UPDATE: In a new post on his blog, Marshall explains what (he says) actually happened. See below for details.
UPDATE 2: AVFM says “Oops!” (See end of post.)
I just hope none of you were planning on attending the Great Vancouver All-MRA Debate on whether or not feminism has “gone too far.” Because the already strange story of this debate has taken an even stranger turn, which seems to involve a large degree of blatant lying from someone, or a bunch of someones, connected to the debate. Which, by the way, isn’t going to be happening, at least not any time soon.
A Voice for Men yesterday announced that the much ballyhooed debate would be “delayed due to outside interference.” The announcement told a dramatic tale:
Chris Marshall, a father’s rights activist and the manager of a Vancouver business where a scheduled debate addressing the question, “Has feminism gone too far?” reported that he has just been fired from his job, and escorted from the premises by Vancouver Police after 30 months of employment. The timing of Mr Marshal’s ejection comes 48 hours prior to that scheduled event.
Well, if Mr. Marshall’s alleged firing and the alleged visit from the police were indeed connected to his political activity, I guess you could call that “outside interference.”
But there is just one little problem with this story. On his blog, Chris Marshall claims to be the owner or co-owner of the car dealership that was going to hold the debate. Indeed, in one post he told this story of how his car lot came to be:
Three years ago I met a white guy named Robert Cortens. (another divorced dad) I told him my story and he said he wanted to lend me $250,000 to open up a car lot that we called CC Motors. We started with 80 cars and are now up to 200 cars in inventory.
We built this dealership with morals scruples and ethics and the concept that a good deal is when we are both happy. We now sell over 100 cars a month, most dealers sell 35 cars. We are now Vancouverʼs largest and most successful used car dealership.
So either he fired himself, and demanded that the police escort him off his own property, or someone is lying.
There are really only a couple of possibilities I can see, given the conflicting evidence out there:
1) Marshall is lying on his blog about owning or co-owning the lot – which seems unlikely, because he’s posted pictures of the lot festooned by banners and signs promoting his website and denouncing the “Lying Legal Horror Lawyers” that Marshall says are “using my son as a pawn for judicial extortion.” You’d be hard pressed to find a car dealer who would let an employee, even a manager, put banners like this on his business. I think he must really be the owner or co-owner. [Edited to add: Also, as of 9/22/2012, the car dealership’s web page prominently promotes Marshall’s website; indeed, the biggest graphic on the page is not a picture of a car but of one of his father’s rights banners, and the link to his blog is in a bigger typeface than the link to the inventory of the dealership’s cars.]
2) Marshall wasn’t fired. He simply lied to the folks at AVFM about what happened, and they were stupid enough to believe him.
3) The AVFM dudes, realizing that no one was going to show up to watch MRAs debate themselves, have decided to cover up their own organizing ineptitude by simply making up this story, which, as usual, allows them to play the victim once again. They assumed that the MRA masses, both on AVFM or elsewhere, wouldn’t bother to fact check their story and would simply swallow it whole.
4) Marshall had some sort of falling-out with the co-owner of his business, and his removal from the property had something to do with that; AVFM simply took the opportunity to “delay” the debate and to insinuate with no proof that evil feminists were somehow behind it all.
[UPDATE: Apparently #4 is the correct answer. In a new post on his blog, Marshall explains his side of the story:
First, the investor in my business CC Motors has take away my signing authority and the profits I have created for CC Motors. I have also been banned from the business I built from nothing to a success. I refused to make him a partner in the car business. He is no longer satisfied with the $48,000 a year he get’s for lending me $160,000.
Huh. No mention of feminists complaining about the debate. ]
AVFM seems to have gotten away with their insinuations once again. It goes without saying that the sycophants on AVFM bought the story. On Reddit, while a few commenters in the inevitable r/mensrights thread raised questions about AVFM’s nonsensical tale, most accepted it unquestioningly and worked themselves into quite a tizzy about the terrible injustice of it all. A couple typical comments from the thread (click on the pics to see the quotes in context):
So if it is AVFM who is lying here, I suppose I should give them credit for another victory of their propaganda over the stubborn world of facts. Not that long ago, you may recall, they got away with claiming a mob of twenty or thirty people “wielding box cutters” had confronted JohnTheOther while postering in Vancouver, when JTO’s own video footage showed only a tiny handful of people taking down his posters. Meanwhile, the AVFMers keep insinuating that feminists shut down the original version of this debate, when according to the original organizer MRAs were at least partially (if not wholly) responsible. And now this.
Actually, even if somehow, magically, everyone is telling the truth about the events surrounding Mr. Marshall, it’s not clear why the debate would have to be “delayed.” Despite the setback, most organizers would have just moved the event to a new location. (It certainly wouldn’t be that hard to find a place. Given how many people would likely have shown up, they could probably hold it in a studio apartment, or a large shoe.)
Of all the stumbling blocks that might get in the way of this debate, I would think that the lack of an opposing side would have been a much more serious one – as the announcement notes in passing, no feminists have stepped forward to debate the AVFM crowd, Vancouver Division. Debating an imaginary opponent? Not a problem. Changing location? Impossible.
On AVFM, the person writing the announcement lets us know that Mr. Elam has been informed of the dastardly attack on free speech.
Paul Elam, when informed of these events remarked:
“Those who believe open discussion can be silenced by intimidation, and who may be patting themselves on the back should all be invited to attend the rescheduled debate which will be announced shortly on this site.”
Very slick, Paul, working a plug for a new debate into your entirely spontaneous response to Mr. Marshall’s alleged firing.
Oh, and the new debate, if it ever comes to fruition, will be based on a slightly different question. As the announcement explains:
[I]n light on the resistance among gender ideologues, and the established pattern of censorship, intimidation and threats against the original organizer, a revised premise for the debate is now under consideration.
“Is feminism a hate movement?”
This debate is never going to happen, is it? I wonder what they’ll blame next time. Feminist caribou?
EDITED TO ADD: The fellas at AVFM have now run a … I don’t know, but it looks sort of like a correction of some kind, atop their original post:
I guess it would be too much to expect them to offer an apology of sorts for all the imaginary feminists they pointed their giant A Voice for Men Foam Finger of Insinuation at in the original post.