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Tweet #MooreandMe if You Hate Rape Apologists!

Feminists of the blogosphere, if you haven't been tweeting the #MooreandMe hashtag, it's time to start.

For those of you outside of the Twitterverse/blogosphere/jargon-y tech world, yesterday Sady Doyle and Jaclyn Friedman started a Twitter campaign asking Michael Moore to apologize for his dismissal of the rape charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Because I certainly can't say it any better than Doyle herself, here's a snippet of what she posted yesterday at Tiger Beatdown:

You know what immeasurably harms the progressive community, though, is rape and rape apologism. Is victim-blaming; is accuser-smearing; is the unwillingness of men in positions of power to consider rape a crucial issue that must be taken seriously. And the person who's hurting our community, and refusing to take responsibility for that, right now, is Michael Moore...

Please tweet @MMFlint, using the hashtag #Mooreandme, until we have an explanation from Michael Moore, and preferably an apology, and preferably $20,000, donated to an anti-sexual-assault organization of his choice.

Here's the interview Michael Moore did with Keith Olbermann on Tuesday that inspired the #MooreandMe campaign. The rape apology/blatant disregard of facts kicks in around the 14:00 mark:

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I don't think I need to tell you how frustrating this is, that men in power like Moore and Olbermann are unwilling to keep the facts straight when it comes to the Assange charges (they both seem fine with the notion that Assange's only alleged offense was "consensual sex with a broken condom," which is untrue) and that they can't see that Assange's arrest can be both politically motivated and justified at the same time, since he is both responsible for Wikileaks and facing rape allegations. (For more on why these allegations should be taken seriously, check out Kate Harding's latest post).

What is refreshing about this situation (hey, every shitty cloud has a silver lining in there somewhere) is the #MooreandMe campaign itself. New, whip-smart, no-shit-taking Tweets are popping up from feminists all over the world, with new ones coming in every few seconds. Check it out! Here are a few recent examples:

Though the general response to the Assange allegations themselves serves as an unpleasant reminder of the way we typically talk about rape and rape victims, the response from the feminist blogosphere is a pleasant reminder of our power to organize and support one another (and call douchebags out on their douche-y behavior).

Since the campaign began yesterday, Keith Olbermann has suspended his Twitter account. It's nothing close to an apology for his participation in perpetuating falsehoods about the Assange accusations or tweeting a link containing information about one of the victims, but it is evidence of the influence of the campaign, and it's a reason why you should participate.

Let @MMFlint (Michael Moore's Twitter handle) know how you feel about his rape apology and dismissal of the truth. Tweet #MooreandMe all day long, until he owns up to his problematic actions. More from Sady Doyle:

When you have a man who has built his career on the presumption that silence in the face of confrontation equals guilt, that refusal to engage with an angry political opponent equals guilt, that refusal to engage publicly equals guilt, a man whose job is essentially walking up to people and demanding that they talk to him in public, and you have a tool on the Internet that allows you to talk to that very man, and that man behaves irresponsibly and oppressively, in a way that betrays the principles of the entire movement he claims to speak for, and he says things that are blatantly untrue in public, so that it is very easy to ascertain that he is either not in possession of the facts or lying about them — when that man, in short, behaves in a way that makes you want to engage him publicly, and the Internet has given you the capability to engage him publicly, so that this man has no option but to (a) respond, or (b) fall into the silence=guilt equation he's built his very career on? You have a way for people to effectively participate in activism on the Internet, my friends. And, as previously stated, people will participate. Lots of them.

So what are you waiting for? Get thee to Twitter!

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Comments

15 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore

Keith Olbermann really needs to stop hating on women who disagree with him while liking women who do agree with him. He cannot have it both ways.

What progressivism needs is to better-organize itself and develop a platform to include calling out the hypocrisy of the Moores and Olbermanns. While in the past I have admired Moore for his his long standing up for working people (because I know firsthand what worker injustice is like), I CANNOT ADMIRE HIM FOR WHAT HE IS DOING NOW. Moore and Olbermann need to spend more time with victims of rape and abuse. Then MAYBE they will come to an understanding as to what victims are going through (Surviving victims of violence are victims for a LIFETIME, no matter how much therapy and other methods they use to help get over it. They never really do) and why the hashtaggers and feminist bloggers are calling them out for their disregard of these victims accusing Assange for his CRIME AGAINST THEM.

Progressivism will not move forward until it develops a platform that is about caring about human beings and the choices that they make with their lives first and not about self-serving interests that do more harm than good. I get so tired of encountering people who consider themselves progressive but their mindsets are really, "Oh, I'm pro-choice but I love violent porn, reality and other crap TV, love size-zero women, hate size six and larger women, consumerism, and am uncomfortable in the presence of GLBTQ ... people and anything else considered social justice causes." Progressivism should be about sacrifice for the common good of humanity on our planet and not about self-serving, self-destructive prophecies.

Keep on hashtaggin'!

All Of Us Can Be Presumptuous Some Times

Even in the Washington Post article you cited, it's author Jessica Valenti adds:

"None of this is to say that the accusations against Assange are true - we have no idea. And there is little doubt that the timing of the legal proceedings is politically motivated: Assange's accusers came forward in August (the same month they allege being attacked), but it's only now that authorities are vigorously pursuing the case.".

As to what Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote, it would behoove one to read both the Letters to the Editor in response to Mary Elizabeth William's article titled: "This Week in crazy: Naomi Wolf" and also read the the full spectrum of Naomi Wolf's works and articles in order to get a grasp of it's quite clear that what she wrote had to do with the priorities of Interpol and larger context. The attempted suppression of both the small fraction of cables carefully realeased by WikiLeaks less than two thousand (and those carefully screened and redacted so as not to endanger lives) out of two hundred thousand cable and collateral attacks on those who play a part in publishing them reeks of the very things Naomi wrote about in her book "The End of America, Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot".

Sady Doyle of "Tiger Beatdown" cites The Guardian as a source for "journalism" and then cites an out of date article (an update of the Guardian article she links is HERE).

Michael Moore gave the reasons 'Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange' "... a statement from Michael Moore" on his website. I saw no evidence of a "dismissal of the rape charges" on his site and the video presumably embedded her didn't show up for me. There is a YouTube video of the interview by Keith Olberman of "Michael Moore on WikiLeaks: 'Leaks Don't Kill People, Secrets Do'.".

The argument that Julian Assange posed a flight risk was rejected by High Court Justice Duncan Ouseley according to an article in Reuters titled: "WikiLeaks' Assange walks free on bail in London".

The gist of this post seems to be that anyone supporting due process in a case where there are undeniably political motivations at play should be attacked using the inflammatory charge of being a "rape apologist". At least you didn't call for a lynching (yet). Most of us have a tendency to presume what the facts are in advance. How much truth about what will eventually see the light of day is yet to bee seen (or not).

Totally agree.

I completely agree with you, Anonymous, that we don't know if the rape accusations against Assange are true. We also don't know if they are false. I tried to use "alleged" in the post when necessary, but I might not have made that clear enough. It's also true that my own frustrations with the way these accusations have been handled probably shone through in the post, perhaps unfairly.

The issue with Olbermann and Moore is that, in an interview on Tuesday night, Moore stated that the only charges facing Assange were for consensual sex where a condom broke. Those are not the charges being brought against him. In both cases, the alleged sex was not consensual. I guess a better term would be rape-charge dismissists instead of rape apologists, but in the video I embedded in the above post you'll see the "dismissal of the rape charges" I mentioned. That is what the Twitter campaign is asking for an apology for.

Thanks for the additional links; there's a lot of information to process surrounding this case.

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

Assange Rape Allegations Very Iffy

From Boingboing.net: The Guardian has published the full sex crime allegations against Julian Assange, breathlessly titled "10 days in Sweden."

The previously unpublished police documents provide "the first complete account of the allegations against the WikiLeaks founder," and include the phrase "the worst sex ever."

I have been following this case very closely, reading as much of the media coverage as possible. I think Assange is a narcissistic egomaniac, and probably a huge asshole. However, I don't think he actually raped those women. From what I have gathered, these women consented to sex when it was happening. However, they consented under the pretext that Assange was not sleeping with anyone else. The women eventually found out about each other, and one women decided to press charges. Initially, the charges were dropped by the DA because there was not sufficient evidence. Shortly after charges were dismissed, the women presumably hired a big-shot attorney and the charges were back. At first, only one woman pressed charges but the other woman accompanied her to the police station....It's all very murky, but it looks like the issue at hand was the women getting justifiably angry at Assange for potentially exposing them to STIs. His actions were manipulative, deceitful, and unethical. However, the situation is a bit too gray and nuanced to declare it rape.

There is sufficient reason for the public to consider that these charges are politically motivated....It is the only thing the Govt could really nail him for, in their effort to get him extradited in the United States. I certainly wish that all reports of sexual assaults were taken so seriously, but only about 8% of perpetrators ever get convicted (RAINN.ORG)......there is sadly no way the government would not take interest in a case of alleged rape in which there is no evidence unless this was part of a smear job.

To be clear, I work hard to eradicate a rape culture. I am a radical feminist. However, I feel like a lot of the feminists blogging about this may be missing the forest for the trees. Like him or hate him, Assange symbolizes issues between freedom of information v censorship, a critical, free media v. govt puppets a, a democratic America v. a Totalitarian America, and the future of media, journalism, free speech, and government accountability and transparency as we know it... Michael Moore is putting his financial capital behind these issues. He definitely has some unchecked male privilege, but I think he is also promoting something very, very important.

We are all progressives. We should all be concerned with the fate of Assange. Because the NYT is next. The main news outlets are already gone. The internet is getting censored and privitized. Our favorite could be affected too....It's crucial we don't lose sight of what's at risk here. So as we rightfully rail against a rape culture, I hope we also rail against censorship and the chilling effect Assage's smear campaign is going to have on ALL media (well mainstream media, anyway)/

Cheers to this comment!

Cheers to this comment! There's definitely many things to keep in mind with this case -- not just singularly focusing on the allegations against Assange.

Ummm....

Did you miss the part where one of the women asked him to STOP after she realized the condom broke and he DIDN'T? That's rape.

Some radical feminist you are.

So, I don't agree with

So, I don't agree with NicoleD, but I won't go into that. This post is about the #Mooreandme campaign, NOT the details of what Assange did. Please stay on topic.

____________
Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

I don't agree!

It's perfectly understanable for Moore to have doubts when the timing of the accuastions is suspect but to disregard these two women completely because HE doesn't believe them is the height of the very same white male arrogant privileged supremacy he himself speak out against. The point is he's trying to have it both ways because he likes this guy and that ain't good enough to absolve guilt if it truly exists in this case.

out of date how?

You say: "Sady Doyle of "Tiger Beatdown" cites The Guardian as a source for "journalism" and then cites an out of date article (an update of the Guardian article she links is HERE)."

..but there is nothing in the article you linked that contradicts the information Sady Doyle cited in her piece. So how exactly is it "out of date"?

A Couple Of Ways It's Out Of Date

Sady Doyle wrote in the referenced "Tiger Beatdown" post that "Julian Assange, white male left-wing darling, will be able to get out on bail despite posing a substantial and acknowledged flight risk".

In the subsequent article I referenced above using the word "HERE", High Court Justice Ouseley, who ordered bail to be granted, found "That is not the conduct of a person who is seeking to evade justice".

Another change is that Ms. Doyle posted the following "Update" to her Salon.com article titled: "Keith Olbermann quit Twitter because of me":

"Update: The original version of this piece stated that Assange has been charged with sexual assault. But as of now, he has only been accused of it -- not formally charged. The piece has been altered to reflect this."

There is more, but the main point I was trying to make is that what has been reported is not substantiated enough to justify using it for inflammatory cyber-bullying.

But the problem here is Moore

But the problem here is Moore claimed to know what the charges were, that they were "a broken condom" and they were "hooey". HE spread that as truth, when the actual charges were more serious. He claimed to know that they were, essentially, false. He and Olberman then also linked to an article claiming one of the women is connected to the CIA *and* that said her name. She has been, receiving threats and put in danger as a DIRECT result of people believing that the charges were a) "just a broken condome" (not true) and b) part of a CIA plot. These are things Michael Moore and Keith Olberman claimed to know, and things that people who trust them to tell the truth are repeating. That's what he should apologize for and clarify.

Has anyone read Moore's response yet?

It looks like the criticism from feminists has led Moore to clarify his position:

    http://michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/dear-government-of-sweden

Michael Moore addressed

Michael Moore addressed Sweden extraditing Assange, he didn't actually clarify his own statements that the rape charges against Assange are "a bunch of hooey."

____________
Kjerstin Johnson, editor-in-chief
Did someone say "Comments Policy"?

Update from the twitterverse

I noticed on twitter that Jaclyn Friedman is debating Naomi Wolf on this topic on Democracy Now! Must be tomorrow (Monday 12/20) because the link took me to the stations page. Hmm ... wonder if Wolf's recent "Douchbag Decree" will be brought up??

The program live streams at 8am EST and will be posted online by afternoon.

follow up

Hey everyone, Thought I would clarify my position a bit because my last post got too tangential. I think that there was sufficient evidence, at the time, ( before the Guardian released the initial police report, which definitely does describe rape) for Michael Moore to have believed the rape accusation to have been a smear job, which speaks to large over-arching issues of personal and civil freedoms Moore was appealing to in his defense and bail-out of Assange.

This case is really complicated because we cannt divorce issues of Assange being a rapist with Assange also being a transformational figure in the Informaton Age.... I think there needs to be a really nuanced, sensitive balancing act to pursue actions against this man for sexually assauting two women while also not letting this man be persecuted for wiki-leaks related stuff in a way that could stifle freedom of speech, expression, and press/media for global citizens.

It is not an easy balancing act. I do not think it is black and white.