Is A Voice for Men using phony death threats as an excuse to smear feminists and raise a quick $25k? Here’s what we DON’T know so far. [UPDATE: Hotel still not talking]

Adjusted for inflation, those 5 cent fears are now worth $25,000

Adjusted for inflation, those 5 cent fears are now worth $25,000

Is A Voice for Men using phony “death threats” allegedly directed at those planning to attend its upcoming “Men’s Issues” conference in Detroit, as well as upon employees and guests of the hotel where it’s scheduled to be held, as an excuse to smear feminists and raise a quick $25,000 in donations from readers and possibly even from a handful of gullible feminists?

As incredible as that sounds, that’s what some people I respect are saying. Despite AVFM’s history of lying about alleged feminist threats – you may recall John Hembling’s infamous confrontation with an imaginary mob of 20-30 feminists brandishing boxcutters – I’m not willing to go that far.

But there’s a lot about the story that makes no sense, and some big questions that need convincing answers.

1) The Doubletree Fort Shelby hotel has not confirmed that the letter Paul Elam posted on his site several days ago, and which he has now removed, actually came from them. The letter is, so far, the only evidence that there were any threats.

Hotel management needs to confirm whether or not they sent this letter to Elam.

2) Both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press spoke to Detroit Police spokesman Adam Madera, who told them that the police had not received any reports of death threats from the hotel. He told both papers that hotel staff had asked about hiring off-duty officers for security but hadn’t specified why.

Hotel management needs to confirm either that 1) they got death threats and didn’t report them or 2) that they got no such threats. They should also confirm whether their calls about off-duty police officers were related to the “Men’s Issues” conference.

There are a few other clues that support the “hoax” theory, though they’re far from definitive:

Several people who have allegedly contacted the hotel to ask about the threat say that the managers they spoke to knew nothing about the threats. Even if these reports are true, this may not be significant; managers may not have been told about threats related to a conference many weeks off.

The Detroit News also spoke to the owner of the hotel, and he said he was unaware of any threats. That may not be significant either; he may simply be out of the loop.

Essentially, we’re waiting for the Doubletree Fort Shelby management to answer these questions. If you look at the news coverage so far you’ll notice that the hotel staffers who can answer these questions don’t seem to be answering their phones or returning calls. I left a message for them today as well. No reply yet.

The other bits of evidence we’re waiting for? Well, the letter Elam claims he got from hotel management says that he and the other conference organizers need to send the hotel proof that they’ve hired the required number of Detroit police officers to handle security, as well as proof that they have also paid for at least $2 million in liability insurance. They have to have this done by the 6th.

In light of all the questions still swirling around, I think people are going to want to see this proof too.

It may be that the hotel comes forward and confirms that the letter was real, that the threats were real, and that indeed A Voice for Men does have to shell out $25,000 for extra security. It may even be the case that it was a feminist or a group of feminists making the threats. But we don’t know. And right now the people who do know are either not talking — or they have pretty much no credibility. Let’s hope the silence ends soon, because there’s no way the not-so-good folks at AVFM are suddenly going to turn credible overnight.

EDIT: I toned down some of the language, which I think was detracting from my main points, and added a new final paragraph.

EDIT 2:  Removed some speculation. We’ll know some of the answers soon enough; no need to speculate.


So I’ve heard back from Atiya Frederick, the PR Manager for Embassy Suites Hotels & DoubleTree, and she’s made clear that the hotel won’t be answering specific questions about any of this just yet. Here’s what she sent me.

At this time we are confining our comments on this matter to the below statement …

Hilton Worldwide strives to operate meeting places for people from all walks of life, regardless of beliefs, race, color, national origin, religion or sexual orientation. The views of our guests do not reflect the sentiment of Hilton Worldwide. As places of public accommodation, our hotels do not discriminate against any individual or group. Our goal is to provide quality accommodations and a pleasant environment for our guests, employees and members of our community . We would like to emphasize that we strive to be an inclusive company and regret if this policy has unintentionally offended any individual or organization. 

This statement seems to be their standard response when they host a conference by a controversial group.

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on June 3, 2014, in a voice for men, a woman is always to blame, antifeminism, citation needed, conspiracy theory, drama kings, gullibility, harassment, misogyny, MRA, paul elam, the spearhead, threats and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 351 Comments.

  1. I think it’s time for him to be banned. He’s had his share of being exposed for the disgusting misogynist he is.

    Back to hot men!

  2. Kittehs, the one with bonus Furrinati is my favorite. Partially because Furrinati, and partially because Mr. K just looks so happy and at peace with the kitties.

    You two are lucky folks, to have each other!

    Kitten picture totally beats Jean Baptiste de Lorraine’s attempt…

  3. contrapangloss, thank ‘ee! Yes, we’re lucky people indeed.

    Especially ‘cos you need a good co-worker to serve all those Furrinati properly. :P

    Okay, I lose the French Names quiz: who’s Jean Baptiste de Lorraine? I googled him and got nothin’.

  4. Scratch that last comment, he was waaaaay down in the results. ::blush::

  5. Ugh, yeah, JB de L made a right hash of trying to reproduce the de Champaigne portrait. What a mess.

  6. The problem with Anand’s pretense of neutrality is that, even if it weren’t a sophomoric attempt to look cool, he’d still be positioning himself as neutral on the question of whether or not women are human, and that’s morally indefensible.

    I need some hot men:

    Lee Min Ho

    Chaz Bono

    Ugh, it took me most of my 1/2 hr break to find those two, because the computers at work are from the stone age. So just google “Chris Hemsworth” and “Vin Diesel” and pretend I posted them.

  7. Dammit, I wish I could remember the name if the actor a friend used to write about years ago – he was Thai, I think, but she mostly referred to him by his initials, TK or TJ. He’d be fortyish now, maybe older. Beautiful man.

  8. Akk, not Thai at all, try Taiwanese-Japanese parents! He’s Takeshi Kaneshiro.

  9. Danny Pudi, the cute guy from Community:

    Misha Collins:

    Jason Momoa:

    Yun-Fat Chow:

    My biggest gay man crush:

    My second biggest gay man crush:

  10. Sorry, didn’t mean to erase the names of the gay men, they’re John Barrowman and Jesse Tyler Fergusson.

  11. A list of hot men wouldn’t be complete without George Clooney, of course.

    I read this on a forum here and LOL’d. It’s science, I tell ya!

    A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that 18 percent of respondents described Clooney as looking “distinguished,” 11 percent found him looking “sharp,” and 3 percent found him looking “square-jawed and rugged, yet stately and reserved, as one would expect a baron or king to look.”

    The poll had no statistical margin of error.

    “When you think of George Clooney, the first thing you think is ‘sexy,'” said Julia Allison, editor-at-large for Star magazine. “The second thing you think is ‘hunky,’ and the third thing is ‘dishy.’ Then you think that, even if he were to get into a disfiguring accident, he would probably still come out with a face too dreamy for words. I love you, George Clooney.”

    Whether viewing Clooney in a meticulously posed portrait by famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz, in a candid photo toweling off his tousled hair near a pool, or in a paparazzi snapshot emerging from a grocery store, modern science remains unable to quantify just how phenomenally attractive the universally beloved Kentucky native actually is.

    “The subject’s masculine yet disarmingly friendly features, from what we have been able to determine, do not appear to be constricted by the laws of physics,” said Princeton University geneticist Dr. Janet Hargrove, whose exhaustive, decade-long study of Clooney’s appearance concluded that the 46-year-old has only gotten better-looking with time. “From his modest beginnings as George Burnett, the long-haired repairman on the 1980s sitcom The Facts of Life, onward through his sexy ascent to Hollywood leading man, his facial features have defied the Second Law of Thermodynamics by being impervious to entropy.”

    Hargrove continued, “Unlike most carbon-based organisms, which will, over time, succumb to the ravages of cellular decomposition and genetic degradation, Clooney, with his puppy-dog eyes and salt-and-pepper hair, has aged like a fine wine.”

    Lots and lots of beautiful men on that page, btw.

  12. Speaking of attractive square jawed men…

  13. Mathieu Kassovitz Today, I learned that he was in Fifth Element… which is both confusing and pretty cool. I’ve seen him try to rob Bruce Willis countless times, and never noticed it was him.
    Jason Carter.
    A cute kitty-cat!

  14. WTF. Looks like it came straight from The Journal of Irreproducible Results or was from a Christmas issue of the BMJ which publishes articles like

  15. Out of all the unrealistic things in the Bond universe, alcohol consumption is not the one that stands out the most!

    Is that for real or is it like The Onion of medical journals?

  16. Oh golly, Viggo Mortensen — such a great Danish name. My mother grew up with dudes named Viggo and Vigge. He is a handsome fella.

  17. That is a prestigious medical journal, but their Christmas issue is “special”.

    Here’s another one:

  18. Rufus Sewell

    Anthony Andrews, aka Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet. (Remember the incredibly youthful Ian McKellen in that?)

    Paul Gross and David Marciano in Due South (yes, I do think DM, or rather Ray Vecchio, is cute, big nose, receding chin, receding hair and all. Take that, MRAs.)

  19. Oooh, know the ultimate science study? The survival rate of chocolates while watching George Clooney on the telly.

  20. Hamish MacBeth! I’m in the middle of watching that for the umpteenth time. <3

    He was pretty cute in The Full Monty, too – more hair.

  21. How did we go so long without mentioning Idris Elba? Serious lapse.

  22. I wish I’d known sooner that Googling hot guys was such an effective way to repel trolls. It really hasn’t been a chore.

  23. Funny, isn’t it, how just talking about stuff we like makes the trolls run away. Feeble, they are.

  24. I still have the men of True Blood in my arsenal for next time. *Rubs hands together greedily*

  25. I can’t link (old phone, weak link-fu), but my all time man-crush has been Sananda Maitreya, a/k/a Terence Trent D’Arby. My husband has been indulgent, even when I flew* from Oakland to NYC by myself to see him in concert.

    *On an airplane, I must admit.

  26. :D

    I wonder if it’d freak them out to include portraits of handsome men from the past?

    It’d be an excuse for CLOTHES!!!!eleventy!!1 at any rate.

  27. Anand: Fromafar2013, She has definitely lied a lot in her videos. She introduced herself as a childhood gamer whereas in a leaked viral video she says that she hated violent games and never liked shooting games. First red flag.

    So nu? Only violent/shooting games = games?

    Color me shocked that you would have a narow-minded exclusionist sensibility.

    i wonder who gave you the idea that all MRAs are white? I know many men of different races who identify as MRAs. Heck i even have a friend(indian) who identifies as an MRA. If you check the traffic of avfm, you can see that they have regulars from different continents. Also know two gay guys who are friends with my best friend who calls themselves MRAs.

    For a non-affiliated dude you sure know a lot about the MRM and AVfM.

    Could that be why you were willing to kick in and contribute to AVfM when they no longer needed the money for an unsupported allegation of death threats (which you accepted uncritically) even as you dismiss proven examples of death threats and targeted harassment of women by the MRM; and the violent rhetoric of a man who has said he would commit a crime so he could keep rapists out of prison?

    Compare and contrast: Actually i have lots of friends, a few feminist female friends, normal female friends, normal guy friends, one mra guy friend

    The women are female and the males are, “guys”.

    Nope, he doesn’t have any tells, men and women are all the same to him, equality is his touchstone, nothing to see here move along.

    Auggzilliary, i doubt our legal system would ever allow someone like pual elam to judge a rape case. I dont think we have to worry about him ever saving rapists in court.

    Bullshit. He has said he would lie to get on the jury: that’s his agenda. Even if he never gets to do it… that’s what he promotes.

    And that’s non-responsive. You have supported someone who advocates letting predators loose to prey on women. Yet you claim to be against violence; unless, apparently, it’s directed at women. That’s endorsing, and encouraging violence against women.

    You paid him money.

    Honestly, i dont support anyone.</i

    Liar. You gave him money. You gave it too him even though he didn't need it. You admit you gave it to him out of solidarity for his hatred of feminism.

    And you admit it: . Even if i threw that money in the dumpster, i wouldnt lose anything. If that money is used for extra security, then its cool or if it was a scam then whatever.

    1: If you threw it in the dumpster it wouldn’t be supporting someone who hates women (see above, re rape). 2: It wasn’t needed for security, so it won’t go to that. 3: You admit you don’t give a shit if he took it in a scam; to use in whatever way he sees fit.

    So you supported him. Full stop.

  28. Mancat:


  29. Hot men from the past you say? Weird mutton chops aside, Teddy Roosevelt was quite attractive as a young man.

  30. So much kitty gorgeousness!

  31. Teddy was indeed! So was Franklin.

    I love this – a site called Bangable Dudes in History. Look at Vivien Thomas: he’s gorgeous!

  32. troopdeledoop

    It’s amazing how right now you are partially rational when in all other cases you are an idiot. I mean come on, this writing is based on a guy (manboobz) that gets annoyed at things people on reddit say then asks people to donate to him for more cheeze burgers. Get real dickhead.

  33. Oh…. loopy has his feelings hurt.

    So let’s “get real”. Words have meaning. People use to them to hurt others. Dave points out the underlying beliefs of people who try to cloak them in some sense of reasonableness when the rest of the world is watching. But, “among themselves the let it all hang out.

    And yeah, he asks for money, but (and it’s a big but) he’s honest about it. He doesn’t come up with some mysterious set of death threats no one else seems to know about. He says, “money is tight” and asks if we can help.

    And he’s spending a lot of time doing something we value. People deserve to be compensated for educating/entertaining others. So nope, I don’t see any problem, nor contradiction here.

  34. Argenti Aertheri

    Random cat thing — the BF’s parents just got a cat, small little girl, nearly pure black with a little white patch under her chin, took to me immediately…we both want to cat-nap her, but much of his furniture is OLD, so we can’t *pout* (my mother’s cat is firmly opposed to other members of her species, so she couldn’t move in there either)

    Victorian couches are lovely and all, but that kitteh is purfect.

    My mother’s cat? I had some Serious Fish Tank issues (everyone is fine, after $170~ in equipment) so my door started getting left open so we could hear if it was fucking up again. I still don’t think that cat has spotted Puff, though he’s spotted her and seems interested. I keep trying to introduce them because she doesn’t go after my fish, just puts her paws on the glass and moves when they do, which really freaks out the cories. Puff loves doing that game with my fingers though, so I figure if they ever discover each other maybe they can amuse each other.

  35. Well, I guess it’s the 9th in some places in the US now. The evidence was allegedly required by the hotel for the 6th. Where is the evidence of the police security services contract?

  36. Argenti – kitty pics plz!

    Of course kitties and Victorian furniture go together. Shredding just makes the furniture even more antique.

    Your mum’s cat doing the paws on the fish tank reminds me of my kitty who used to chase the soccer ball on television. :)

  37. Random cat thing — the BF’s parents just got a cat, small little girl, nearly pure black with a little white patch under her chin, took to me immediately…we both want to cat-nap her, but much of his furniture is OLD, so we can’t *pout* (my mother’s cat is firmly opposed to other members of her species, so she couldn’t move in there either)

    Victorian couches are lovely and all, but that kitteh is purfect.

    Pretty much all my furniture is old (my dining table & chairs were old when they was given to my great grandmother as a wedding gift by the gentleman for whom her husband worked as gamekeeper). I have Witchy Kitty (and 3 other kitties) :-)

  38. Less importantly, 6 June has well and truly passed. Where is our proof of the alledged death threats, Mr Elam? Where is the proof of insurance and security and the hotel’s requirement for both? Show me the proof!

  39. Essay was on local morning news yesterday (“let it rip” segment on fox2 news), and made a comment at the end that they were thinking of canceling at Doubletree.

    A prolific commenter aligning himself with the MRAs that have invaded the local news comment threads has said multiple hotels have been given deposits as a backup.

    Of course , the same trolls are saying this was all a hoax to make “the feminists” look angry and violent and get them money and attention.

    Motor city muckraker is the only local media that reported on the protest.

  40. Dammit. Esmay.

  41. Esmay was on local morning news yesterday (“let it rip” segment on fox2 news), and made a comment at the end that they were thinking of canceling at Doubletree.

    Or possibly, Doubleday are thinking of cancelling on them ….

    Of course , the same trolls are saying this was all a hoax to make “the feminists” look angry and violent and get them money and attention.

    I’d be shocked, shocked I tell you, if this were true (not really). And if it is true, wouldn’t that be obtaining money by deception?

  42. I’m surprised Hilton doesn’t care that they are using the Hilton name to do so, and libeling local activists and trying to get them fired in the process.

  43. There is so much hunkiness of this thread! I love it!

    I want to thank these adorable dudes for lending us their cuteness to be used as a kind of scarecrow for trolls.

    They are so beautiful that their faces can actually drive ugliness away.

  44. *in this thread*

  45. Commenting here to make it easy for Anand of the terrible timing to find.

    Anand, THIS is the proper place. If you want to discuss Paul Elam and the alleged threats, do so here. You’ll have to survive the hunky-guy posts, but that’s a part of trolling.

    Keep off the other thread, for now, for the love of all that is good in the world.

  46. Holy crap, did you see the tweet from Paul, about the conference counting towards Mental Health Continuing Education Units.


  47. Argenti Aertheri

    Well, trying to decipher MRAspeak does take a toll on my mental health…

    Kitteh, I’ll try, next time I’m over there.

  48. Argenti Aertheri

    Titianblue — he’s too worried about the irreplaceable fabric seats getting clawed, he is, in theory, going to get an already declawed cat from a shelter (neither of us would ever have it done, but it’s common enough here that finding a shelter cat that lacks its claws isn’t hard [poor kitties!])

  49. Would it work to get a throw rug for the seats? If they’re that old, shouldn’t the fabric be covered/protected anyway?

  50. I ventured over to a VfM’s FB page to see if I could find out what the hell Anand was talking about in the other thread (I couldn’t).

    But here’s their latest wacky meme:

    So I guess they’re saying feminists collect facts?

  51. So I guess they’re saying feminists collect facts?

    I just snorted a little bit. That’s a great interpretation of a silly and poorly designed meme.

  52. It does give an insight into what they think a “fact” is – apparently something that is received wisdom.

  53. Considering that it appears that AVfM has not been legal to do business in Texas since last February…

    It’s scams all the way down.

  54. I started gaming on a 286 – Kings Quest, Moraffs World, a few text adventures that weren’t Zork. I don’t play much now, both because my computer fell off the bleeding edge a few years ago and because first person anything makes me want to puke. And I’m old enough to still call it ‘Doom – induced motion sickness.’ Shooters and stealth have never been the be all and end all of gaming, and trying to make such a claim kinda makes you look like an ass.

  55. I started on workstations. I also did text-based games on CPM systems… etc..

  56. Well, I play Freecell, Tetris (oh for the days of Welltris) and Stack the Cats. So there. :P

  57. Argenti Aertheri

    They are sorta protected, his sister made nice heavy brocade curtains for the room, so they get no sunlight, and they’re pretty much never used. Not to mention that despite the house having “eh, just go for the most expensive” air filters (allergies), he turns them off when I smoke directly under a fan on the complete opposite side of the house. Excepting the bedroom, because Victorian era bed frames can handle smoke and dust and such, the house is basically a museum.

    The microwave? I got him to concede it wouldn’t be too bad, he guessed he could live with one, and my mother then went “want me to buy a microwave before he changes his mind?” I spend 50%+ of my time there, so it was a sorta housewarming gift from her.

    I have far more stereograph slides though, which I think are way cooler than a Victorian couch (it’s a couch, you sit on it, modern ones are far more comfy for actual USE)

    But yeah, covering the old stuff would basically mean putting a fumigation tent over the house!

  58. I think what they’re trying to say with that picture is that feminism is like a sewer. You know, it takes all the awful, revolting things and deals with them. It allows us to live our lives without getting buried under mountains of shit, even though the stuff just won’t stop coming. It allows us to do simple but necessary things without needing to worry about some of the more egregious ills of history or extreme poverty. It makes the comfort of modern life in the first world possible.
    Yep, feminism is a lot like a sewer.

    Sewers: They’re a good thing. (And isn’t it funny that MRAs don’t seem to recognise that?)

  59. Athywren, that is a beautiful ode to sewers. It almost makes me want to hug one, but I don’t know how I’d go about it.

  60. Argenti Aertheri

    Grumpycatisagirl — find a sewer map and hug that?

    And yes, sewers are an absolutely vital part of avoiding things like cholera (today’s second random fact — a couple of the strains can kill in a matter of hours)

  61. MRAs, just longing to live in London before Bazalgette did his thing.

    Now if only we could send ’em there.

    Argenti, are those couches stuffed with horsehair? Never heard that stuff was comfortable at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,141 other followers

%d bloggers like this: