There is an old adage that if you’re not gonna do it right, then don’t do it at all. Somebody should have told that to the enthusiastic and well-meaning ladies of Hollywood before they turned an obscure ten year old rallying cry for minority women into the latest cause celebre that is now the #MeToo movement. Tarana Burke created it back in 2006 and Alyssa Milano popularized it in the fall of 2017 and I have every reason to love and respect them both for where their heart is.
But Progressives (or people identified with progressive politics) routinely mishandle messaging on critical issues and blow opportunities to bring about real change. This #MeToo social media campaign fits that pattern to a tee. When its all said and done, all of this hype is likely to do as much harm as it does good.
We can already see evidence of that unfortunate circumstance emerging. An effort that was supposed to be about changing the workplace experience for women has been hijacked and co-opted for personal promotional opportunities. It is kind of like pornography- it may be hard to formally define but you know it when you see it. I have read a number of these #MeToo accounts and I refuse to believe that I am the only one who can smell bullshit in some of them. Clearly not all of them, but definitely in some. The worst of it all is that for the last week the hottest issue to come out of the #MeToo revelations has been the outing of Kevin Spacey as a homosexual who apparently made it a practice to push himself on other men.
So now a lion’s share of this discussion is about the hurt and outrage and victimization of….. wait for it…… a bunch of well-connected and well-off white men. God bless America.
Is there a better example than burned-out and washed-up former child star Corey Feldman running at every camera he can find claiming he needs ten million dollars to make a movie exposing all of the pedophiles in Hollywood? If he wanted to protect the public from wandering into a dangerous door wouldn’t he just tell the world who these child molesters and rapists are? Get the f*ck out of here, Corey.
Before I continue I need to be clear: I am all in with constructive efforts to force the issue on expediting gender equity and pressing cultural evolution. Systemic gender subjugation is played out like racial caste systems and needs to go- asaFp. I’m down for the cause and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that I have two daughters of my own. It has everything to do with the fact that I know damned well that no society can maximize itself if any segment of its population is marginalized or oppressed. We can’t solve our most challenging problems if half of our population has to worry about their personal dignity or safety as much as they have to worry about self-actualizing. That is one of the reasons why I am adamant that progressives need to go hard in all future elections and double down on electing women to leadership at every level of our politics.
And that is where the real threat of #MeToo comes in: how it plays out in the political arena. I knew that as soon as the national discourse about sexual harassment was framed around victims that had the profile and privilege of Hollywood starlets the world would lose track of the fact that the number one cable news outlet in America has been systemically oppressing women through sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and sexual assault for more than 20 years. Fox News was not just a house of horrors for women, it also happens to be the propaganda wing of the Republican Party. As such, Fox News controls political messaging for tens of millions of people across America. So the culture at Fox News is a matter of national significance.
It definitely controls Republican politics and in case you’ve been asleep for the last year you are painfully aware that the Republican Party is running our entire nation right now. Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein has just been running his big fat mouth and a damned movie studio. It is impossible to overstate the enormous significance of the former and the relative insignificance of he latter. But if you judged from the level of media attention each story has gotten you’d think they were equally important. Yes, Harvey is rich, powerful and influential in Hollywood but he is NOT making policy or influencing policy anywhere. And the fact that his foul behavior has gotten more ink than O’Reilly’s is entirely our own fault. Once again progressives have failed the make the case that matters in a manner that sticks. Until now- so buckle up.
I’ll spare you a lot of disgusting details and just give you the one you really need: Bill O’Reilly is the biggest star of all time at Fox News and he was recently revealed to have paid a settlement to a woman for $32 MILLION for a “non-consensual sexual relationship.”
In case legalese can be a little vague for you, a “non-consensual sexual relationship” is another way of saying rape. Repeated rape. Apparently over an extended amount of time. $32 MILLION worth of rape. Damn, I didn’t know there was such a thing as $32 MILLION worth of rape. O.J. got hit with a $33 MILLION judgment for being found liable for KILLING two people for God’s sake. I’m not trying to be an asshole about this but the United States government only paid $39 million dollars in reparations to Vietnam for years of war crimes of U.S. soldiers against civilians (read: rape). Evidently, Bill O’Reilly wasn’t paying compensation for the pain and suffering of his victim’s rape- he was paying for her to keep his secret identity as a rapist to herself.
Now Bill O’Reilly can sue the hell out of me right now for saying that but f*ck him. Let him do it so we can lay it all out in open court. I haven’t practiced in years but I still know my way around a courtroom well enough to be dangerous and I’d LOVE to depose his smug ass on the record and have him explain what in the f*ck he did BESIDES rape a woman that was worth $32 MILLION.
But despite all that, the world has pretty much moved on from Bill O’Reilly and the Fox News sex slave culture story because some actresses have shared the horror of a producer trying to get their thongs stuck in his teeth when they were reading for a part. SHOCKER. You don’t mean that men (particularly fat ugly men) with access to beautiful women and great power over those women actually try to use that access and power to- (GASP)- have sex?! NO! Say it ain’t so!
Pound for pound this is the dumbest “scandal” I’ve ever heard of and #MeToo is such a weak response it will end up making it worse. The reason is that it has taken our eye off the ball and there is not even a specific call to action for these accounts. What in the hell is the hashtag going to do? Maybe Hollywood women need to take a cue from the conservative lollipops over at Fox News and sue the f*ck out of somebody when they mess with their career.
There is a full roster of women over there have become millionaires suing for sexual harassment all the while many of them were on the air assailing other women for asserting themselves politically. Ain’t that a bitch. That is some serious irony for you. These ultra-conservative barbie-doll “news” anchors skipped the hashtags and took their issues through the system and got paid in full- and exposed the assholes who tormented them. The system can be worked for maximum benefit if you do it right and keep at it. You can get paid if you were wronged AND you can get the issues publicized within the law. Leave it to conservatives to fight to win and not just fight for the sake of fighting.
So I’m proposing a new hashtag just for women who have found themselves the victims of sexual harassment in their workplace. Forget #MeToo. Go with #SueYou. I think that will actually get you something for your trouble. Sorry guys, nobody needs your damned Kevin Spacey stories on this one.