It’s true what you suspected: all men are secret scumbags

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.

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.

Mitch “Lying Sack of Shit” Sunderland has been fired. No word yet on whether the other closet sleazeballs exposed in the email have met a similar fate.

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.


  1. says

    “I came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different,”

    :coughs: Yeah, I came of age then too, Mr. Weinstein, and you are a liar. Of course things were different then, but it’s not at all like he’s trying paint.

  2. blf says

    I came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different

    For the period 70–60 BCE he might be not completely deluded.

  3. robro says

    I, too, came of age in the 60s and 70s. While there was certainly a lot of exploration in the sexual relationships arena, I recall “respect” being a very important idea of the time. We even had an anthem about “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”.

    If Weinstein wants to use a cultural milieu as an excuse for his behavior, he would be on safer ground to point to Hollywood. Movies/TV is a male dominated industry with a long and awful history of sexual exploitation of the women who work in it…kind of like graduate studies programs but worse. As a certain asshole said in the back of a bus, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it.” Well, no, they don’t really let you, but complaining can cost you work.

    As for Breitbart, I hadn’t heard about this one. I look forward to checking out the emails. Too bad this email dump didn’t occur last year when some other emails were being leaked. However, it’s curious that when we talk about Breitbart, so much focus is on Milo or other people. The main players are Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer. Focusing on Milo and others seems like a snow job to me, kind of like “Russia” in another scandal that swirls around Bannon/Mercer.

  4. unclefrogy says

    I do so like positive stories like these,
    it is comforting to know that there are still some who are searching for the crap that the would be powerful would rather keep quiet.
    uncle frogy

  5. The Mellow Monkey says

    I know one of the people targeted in those emails. She’s been the subject of an ongoing harassment campaign for a while, which occasionally has little flareups years after it should have faded away simply because you’d expect these people to get bored. But, no. Journalists wearing a public facade of civility were egging things on behind the scenes, because, golly, a marginalized person needs to be put in her place.

    It’s like every bit of paranoia an anxiety disorder could possibly give you turns out to be right on the nose. Yes, they are all conspiring behind your back. Disgusting.

  6. emergence says

    About the Breitbart emails; I know I’ve said this in a couple of other threads, but it bears repeating. We need to smoke these fuckers out and get them out of positions where they can cause damage.

    robro @3

    Oh, Bannon and Mercer were involved in this email thing too. The article talks about how they were using Yiannopolous and shows the sort of advice they were giving him.

  7. Gregory Greenwood says

    It strikes me as telling that there are any number of bigoted idiots who would argue that racial profiling is somehow essential for protecting society, and stop and search is totally not racist and a valuable tool against crime, but not a one of them would ever think of profiling Milo Yiannopoulos’ associates in the alt-Right and outright neo-Nazi groups in order to preempt fascist violence or deal with misogynistic criminality of the type so common amongst those that idolise men like Yiannopoulos and their dyed in the wool sexism.

    It really does speak volumes about which groups the powerful in society think are worth protecting, and which should be oppressed in the name of an illusion of security. Black people can be harassed on the street for no greater offence than being abroad while Black, and yet serial sexual predators get a pass so long as they are White (preferably wealthy and middle or upper class) straight men. And of course women remain socially invisible except as sex objects, which is just what the aforementioned serial sexual predators want.

  8. Gregory Greenwood says

    From the article linked in the OP;

    He [Yiannopoulos] added that during his karaoke performance, his “severe myopia” made it impossible for him to see the Hitler salutes a few feet away.

    This might be the most feeble excuse I have heard in a while. He somehow didn’t know the bar he was in was playing host to fascists standing mere feet away. He claims his nearsightedness prevented him from seeing them, but it is not as though neo-Nazis are coy about their vile beliefs these days – they tend to shout them at anyone who gets too close. I take it Milo’s ears were on the fritz as well. Tinnitus, perhaps? I wonder what other strangely convenient medical conditions he has…?

  9. blf says

    The severe myopia excuse is not just feeble, but based on my own experiences with people with the condition, simply false. Whilst you cannot read a clock or distinguish faces more than a foot or so away, you sure as hell can notice raised arms and perhaps open palms. And, as noted, it does not effect your hearing, other senses, or situational intelligence.

  10. blf says

    Somewhat related, Fake model scouts tricking UK girls into sharing explicit photos (I doubt this scam is restricted to the UK):

    Leading model agencies say calls from worried parents are increasing as scammers use social media to exploit children

    A growing number of teenage girls are being approached online by fake model recruiters who lure them into sending indecent images of themselves, which are later used to extort money.

    Facebook and Instagram accounts are being set up in the names of leading model agencies such as Storm Model Management, which discovered Kate Moss and represents Cindy Crawford.

    Girls receive messages from someone who claims to be recruiting for the agency; they are encouraged to send topless photos or conduct a Skype interview in which they are asked to remove their clothes or wear lingerie.


    “The rise of social media has impacted greatly on why modelling agency scams are increasing,” [the managing director of Storm, Sarah] Doukas said. “Firstly, a lot of young people’s Instagram accounts are not private, and consequently they are easy to approach. Secondly, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated because of social media generally.

    “We are getting more scammers posing as ‘friends’ of the model agency and offering an introduction to us, and this is not legitimate. There was one example recently, which went on for several months, where a vulnerable girl was invited to a shoot and she ended up taking her clothes off. She had been approached by a fraudster claiming to know me.”


    Jessica Barker, co-founder of the cyber security consultancy Redacted Firm, said […] “Awareness is key. This form of attack is very unknown and people are not talking about it much in media. If you’re in this situation, approached by someone asking you for explicit images, don’t send them. A reputable model agency, for example, would never ask for someone to send naked images of themselves. If you have sent the images and are worried about being scammed, or you have received threats, tell a trusted adult.”

  11. chrislawson says

    Milo’s myopia was so bad that he couldn’t see a mass Hitler salute a few feet away…but he could read from a karaoke machine?

  12. chrislawson says

    Actually, I just figured out Milo’s argument: he was talking about his moral myopia.

  13. Raucous Indignation says

    What do you mean “secret?” I don’t think that means what you think it means.