Gypsy Taub (pictured above at left), who for years made headlines in San Francisco and her hometown of Berkeley for her "body freedom" activism and nudist parades, was arrested in December after allegedly violating a restraining order and "stalking" the teenage friend of her son. Taub has been held at Santa Rita Jail since then on $345,000 bail — she says now that her bail was later set at $2 million — and today she was seeking reduced bail in a new hearing in Alameda County.
Berkeleyside covered Taub's arrest back in December, which included charges of attempted abduction and child abuse, all of which she denies. In appeal documents and on her personal website, Taub has been claiming innocence since the restraining order was first filed against her a year ago, in June 2019, and last year was a particularly dramatic year for her in terms of legal filings.
"I had no idea how utterly corrupt to the core our legal system is,” Taub wrote in a blog post, complaining that things are even worse than they were in "communist Russia," where she emigrated from. In another post last December, Taub details her side of the story regarding her son's friend, whom we won't name here. But suffice it to say, she had a clearly complicated and some might say inappropriate interest in her son's friend. And while she has repeatedly insisted that nothing sexually inappropriate ever occurred, this long letter that she wrote to the boy, and other emails dating back to February 2019 detailed in the Alameda County charging documents, are enough to raise eyebrows about what prosecutors have called Taub's unhealthy "obsession" with a 14-year-old. In total there were 30 or 40 emails that police found between Taub, who turned 51 yesterday, and the boy.
In one she allegedly wrote, "The longer you let your mother mind fuck you and run your life for you while hiding and lying, the more fake and superficial your relationship with people will be."
About five weeks prior to fellow Berkeley mom Raven Thrasher filing the restraining order against Taub in June 2019, Taub herself sought a restraining order against an upstairs neighbor. The neighbor allegedly threatened Taub with a stick following a dispute over over-filled garbage cans, and Taub uses evidence of the judge's treatment of her in that case — she was denied the restraining order when the judge suggested that two people sharing the same property simply needed some shared rules — to suggest in her appeal several months later that the judge was biased against her.
This week, Taub is pointing to the exorbitant bail amount — SFist has not confirmed what the current bail amount actually is, or the results of today's hearing — to suggest she has been treated unfairly by the court system.
"My bail is twice as high as the bail of Derick Chauvin, who killed George Floyd," she writes to SFist in an email. "My alleged crimes? [Posting] non-sexual lover letters and music on blogs, driving past the alleged victim's house and stopping at the traffic light, and my son Deniel sending his friend money and a phone so he could get to a youth shelter where he can be safe from his mother's abuse."
Thrasher and Taub's tensions are many, and Taub points to some exchange involving a puppy — the dog was given to Thrasher and then had to be taken back — for the reason that she ultimately landed in jail. She denies the stalking charge, saying that she was unjustly arrested for being near Berkeley High School with her son — Berkeley police claim they saw her wearing an apparent disguise and trying to pass a package to her son's friend, after the restraining order was filed.
Thrasher has said in court that her family can't be safe unless Taub is in jail. Taub has said that Thrasher and the authorities had ignored evidence of cutting on the boy's arm when this drama began last year, and in her letters she talks about trying to reunite him with his father, to get him away from his mother.
Taub is, no doubt, a provocative figure, and it's hard to see the latest legal drama and her incarceration without the context of her very public existence as a nudist activist and provocateur. As SF Weekly described her in this 2015 profile, Taub is "a seasoned 9/11 truther, aficionado of psychedelics, and sexual free spirit who, in 2008, created a cable access show called 'My Naked Truth,' which still airs every Sunday night on Channel 29 in San Francisco." ("My Naked Truth" was actually airing on the internet for years prior to 2008, and on it Taub would stand nude in her living room interviewing someone else, who would be nude.) She famously stripped down in the SF Board of Supervisors chambers to protest the 2012 nudity ban. And she also briefly dabbled in self-made porn and created a paid website for her content long before the days of OnlyFans, and in 2013 she staged a nude wedding on the steps of San Francisco City Hall with her younger lover Jaymz (she was 44 at the time, and he was 20).
Now she's trying to advocate for her three kids, who are apparently in the care of her 18-year-old daughter Inti while she sits at Santa Rita. And due to the nature of the charges against her, apparently, she was not eligible for pre-trial release under COVID-19 guidelines, even though there was allegedly a plea deal on the table.
In May, Taub wrote to local media saying, "The court has given me a death sentence for saying 'I love you' in an email and for allegedly posting love letters and love songs on blog." The "death sentence" apparently has to do with COVID-19 dangers, though she was denying the seriousness of the virus in a blog post just two months earlier. And she said that the Alameda County DA's office had offered her a plea deal with no more jail time if she pleaded guilty to felony stalking, which she has so far refused to do.
The taboo subject of "dating" someone who is underage is not something Taub is shying away from, despite where this situation with a teenager has landed her. "When I was 16 I had a boyfriend who was 54 years old," Taub tells SFist. "It was one of the most loving, most healing and most beautiful relationships I ever had." In the letter to her son's friend she discusses the age of consent in various states. And she adds, in an email to SFist, "I also want to add that in California many young people get married starting at the age 14 — it requires consent [from] one of the parents. If this was so terribly damaging for the young people this would probably not be allowed by Court."
Following the results of the bail hearing, we'll update you on Taub's story.
For her part, Taub's daughter, Inti Gonzalez, wrote on the blog in December, "My mother is not perfect but she certainly is not some sort of creepy pedophile... What they are doing to her now is absolutely ridiculous. All the charges that they are putting on her are either just stupid or have no evidence to support them."
And her son Daniel writes, "Gyspy has always treated us with lots of love and respect. She always taught us to be honest and she was also honest to us... I can’t believe she is being accused of child abduction and child abuse. That’s something she would never do."
Photo: Gypsy Taub/Twitter