This was bound to happen. It typically does not take long for feminist-led hate mobs to turn on their own. The MeToo campaign may have began with good intentions, however, mob mentality took hold quickly. Within hours of the #MeToo hashtag trending on Twitters, articles appeared online demanding that men as group apologize for sexual impropriety, the underlying assumption being that all men had done something worthy of apology.
As more women shared their stories of sexual harassment, it became clear that many of the stories were little more than bad dates or the result of miscommunication. Days after the campaign went viral people warned of the potential mob-mentality that could develop. We began to see cases of this in the media, accounts of actors and politicians and other men in various positions of power taking a leave of absence, resigning, or losing their jobs over accusations.
In the majority of these cases, the men were never charged with a crime. Their accusers rarely revealed their identities. The men, however, were named without hesitation, ruining their reputation and careers based on one unknown person’s claims. In some of the cases, such as with comedian Louis C.K., the accusation of “sexual harassment” included admissions by the women that the “abuser” asked for permission to do the act and received said permission, only for the women to later claim — in Louis’s case years later — that they felt “forced.”
Once it reaches that level of silliness, one in which a person consents to an act and yet is still perceived as a victim, it opens the door for the claims against Aziz Ansari.
The accuser posted her account on the website Babe. In the account, the accuser claims that Ansari continued to engage in sexual activity with her even though she made it clear she did not want to go further. Yet when one reads the actual account, it becomes clear that this was at best a case of a lack of communication on the accuser’s part, and at worst simply a bad date.
Ansari invited the woman back to his apartment, and they undressed. The woman claims:
When Ansari told her he was going to grab a condom within minutes of their first kiss, Grace voiced her hesitation explicitly. “I said something like, ‘Whoa, let’s relax for a sec, let’s chill.’” She says he then resumed kissing her, briefly performed oral sex on her, and asked her to do the same thing to him. She did, but not for long. “It was really quick. Everything was pretty much touched and done within ten minutes of hooking up, except for actual sex.”
At this point, one might ask why the woman simply did not tell Ansari she did not want to continue. If she were this disinterested in sex, that would be the logical response. Instead, her cue merely suggested that she was not ready to engage in intercourse at that moment. It is worth noting that nowhere does she state that Ansari attempted to force her to engage in sex. When she told him to stop, he stopped.
According to the account, Ansari continued to try to get the woman to engage in sexual activity. She states that she:
[…] used verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was. “Most of my discomfort was expressed in me pulling away and mumbling. I know that my hand stopped moving at some points,” she said. “I stopped moving my lips and turned cold.”
yet the article never states what these verbal and non-verbal cues were. Judging by the account that the woman offered, it is easy to understand how someone could interpret her moving away yet continuing with the sexual foreplay as playing hard to get.
The woman states that Ansari eventually said to her that he did not want her to feel “forced.” Again, one could argue that at this point — when the woman stated that she would prefer to engage in sex “next time” — she should have left. There was no reason to remain with Ansari if she felt so uncomfortable. Yet instead leaving, she remained.
She claims that Ansari pointed at his penis and she performed oral sex on him. He then proceeded to dry hump her, asking where she would like him to have sex with her. According to the account:
He said he had to show her something. Then he brought her to a large mirror, bent her over and asked her again, “Where do you want me to fuck you? Do you want me to fuck you right here?” He rammed his penis against her ass while he said it, pantomiming intercourse.
“I just remember looking in the mirror and seeing him behind me. He was very much caught up in the moment and I obviously very much wasn’t,” Grace said. “After he bent me over is when I stood up and said no, I don’t think I’m ready to do this, I really don’t think I’m going to do this. And he said, ‘How about we just chill, but this time with our clothes on?’”
They got dressed, sat side by side on the couch they’d already “chilled” on, and he turned on an episode of Seinfeld. She’d never seen it before. She said that’s when the reality of what was going on sank in. “It really hit me that I was violated. I felt really emotional all at once when we sat down there. That that whole experience was actually horrible.”
Except nothing in the account sounds like Ansari violated her. It sounds like he thought she wanted to have sex, likely due to her remaining naked throughout the entire encounter and continuing to engage in sexual activity with him, and when she specifically stated that she did not want to do it, he stopped. All of his actions come across as foreplay. This appears to be what he thinks gets women off. That appears to be the extent of it. He otherwise respects when the woman does not want to continue, and makes no attempt to force her to do anything.
The woman could have written this off as a bad date, however, she instead took it as a violation. When Ansari contacted her the next day, she finally expressed her feelings to him:
Grace says she spent the next day groggy and miserable. When they asked, she told her coworkers that the date had gone poorly. She also reached out to her friends, who helped her craft a message to tell Ansari how she felt about the date. But he reached out first.
“It was fun meeting you last night,” Ansari sent on Tuesday evening. “Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me,” Grace responded. “You ignored clear non-verbal cues; you kept going with advances.” She explains why she is telling him how she felt: “I want to make sure you’re aware so maybe the next girl doesn’t have to cry on the ride home.”
“I’m so sad to hear this,” he responded. “Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”
That should have been the end of it. He apparently did not realize how the woman reacted to his advances and apologized. There was no reason to slander him as a sexual abuser when it is clear from the woman’s own account that she made no real attempt to inform him of her alleged discomfort.
I could go on discussing the absurdity of the situation or yet another example of a male feminist behaving contrary to the feminist tenants he professed to support or the irony of a male feminist becoming a victim of the very lynch mob he helped create, but others have covered this.
What I find more interesting is that even feminists are finding this account problematic. Even feminists, ones who peddle the very doctrine that leads to this woman’s behavior, find her story ridiculous. Yet this is the very thing that feminists want. This is precisely the reaction that feminists pushed for.
They want men and boys to know that if they so much as make a woman feel uncomfortable sexually, society will not tolerate it. Now we get to see how this plays out, and suddenly some feminists have a problem with it.
It is not as if this would ever apply to women. Despite all the changes within society over the last 20 years, it is still difficult to charge, let alone convict women of sexual violence. Most victims of female abusers are still treated poorly, particularly by feminists.
It would seem that the reason feminists are taken aback by this case is that it reveals just how shallow the MeToo and similar campaigns truly are.
These campaigns are not about helping victims; they are about pushing a narrative. They are built around demonizing men, and the problem with that level of hatred is that it does not take much for it to reach an extreme. We are barely three months out of the start of the campaign and we are already seeing clear examples of men who have done nothing wrong having their careers, reputations, and lives ruined by women out for attention or to make a buck.
It took less than 90 days for this to happen, which is perhaps the fastest turn for one of these sex abuse scandals. There has been a harder push to punish men for the slightest impropriety against women than there has ever been to punish priests we know systematically raped children.
Let us also not forget that people like Corey Feldman and Anthony Rapp have been largely forgotten, despite the violence against them occurring when they were children. Curiously absent from this discussion is the horrendous amount of child abuse that occurs in Hollywood and throughout our culture. That is likely because little boys being raped by Hollywood powerhouses or young men being used by people in power is not “sexy” story. because no one sees them as victims.
This shows that this movement to “raise awareness about sexual harassment” is less about giving victims — well, female victims — a voice and is more about pushing an anti-male agenda that vilifies anything men and boys do, from aggressive sexual pursuit to an accidental touch of skin.
How strange that feminists now find this unacceptable after pushing so hard for it.