in his driveway for a “product review.” Otherwise he would have to take a job actually writing press releases instead of merely regurgitating them.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t have a problem with rewriting press releases. I’ve done it myself. It has its place.

        Autoblog serves an important function in terms of providing one place where you can get a quick look at the important automotive news happening that day. Press releases from companies, government agencies, non-profits, etc. are indeed news.

        Not real deep, not much analysis or commentary, but that’s why I come to TTAC. There must be 30 or 40 car related sites I have in the Links at Cars In Depth, but I only go to three or four every day and Autoblog is one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Byron Hurd

      “That’s something that the cops and prosecutors in today’s PC world would have taken very seriously and most likely investigated. ”

      I don’t like the implication you’re making there–intentional or otherwise–and neither should you.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    After the recent DSK fiasco, I think we should take a chill pill and wait for the courts and the cops to be done with this one.

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