We’re republishing some of Bre Payton’s best articles in her memory on her birthday. This was originally published on October 5, 2018.
Last October, The New Yorker published a blockbuster account by Ronan Farrow that detailed how Harvey Weinstein used his position as a Hollywood mogul to sexually harass and assault women then bully them into silence. The piece spurred more women to come forward against Weinstein and others — NBC’s rape button man, Matt Lauer; USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar; and Bill Cosby. After toppling these serial abusers, many women felt empowered to speak out about their own experiences, frequently tagging them #MeToo and #TimesUp, and a movement began.
For those of us who were paying attention, problems with the movement were apparent early on. There were no clear objectives and the movement began to take radical steps many women felt were too far. The once ultra-woke comedian Aziz Ansari went out to dinner with a woman he then persuaded to have sex with him. Details of the date were then published on babe.net and he was promptly lumped into the same category as serial rapists, pedophiles, and the like.
Holding sexual assailants accountable is a societal good that reporters ought to pursue, but do we want to live in a world where the details of a bad date could end up in the front pages of every major newspaper? In a world where men can be publicly castigated, their lives and reputations ruined because a woman retroactively decides the sex was bad?
I’m not alone in my skepticism of the movement, as a recent HuffPo poll found that 62 percent of Americans don’t think Me Too “has had much of an impact on their own lives,” while only 17 percent say it’s had a positive effect.
Some Victims Have Been Intentionally Ignored
Ansari wasn’t the only one mistreated by the movement. Women who have made accusations that weren’t politically tenable for the left have been left out of the movement or silenced altogether. Just last week, Juanita Broaddrick, who alleges that former President Bill Clinton raped her, was in Washington D.C. to speak out against the double standard at play for victims of sexual assault.
Many of the same senators who refused to read Juanita’s deposition outlining her account of rape in 1999 were bending over backwards to make another woman who says she was sexually assaulted feel comfortable and heard — all because the man she says assaulted her was politically beneficial to them.
“It’s so important that the American people understand what [Democratic Sens.] Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, and Sen. [Dick] Durbin did to me in 1999,” she said. “I had all the evidence in the world. I had witnesses, I had injuries, I had dates, and everything verified. . . Not one Democrat senator would read this. Not one. They completely refused.”
Juanita isn’t the only Clinton accuser who’s been left behind by the movement — Kathleen Wiley and Paula Jones’s stories have been conveniently filed away, never to be truly fleshed out in the public eye.
Earlier this week, I wrote about a five-year-old girl who alleges that a “gender-fluid” male classmate followed her into the bathroom and sexually assaulted her, thanks to trans bathroom policies. When her mother complained to the school, she found herself the target of an investigation, as the school had apparently named her as the responsible party in the incident. When I called the school district and asked a spokeswoman if victims ought to be believed, her response was chilling.
“Whether or not a woman is believed has nothing to do with this,” she said. “No one has been sexually assaulted.”
In other words: victims whose stories do not further the left’s aims will not be heard — or, in Kellyanne Conway’s case, they will be mocked. On Thursday morning, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski taunted Conway into sharing more details with the nation about the sexual assault she says she suffered. Mika went as far to say that Kellyanne’s Me Too moment was “convenient.”
Ford Was Ignored Until She Could Be Used As A Pawn
That brings us to Christine Blasey Ford, who made an allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. These allegations were buried by Ranking Democratic Member Feinstein for more than two months and only saw the light of day after the confirmation hearings had successfully concluded.
Throughout these hearings, we watched as Democrats tried to make innocuous e-mails something disqualifying for Kavanaugh, and protestors dressed in ridiculous getups stood up and screamed every 15 minutes throughout the hearing. Her allegation was not taken seriously until it suddenly became politically useful — at which point Me Too activists and VIPs like Alyssa Milano and Amy Schumer descended upon the swamp to soak up their share of attention. Ford’s request that her identity remain confidential was not respected and as a result, she has faced death threats and been repeatedly intimidated.
A quick search will show that Planned Parenthood and the Women’s March, both organizations that have positioned themselves on the forefront of Me Too, have tweeted about Kavanaugh easily a hundred times. But neither of these organizations have tweeted about the recent allegations made against Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, whose ex-girlfriend claims he repeatedly abused her. How do they decide which allegations are worth tweeting about and which ones are not? Because it seems to have nothing to do with the actual evidence brought forward and everything to do with the man they are accusing.
One year later, at least 218 men have been brought down by the Me Too movement — some who deserved it, but others who did not. As the year draws to a close, the saga involving Kavanaugh and Ford has demonstrated that the Me Too movement is no longer about justice, but about political vengeance. If you or your story is not useful, it will be ignored. And if — God forbid — you are a man whose last name is not Clinton or Ellison, heaven help you.