A Bay Area “body freedom” activist who once shed her clothing in protest during a Berkeley City Council meeting is now facing felony charges for what authorities have called her ongoing “obsession” this year with a teenage boy.
Oxane “Gypsy” Taub, 50, of Berkeley was charged Thursday with attempted child abduction, stalking and child abuse — all felonies — in connection with allegations of behavior that began in February and continued through this week. Taub is also facing five misdemeanors for annoying a minor and disobeying court orders for her to stay away from the teenager, who is 14.
According to court documents, the boy, who is in ninth grade, used to be a friend of Taub’s son before they had a falling out. Taub maintained a connection with the boy and sent him numerous messages and emails to the point where the boy’s mother sought a restraining order against Taub in June. But, according to police, Taub did not stop contacting him — despite the filing of multiple midemeanor charges in July, September and November.
On Monday, according to police, Taub had her son ask a friend to give the 14-year-old a package on her behalf. The package included a letter urging the boy to meet her: “This is our last chance to help you,” the letter read. “Leave your bag and your regular cell phone in the locker.” The letter included a location and time to meet on Tuesday, police wrote in court papers.
At the time of the meeting, police who were monitoring the situation saw Taub’s son in the area, they wrote in court documents. When he left, police followed him to Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Channing Way, where he met “with an individual who was wearing clothing covering their head, in what appeared to be a manner to disguise oneself.” Officers identified that person as Taub, and arrested her a few blocks away.
According to court documents, police arrested Taub on suspicion of stalking “for repeatedly harassing” the boy and then sending him the letter “which caused him to fear for his safety.” The child abuse allegation stemmed from “the mental anguish” the boy had experienced as Taub “continues to violate court orders that have been in place since June,” police wrote.
The boy and his family initially reported the situation to police in February and said Taub was emailing and calling the teenager against his will. In June, the boy’s mother told police “the emails had increased in frequency.” In their investigation at that time, police found 44 emails from Taub to the boy over about four months.
In some of the emails, according to court papers, Taub accused the boy of betraying her. In others, she wrote about having feelings for him.
In June, according to police, Taub sent the boy a letter that discussed the legal age of consent in other states and wrote to him that, “the law makes clear that dating is not illegal as long as there is no sexual intercourse.” Several days later, the boy’s family served Taub with a restraining order.
In September, according to police, Taub parked briefly outside the boy’s home in violation of the restraining order against her. Police found a blog post online from just prior to that incident where Taub had written about “driving by the victim’s house in hopes of communicating with him and expressing her obsession with him.”
Police also described “two blog postings of communications that appear to be from” Taub where she is “professing her love and desire” to be with him.
Later in the month, according to police, Taub drove by the boy’s home “at a slow and ‘crawl-like’ speed almost coming to a stop on several occasions as she peered and stared” at the boy’s bedroom window.
As part of the ongoing investigation, police said they found more than 20 emails from Taub to the boy over about three weeks during the fall.
The charges against Taub have been amended repeatedly since July as a result of the new allegations.
In a Dec. 12 email to her body freedom followers, Taub addressed the issue of the criminal case against her. She blamed the criminal allegations on the boy’s mother and said the accusations against her were false.
“I had no idea how utterly corrupt to the core our legal system is,” she wrote. “I will follow up with more details and post some documents for you to look at. In terms of human rights violations it’s way worse than communist Russia was, at least when I was growing up there.”
She wrote that one of the charges against her stemmed from having written the words “I love you” in an email, while another message that had been attributed to her, she wrote, had actually been written by her son.
“I will post their so-called probable cause for that. It’s worthy of a movie,” she wrote in the email. “I plan on making a documentary about all this crap and getting the media involved.”
Taub also wrote that she had been “raising hell in court and have some very fun audio recordings to share.” It is illegal for the public to record anything that takes place in Alameda County criminal courtrooms according to the posted rules.
Taub also wrote that, after initially handling some of her own legal work, she had retained an attorney. She asked anyone who wanted to support her case to send her money via PayPal.
A 2015 profile of Taub in SF Weekly described Taub as “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.”
According to her Wikipedia page, she once attended the City College of San Francisco as a pre-med student but “dropped out after 18 months as she believed the amount of studying she had to do got in the way of her spiritual growth.” In 1995, she changed her name from Olessia to Gypsy and became a Deadhead. Taub once ran an amateur pornography website out of her home in Berkeley, according to SF Weekly.
By 2012, according to the Weekly, Taub had become a leader in the “body freedom” movement, undressing during her remarks at a public hearing in San Francisco about that city’s nudity ban. The next year, she and her fiancé staged a nude wedding at SF’s City Hall. She has also organized numerous nude parades in the city.
When Taub’s children were growing up, she regularly included them in her activist activities, the Weekly wrote.
“They often appear naked alongside their mother at public protests,” reporter Jeremy Lybarger wrote in the Weekly. “A trio of nude kids — two of whom are visibly pubescent — is taboo enough to make some observers question Taub’s parental ethics.”
The article continued: “Taub, frankly, doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks about her parenting skills. ‘It’s okay to be nude until you’re five, so how’s it different if you’re 10? I don’t see any reason why this is wrong. Abuse doesn’t happen in the middle of downtown San Francisco.'”
In 2015, Taub brought the fight for body freedom to the Berkeley City Council when officials declined to sign onto a “free the nipple” proposal that came out of then-Councilman Kriss Worthington’s office. At the end of the night, Taub stripped down and jumped all over the dais for approximately five minutes as she excoriated city officials for their lack of vision. The room was nearly empty, but Taub’s protest was captured on video.
As of Friday, Taub remained in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $60,000. She is set for an attorney and plea hearing Jan. 2, 2020, at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.
Update, Jan. 3: Taub’s bail has actually been set at $345,000, her daughter Inti Gonzalez told Berkeleyside this week. County records online show the bail as $60,000. That number is not accurate, according to Gonzalez.