I guess I’m going to have to read more of the traditional women’s magazines. Elle has a good writeup on the two scandals of the week.
The first is the revelation that Harvey Weinstein is a serial sexual harasser. I did not know that he recently published a mea culpa.
In a statement published by the Times in full, Weinstein writes,“I came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different,” and that “I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them.” However, he’s also announced that he plans to sue the Times, with his attorney Charles Harder insisting that the story “is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein,” so it’s unclear exactly which faults Weinstein is admitting or how far his remorse goes.
Hang on there, Harvey. I came of age in the 60s and 70s, too, and that’s not true. Women did not suddenly become human beings in 1980. There were assholes then just as there are assholes now, but many of us did not treat women the way Weinstein did. Stop blaming it on the era. Harvey was and is simply one of the assholes.
And what’s with the lawsuit? It’s a NY Times article. The NY Times is always cautious and guarded and timid and surrounded with lawyers, and it’s not as if the article made shrieking claims that couldn’t be traced to sources. What exactly does he object to? I can understand why he’s being vague, though; if he gets nitpicky with some irrelevant little detail, it’s just going to make the accusations he can’t defend stand out even more.
Also, people who fling around frivolous lawsuits to silence people who criticize them are slime.
The second scandal is that dump of Breitbart emails that revealed what a gang of Nazis they are. I guess I was distracted by that repellent video of Milo vamping to “America the Beautiful” while his fans were giving him Nazi salutes that I overlooked a key fact: Milo was a front for a horde of mainstream journalists who used him to inject misogyny and racism into the discourse.
Consider that Buzzfeed article, which left so many of the women I know feeling rattled and peeved. The bulk of the article was dedicated to illuminating the hidden media ecology of the alt-right, and Breitbart’s ties to white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups. But many women were alarmed, not by what it revealed, but at the extent to which it confirmed their own suspicions about male colleagues.
The Breitbart slime machine, as per Buzzfeed, is fed by a network of “sleeper James Damores” — “vexed but silent for fear of losing their jobs or friends, kvetching to Yiannopoulos as a pressure valve.” The emails that Buzzfeed provides show Yiannopolous and his co-conspirators discussing female peers’ sex lives (Anita Sarkeesian’s ex was the topic of one e-mail), suggesting new lines of attack (tech reporter Dan Lyons questioned Zoe Quinn’s birth sex), spotlighting articles and authors that they thought were deserving of a pile-on, and otherwise using a burgeoning fascist movement to promote their apparent grudges against female and non-binary colleagues.
Besides reaching out routinely to flaming white nationalists for advice, Milo was getting voluntary input from otherwise staid journalists who let their hair down and their misogyny fly free in private emails. One of them was Mitchell Sunderland, who publicly makes noise about being a feminist while privately siccing professional misogynists on a “fat feminist”.
In one email that Buzzfeed cites, Milo is implored to “[p]lease mock this fat feminist,” a reference to feminist author and New York Times columnist Lindy West. All the emails are bad, but this one stands out because it was sent by Mitchell Sunderland, the one-time managing editor of Broadly, VICE Media’s women’s vertical. Sunderland has publicly said that one must “love feminism” to work there.
College kids who want to be journos and love the Kardashians and feminism, apply to be the @broadly intern. Mitchell.Sunderland@vice.com
— Mitchell Sunderland (@mitchsunderland) August 31, 2015
If Sunderland “loves” feminism, feminism should get a restraining order. The Buzzfeed cache suggests he used his repartee with Milo to go after feminist writers and organizations. Once, while he was still at Broadly, he sent his Breitbart contacts a Broadly video about the Satanic Temple and abortion rights; “do whatever with this on Breitbart. It’s insane,” he wrote. The next day, the smear appeared on the site: “‘Satanic Temple’ Joins Planned Parenthood in Pro-Abortion Crusade.” It’s hard to tell if Sunderland was consciously anti-choice and anti-feminist when he took the job at Broadly, but what is true is that he learned the lingo of feminism well enough to get paid for it, turning out reams of #content wherein he mocked fake male allies and critiqued the shallowness of various women’s feminism.
I do think it’s sweet that so many garbage humans have been exposed to the light of day by their common connection, Milo Yiannopoulos.