Silence that female!


More and more of these accounts of being “Harveyed” are coming out of Hollywood: now it’s Léa Seydoux and Zoë Brock. These are terrible, dreadful stories, and it’s clear that there is a pervasive problem in the industry (and many other industries).

One of the voices that has been singing out for years on this problem is that of Rose McGowan. She recently called out Ben Affleck for hypocrisy, accusing him of lying in his pious condemnation of Weinstein — he knew about him for years, and now that he’s been outed, he’s jumping on the tut-tutting bandwagon.

Don’t you dare be mean to Ben Affleck! Because now Rose McGowan has been suspended from Twitter over telling him to “fuck off”. I read her recent Twitter feed, and that is literally the most offensive tweet on it…and it’s mild compared to the toxic shrieking I get from MRAs/racists on a routine basis. I have a few times (I don’t bother anymore, since it is pointless) reported the more abusive, incredibly misogynist, horrifyingly racist jerks who like to troll, and gotten nothing but apathetic shrugs from their management. The fact that Donald Trump still gets to rant dangerously on that medium tells you how little they care about “offensive tweets”.

Appalling.

It’s not clear which specific one of the actress’ tweets was targeted and reported to Twitter, and was apparently so offensive that the company decided it’d be a good idea to silence a woman at the heart of an entire scandal based around women being hushed-up and ignored.

Comments

  1. says

    Seriously? This is your response to a woman being censored for exposing the sexism in Hollywood, to indulge in some sexism yourself and announce that she’s “hot”?

    Jesus.

  2. handsomemrtoad says

    Oh come on, PZ, watch the clip. Rose McGowan can take care of herself. She kicks ass. In this case it’s only against a physically weaker opponent, but she has the right attitude. As I recall, elsewhere in the movie she holds her own against a more formidable foe.

  3. cartomancer says

    Sadly I fear this is only getting the exposure it deserves because it involves lots of very famous people. If it were any other industry (with the possible exception of politics) it would have been out of the news days ago.

    I also fear that any response made will be focused on the culture of the Hollywood film industry and not the wider culture of misogyny in general. All the mainstream framing of this seems to be about the “old-fashioned Hollywood studio system with its culture straight out of the 50s”. Which is not ideal.

  4. says

    handsomemrtoad #3:

    Oh come on, PZ, watch the clip. Rose McGowan can take care of herself. She kicks ass. In this case it’s only against a physically weaker opponent, but she has the right attitude. As I recall, elsewhere in the movie she holds her own against a more formidable foe.

    Yes, ’cause the character she plays in a film is absolutely the same as the person she is in real life.

    That hole you’re in; you’re making it deeper.

  5. handsomemrtoad says

    Besides, being censored by twitter will likely INCREASE her publicity on this issue.

  6. handsomemrtoad says

    Oh dear. OK, here’s what I really think:

    Yes, it’s dreadful that this is happening. No professional should face sexual harassment from his or her boss, or co-workers, or anyone else. And no one should be censored or retaliated against for exposing it. (Am I allowed to say “exposing it” in this context?)

    Also, water is wet, North Korea is not a nice place to live, and atoms are very very small.

  7. rietpluim says

    handsomemrtoad
    You’re saying this as if it is obvious. Well, it should be obvious, but unfortunately to many people it is not, and if you don’t want to be mistaken for one of these people, you’d better be a little more explicit in what your opinions are.

  8. says

    handsomemrtoad #7:

    Also, water is wet, North Korea is not a nice place to live, and atoms are very very small.

    … and ignoring the point a woman is attempting to make, by prioritising your desire to shout “Hey, she’s hot!” is the almost-pinnacle of obtuseness. The pinnacle of obtuseness being doing the same thing when she’s making a point about sexual harassment.

  9. handsomemrtoad says

    9 Daz: Uffish, yet slightly frabjous

    I appreciate the point you are making, but the point of my “she’s hot” post might be clearer if you watch the clip. She gives a nice demonstration of one way to deal with overbearing god-freaks.

  10. gijoel says

    Oh wow, handsomemrtoad is so hot, and I’m typing this one handed as I think of him. He said something about censorship, but I wasn’t paying much attention cause he’s a guy that I find attractive and only think about in a sexual way. Did I mention he’s hot.

    /sarcasm

  11. feministhomemaker says

    Male sexual coercion of women’s bodies and speech (as handsomemrtoad displayed) is everywhere.
    1. I just turned 18, had couple months old baby and was on welfare and foodstamps. Got job in fancy health club cleaning toilets. looking forward to becoming financially more secure and off welfare. Three days in my male boss informed me I must have sex or lose my job. I quit. That started a reputation of me not being able to hold regular work jobs since that is how people around me interpreted me quitting.
    2. When son was 6 got hired in good paying job at Dresser Atlas assisting male coworker in Tool Room. I was first female hired anywhere in that area among machinists and sheet metal workers. Co worker harassed me with displays of xxx porn and masturbating through his tight jeans. I reported to our boss who told me I wanted to work among men so I needed to accept how men are. I lasted 9 months. Quit and confirmed for those around me how I would never hold a regular job.
    3. Working to complete my bachelor in music, one prof gave me an incomplete which I completed and rather than just give me my grade, insisted I meet him for dinner to discuss and there asked me for sex. I refused and suggested I could report him. He gave me my grade but it felt empty, unreliable, and left me mildly wondering about my ability to do music. I continued my pursuit of higher education and that effort was interpreted as me not ever going to have a regular job, even after completing master degree at Rice University and law degree. Could not shake that interpretation.

    Male sexual coercion and sexual deflection of women is everywhere, in all professions and it causes misinterpretations of women and our behavior and it stops up so many human futures. Men must stop it. The good men in our lives must work to make other men stop it overtime they see it. They must open their eyes to seeing what is going on, listen to women. Men must stop this.

  12. Holms says

    Rose McGowan is banned from twitter for making completely apt criticisms that have recently been borne out, therefore it is relevant to point out that a character played by her is super hot and a great fighter. Makes perfect sense.

  13. Jeremy Shaffer says

    As someone else pointed out, one of the women Weinstein harassed/ assaulted was Gwyneth Paltrow. As the daughter of a pretty big producer/ director and an award-winning actress, she’s basically Hollywood royalty- and still nothing happened to him for decades. This not to say she should be any more important or less of a mark than anyone else, but if he can do that to her so easily and with no consequences what hope would someone without that have?

  14. feministhomemaker says

    How did I deal with it? Raised both our sons by telling them these stories that happened to me and making clear this is not what they should ever do to others, women or men. Made sure they saw me fight with my good husband and their father if he ever made light of something like that. He quit doing that and started noticing stuff at his work, became a mentor to women, stepping in on one occasion to help a woman being talked about behind her back by her male coworkers. I went on to work as a small role/chorus member in the Houston Grand Opera for multiple seasons, a music teacher for many years, a special ed life skills teacher for many years and a lawyer for three years, as well as helping my husband start his own business and raised two kids.

    I still vividly remember when Anita Hill made sexual harassment known in every household with her testimony and having the realization that is what I had endured! In law school a couple years later I had to endure a labor law prof who insisted sexual harassment was made up, a criminal law prof who voyeuristically enjoyed the sexual assault case details and always finding a way to get the male rapist off, and a liberal literature and law prof who wrote in the margins of my paper about a Locke piece we had read in class that he did not know what that word Patriarchy meant even though he knew lots of feminists, like I did, use it. I was confused because the word was used by Locke in the piece we had just read! And when he introduced his big theme based on the “similar” facts about women in three pieces we had read, I had to point out he had read the facts wrong on one of the pieces, something he had clearly done poorly (a first year law school lesson many of us took to heart and made sure we never read facts wrong after that!) but which, he excused as not being important to the point he was about to make–after just saying how the similarity he invented was crucial to his theme!

    I waited 12 years after law school before taking the bar, I graduated (cum laude) with such anger. Worked with children with disabilities most of that time. Then took a bar review, passed my first time, and became an attorney. Sexist men made me sick of school, life, work, family (first husband beat me) even fun, since it rose its head often at family gatherings with brothers and sisters. Current husband of 38 years was and is a real partner who invested in my education and I invested my energy, money and time in his dreams as well. It can get better but it takes conscious effort to make it so.

  15. mykroft says

    @feministhomemaker:
    Given your skills, experience and background, I hope you consider running for a political office someday. I would love to see someone with your experience in a position to change things.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    cartomancer @ # 4: Sadly I fear this is only getting the exposure it deserves because it involves lots of very famous people. If it were any other industry (with the possible exception of politics) …

    Ah, but it does involve politics: H. Weinstein has donated a lot of money over the decades to candidates of the Democratic Party, thus making him a prime target for Murdoch minions and road-rage radio ranters. Had he stayed politically neutral, his scandal would have faded into yesterday’s news the day before yesterday.

  17. says

    Are you implying the flack is from right-leaning sources?

    Because
    Y’know
    I’m pretty sure it’s the progressives who are most up in arms about this.
    The republicans would just give him a quiet job until it died down so he could run for office.

  18. thirdmill says

    Rose McGowan’s suspension from Twitter is vile and despicable. And, every time we have a conversation about free speech, I and other supporters of free speech consistently point out that when speech is censored, it’s more likely to be progressive speech that gets censored. This is just the most recent example.

  19. microraptor says

    thirdmill @24: And the freeze peach supporters will fall all over themselves laughing about it, which should clue anyone with enough working neurons to fog a mirror in that they don’t actually care about free speech.

  20. thirdmill says

    Microraptor, I’m not laughing about it; I think it’s contemptible that Twitter has apparently sided with sexual harassers over their victims. I’m actually pretty angry about it.

    And while I can’t speak for anyone else, I do care about free speech. But even if I didn’t, it wouldn’t detract from my primary point, which is that once you start banning speech, there’s no reason to think that the people being silenced will be the good guys.

  21. VolcanoMan says

    Re: Affleck

    That’s GROSS. It’s RACIST SEXIST. It’s DISGUSTING!

    Seriously though (and I’m not defending Bill Maher or Sam Harris here, they have certainly promoted and inspired racism, intentionally or not…not that this matters), Affleck CLEARLY has his own issues. All people can, at times, be regressive assholes, and people in the public eye can make more people act like regressive assholes through their behavior (because being a regressive asshole is contagious). No heroes no gods, eh? Because certainly people fail, even people who want to be liberal and progressive and to stand up for minorities and the underprivileged. Good on McGowan for reminding us of this eternal truth.

  22. VolcanoMan says

    Hmm, to clarify my previous statement, I was saying that the intentionality of racism is irrelevant when I said “not that this matters”. I was NOT saying that promoting and inspiring racism doesn’t matter. The statement reads as kind of ambiguous, so I am fixing that now. Sorry for the confusion.

  23. zaxter says

    In the interest of accuracy only, here is Twitter’s response, which is in the Guardian article PZ linked to.

    “Twitter told the Guardian that McGowan’s account was temporarily locked because one of her tweets included a private phone number, which violates the company’s terms of service.
    “The tweet was removed and her account has been unlocked,” a spokeswoman said in a statement on Thursday.”

  24. KG says

    And, every time we have a conversation about free speech, I and other supporters of free speech consistently point out that when speech is censored, it’s more likely to be progressive speech that gets censored. – thirdmill@24

    And every time you do, other people point out that you’re a fucking idiot, because (a) reactionaries and fascists are not going to refrain from trying to silence their enemies whatever those enemies do, and (b) experience in multiple countries shows that it is quite possible to pass and enforce bans on hate speech without the alleged consequences you bleat about.

  25. thirdmill says

    KG, you are entitled to your opinion that I’m a fucking idiot, although I suspect you’re projecting. That said:

    (1) Fascists will use violence to try to suppress speech regardless of what the law says, but why give them ammunition by putting the law on their side?

    (2) You are correct that countries with hate speech laws haven’t become totalitarian yet, although neither since those laws were passed have any of them to my knowledge had any sort of the type of existential crisis that might push them into an authoritarian society. My house hasn’t caught fire yet either but that doesn’t mean I don’t pay my insurance premiums. If you wait until authoritarianism is actually upon you it will be too late.

    (3) Laws have a tendency to suffer from mission creep. If you look at countries with hate speech laws, a lot of them have morphed into countries in which it is now illegal to say non-hateful things that are objectively true. Google, for example, has been ordered to take down information about sites in which you can look up whether someone has a criminal record, even though whether someone has a criminal record is an objectively true fact. I guess you just trust government more than I do.

  26. consciousness razor says

    Fascists will use violence to try to suppress speech regardless of what the law says, but why give them ammunition by putting the law on their side?

    Laws against hate speech are “on their side”?

    You are correct that countries with hate speech laws haven’t become totalitarian yet, although neither since those laws were passed have any of them to my knowledge had any sort of the type of existential crisis that might push them into an authoritarian society.

    So, you’re presumably not worried that laws against hate speech would create existential crises that push societies into authoritarianism, since that is not what we see happening. But somehow that is also a separate concern from fascists getting “ammunition” and somehow using it against us, in some way that doesn’t constitute an existential crises that pushes a society into authoritarianism — no clue what that concern could be about, if we leave aside all of the weasel words and just try to articulate the basic problem.

    Or … you just don’t care what the evidence says, and you’re going to huff and puff creationist-style, insisting on your view no matter what. Neither options looks good, but the alternative is to just be honest that it turns you’re basing all of this on nothing, rather than pretend as if you have some kind of argument.

    My house hasn’t caught fire yet either but that doesn’t mean I don’t pay my insurance premiums. If you wait until authoritarianism is actually upon you it will be too late.

    I don’t know how you think it actually comes upon us, since all you’re apparently saying is that you’re paranoid about it coming upon us. Your house can of course burn down even if you pay for insurance. And if it floods, well you’re probably not covered anyway.

    Laws have a tendency to suffer from mission creep.

    Whether or not that’s true, this says nothing about the merits of the kind of laws being proposed. You could say this about any laws whatsoever (as you just did), and that is not an argument against having any laws whatsoever….. Or is it?

    I guess you just trust government more than I do.

    Maybe it’s supposed to be. That’s sad.

  27. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Bye, LoathsomeMrChoad. You were never the tiniest bit funny.

    Male sexual coercion of women’s bodies and speech (as handsomemrtoad displayed) is everywhere.

    And may the greater be wiped up just like the lesser. *sighs*

  28. thirdmill says

    Consciousness razor, I’m not worried that laws against hate speech will in and of themselves lead to totalitarianism. What I’m concerned about is that if a country is already headed toward totalitarianism, that laws against hate speech will be a precedent for the government suppressing speech it doesn’t like, and I’d just as soon fascists didn’t have that precedent at their disposal. There is simply no guarantee that progressives will always be in power. I don’t know which country you live in, but I live in the United States, and I can only imagine the mischief Donald Trump would make if he had the power to shut down free speech.

  29. georgelocke says

    “Rose McGowan has been suspended from Twitter over telling him to “fuck off”. I read her recent Twitter feed, and that is literally the most offensive tweet on it…”
    First, she was suspended for tweeting someone’s private phone number. A correction is in order, Mr. Myers. (The application of these rules is not even-handed, I grant you.)

    Second, and more incidental, when you get suspended, Twitter makes you delete the offending tweet before they reinstate you, so if there had been something offensive on her acct, it would’ve been deleted before you could see it. So, the second sentence I’m quoting here makes no sense.

  30. ck, the Irate Lump says

    thirdmill wrote:

    (3) Laws have a tendency to suffer from mission creep. If you look at countries with hate speech laws, a lot of them have morphed into countries in which it is now illegal to say non-hateful things that are objectively true. Google, for example, has been ordered to take down information about sites in which you can look up whether someone has a criminal record, even though whether someone has a criminal record is an objectively true fact. I guess you just trust government more than I do.

    Firstly, citation badly needed. As far as I know, “hate speech” laws were not used to force “criminal records” sites from being listed, but rather things like the EU’s “right to be forgotten” and other related privacy laws/regulations.

    Secondly, you seem to trust private industry as much as you claim others are trusting the government. It might do you some good to find out why these sites were being prosecuted rather than accepting what the industry says about it. It isn’t as cut and dried as you’re assuming. Let’s just put it this way: plenty of those sites didn’t care much about the quality of data it made available and most made it very difficult to near impossible to correct incorrect criminal record data in their database, and often had subsidiaries or sister companies which sold services offering to clear up some incorrect data in multiple databases.

    But who cares if a few lives get ruined by companies providing faulty data for public consumption? The freedom to publish data of unknown quality and provenance and make a profit while doing so must be protected above all else.

  31. thirdmill says

    CK, that problem can be fixed by making it easier to sue for defamation. If you’re in the business of publishing information about other people, I think you have a duty to get it right, and I would give generous legal remedies to those who are injured by false information.

  32. ck, the Irate Lump says

    thirdmill wrote:

    CK, that problem can be fixed by making it easier to sue for defamation.

    Well, thirdmill, how do you afford to hire a lawyer to sue for defamation if you can’t get a job because all the potential employers think you’re untrustworthy because they found your name in a database? Oh, and since the web is global, maybe they’d just set up shop in a country that won’t take any action against the company, and can ignore any lawsuits originating in other countries. The corporate veil and a layer of holding companies they’ve created will shield them from any personal culpability for it.

    If you’re in the business of publishing information about other people, I think you have a duty to get it right […]

    And yet laws specifically targeting companies like credit bureaus had to be created to force them to even allow individuals to see, let alone request corrections to data about them. And even with those laws, Experian, Equifax and Transunion are notorious for resisting making corrections to your credit history, and even when you are successful at getting a correction, the bad data can come back time and time again.

    Then there’s the ethical dimension, which ought to be the biggest concern rather than the least: Branding people as ex-con for the rest of their life means there are no second chances, and this brand often leads to later criminality as those subject to this find themselves unable to find a legitimate income source, or often even shelter.

  33. Owlmirror says

    For whatever it’s worth, Twitter said:

    We have been in touch with Ms. McGowan’s team. We want to explain that her account was temporarily locked because one of her Tweets included a private phone number, which violates our Terms of Service. 1/3
     
    The Tweet was removed and her account has been unlocked. We will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future. 2/3
     
    Twitter is proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power. We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories, and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices. 3/3

  34. Saad says

    Woody Allen, unsurprisingly, has expressed sympathy for Weinstein and warns against … wait for it … witch hunts.

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