#MeToo Must Start Making Distinctions
May 25, 2018 at 3:18 am #9307
Today, a number of women came out with complaints about insensitive and crude and in a few cases mildly assaultive behavior by the actor Morgan Freeman. And the criticism is well-deserved. Don’t misunderstand me there.
The problem, it seems to me, is that in these #MeToo-ish outings, no distinction seems to be made between men whose transgressions can be a learning experience for them and those whose transgressions are so gross that only totally shunning and even prosecuting them can be called justice.
In Freeman’s case, he may simply have not kept up with changing mores and may have thought that his celebrity and power in the industry immunized him for some of his randy behavior (and many of the allegations are about randy behavior, not true sexual assault or rape). He’s been hit with a bucket of PR ice water and I think it’s unlikely he’ll reoffend.
Similar to him is the case of Al Franken. His offense (or offenses, if there are more) seem to go back to his days as a comedian and, let’s face it that a big part of being a successful comedian is to lack the normal “filter” on what one says or does. He pretended to fondle the tits of a sleeping coworker while on a USO tour along with an allegation of unwanted ass grabbing. More a bad joke than anything else. I don’t think any offenses have occurred during the course of his political career. Yet, he’s been forced out of office.
Contrast those cases with Harvey Weinstein, who allegedly (because he hasn’t been convicted yet) operated a casting couch that suppressed or ruined the careers of many an actress who refused his advances. He’s also been accused of outright forced sex. You also have the Bill Cosby case, whereby he had sex with women after drugging them, a form of rape.
A striking difference between Freeman and Franken vs. Weinstein and Cosby is that the former pair largely transgressed in the open and in front of others whereas Weinstein and Cosby’s actions happened in private. The distinction betrays a consciousness of guilt on the part of Weinstein and Cosby that’s missing in the case of Freeman and Franken. We deserve to have their genius and talent of Freeman and Franken back with us again, and we owe them a second chance.
I submit that the Freemans and Frankens, after a period of time, should be allowed back into the fold, assuming they show signs of being sufficiently chastened. Cosby has been convicted and presumably so will Weinstein. They need to be gone.
#MeToo seems to make no distinction between these two types of transgressors.May 25, 2018 at 4:18 am #9311May 25, 2018 at 12:44 pm #9316
On reflection, I think it’s kind of disgusting that the term “casting couch” even exists, and not only that, but that everyone knew what it meant. It was perceived as acceptable. Yes times have changed, and for the good. I’m sorry that Morgan Freeman was outed for this kind of bad behavior. I used to like him in films. But in the end, I don’t think we have reached a place where we can use a dial and say that one guy’s behavior was x on the scale, but another’s is y.
It is not about the sexual indiscretions that these guys would have us believe. It is genuinely about abuse of power, and the utilization of sexual dominance to enable the more powerful to feel more powerful.May 25, 2018 at 2:26 pm #9320
I’ve done a couple of things I am ashamed of, and probably it’s a similar story with nearly all men. It was despite my best intentions, and came completely out of the blue, as if my faculties suddenly went out of the window. In other words, I really didn’t know what I was doing, which is a strange thing, that kind of worries me.
I presume that Morgan Freeman and Al Franken knew what they were doing, I don’t know details, it’s unacceptable on an ongoing orchestrated basis, it saddens me that someone I like (Freeman) would behave like that.
I was very disillusioned with Genesis P-Orridge from Throbbing Gristle when I found out he used to abuse his co-member Cosi Fanni Tutti in horrible ways. When I found out he is gravely ill, on FB, I soundly rebuked him and wished him a speedy death, while acknowledging I still love his music.May 25, 2018 at 3:43 pm #9321
As the woman in the Bill Maher video says, it’s reached the point where men are presumed guilty, no due process at all based on mere unsubstantiated claims, in some cases, by only one accuser. A woman with an axe to grind or maybe wants the accused job can make a false claim. False claims are hard to distinguish from true claims.
Then, as I said, the worst of the accused committed their misdeeds always in private, indicating consciousness of guilt.
I ask both men AND women, if someone makes a serious and possibly career- and freedom-ending allegation against you, what would you want to happen? Trial in the public eye or an actual judicial inquiry?May 25, 2018 at 4:11 pm #9327
Even many women are lamenting #MeToo nowadays. One woman complained that a man who complimented her “pretty dress” felt compelled to ask if he’d overstepped any sort of line. Men no longer know if it’s okay to ask a woman out on a date for fear it might count as an “unwanted advance.” Businesses are avoiding hiring women now for fear of the consequences. Male supervisors are fearful of mentoring females, too.
#MeToo has started to hurt women.
It’s time for a more nuanced and reasonable approach.May 25, 2018 at 4:32 pm #9329
“Trial in the public eye or an actual judicial inquiry?”
– probably both, but definitely in the public eye. I’d be like, “bring it on, I’ve got nothing to hide”. I would request concern and compassion for the person bringing the allegations. I would expect a fair judicial hearing. The public are going to think whatever they think.May 25, 2018 at 4:47 pm #9330May 25, 2018 at 5:02 pm #9332
“How not to sexually harass someone”
= don’t act like a jerk.May 25, 2018 at 5:06 pm #9334
It’s not that simple. As a manager in a major corporation, if a woman walks in my office and closes the door to talk in private, I’ll kindly ask her to please leave it open or else we have to go down to HR and gain a witness for my protection. I did not work this hard to be sunk by an allegation by a pissed-off worker. Sorry for the trouble.
If you believe that women are not capable of leveraging PC’ness power to unjustly take out competition you are wrong. I am always vigilant for that. So, yeah, she can make jokes, but I ain’t laughing.
May 25, 2018 at 5:13 pm #9336May 25, 2018 at 6:09 pm #9337
- This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by _Robert_.
@robert – sounds sensible.
Sensible that a meeting between a male and a female costs 33-50% more ? It’s OK, I guess; consumers get to pick up the tab, ultimately. And people wonder why things are so expensive.May 25, 2018 at 6:24 pm #9338
@ Robert – It’s not that simple.
I agree completely. I think there is a sense of hyper-vigilance on such matters creeping into the workplace. I deal with several companies in different industries and have noticed it among management. I think it is going in a good direction and idiot or ignorant men are not being tolerated by male co-workers who are much more likely to rebuke them for sexist commentary than ever before. But to have to be always on alert towards the few women that take advantage of it must be tedious. Overall though it is not a women’s problem to solve. It is a problem for women until we men solve it by sorting out our own behaviors.May 25, 2018 at 7:44 pm #9339
@robert – you could say it’s sensible both ways. The females are also protected from potential unwanted male attention. After all, it’s an intimate setting for an impersonal relationship.May 26, 2018 at 12:39 am #9342
Considering the long-term costs of our historic culture of slavery, and considering the physical wife abuse that takes place daily (all one has to do is visit a woman’s shelter to see the evidence), do you think that the cost to men of the #MeToo movement and public allegations actually overwhelms the known damage done and still happening?
I mean, I almost feel like men who can’t take the current movement are like, um, whimps, ya know?
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