After the Kavanaugh fiasco, I think you’re going to see more of this pushback against public accusations of rape, whether or not they’re false. Much like Barack Obama set race relations in this country back 100 years, feminism has set back relations between the sexes quite badly:
What do you do if you are accused of sexual misconduct and believe yourself to be innocent?
If you’re Brett Kavanaugh, you go nuclear. But if you’re a progressive man who sees himself as a feminist ally, the politically acceptable strategy is to keep quiet and lay low. If you do anything at all, put out a statement saying you support the #MeToo movement, that it’s an overdue and necessary corrective, and that you are taking some time for self-reflection. Spend some months ordering takeout and avoiding parties where everyone is whispering about what they think you did.
Stephen Elliott, the founder of the left-wing website The Rumpus, followed that script. A year ago this month, his name appeared along with some 70 others on an anonymously sourced Google spreadsheet. It was called the Shitty Media Men list and the accusations ranged in severity from “weird lunch dates” to “rape.”
Rape is what Stephen Elliott was accused of. His entry, along with more than a dozen others on the list, was highlighted in red to denote physical violence. It read: “Rape accusations, sexual harassment, coercion, unsolicited invitations to his apartment, a dude who snuck into Binders” (a women-only Facebook group).
But on Wednesday, the day before the statute of limitations ran out, Mr. Elliott stopped lying low and sued the creator of the list for defamation. He filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York against “Moira Donegan and Jane Does (1-30)” seeking $1.5 million in damages.
So what does he want? “An apology would be good,” he said. “Legal fees would also be good. But maybe seeing it argued out in the court of law will help good people come to their senses and distance themselves from the rotten parts of this movement.”
Five of the men on the Media Men list on Thursday spoke to The Cut on the condition of anonymity to condemn Mr. Elliott’s lawsuit. What’s fascinating is that even as they expressed anger toward Mr. Elliott, mostinsisted that they, too, are not guilty of what they are accused of. But the collective sense is that Mr. Elliott should do what they’re doing: “taking one for the team,” as one of them put it.
A year ago, that’s where Mr. Elliott was. “Multiple people asked me at first if I was O.K. just taking a bullet for the movement,” he told me. “Because of their politics and, frankly, because of mine.”
“If I was to come out and say, ‘Hey, I was falsely accused of rape,’ it would be like I was attacking this movement which at the time, was a movement that I believed in,” he said.
The mentality of “even if innocent, men should keep quiet” is unquestionably fueling the #MeToo hysteria.
This ties in deeply with the leftist mentality of identity politics, where people are stripped of their individuality and agency, and treated as a “stand in” for a given identity group. Some of the anger against Brett Kavanaugh came from leftists who felt that Kavanaugh’s guilt or innocence did not matter and that he should suffer as part of a “collective punishment” against evil white men.
In this way, even completely innocent people guilty of no crimes can be destroyed at will by the far left. It doesn’t matter that a person didn’t actually commit any crimes or even ethical violations; what matters is that there is some historic grievance against an identity group, and that the victim has been selected to receive punishment by a mob on behalf of that identity group. Guilt or innocence simply doesn’t enter the equation.