#MeToo? #NotMe!

#MeToo emerged as a national movement in October 2017 in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against media mogul Harvey Weinstein. Time magazine named the #MeToo movement the “Person of the Year.” #MeToo has become an international movement, as well.

The goals of the #MeToo movement are to encourage survivors of sexual assault to speak out and achieve healing, goals that everyone certainly agrees with. Beyond that, the stated objectives of #MeToo remain vague:*

Despite its broad appeal, many persons have warned about the excesses of #MeToo. “I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations,” tweeted writer Emily LindenMany have termed the movement a “witch-hunt” — a Google search on the words “MeToo” and “witch-hunt” turns up 761,000 results.

SAVE believes victims of sexual misconduct should feel free to speak out, they should be treated respectfully, and their claims should be investigated objectively and thoroughly. But #MeToo is becoming a modern-day vigilante movement that ignores due process and eradicates the presumption of innocence.

CRITICISMS OF #METOO

These are statements made by media personalities and other commentators:

  1. Elizabeth Bartholet: “My fairness concerns with the #MeToo phenomenon include the ready acceptance in many cases of anonymous complaints, and of claims made by women over conflicting claims by men, to terminate careers without any investigation of the facts.”
  2. Claire Berlinski: “We are on a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity.”
  3. Shikha Dalmia: “Movements collapse when they become more interested in collecting heads than advancing their cause. Unfortunately, the very worthy #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse might have just reached that point.”
  4. Suzanne Fields: “But rant and rage accompanying the outing of a celebrity over a clumsy seduction is an immature millennial version of the woman bent on revenge. Instead of ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,’ social media hath no cowardice like an anonymous woman taking revenge on a celebrity who didn’t live up to her expectations.”
  5. Caitlan Flanagan: “Female rage is the essential fuel of #MeToo. Unchecked it is the potent force that will destroy it.”
  6. Julia Hartley-Brewer: “The #MeToo campaign is very worrying and will achieve the opposite of what it pretends to want. The hashtag claims to be about empowering women to speak out when actually it is turning women into perpetual victims.”
  7. Christina Hoff Sommers: “The #MeToo movement seems to be devolving into an anti-male grievance-fest.”
  8. Wendy Kaminer: “#MeToo is the unthinking woman’s anti-harassment crusade. It commands us to ‘believe the women’ unthinkingly, without considering the seriousness or plausibility of their claims. It calls every accuser a survivor, whether she alleges a sexual assault or a single, unsolicited advance.”
  9. Mary Kenny: “The novelist Kingsley Amis used to say: ‘Women are trouble – keep them out of all institutions.’ He was a misogynist, but such notions will revive if women portray themselves as so fragile that they can’t deal with the small change of everyday life with robust common sense.”
  10. Carrie Lukas: “Let’s resist the temptation to use our outrage in behalf of sex-assault victims as justification for tying our favored policy reforms to the #MeToo cause. Sexual harassment deserves to be addressed on its own without being politicized.”
  11. Faith Moore: “Claiming #MeToo for myself because some guy, in an attempt at flirtation, rubbed his leg against mine under a table…is a betrayal of the women who’ve actually been raped or assaulted.”
  12. Patrice Onwuka: “However, lumping equal pay statistics into the fight against sexual harassment and assault stretches the movement to include issues that should be addressed separately. We cannot allow #MeToo to become a partisan tool rather than a bipartisan platform for change.”
  13. Monica Osborne: “What happens after #MeToo?…My fear is that we will begin to see ourselves as powerless. That we will begin to see ourselves as victims first, and women second.”
  14. Andrea Peyser: “It’s official. #MeToo has jumped the shark.”
  15. Katie Roiphe: “A few months ago Harpers magazine asked me to write a piece on the #MeToo movement….Before the magazine article had even been published, thousands of people took to Twitter, furious at me for rumors about what might be in the piece. Total strangers called me ‘a garbage person,’ ‘a ghoul,’ ‘human scum.'”
  16. Ben Shapiro: “But there are two problems with the #MeToo phenomenon. First, nobody seems to want to articulate a standard for wrongdoing worthy of punishment; second, even when wrongdoing is clearly worthy of punishment, nobody wants to name names.”
  17. Abigail Shrier: “This is the latest from the #MeToo movement: women who freely enter into consensual relations with a man, or even contract, can apparently later revoke consent on the specious grounds that it was never theirs to give.”
  18. Kyle Smith: “The women’s Web site Bustle banned the word ‘flattering’ because it implies there’s an ideal shape for a woman, and we all know women aren’t interested in looks.”
  19. Matt Walsh: “There were many of us who, from the beginning, warned that the Me Too movement would turn into a witch hunt.”
  20. Wesley Yang: “Feminists should remember something they know well from their own experiences with men: nobody is so dangerous, to themselves and others, as a person or collectivity that wields power without acknowledging it.”
  21. Emily Yoffe: “We should not tolerate sexual harassment. But I am worried that, with the growing consensus that there should be ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment, we will make the same mistake regarding the workplace that we’ve made with other social problems in recent decades.”
  22. Cathy Young: “The post-Harvey Weinstein #MeToo momentum has ended the silence surrounding sexual abuse committed by a number of wealthy and powerful men, so it’s difficult not to see a positive side. But it is also increasingly clear that this cultural moment has turned into an orgy of female victimhood and the demonization of men.”

Persons outside the United States have criticized #MeToo in even stronger terms:

  1. Margaret Atwood, Canada: “The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system…If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place?…In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated.”
  2. Brigitte Bardot, France: Women in the film industry who are complaining of sexual harassment are “hypocritical, ridiculous and uninteresting in the vast majority of cases.”
  3. Christie Blatchford, Canada: “What unsettles me about #MeToo is that the norm it broadly describes — a desolate moonscape of predatory men, vulnerable women suffering a litany of abuse and indignity — is so contrary to my experience.”
  4. Matt Damon, England: “We’re in this watershed moment, and it’s great, but I think one thing that’s not being talked about is there are a whole s—load of guys — the preponderance of men I’ve worked with — who don’t do this kind of thing and whose lives aren’t going to be affected.”
  5. Catherine Deneuve and 100 other French women: “What began as freeing women up to speak has today turned into the opposite –- we intimidate people into speaking ‘correctly’, shout down those who don’t fall into line, and those women who refused to bend [to the new realities] are regarded as complicit and traitors.”
  6. Claire Fox, England: “#MeToo has morphed into a campaign that brooks no dissent. Raise qualms and watch the insults roll. Critics are told they are suffering from internalised misogyny, are in denial, or are too old to understand the horrors of leering bosses.
  7. Elton John, England: “We live in a funny time, a disturbing time at the moment, when people are accusing people of doing this and that…I don’t agree with people being accused of something and not having due process, I think that’s bad.”
  8. Liam Neeson, Ireland: “There is a bit of a witch hunt happening…There’s some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee or something, and suddenly they’re being dropped from their program.”
  9. Rita Panahi, Australia: “My greatest concern is that the #MeToo phenomenon creates a toxic narrative that casts every male as a potential predator and every female as a perpetual victim.”
  10. Nathalie Rothschild, Sweden: “Why is the #Metoo campaign worrying? It is hard to know where to begin. I could discuss how it is normalising the kind of mob behaviour that is the most negative aspect of internet culture, and how it is eroding the presumption of innocence.”
  11. Lionel Shriver, England: “Turbocharged by social media, #MeToo may have gone too far. Rather than bringing the sexes together with improved mutual understanding, we are in danger of driving the sexes apart.”
  12. David Walsh, Ireland: “It is a basic axiom of this ideology that women must always be believed, that they never make false accusations. This is classic totalitarianism of the Maoist kind, which recalls the public executions and humiliations of the cultural revolution of the 1960s.”
  13. Ella Whelan, England: “#MeToo is a craven attack on women’s liberation, spurred on by middle-class journos, fame-hungry politicians and virtue-signalling celebrities. Normal, working-class women don’t get a look-in.”
  14. Joanna Williams, England: “One of the worst things about the #MeToo panic is the impact it has on informal workplace relations. Yes, people still socialise in mixed groups and colleagues still share confidences behind closed doors. But, at the same time, a new wariness has taken hold.”

 

*Information current as of January 28, 2018