Like any other liberal chick searching for news on TV, I’ve seen more than my fair share of Keith Olbermann. The same can be said for Michael Moore; I’ve seen his movies and even enjoyed a few of them.
Everyone knows that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is sitting in a British prison for sexually assaulting two Swedish women. Because of the precarious nature of his “business,” Michael Moore automatically assumes that these allegations are “hooey,” and…
…wait for it…
BAILED HIM OUT OF JAIL. What the hell, Mike? I get that you’re all about open governments and not keeping secrets and such, but really? You think it’s okay to bail a rapist out of jail because of his political leanings?!
This situation, for me, is a lot like Roman Polanski. Yes, dude is a brilliant filmmaker. He also sexually assaulted a 13 year old girl. Those two things don’t cancel each other out. Julian Assange may or may not be doing really progressive work with Wikileaks, but he is still an (alleged) rapist.
Michael Moore might be all progressive and awesome to some people, but at this point, he’s just another misogynistic victim-blamer. Sweden may have particularly progressive sexual assault laws, but that is a good thing! Even if Moore thinks that continuing to have sex with a woman even after your condom broke is “hooey,” what does he think about Assange pinning down a young woman and forcibly having sex with her?
That’s not hooey, sir. That’s rape. What’s even worse, though, is that Olbermann doesn’t say a damn thing to defend these women. He doesn’t lift a finger to even suggest that there might be some truth to these allegations. Not a single word.
So, if Assange is just a victim of the US Government, what are these women? According to Moore, they’re nothing. We shouldn’t listen to them. It wouldn’t surprise me if he actually thought that the United States tracked each of these women down and fed them a story to tell.
This type of rhetoric is the exact reason why 60% of rapes aren’t reported. This is the exact reason that juries think that women “had it coming.” We, as a society, have never given women who are sexually assaulted anything, least of all the benefit of the doubt.
Ultimately, Julian Assange’s accusers will have their day in court, and ultimately, only they and Assange know if he is guilty. I’m not saying that we should automatically vilify anyone that’s accused of sexual assault, but we sure as hell shouldn’t support them and get them out of jail!
The damage is done, though. I think the important thing to talk about now is redemption. Olbermann is still going to be on TV. Moore is still going to make movies. They’re both going to continue to be important figures in news and media, and they owe us an apology.
I talked to Andrea Grimes, a badass chick and feminist living in Dallas. Andrea’s been at the forefront of #mooreandme (the Twitter frenzy that made Keith Olbermann temporarily quit Twitter.) and is really kicking both Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) and Michael Moore’s (@MMFlint) asses over their insensitivity and stupidity. I asked Andrea what she thought they could do to redeem themselves, and she sent me this. It’s long, but so worth the read.
“Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore both need to issue apologies. Not the “I’m sorry you were offended” kind, but real apologies that address not only the fact that they spread misinformation, but that they did so regarding a topic that is hugely damaging to women everywhere. They should apologize for not taking #mooreandme seriously and acknowledge that they treated people who often agree with and look up to them as little more than hysterical harpies, and acknowledge that they’ve used the same demeaning, infantilizing tactics anti-woman groups use to marginalize and silence women. In short, they should admit that they have spent the past week or so acting exactly like those they have spent their careers speaking out against. Michael Moore is a filmmaker and propagandist, and I hold him to a lower standard than I do Olbermann, who seems to want to be taken seriously as a journalist rather than pundit. If that’s what Olbermann wants, he needs to do what any responsible, professional journalist does when they disseminate incorrect information, which is to run a correction and, further, expand the story further based on the new, correct information.
And my goodness, can I dream for a moment? I dream that not only will there be real apologies issued, but that these two high-profile progressive men will take the opportunity to educate their fellow liberals on just how easy it is to get caught up in one’s own privilege. If they want to talk about something really progressive, really controversial, and really meaningful, they need to use their positions of power to educate their popular audiences on rape culture and shoot down some of the accepted narratives about sexual assault in our culture.
It’s quite basic, really: newspapers print corrections when they misspell someone’s name, and what Moore and Olbermann have done in their blind spread of misinformation is scads worse than that.”
Wow. Andrea wins the internet. Forever.
As for you, if you have Twitter, use the #MooreandMe hashtag to let Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore know that you’re a feminist, and you’re not going to take their woman-hating shit.
Amy is a social media strategist living in Dallas, Texas. She likes music, trashy TV, and ladybiz. tweet: @aemccarthy