We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Local artist Adrian Parsons has revealed himself as one of the stars of ANC Commissioner Frank Winstead‘s now-infamous clandestine ping pong youtube video, shot outside of Comet Ping Pong. Parsons says he recognized himself and opponent Karl Southgate immediately when he saw this video of the sidewalk match-up, posted last summer on DCist:
“At first i wasn’t really thinking it was all that harmful,” Parsons says of the video. “I thought it was sort of playful, that it was Winstead’s opinion and of no legal consequence. But when it started to look like the video might be a problem for Comet, I thought, ‘Well. That sucks.'”
Adds Parsons, “I was concerned that my face was on this advert that might serve to hurt James [Alefantis, Comet owner]. It was not something that Karl or I were interested in being involved in.”
On June 21, Parsons sent Winstead an e-mail asking him to cease and desist by June 23. “I asserted that he had used my image, and Karl Southgate’s image, without our permission, and for a cause that we didn’t support,” says Parsons. “I told him to remove the video from the Internet and any other place he had posted it.” When Winstead hadn’t responded within 48 hours, Parsons sent another e-mail threatening legal action against the commissioner. Again, he recieved no response. (Washington City Paperhas also had its share of trouble contacting Winstead).
“Basically, after me pulling the legal card and Winstead not getting back to me, I figured I’d speak out against it,” says Parsons. For the most part, though, Parsons isn’t too concerned about outdoor ping pong. “I feel like that ward is doing well,” he says. “There are probably larger problems that we could be dealing with in D.C.”
Parsons did take the time to answer the three chilling questions Winstead poses in the video:
Frank Winstead: Public space permit?
Adrian Parsons: [Long pause].
CP: That’s a question.
AP: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t think so.
FW: Is this safe, on a sidewalk?
AP: Yes, it is.
FW: Does ball go into traffic, often?
AP: Grammatically, that’s a tough one. Occasionally, the ball would drop on the sidewalk and get in someone’s way. There were potted plants behind it that the ball would get stuck in sometimes. The table being parallel with the sidewalk, the ball would more likely fly into another, adjacent business. But I never saw it go into the traffic.