Elliot Rodger and Me: The anatomy of a “Honey Badger” smear campaign
Posted by David Futrelle
I have a new theory that I think might help to explain why so many Men’s Rights Activists are so obsessed with false accusations of rape. It’s simple: They are so used to making false accusations themselves, about pretty much everything, that it’s hard for them to conceive of someone making an accusation that is actually true.
Naturally, as a critic of the Men’s Rights movement I’m a fairly reliable target for these false charges, and rarely does a day go by in which I don’t learn some new, terrible, and wholly imaginary thing I’m alleged to have said or done. Hell, these days I can barely make it through a Twitter conversation with A Voice for Men’s Dean Esmay without him spouting some grotesque falsehood about me.
The latest accusation from the A Voice for Men crowd – or at least from AVFM’s so-called Honey Badger Brigade – is that all the media talk about Elliot Rodger being an MRA was my fault. Or, as “Honey Badger” Alison Tieman put it in a tweet that she sent to an assortment of media outlets that had written about Rodger and the MRAs,
— Alison Tieman (@Typhonblue) June 16, 2014
Tieman’s tweet links to a post on the Honey Badger Brigade blog titled “Feminist media bias, or how Man Boobz caused a media circus,” complete with a little caricature of me. (At least they didn’t depict me as a shirtless, self-flagellating Michael Moore lookalike, this time, or as a giant man-baby with poopy diapers eating a chicken leg.)
The big revelation of the Honey Badger Brigade post? That the first article that connected Eliot Rodger to the Men’s Rights movement included … a link to my blog:
I compiled a list of online articles in a rudimentary timeline, searching for the earliest pieces linking Elliot Rodger to MRAs, and the findings were pretty extraordinary. Likely the first article making this connection was on the Daily Kos, citing a blog. Which blog, you ask? None other than David (Man Boobz) Futrelle’s cutting-edge journalism at wehuntedthemammoth.com.
It gets worse. Of the 16 articles I looked at, eight of them sourced the Daily Kos article either directly or indirectly by citing an article that had cited that same Daily Kos article.
The clear implication of the post is that I was the “source” of the notion that Rodger was an MRA.
There’s just one little problem with that argument, which is that I never said any such thing.
Indeed, when the writer at the Daily Kos published their piece, I had said precisely nothing on the subject of Rodger at all. In fact, my first post on Rodger was published after the Daily Kos piece appeared. That Daily Kos piece, which was based on original reporting by its author, linked only to my writings about incels, and the link to We Hunted the Mammoth was only one in a multitude of links.
Here’s what I said about Rodger in my first post on the subject:
[Rodger’s video] sounds almost like a parody of the misogynistic beliefs and rhetoric that I write about on this blog. His language and his melodramatic tone both echo the writings of many of those young men who consider themselves “incels.” His anger is the same anger we see from the rejected men who lash out with insults and threats on OkCupid when their often crude advances are turned down. He reminds me of every so-called “nice guy” who is inwardly seething with resentment born of sexual entitlement denied. He even, at one point, calls himself a “gentleman.” He also calls himself an “alpha.”
It is clear that his resentment at women was stoked by what I call the “new misogyny” and by steeping himself in at least one online community that reaffirmed his exaggerated, unwarranted sense of victimhood. So far we have evidence that he was a commenter at PUAhate, a site ostensibly designed to critique PUAs but which has degenerated into a haven for misogynistic “incels” and angry trolls.
I made no mention of the Men’s Rights movement at all.
In a later post, written after a great deal more information about Rodger had appeared online, I was more explicit in stating that he was not, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, an MRA.
So why did so many in the media describe him as an MRA? Well, it’s not hard to guess: because he was driven by an exaggerated version of the familiar mixture of misogyny and aggrieved entitlement that drives so many MRAs.
As I wrote in my most widely read post on the subject:
While he doesn’t seem to have ever identified as a Men’s Rights activist per se – the only “rights” he seemed to be interested in were his own – his postings online echo the extreme and ignorant denunciations of feminism seen amongst MRAs and other manospherians.
I put it a bit more bluntly in a Reddit comment I wrote after first seeing the Honey Badger Brigade post:
If they’d actually paid attention to anything I’ve written on Rodger they would see that I didn’t call him an MRA; I went out of my way to point out that as far as we know he didn’t read MRA sites.
That said, as he was a regular at PUAhate, he was part of what you might call the MRA extended universe, and much of his ideology came out of the same misogynistic swamp that MRAs inhabit.
I didn’t cause any of this. MRAs caused this by being shitheads, and by thinking “any publicity is good publicity.” This is what MRAs get for supporting and defending AVFM for years, for their Occidental College spamming, for their crusades against an assortment of feminist villains they harassed and slandered. Oh, and for spewing misogyny all day every day.
My blog DOCUMENTS this. They’re the ones saying the shit that I quote. They made their own bed.
Other journalists have used me and my blog as a resource. They incorrectly labeled Rodger an MRA. But they weren’t far off. He was MRA-adjacent.
Over on the Men’s Rights subreddit, the regulars ate up the Honey Badger Brigade post, which seemed to confirm my reputation as some sort of dastardly misandrist boogeyman. None of them seemed to have read a word of anything I’d actually written about Rodger. One Redditor described me thusly:
The Futrella is a desperate character with receding hair and receding appreciation from his Feminist Cohorts of screaming delinquents. …
I do wonder if his followers are real or if he spends all his time between pizza and diet soda masquerading under multiple legends?
A few were calling for my head.
That’s a bit of an understatement, huh?
Also, for what it’s worth, I don’t have a receding hairline. Even that is a false accusation.
As is Tieman’s remark about the “genocidal ideogogs” [sic]. But that’s a whole other kettle of worms.
EDIT: Oops. I originally neglected to take the difference in time zones into consideration when writing about when the Daily Kos piece appeared. While it did appear before my post, it wasn’t four hours before. I’ve corrected this in the piece.
About David FutrelleI 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, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.
Posted on June 17, 2014, in a voice for men, antifeminist women, elliot rodger, false accusations, FemRAs, hypocrisy, irony alert, lying liars, misogyny, MRA, reddit, straw futrelle and tagged a voice for men, elliot rodger, men's rights, misogyny, MRA, reddit. Bookmark the permalink. 262 Comments.