Actor Greg Ellis has appeared in numerous films, TV shows, and video games over the course of his lengthy career, but his most recent project is certainly his most personal.
Following a harrowing experience in the family law system, Ellis penned a book titled, “The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Ellis about the issues with the family law system, how victimhood culture has intensified the bias against fathers, his organization that seeks to help families stay out of the divorce court machine, and so much more.
You can listen to the interview via the SoundCloud embed, or read the transcript below.
Q: You wrote your book, “The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law,” after your own experience within the family law system. What is the desired outcome of your book? What do you want people to come away with, either after having read your book or in hearing you speak?
ELLIS: I think people who are going through the vicissitudes of the family law system right now, are stuck in the divorce trap, to provide them with some hope that there’s a way out and to shine a light on the cartel of family law, the corrupt system that doesn’t provide a presumption of innocence; to reform and improve the system, the one-branch of our legal system that doesn’t provide a presumption of innocence, that has no due process, where parents and partners and ex-spouses and spouses are found guilty until proven more guilty; and to maybe learn some information that might help them along the way.
Q: Why do you think the family law system is biased, as opposed to other systems?
ELLIS: How long do you have? Well, I think our family law system is antiquated and outdated. It’s a quasi-kangaroo court. It’s caught in that middle ground. And I think it’s reflective and indicative of our current cancel culture. I think there is a bias towards men and fathers, which is clear in the statistics if you look at them in family law courts, divorce courts across America. And I think that we have a system where there isn’t really an escape. The silver bullet, as I call it, in family law, which is the majority of allegations of domestic violence are false. The result, and the way it goes is the TRO or temporary restraining order, EPO, emergency protection order, are not sustained once the case moves to a permanency or evidentiary hearing, and shows that the majority of domestic violence allegations are false or unprovable.
This is an affront to the real victims of domestic violence — and this echoes and parallels, I think, what’s going on in broader society with victimhood being the new social currency, and this economy’s booming. And false allegations, once made in family law courts, because there isn’t due process, there isn’t a presumption of innocence, there is no way back from that. It is reputation savaging and destroying. And even when an individual clears their name down the line, the damage has already been done. The separation between parents and their children, it’s basically splitting, destroying families, and costing our citizenry a tremendous amount of money at the expense of the American divorce machine, which is an annual nearly $60 billion a year industry.
Q: Do you think — because obviously the system was set up prior to victimhood being currency like it is today, do you think that current culture of victimhood has just sort of amplified the problem within the family law system?
ELLIS: Yeah, I think to a large degree it has. And I think, like any law or legislative bill that’s passed, it eventually gets misinterpreted or interpreted by attorneys and they find a way around it. When I think about family law, I think about the laws that have been passed with regards to, say, shared parenting. There aren’t any apart from in Kentucky and Arkansas, 50/50 default shared parenting. Which means that if there is acrimony in a divorce proceeding, that the go-to baseline presumption is biological father and biological mother have 50/50 shared parenting time. But then the proof is on the accuser rather than the accused to actually prove why that shouldn’t be the case.
And when we look at some of the laws that have been put through, particularly by, ironically, President Biden … the Adoption and Safe Families Act is another. These, for example, the Adoption and Safe Families Act … offers financial incentives to the states that increase adoption numbers. To receive the adoption incentives and bonuses, local CPS or Child Protection Services must have more children, they must have more merchandise to sell. And funding is available when a child is placed in a foster home with strangers. And states get reimbursed $6,000 for every child that’s placed into foster care, and 4,000 children a day lose a parent in family law court. So it doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that there’s big money in trafficking and profiteering from children and breaking up families.
Q: What specifically do you believe should be the first major change in family law that could get the ball rolling? You mentioned the co-parenting law in Kentucky. Is there another sort of legislative thing that you think would be the first step?
ELLIS: Yeah, I think the biggest step — and it may not be the first, it may actually take the longest — is to introduce the presumption of innocence, jurisprudence, the burden of proof must be on the accuser and not the accused. We need to introduce that into family law. Certainly, 50/50 shared parenting, which Arkansas and Kentucky have. I think it’s on the docket in Missouri and in Ohio as well. That’s coming up very soon in Ohio. A divorce must start with a default presumption of what is in the best interest of the children is for both parents to equally share in the parenting. I think we have to address false allegations of domestic violence, accountability and punishment for parents who make them. We don’t have that because even in our criminal law system, criminals get more rights than families do in family law. We have perjury laws, we have Miranda rights, we have the right to an attorney. You don’t have that in family law. And I think we also need to educate experts, parents, judges, and attorneys on how to better notice the signs of parental alienation and hold alienating parents accountable.
Q: Did writing this book and speaking with others who have dealt with the same situation or similar situations lead you to any new insights regarding the way in which the modern world has devalued fatherhood and family?
ELLIS: Yeah, huge. I mean, from talking with Erin Pizzy, who started the first domestic violence shelter 51 years ago. When she looked into what had happened with, I think, it was the first hundred women who came into her shelter, I think 62 of those women were just as or more violent than the spouses they’d left. The irony is that so many of these laws that had been set up and so many of the agencies and movements and organizations, particularly, dare I say, some of the domestic violence support groups for victims and women and girls, they are raking in millions and millions of dollars of grant money, and many of them aren’t really interested in meaningful change. They’re interested in money and profit.
And what else did I learn? I learned that “toxic masculinity,” “smash the patriarchy,” all of these messages that seem to have started recently over the last few years were actually started in a 1969 meeting of [third wave] feminist movement in New York, where they pivoted and decided that they would focus their messaging and their branding on two words, “toxic masculinity.” And all these decades later, here we are. The devaluation of men, the devaluation of fathers. I’m worried about our younger generation, particularly our younger generations of boys, who are hearing these messages, who are falling behind at school, and so on so forth in society.
I wrote the book to make — I didn’t want to write the book, I had to. I wrote it to make sense of this government sponsored devastation of my life, at first, and destruction of family and then others. I wrote it to let my children know that I haven’t abandoned them. I wrote it to tell other similarly-situated men and sometimes women, mothers and fathers, that they’re not alone. And perhaps most of all, I wrote it to ring the alarm about a broken system and call for social change and family law reform.
Q: Did your personal experience reveal any unpleasantness within the acting and Hollywood community? Did people in that community have anything to say when you became an advocate for fathers?
ELLIS: There has been some blowback, and obviously I hear along the grapevine. I mean, look, it’s 2021 and I’m going out talking about the bias in family law court towards fathers. I’ve written a book about it. So of course, who wants to hear from a Caucasian heterosexual male from Hollywood whining about his own personal story? This is bigger than that. This isn’t a story about Left versus Right or conservative versus liberal. This is a parent issue; this is a human rights issue. And I think it’s a national health emergency, too. If it can happen to Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, me, it is, has been, and will continue to happen to tens of thousands of fathers, and sometimes mothers, as well, across Western civilization. I think family breakdown is the single greatest threat to American society right now.
Q: Aiming toward the solutions end of the equation, you’re president of an organization called The Respondent. Can you explain exactly what that is and what The Respondent seeks to accomplish?
ELLIS: So, “The Respondent” is my book. “The Respondent” is my book and video and podcast series, “The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law.” And what I built from the ashes of my experience rose like a phoenix from the flames, I guess, is the charitable extension to the book, which is called Children and Parents United, or CPU.
But our mission, yeah, our mission is to promote and improve child wellbeing by providing information and resources to policymakers, legislatures, practitioners, and the general public resulting in enhanced relationships and reduced conflict for those children and parents navigating our current family law systems. And we do that right now through three cost-effective, practical, solution-based programs. Communication, workshops and programs that promote improved interpersonal relating, so when trust breaks down, we can help rebuild those bridges. Mediation, so solutions-oriented intervention experts to help resolve conflict disputes that work outside — they have experience of the court system, but they work outside and parallel to the court system so we’re not churning people back into the system. And CPU Law, we call it, which provides legal advice, supports the mediation process, and … legal procedures so that if two people do actually want to settle and come to resolution on a marriage and actually do choose to divorce, then we can help them draw up those papers so they don’t have to get churned into the divorce trap, which is what I call the system.
And keep people out of court. That’s the main thing we have to do. The blatant plundering of people’s estates, which goes on all the time by these judges, attorneys, and the legal system, which basically make up the state bar associations. They write their own playbook, they write their own rules, and someone needs the Red Cross of divorce, and that’s what CPU [is].
Q: What success have you seen with the organization?
ELLIS: Well, we’re a fledgling organization, but we have — so, for example, our mediation, I took on the first case of mediation myself.
And nearly six years, this couple had been churned around the family law court system, nearly $2 million spent, and in six years, no resolution. In an afternoon and a half, I was able to resolve their case by working just purely with the two of them myself. So we have immediate success. We have ways and means that we can help people and think outside the box, and we know the perils and pitfalls of what goes on in family law across America. So we can keep people out of court and we can get success. That’s just one of the meaningful ways that we can help people who are in vulnerable positions in family law.
Q: If you’re sort of contrasting this to our current behemoth of a system, do you think it’s possible to dig ourselves out of this system that we currently have and transition into something more equitable, like the organization that you have? And how long do you think such a transition would take?
ELLIS: Yeah, I do think it’s possible. I think it’s going to take a multi-pronged approach to excavate and dig ourselves out scoop by scoop in terms of case by case. That’s what I try to do with individuals and couples and families. And then the bigger approach, in terms of our social policies, our familial tapestry is torn, putting pressure on politicians and legislatures and passing new bills and new laws like we have in Arkansas, like we have in Kentucky, like we hopefully will have in Ohio soon and maybe even Missouri, and do it on a state by state basis.
But we do need to get it to the federal level and really, really get to the heart of the matter with the president right now. He’s a Catholic man, he’s a father, and if he really genuinely cared about families, one would think that he would be aware or at least do something about or at least change the laws. … It was his bill in 1974, which I think is getting rewritten right now and is going to make it even worse for families. And he’s ignorant of that fact, and he needs to smart up, get aware, and really change it for the better, not for the worse.
Q: Would this drive of yours with your experience and your book and your organization ever propel you to run for office of some kind?
ELLIS: I haven’t ruled that out. I haven’t really thought about it too much, to be honest. In fact, I’ve walked a lot of red carpets in my time in the entertainment business. I’m more interested in walking up the steps of legislative buildings and providing testimony and speaking to not just my experience, which people can read about in “The Respondent,” but it’s really just a vessel for so many others — fathers, mothers, parents, partners, spouses that are going through this, particularly children. Any time we strip away a child’s right to have a biological father or a biological mother present for their childhoods, we’re really just — it’s a recipe for disaster. So, yeah, if that happens, I wouldn’t say no. But quite frankly, the state of politics today, it seems like the prerequisite to be a politician is you don’t have integrity.
Q: Is there something that we haven’t touched on in this interview regarding either your book or family law in general or any kind of cultural topic, cancel culture, that you would want our readers and listeners to know?
ELLIS: Good question. No, I think the book is worth — it’s a good read. The one thing I would say is, for anyone who’s going through what I went through or knows someone who is, I also have a companion free downloadable ebook called “The Code,” and that’s available at TheRespondent.com, and that offers immediate interventions into wellbeing for anyone — parents, children, families struggling to cope with the family law system, or life in general. Those impactful and immediate relief strategies that help you survive what I call in family law or high-conflict divorce “six silver bullets and the magic ballistics of family law war.” So, yeah, I would just encourage people if they need help — and also say to the listeners and viewers, if you’re going through this, you’re not alone. It may seem like the world has turned upside down and you are in this alone and there’s no hope, but ride out that existential wave of terror or angst and you’ll get to the other side, and there is hope. And hopefully my organization will grow and build and more people will become aware of it.
Q: And how can they get to that organization? And what are your social medias, if you have any to plug?
ELLIS: Sure. TheRespondent.com has all the information about the project, the book, the nonprofit, episodes, the free downloadable ebook. RealGregEllis.com has information about me and socials — @ellisgreg on Twitter. It’s where I can usually be found. I’m on Facebook and Instagram, too. On Instagram, it’s RealGregEllis.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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Nigerians in diaspora key to revamping the economy, democracy, says Utomi
By Chukwudi Nweje
Former presidential adviser, Prof Pat Utomi, who is also the leader of the National Consultative Front (NC Front), has said Nigerians in the diaspora have a crucial role to play in revamping the economy and saving the country’s democracy.
Utomi, who said this during a meeting with Nigerian professionals in Dallas, Texas, the United States at the weekend also noted that Nigerians in diaspora remit more money home than the country earns from the sale of crude oil, but have been denied the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process by selfish politicians who fear the positive changes they will engender in the country’s democracy.
He said, “The Diaspora have higher competencies and a global network but is being blocked from their natural role in national rejuvenation by professional politicians in Nigeria who thrive on exclusion to achieve state capture, deserves a place at the table. The Diaspora remit more money home than Nigeria earns from crude oil sales. The Diaspora are high stakeholders with a moral obligation to help halt the drift in Nigeria.”
He urged Nigerians in the diaspora to partner the NC Front in ‘a shadow government’, which he said aims at developing policy plans to revive some critical sectors of the country’s economy that are lying comatose.
“The alternative government’s strategy involves a Marshal Plan type saturation investment in education, healthcare and the stimulation of markets that would further yield a prosperity paradox in infrastructure. The national economic strategy which is built on clusters of manufacturing hubs and technology parks in the six zones of Nigeria will drive global value chains anchored on the latent comparative advantage of each zone’s factor endowments and will produce a dramatic turnaround in Nigeria’s fortunes.
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He added that the NC Front will in the coming weeks announce a political party platform that will enable Nigeria to claim the promise of the founding fathers that peace and prosperity will define the future, in brotherhood, though tribe and tongue may differ.
“As soon as the current government is replaced there would be a diaspora global roadshow to showcase opportunities for diaspora joint ventures on the select endowments around which the value chains will be rolled out. This will quickly bring us to a full-employment economy and make Nigeria the true powerhouse of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Utomi said Nigerians should reject both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2023 as they both represent retrograde opportunism.
He said that as 2023 approaches that Nigerians must move away from the politics of big men to those of big ideas to save the country.
“It is this politics of big men that deluded many Nigerians to think Buhari would help eliminate corruption only for corruption to get worse on his watch. Governing has reached its lowest ebb in memory with Nigeria’s import bills having at its top two items Nigeria should be exporting, premium motor spirit and food. These kinds of failures were the tradition of the anti-people government of corrupt big men that APC and PDP represents. A government that cares for and loves its people will not have politicians obsessed with self-love when just a little thoughtfulness can reduce the sufferings of the people and accelerate the pace of progress. To achieve a purposeful, people-centred government requires leaders of integrity, character, and a heart for the people”, Utomi said.
2023: Sen Adamu’s reconciliation c’ttee will position APC for victory – VON DG, Okechukwu
The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, has said the Senator Abdullahi Adamu reconciliation committee is positioning the p
All Progressives Congress (APC) for 2023 electoral victory.
Okechukwu told newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, that the decision to set up the committee was one of the sterling achievements of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor Mai Mala Buni.
The APC chieftain, who was a member of the sub committees in the merger process that formed APC, noted that the Adamu-led conciliation committee has been going about their responsibilities with uncommon insight, purpose and empathy.
He stated, “I will not be mistaken if one calls the Reconciliation Committee the nine wisemen, because they are generating germane responses and inputs that would help in strengthening our great party and turning it into a formidable national political movement on the eve of 2023 general elections.
“The committee yes has some challenges, nonetheless has recorded tremendous success that would position our great party for 2023 general elections.
“I think with this reconciliation move, APC is becoming the party the founding fathers envisioned and it is a thing of joy that the CECPC selected such claiber of persons to perform this onerous task.”
On reports about setbacks suffered by the committee in some states, Okechukwu, said, “Nobody expected the crisis dogging over 15 state chapters to be settled at once. All I know is that the Senator Adamu’s Committee has so far recorded huge successes in the South East, North West, North East, South West and South South.
“Yes, there are unresolved issues in states like Osun, Kwara and Adamawa, but my understanding is that reconciliation is a work in progress.”
The APC chieftain disclosed that he participated in the meeting for reconciliation of the three factions or tendencies in his home state, Enugu, remarking, “One was impressed with how diligent and painstaking Senator Adamu and his team grilled us. That one can say today that we are rebuilding APC Enugu State Chapter with Senator Ken Nnamani, former Governor Sulivan Chime and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrey Onyeama, which was mangled by the congresses.”
“It must be noted that the Committee rebuked us for playing blame games instead of building bridges for victory in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
“Today, we are almost united, as we are harmonising at ward, local government and state levels. We hope before the end of this week, APC Enugu State chapter will reunite as one family.”
He expressed optimism that Abia, Gombe, Akwa Ibom and other states would comply with advisory template of the Senator Adamu’s Committee.
His words: “Based on what I have witnessed, the Senator Adamu Committee will reconcile all the prolonged crisis in the state chapters, which contributed to the delays in holding the party’s national convention.”
He recalled with pain that since June 2020, when the APC caretaker committee led by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, was inaugurated, the convention has been postponed several times.
He hoped that the efforts of Senator Adamu’s Committee will lead to seamless national convention, a mandate which President Buhari gave H.E. M.M. Buni CECPC.
Yoruba Ronu Group endorses Tinubu for 2023 presidency
A Yoruba socio-political organization, Yoruba Ronu Group (YRG), said Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is capable to be Nigeria’s president in 2023.
Prince Diran Iyantan, YRG President, stated this on Sunday in Akure at a meeting of the group.
“Yoruba Ronu Group is driven by a deep love for and commitment to Yoruba interest.
“We have said it at many quarters that it is our intention to endorse a presidential candidate beneficial to the country, from any of the accredited political parties in the country.
“Our organisation, of which I am the president, has from inception, and as stated in its constitution, committed to a progressive Nigeria.
“Therefore, as its titular head, I am able to call a meeting to endorse the candidacy of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu since he made his intention known to contest the presidential election,” he stated.
According to him, as the emerging political order of the Yoruba and, indeed, Nigerians, the organisation deemed it fit to call a general meeting to endorse Tinubu’s candidacy.
“This, devoid of partisan political attachment, is instanced of the analytical assessment made on every aspirant to the office of the president at the moment and beyond it. This is our best foot moving forward.
“Tinubu’s experience is noteworthy as a distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as an administrator of immense proportion, and as the governor of Lagos State where he held sway as an accomplished leader for eight, unforgettable years.
“It is with Asiwaju’s immense successful track record and his values as a promoter of men that we have decided to endorse his presidential ambition.
“This includes that we shall marshal our numerous supporters and followers to mobilise for his success at the poll,” he said.
Iyantan urged all well-meaning Yoruba sons and daughters to throw their weight behind Tinubu, saying that he was the best choice coming from the Southwestern part to aspire for the presidency.
“He will build on the existing infrastructure and the legacies of our revered President Muhammadu Buhari.
“He will improve on the security status of the country. He would make the economy thrive and bring back the unity of the country which we lost at the point of the civil war,” Iyantan stated.
The YRG leader described Tinubu as a dogged fighter who, in the past, fought tenaciously to restore sanity to the polity of the country when no other person in the military or in politics could do it.
“A man like him deserves the support of every Nigerian in APC, in any other political party or in the private sector in the country.
“Tinubu is a product of God’s magnanimity to mankind in this generation.
“This is the time to look back and to look forward as well; to bring out from our archive what is good and join it with what is good at present to drive for what will be good for us in future.
“We are full of hope for the said future because of what will be attainable going by the goodwill of Asiwaju and his concern for a colorful vision of Nigeria.
“There has been serious elation shown by the people of the South West and all over the country for Asiwaju’s declaration,” he stated.
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