Brendan O’Neill, in an excellent piece, talks about the forgotten victims of #MeToo.
Jill Messick worked for Harvey Weinstein’s company Miramax between 1997 and 2003 and was manager for Rose McGowan in the late 1990s. She was misrepresented and dragged into the Weinstein scandal, after which she took her own life. Then there was Carl Sargeant, the Welsh Labour MP who killed himself in November after he was suspended from his political posts when allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him – allegations he wasn’t even given information about.
We should not be surprised that these victims of #MeToo have been forgotten. Feminists in the US have openly stated that they do not care if innocent men lose their jobs and reputations in this crusade – it will be a price worth paying. Emily Lindin announced: ‘Here’s an unpopular opinion: I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations.’ Clearly, this is a movement devoid of morality or any sense of proportion.
O’Neill tells us, ‘This is what happens when you unleash a witch-hunt, when you create a climate in which individuals can be destroyed by accusation: you destroy people’s lives. #MeToo has to stop. It is now a wholly destructive force.’
I share his concerns but I fear this is only the beginning of #MeToo. It has the backing of Hollywood, many politicians, the media and soon corporations will probably adorn their brands with the hashtag like they love to fly the rainbow flag.
No, #MeToo is too seductive to go anywhere any time soon. Every allegation is about power and sex, or the sense of sex. And what paper can resist reporting on sex and power? Usually, there is money in the mix – like the Presidents Club. Sex, money, power – the holy trinity.
For the women making these allegations, it is a righteous crusade. It is an opportunity to settle old wrongs. It is the chance to make private – sometimes very private – acts, such as the case of the date-gone-wrong with Aziz Ansari, public.
What’s not to like, the chance to turn regret-sex into a moment of vindication – not for yourself, mind, but for the sake of other women? Indeed, the power of this crusade comes from the fact that it perpetuates the fiction that all those naming and shaming a particular man are really making a personal sacrifice on behalf of all women. They’re not.
The #MeToo movement gives the illusion that you are part of a great movement, something bigger than yourself, a movement that pits the weak against the powerful. This is a seductive combination.
This #MeToo movement will go far beyond eliminating workplace harassment. We are way past that now. It will, as I have said before, further the war on the meritocracy, erode relations between men and women, and generally further demonise men as well as potentially disempowering women.
It is not that every allegation is unworthy – I am sure many cases of harassment have been swept under the carpet. But the way to deal with those is in a fair way that respects due process. There has been very little of that so far.
No, this is a crusade of the righteous, a crusade of the wronged, and generally, crusaders don’t do due process. Those that instigate crusades pull the trigger first (or take to Twitter) and ask questions later, ‘kill them all, God will know his own’. Emily Lindin implies that some innocent men will be destroyed. So what?
This #Metoo moment has a long, long way to go yet. It is going to take a lot of people down with it – some will be justified, others not. We can only pray the tragedies will not increase.