Rickson Gracie — one of the most famous names in Brazilian jiu-jitsu — received a lot of criticism for a picture taken of him with accused sexual predator David Arnebeck.
The photo has since been removed from Instagram.
However, less than an hour before the time of this writing, Master Rickson broke his silence and responded on Facebook.
Gracie said he takes full responsibility for “allowing Mr. Arnebeck to continue his membership in the JJGF [the Jiu-Jitsu Global Federation, which Rickson founded]” and also announced that his organization will have a zero tolerance policy towards sexual misconduct.
You can read Master Rickson Gracie’s entire post below:
This statement is in regards to my association with David Arnebeck. I take full responsibility for allowing Mr. Arnebeck to continue his membership in the JJGF. Considering the final court ruling that he was permitted full unrestricted normal contact with minors, which declares that Mr. Arnebeck was not to be considered as a danger to minors or to society and that I know him, his wife, his daughter and his work as a Jiu Jitsu instructor for fifteen years, I decided not to impose further penalties on Mr. Arnebeck other than those already given by the court. In doing so, I took the personal position that people who demonstrate the will to change and to pay for past mistakes should not be ostracised and excluded from society.
However, as of today, the JJGF is adopting a zero tolerance policy towards sexual misconduct. We believe it is necessary to unequivocally condemn any case of sexual misconduct, and Mr. Arnebeck has been expelled from the JJGF. We encourage any member from the Global Jiu Jitsu community to help us to enforce this policy and communicate any wrongdoing they are aware of.
I condemn in the strongest words predatory behavior that takes advantage of others. This type of behavior is intolerable and contrary to my life mission and the mission of the JJGF. I am passionate to empower protectors and self-defense through Jiu Jitsu.
Gracie Jiu Jitsu, in its purest form, is a system designed to give the weak tools to protect themselves from the strong. Decades after the art’s birth, the Jiu Jitsu Global Federation still believes in this mission.
We believe that Jiu Jitsu should be used to empower individuals, and we do not condone any person, group, or organization who would prey upon the vulnerable. We expect our members and supporters to be the best representatives of Jiu Jitsu, and that means upholding standards of morality, standards of character, and standards of ethics.
Individuals who would use Jiu Jitsu to do harm or who would put members of our community at risk are not welcome and will not be tolerated.
For those of you who work tirelessly to do good for your students and to represent the best ideals of our art, thank you. We need your work continue.