In October 2017, journalist Sandra Muller launched the #balancetonporc (“expose your pig”) movement in France. This is the French counterpart to America’s #MeToo movement. In 2017, Muller named and shamed French television executive Eric Brion about comments he made towards her at a cocktail party. The comments made, although admittedly boorish, rise nowhere to the level of the accusations against Hollywood pervert Harvey Weinstein.
Brion admitted to making the statements and even apologized afterward for making them. Among the offensive remarks were “you have big breasts,” “you are my type of woman,” and “I will make you orgasm all night.” Male bravado, chest-puffing and boorish, but hardly the stuff of rape or sexual quid pro quos for acting in a Weinstein production. Brion, as expected, lost his job and has failed to find work since. He sued Muller and won his defamation case where Muller was ordered to remove the Tweets and pay Brion about $22,000 in damages. His lawyers argued in court about a right to flirt, which happens to be the way certain things called “relationships” begin in the first place. Of course, walking up to a strange woman and commenting on her breast size or your sexual prowess may not be a good opening line under the best of circumstances. Again, it is boorish, but hardly the stuff over which careers and reputations should be destroyed.
In the aftermath of Muller’s allegations, over 100 prominent French women penned an op-ed in Le Monde against the movement claiming it set back sexual liberation and was reactionary. Others claimed that hatred and hostility towards men would not advance the cause of women.
But, social justice activists really do not care about those little inconveniences the rest of us call “facts,” even if the facts are proven in a court of law contrary to their set of perceived facts. That was quite evident in the American #MeToo movement where time-honored notions like the presumption of innocence and due process were thrown out the window. If anyone believes the #MeToo movement has dissipated in the United States, they are seriously mistaken.
In August, noted Spanish opera star Placido Domingo was hit with a barrage of accusations dating back years. Those accusations included “inappropriate touching, kissing and comments.” Thus far, there is no concrete proof that any of these allegations are true, but since then the Philadelphia Orchestra told Domingo to take a hike followed by the San Francisco Opera. The Los Angeles Opera said they were investigating the “concerning allegations” and would make a decision later whether Domingo would perform or not.
The most famous victim of the #MeToo movement is Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. His wife and children had to endure a smear job that made the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill fiasco look like a Nickelodeon program. But as bad as that was, it pales in comparison to the case of Alex Holowka.
He was a Canadian video game developer accused by activist Zoe Quinn on Twitter that he had raped and abused her. Holowka and Quinn had developed a relationship when she left Toronto to go to Winnipeg to hook up with Holowka. In a lengthy Twitter post, she outlined her month of abuse at the hands of Holowka, that he locked her in the apartment, and that he raped her. As a result, Holowka was fired from his job.
If the accusations against Holowka were true, she had every right to go to the police and file charges. But, she didn’t, instead preferring to hop on a plane back to Toronto, take out her cell phone and start her Twitter accusations that led to Holowka’s firing. A few days later, after fellow video game developers cut ties with Holowka, he committed suicide. Days after his death, Twitter postings by Quinn at the time of the alleged abuse, incarceration at his home in Winnipeg and alleged rape show a different story altogether. Quinn did what any good social justice activist would do- she canceled her Twitter account.
But, you cannot keep a social justice activist down for too long. She has since emerged with a new account pretending as if nothing ever happened. Instead, there is a dead video game developer accused of crimes that cannot be substantiated and if the evidence is looked at objectively, likely never happened in the first place. What’s a dead body or a tainted Supreme Court Justice when there is social justice to be had?
What may have started as a legitimate concern about the “casting couch” has transformed into a weapon of mass destruction. It has turned men against women and created a chilling effect across society where everyone must now walk on eggshells lest they are accused on social media of some heinous act. Quinn exacted the ultimate revenge on a man because of a mutual relationship gone bad.
It took painstaking years to develop the cultural and legal norms enshrined as the concept of due process. But they have been thrown out provided the accuser has a social media account. If we convict people on the number of likes or retweets of the accuser, we are further down the path to anarchy than previously believed. One wonders how many more tainted reputations and dead bodies of probably innocent people it will take to right the ship.