The Problem With Jumping On The Demonization Bandwagon

The Problem With Jumping On The Demonization Bandwagon

Some of you will click away from this editorial in disgust after a few paragraphs. Many of you will decide that the author must be a toxic Men's Rights rape-enabler. In fact, some of you might even decide that TrigTent is a pro-pedophile website, run by Satanic child-rapists from Hollywood.

And that's a problem.

The revelations on Harvey Weinstein, a rich film producer from Los Angeles County and a bonafide rapey creep, have triggered an avalanche of confessions, accusations, and innuendo on dozens of other Hollywood celebrities. As usual, the political point-scoring-fest appears to be much more important than taking steps to protect women and child actors. Republicans are thrilled that Weinstein is a DNC donor and Democrats are thrilled that a powerful white male, not unlike President Trump in many respects, turned out to be a sex offender.

Even worse, what actual, real concern that many social-media users have for abused women is in danger of being co-opted and (excuse the pun) perverted into something every bit as dangerous. And, unfortunately, some of those sounding the alarm are part of the problem.

In an interview with the BBC, director Woody Allen addressed the allegations against Weinstein, calling it “very sad for everybody involved.” But Allen then ignited a firestorm by saying he hoped that the case wouldn't lead to a witch-hunt atmosphere, where "every guy who winks at a woman in an office" faces criminal charges.

The backlash was swift and merciless, with out-of-context headlines implying that Woody was "sad" for his "friend" Harvey. Feminists and film historians charged that Allen is himself a sex offender many times over - the past allegations of child molestation and of coercing a teenager to marry him were re-charged into a Twitter frenzy. It doesn't help that the elderly auteur is making another movie that includes a sexual relationship between an adult and a teenager, just as his classic Manhattan begins to disappear from cable TV for the same reason.

But suppose all of the hideous crimes Woody Allen has been accused of are true. Suppose it's a gross miscarriage of justice that he's not rotting away in prison. Suppose Manhattan isn't about existentialism but is a disgusting, sly wink to fellow pedophiles and rapists. Would that mean everything Allen says is, by definition, the opposite of the truth?

Objectively, the notion of a "witch hunt" taking place in Hollywood is half-right. Allen deserves to be called sleazy, insensitive and sexist for making men in offices the primary "victims" he's concerned about, while young actresses are being pressured and taken advantage of by men every day. Outing sex-offenders is a noble pursuit. But perhaps the "witch hunt" mentality is rearing its head in other ways.

Jimmy Kimmel, the late-night comedian who has become a hero to the Left for his criticism and satire of President Trump, is currently under attack for his former co-hosting position on The Man Show. The show, which featured women in bikinis jumping on trampolines at the end of each episode, aired from 1999 to 2004.

In a video clip circulated by vindictive Republicans post-Weinstein, Kimmel approaches a woman (obviously a consenting actress) on the street and asks her to guess what is inside his pants. “I’ve stuffed something in my pants, and you’re allowed to feel around on the outside of the pants. You’ll have 10 seconds to guess what is in my pants...put your mouth on it,” Kimmel crows with a smirk.

Mediaite columnist Joseph A. Wulfsohn used the minor uproar to criticize Kimmel, calling the ABC host a coward. “He cries that everyone should have health care and that guns are the problem without providing any real solutions, yet he’s silent on the out-of-control abuse women have faced in showbiz for years,” Wulfsohn wrote.

Except there's no indication that the chauvinist persona Kimmel portrayed on The Man Show has bled over into his personal life or current political views. If Kimmel tells a reporter, "Fish live in the sea," is that evidence that the ocean is devoid of life, because he once objectified a woman on his comedy show? Or is it simply a political convenience to disregard a human being's views based on the worst thing or things they have ever taken part in?

Even Rose McGowan, who bravely outed Harvey Weinstein and those in Hollywood who were enabling him, has come under attack for working with Victor Salva, who was punished for molesting a 12-year-old boy who acted in another of his films. Weinstein's lonely remaining defenders - and conservatives who are taught to believe "all Hollywood liberals are pedophiles" - will be likely to jump on that fact in the days to come. But whether McGowan willingly collaborates with villains or not, it's still wrong to sexually harass or assault her.

Politicians have led the public off a cliff in this regard, using old dirt to cast opponents as heathens who can't possibly tell the truth in 2017. It is the worst kind of identity politics, and ultimately self-destructive.

Before the 2016 Presidential election, The Atlantic profiled a man from Silicon Valley who became a Trump voter after a series of humiliating incidents in which he was demonized by so-called "liberals" at his office. At one point, he mentioned to a co-worker that he liked Hulk Hogan, the professional wrestler. That provoked gossiping, puritanical co-workers to shun him and label him racist. Why? Because Hulk Hogan - or Terry Bollea - had been caught on audio using the N-word almost a decade prior.

Bollea's use of a racial slur was sick. But so is demonizing a fellow citizen for being a fan of his performances. It's the equivalent of labeling anyone who has seen and liked Manhattan as being pro-Woody Allen, and therefore pro-child molestation. In this case, it also garnered one more vote for Donald Trump.

Activists cannot demonize and shame their way to improving conditions and safety for women in Hollywood, just like they could not demonize and shame people into voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Politicization and "gotcha" games surrounding sex-offender cases can only lead to a more divided country. And that plays right into the hands of those who prefer it that way.