According to social media giant Twitter, the #MeToo movement reveals the 'magnitude of sexual assault'; whereas in actuality, the movement illustrates the desire of some women who enjoy victimizing themselves.
Below are a few celebrities who raised concerns about blurring of the boundary between real cases of sexual assault and simply tasteless behaviour on one's part, due to the movement:
Matt Damon of the Jason Bourne fame was one of the first to challenge the #MeToo movement by saying that there needs to be a vivid demarcation between real abuse cases on one hand and tawdry jokes on the other.
In an interview in December with Peter Travers, Damon said: "I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right? And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right? ... I mean, look, as I said, all of that behavior needs to be confronted, but there is a continuum."
However, Damon faced a lot of flak for disregarding real, admitted cases of sexual assault and treating them frivolously. He also tried to defend comedian Louis C.K. who had already admitted to his unsuitable behavior. Minnie Driver, who starred opposite Damon in "Good Will Hunting" also bashed him saying that his attitude is "part of the problem."
Comedian Aziz Ansari was subjected to a warped version of a sexual allegation where the woman expressed on an online forum that in an afterthought, she was uncomfortable with the fact that she had a sexual encounter with him.
Ansari defended himself by saying, "The next day, I got a text from her saying that although it may have seemed okay, upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said."
The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh captured what looks like something that celebrities should cite as a pitfall in the #MeToo movement. Ansari said in a statement:
Grace felt violated after the fact. I don’t blame her for that. I blame her for seeking revenge by publishing intimate details of a clearly consensual encounter, but her feelings of emptiness and vulnerability are perfectly warranted. She was indeed violated, but she was complicit in the violation. That is the nature of casual sex. The two partners violate each other. A man uses a woman’s body for his own selfish ends, and the woman allows it, and reciprocates by using the man for her own purposes. If either wakes up feeling depressed the next day, it’s because they regret participating in such a degrading and humiliating exchange. The regret is real, and can be crushing, but it does not retroactively turn the events of the previous evening into rape. The sex remains what it was when you willingly participated in it: self-centered, dehumanizing, shallow, soulless, and, yes, consensual.
Jeremy Piven who played Ari Gold in the blockbuster series Entourage has expressed his unwavering support for the #MeToo movement but has denied accusations against him by reality TV star Ariane Bellamar for grabbing her butt and breasts.
He said that many women freely abuse the seriousness of the said movement and must be held accountable for the same. In October, Jeremy had said:
"I unequivocally deny the appalling allegations being peddled about me. It did not happen. It takes a great deal of courage for victims to come forward with their histories, and my hope is that the allegations about me that didn’t happen, do not detract from stories that should be heard."
Piven faced accusations by two more females with similar accusations to which he said that he'd take a lie detector test to prove his innocence in both cases.
Actor Liam Neeson who played Ra's al Ghul in the famous Dark Knight trilogy, thinks that the #MeToo movement has lost its course and has turned into a "a bit of a witch hunt," according to an Associated Press report abou the actor's interview with Irish broadcaster RTE.
In the aforementioned interview, Liam remarked, "There’s some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee or something and suddenly they’re being dropped from their program."
Neeson cited many instances when the #MeToo movement did not weigh the same for accusations against different people. He said that the allegations leveled at Minnesota Public Radio host Garrison Keillor were nothing compared to the ones directed at Harvey Weinstein but the former was caught in the crossfire anyway. He also raised doubts about the allegations laid on Dustin Hoffman and asserted that he was not sure about their accuracy.
Having said that, Neeson considers the said movement "healthy" for the future of women and praised it when he appeared on the "Late Late Show" on Friday.
Former Secretary of State Condi Rice, in an interview with CNN, expressed her sympathy for women who have been truly abused and been subjected to instances when they were not treated appropriately at the workplace, something she has been through herself.
However, she acknowledged the fact that sometimes the wild claims made by women are baseless and fashionable. Many a time, the misuse of this campaign has led to women alienating men around them, making them think, "Well, maybe it's just better not to have women around."
"I've heard a little bit of that," she said, "and it, it worries me."
She added, "Let’s not turn women into snowflakes. Let’s not infantilize women."
Conservative political commentator Andrew Sullivan complied a list of arguments presented by prominent figures regarding the excesses of the #MeToo movement:
The early exposure of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Harvey Weinstein — achieved by meticulous, scrupulous journalists and smart, determined women — quickly extended to more ambiguous and trivial cases. Distinctions among many different types of offenses — from bad behavior at private parties to brutal assault and rape of employees and co-workers — were being instantly lost in the fervor. Punishment was almost always the same — social ostracism and career destruction — whether you were Mark Halperin, who allegedly sexually assaulted women in his workplace, or Al Franken, damned because of mild handsiness and pretending to grope a woman’s breasts as a joke. Any presumption of innocence was regarded as a misogynist dodge, and an anonymous online list of accusations against named men in the media was created and circulated with nary an attempt by its instigators to substantiate a single one. Within a few weeks, the righteous exposure of hideous abuse of power had morphed into a more generalized revolution against the patriarchy.
Back in October, Joanna Williams of The Spectator magazine put out a very intriguing opinion piece about the current predicament of the #MeToo movement and where it is headed. Here is an excerpt:
The accusations against Weinstein include charges of rape; as such, they deserve to be taken seriously and tried in courts of law rather than by public opinion. At this moment Hollywood’s leading ladies don’t just have the public’s attention but widespread sympathy too. But it doesn’t stop there. We live in a fame-obsessed culture, and just as many women might emulate a star’s diet or dress sense, they also want in on the sympathy too. #MeToo is an unedifying clamour to be included in celebrity suffering.
Worse, serious crimes are trivialised as the #MeToo tweeters who recount some relatively minor (albeit discomforting) experience are equally blessed with retweets, likes and public endorsements praising their bravery. Blurring the boundaries between rape and ever-broader definitions of sexual harassment doesn’t just trivialise serious offences, it further inflames a climate of hysteria in which the sexual harassment of women comes to be presented as a routine part of life. Life for women is presented as a battleground where we are all only one bad joke, one wolf whistle or one stare away from being assaulted.
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