We need to figure some of this out.

Another woman, Asia Argento, has been identified as at least a onetime sexual harasser. And she is prominant in “#Me too” movement.

The details of what she did are actually relevant, and in some ways quite different. He was underage and they had had in the past something close to a mother-son relationship. These are far from exonerating facts. The result was a financial deal; she paid him over $300K.

The situation and the non-hysterical coverage it got was still upsetting and, in an obscure way, shaming. I think part of my guilt was that I was, despite all I know about these things and my colleague’s great post preceding this one, I was not pacing around and demanding the perp be treated as a criminal, never allowed in Hollywood again, etc.

The present case seems to me, at least given what I know so far, about morally worse actions than Al Franklyn’s was while much, much less awful than Weinstein’s.  But I didn’t really know how to react to it.  I conclude that we need to figure some things out, such as

  1.  The legitimacy of the “no due process” complaints.
  2. Is our demanding or approving retribution is part of a crowd constituted punishment?  Are we approving a punishment or actually participating in a shaming that is part of the punishment?   And perhaps leading to more serious things, such as a loss of a career.
  3. What is the significance of the fact that most of the perps are men?  Is it, as many have claimed, that power is behind harassment and in general women don’t have much of it?  Or is there something else that women tend to do that is nearly as bad?  Perhaps kinds of emotional bribery and blackmail from women are also destructive and too prevalent?  In some arenas women can behave as bad as men, even if differently; think of abusive parenting.  Does the bad behavior “me too” is pointing at have an equivalent where women lack obvious power.

No doubt there are other things we should be thinking about.  And you may have some answer to questions I asked above.  Let us know!!

4 thoughts on “We need to figure some of this out.

  1. Thanks for the insightful commentary. We certainly need to reflect on these questions. I’d like to submit a further one. You write that Argento’s actions were “much, much less awful than Weinstein’s”. Surely comparisons of this kind are tricky. However, the allegation we are talking about is: an underaged boy being manipulated into sex by a person he deeply trusted (as you said, they had a mother-son-like relationship). Weinstein has never been accused of abusing underaged girls. His misconduct was systematic and repeated: in this sense, his behaviour was much much more awful. But insofar as we are concerned with the gravity of the act (as opposed to how many acts), it seem’s that Argento’s acts demand a much firmer condemnation. In failing to recognise this, perhaps we are expressing some worrying biases, like the ones you mention in the opening of your piece.

  2. I have to agree with Sophie here. At issue is the sexual assault of a minor, not the “sexual harassment” of a colleague (as it is characterized in the post). Furthermore, given the quasi-maternal relationship that appears to have obtained, the assault in question is *extraordinarily* serious. The serial assault of adult — to say nothing of multiple adults — is inexcusable. But it is not comparable to the sexual assault of a minor. I can’t help but think this would all be clear, and uncontroversial, if it were not for the fact that the minor in question is male.

  3. Sophie and Hamlet, thanks for your responses. I really don’t know why I made the comparisons I did, but I’m glad you questioned them. Coming so quickly onthe NYU cae, it may not prompt the ‘f on m’ isn’t as bad response, but I agree that we should watch out for that.

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