The Guardian is a British far-left news-and-opinion outlet, generally decent at international news but always from an agitated leftist perspective, with “liberal values” written into their charter. The Guardian makes no pretense of being unbiased; they are openly pushing “liberal” and “leftist” values.
Despite this, The Guardian is generally a decent news source, often doing investigative reporting missed in the larger mass media.
Once in a while, though, they score an own-goal. Such is the case with their latest on the #metoo witch-hunts.
In their Sunday op-ed, “A mockery of #MeToo: the rush to rehabilitate Louis CK is indecent“, they opine the following about Louis CK doing a stand-up act:
- Without being charged with a crime, he “stepped away” for nine months from his career before coming back, but this is “too soon.” They don’t mention how long without income, how long a ban from work, is appropriate for crass, but non-criminal, behavior.
- They proclaim the resulting audience acceptance and standing ovations (their reporting), is irrelevant, because he didn’t grovel over his previous (non-criminal) behavior.
#MeToo is tricky. Louis CK has acknowledged crossing lines, but he hasn’t been accused of physically intimidating, of rape or of threatening employment. He claims (and has not been contradicted on this) that he got verbal consent before exposing himself. This isn’t in the same league as Weinstein holding jobs hostage for sex, but it is still inappropriate.
But should it ban someone from their career? Here’s where The Guardian chose to double and triple-down on a bad hand… they then referenced Jeffery Tambour and Aziz Ansari as proof that perpetrators are under-punished. But…
Jeffrey Tambour was accused, not convicted, but accused, of sexual harassment… which he denies. Accusations came from two actresses, one transgendered. But neither apparently mentioned to Tambour that he was making them uncomfortable…
Alexandra and I laughed it off because it was so absurd and we thought surely it had to be a bad joke.
The Guardian implication is,
If someone takes offense at your insensitivity, they don’t have to tell you… they can just get you banned from your career. Regardless of whether you claim you didn’t do it, their word is worth more than yours. And, as per Louis CK, nine months isn’t long enough either.
Aziz Ansari was merely accused, on babe.net, of not recognizing her signals after joining him at his apartment after a date, and had oral sex. She claims he pushed for intercourse, she rebuffed him and yet made out with him more before taking an Uber home. Aziz thought everything that happened was consensual… and even from her reports that seems to be the case.
And note that she also complained about the wine selection:
It was white. I didn’t get to choose and I prefer red, but it was white wine.
There was no rape, no blacklisting, no employment or power relationship. There were uncomfortable moments in a date, including apparently the unvoiced objection to white wine, but few people would think it reasonable to destroy someone’s career over that.
Even the Atlantic considers the Aziz Ansari accusations to be “revenge porn“, an unwarranted attack.
What Should Have Been Said
There is some sensitivity to how Louis CK re-appeared. Despite the reported standing ovation, the problem (in this snow-flake hyper-sensitive trigger-warning era) is that nobody knew he was going to be on-stage. Had The Guardian stated more simply advocated for some warning such as an announcement, “Up in 15 minutes: Special guest Louis CK,” Americans could probably rally behind that. But…
By declaring that a bad date (Ansari) should be a death sentence for one’s career, and by determining that contested accusations (Tambour) should automatically be believed, the Guardian has jumped the shark on #metoo, costing the movement credibility. Americans tend to dismiss hyperventilating agitators after uncovering a few of their lies. What made #metoo relevant initially was that the accusations were true. But doubling down on disproven and unproven accusations to support harsh punishments… #metoo may never recover.