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Category Archives: false accusations

The Catster Debates: Or, I inadvertently bring MRAs to an innocent cat website

From that other blog of mine

From that other blog of mine

So I did an interview about my Confused Cats Against Feminism blog with Catster.com, a site that devotes itself to collecting “helpful and hilarious information for the worldly but still infatuated Cat aficionado.” Alas, as a result of publishing this interview with me yesterday, they now seem to be collecting angry MRA commenters as well.

Here are some highlights of the, er, debate so far, which I’ve waded into myself, perhaps unwisely. (These are selections, with a bunch missing, though the comments that look obviously like they are responses to other comments, are.) Maeve Connor is the author of the post about me.

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The Top 7 Things I Learned From a Week’s Worth of Comments at A Voice for Men

Let me count the ways

Let me count the ways

I have a confession to make: I don’t always read the comments on posts by Men’s Rights Activists.

I realize this might come as a shock to some of you. I mean, one of the main, er, critiques I get from MRAs is that I “cherry pick” comments from MRAs to make them look bad — never mind that it is the comments that make them look bad, not me. But the embarrassing fact is that I often don’t read the comments at all.

In my defense, I have a hard enough time making it through the posts themselves. Life is short, and MRAs are long-winded. And by the time I get to the end of a lot of MRA posts, I’ve pretty much lost my patience with their nonsense. The last thing I want to do at that moment is to read the fawning word-vomit of a bunch of irritating fucks whose comments are likely to be as bad or possibly even worse than the original post.

So today I decided to do a sort of penance for my sins — and to actually read through a week’s worth of comments on A Voice for Men to see what I could learn about the world, and (perhaps more to the point) about the sort of people who actually enjoy reading posts on that terrible site.

I tried my best to do this little experiment as scientifically as possible. But I cheated a little. I didn’t read the comments to every post. And I didn’t read every comment on the posts that I did look at. I mean, what the hell. There’s a limit to my masochism. Seriously, you try reading a week’s worth of this shit in one sitting.

Anyway, here are the Top 7 Insights I’ve learned from a week’s worth of comments at AVFM. In choosing the following, I stuck with comments that were either upvoted or unchallenged by the site’s regulars, or both.

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Elliot Rodger and Me: The anatomy of a “Honey Badger” smear campaign

ive-had-just-about-enough-of-your-bullshit-1pg07aw

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,

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No, Amy Schumer did not give a speech celebrating how she raped a guy

Any Schumer, not giving a speech

Amy Schumer, not celebrating rape.

Thought Catalog – which seems to be rapidly becoming the go-to site for terrible antifeminist posts – is making a bit of a stir on Reddit with a post bearing the deliberately provocative title “Wait A Second, Did Amy Schumer Rape a Guy?” Spoiler Alert: The anonymous author concludes that yes, she did. The anonymous author is full of shit.

In the Thought Catalog piece, Anonymous takes a look at a speech that Schumer – a comedian with some subversive feminist leanings — recently gave at the Gloria Awards and Gala, hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women. The centerpiece of Schumer’s speech, a bittersweet celebration of confidence regained, was a long and cringeworthy story about a regrettable sexual encounter she had in her Freshman year of college, when her self-esteem was at an all-time low.

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A Voice for Men vs the Table of Misandry. Also: MAN BOOBZ SLIGHTLY BEFORE CHRISTMAS ART CONTEST

It's coming for you! RUN!

It’s coming for you! RUN!

Those of you who have been waiting with bated breath to hear what the “editors” of our favorite men’s rights hate site, A Voice for Men, think of the Occidental College fiasco can now unbate their breath, as AVFM head boy Paul Elam has stepped forward to explain it all to us in a post that contains quite possibly the most ridiculous two sentences ever written about higher education:

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Pierce Harlan, “false rape” activist, gives up blogging in disgust with fellow MRAs. Then he doesn’t.

Some other impressive flip-flops

Some other impressive flip-flops

We’ve seen a lot of epic flip-floppery from Men’s Rightsers in the last few days on the subject of the Occidental College fiasco — that is, for those who haven’t been following it closely, the organized spamming of Occidental’s anonymous online rape reporting form with false reports by Reddit MRAs and 4channers. Notably, the Men’s Rights subreddit mod known as sillymod went from blaming the false reports on trolls one day to hailing them as necessary activism the next.

But a reader has alerted me to an even more epic flip-flop, this one from Pierce Harlan, a blogger obsessed with what he sees as an epidemic of false rape accusations.

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As the worms turn: Men’s Rights subreddit mod now defends spamming Occidental College with false rape reports

Oh, Men’s Rightsers, can you just make up your minds? Only a couple of days after blaming trolls for the spamming of Occidental College’s rape reporting site with false accusations, rather than acknowledging it as the work of Men’s Rightsers in his own subreddit who were proudly encouraging and taking credit for it themselves, Men’s Rights subreddit mod sillymod is now defending the false rape reporting as “unpopular” but thought-provoking activism.

sillymod 6 points 7 hours ago (13|7)  First you have to believe that we did something wrong in order to want to get our reputation back. Sometimes people fighting for a cause are going to do something that is unpopular in order to make a statement.  I don't think we do need to get our reputation back. I think the act stands for itself, and it will get people to stop and think.      permalink     source     save     give gold     hide child comments  [–]TheIdesOfLight [+20] 15 points 4 hours ago (22|7)  So I guess that whole "We were trolled"/"It was SRS!" bullshit is off the table? You can't pass the buck and convince yourselves everyone else is guilty but you and now it's become an act of bravery?  Wow.  Yeah, watching you flip flop on this for the past three days has been both alarming and rewarding. You didn't make any kind of statement, Sillymod. The entire internet and media is sneering at you and you still can't just say WE DID A TERRIBLE THING. PERHAPS WE SHOULD REFLECT ON IT AS A WHOLE.      permalink     source     save     parent     give gold  [–]ninioquiroz 6 points 3 hours ago (12|6)  No, because that would require a level of maturity and self-awareness that this "movement" clearly lacks.  But, does anybody else think feminists are to blame for all the world's problems?

This whole exchange is worth reading — it continues on for a number of comments beyond this, with sillymod’s rationalizations becoming increasingly baroque. It’s extremely rare to see critical remarks like those from TheIdesOfLight actually get upvoted in the Men’s Rights subreddit. The Occidental College fiasco has divided the Men’s Rights subreddit like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Some are appalled by it; others are digging in their heels.

Speaking of which, here’s former subreddit mod Celda defending the false rape reports in much more straightforward terms than sillymod:

Celda [-1] 5 points 18 hours ago (9|4)  I agree that the subreddit deserves some responsibility for that.  But - there was nothing wrong with those actions.  I saw the news articles in which it says they were spammed with hundreds of reports, of being raped by fictional characters, accusing the staff of the Dean's Office (the form is run by the Dean's Office), etc.  Those reports are non-harmful - and the goal of shutting down the online form is quite a laudable one.  I am actually quite disgusted by the number of people who are defending the existence of an anonymous online form intended for reporting people as rapists.

Elsewhere, Celda has called the false reporting “quite moral and laudable.”

Thanks to the AgainstMensRights subreddit — which, again, is not actually against rights for men, but against the reactionary clusterfuck that is the Men’s Rights movement — for keeping close track on all this.

John “The Other” Hembling on MRAs spamming Occidental College with false rape reports: “Go forward, brothers, and f*ck their sh*t up!”

This has to be my favorite quote to come out of the whole Occidental College fiasco; it’s staggering in its moral blindness and fanaticism and its complete lack of self-awareness. It also captures well the peculiarly self-defeating quality of so much Men’s Rights rhetoric and, er, “activism.”

johntheother [-37] -8 points 3 hours ago (11|19)  "‘Men’s rights activists’ conspire to cripple college rape reporting system with false reports"  GOOD! Go forward, brothers, and fuck their shit up.  rape is a crime. If somebody has a report to file of being the victim of this crime - file that report with a POLICE ORGANIZATION, not with some jumped up kangaroo court or administrative star chamber. And when operating in an environment where the star-chamber rules - FTSU with the same fraudulent reports they've tuned their system to process against you.      permalink     source     save     give gold     hide child comments  [–]O-Fortuna 3 points 35 minutes ago (4|0)  This came off so silly and juvenile I thought it was one of the troll comments the mods talked about, but you seem to be some kind of widely known mra. In favor of making false reports. Appalling.

The backstory here: the commenter in question is none other than John “The Other” Hembling, the Number Two (or Three? I can’t tell) boy at A Voice for Men. He’s responding to an article on Raw Story that’s indicative of the incredibly (and justifiably) bad press Reddit MRAs have gotten for spamming Occiental College’s anonymous rape reporting website with false reports of rape, some of which may have named real people at the school as the “perps.”

At this point in the story, even the normally obtuse Men’s Rights Redditors realize they have a disaster on their hands, and are trying to blame anyone else they can.

But Hembling thinks it’s the perfect time to cheer on the false accusers amongst the MRAs.

That’s right: apparently jealous of all the attention Reddit MRAs have gotten for their cloddish “activism,” he’s decided to jump aboard this train — after it’s left the station, derailed, and fallen into a ravine.

That response is classic, too

Men’s Rights subreddit mod blames “Not Me” for Occidental College vigilantism

The diabolical Not Me strikes the Men's Rights subreddit yet again

The diabolical Not Me strikes the Men’s Rights subreddit yet again

Some updates on the Occidental College situation.

First, for those who didn’t see my post yesterday, a quick recap: Yesterday, Men’s Rights Redditors discovered that Occidental College has an online form that allows victims of and witnesses to sexual violence to report the incidents anonymously.

Although the information is being collected to track trends, and no one will be charged with anything as a result of such a report, a number of Men’s Rights subreddit regulars decided it would be a great idea to flood Occidental College with false reports to basically break the system, and they suggested this to much acclaim; others proudly reported that they’d sent in bogus reports.

So what has happened since then? The story has been picked up by a number of sites, including Gawker, Business Insider, RawStory, and LAist. In a followup post, Adam Weinsten of Gawker confirmed that Occidental College had indeed been hit with some 400 bogus rape reports in the past 36 hours — that is, after posts encouraging false reports appeared on 4chan and the Men’s Rights subreddit.

Meanwhile, on the Men’s Rights subreddit, after belatedly realizing that this whole thing makes them look kind of bad, the subreddit’s mods are trying their best to make the whole embarrassing thing go away — and not really doing a great job of it.

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Men’s Rights Redditors flood Occidental College’s online rape reporting form with false accusations

Last night, a regular commenter in the Men’s Rights subreddit — inspired by a thread on 4chan — posted a link to an online form on r/mensrights under the headline “Feminists at Occidental College created an online form to anonymously report rape/sexual assault. You just fill out a form and the person is called into the office on a rape charge. The “victim” never has to prove anything or reveal their identity.”

This headline is not only inflammatory but untrue: Yes, Occidental College has an online form that allows victims of or witnesses to sexual assault to report the incidents to the school. But, as a statement at the top of the form makes clear, the point is to collect data on how much sexual violence there is at the school, who the victims are, and so on.

If the person reporting the crime names the alleged perpetrator,

a member of the Dean of Students Office will meet with that person to share that the person was named in an anonymous report, review the Sexual Misconduct Policy, and inform the person that if the allegations are true, the behavior needs to cease immediately. Information shared in this form alone will not result in anyone going through the grievance process.

I’ve put the last bit in bold to emphasize a point: No one will be charged with anything based only on information gathered using this form. As would be clear to anyone who thought about the matter for more than a few seconds, it’s rather difficult to investigate, much less prove, a rape if you don’t actually know who the victim is.

Somehow this rather elementary fact eluded the OP, and virtually all of those who left the hundreds of comments on the popular post.

Indeed, a host of Men’s Rights Redditors were so convinced of the innate evil of the online form they all had the same bright idea: let’s flood the school with false reports of rape and break the form. Here are some of their comments. (There are more in the thread.) Note the number of upvotes each of these suggestions got. (Click the images to see the comments in context on Reddit.)

SirSkeptic 167 points 15 hours ago (209|45)  That's awesome.  I'd like to see one sent with the name of every member of the Dean of Students Office as the offender. Hey, it's anonymous and no evidence is required.  Sometimes that's the only way fanatics learn.

blueoak9 83 points 15 hours ago (129|46)  The quickest way to shut this one down is to anonymously report random women and let them sweat in the hot seat. This will be over before it begins.  How are they any less expendable, and more to the point, above suspicion that the men?  And if the school treats them any differently, there's your Title 1X complaint.

WhiteThrone 15 points 12 hours ago (24|9)  Step one: Get a list of every 'Feminist' at Occidental College who supported this system.  Step two: Anonymously report them for rape.  Step three: Watch them squirm as their lives are hanging in the balance over a false rape charge.  Step four : Shutdown the BS online form.

Jonathan_Taylor 26 points 11 hours ago (30|4)  I'd just like to say that I don't condone using the form to make false accusations against officials. Flooding the forms with other ridiculous things as a means to demonstrate how ridiculous the form is, on the other hand...

While a few commenters stood up to point out that in fact the school will not charge anyone with anything as a result of anonymous information gathered by the form, they were outnumbered by  Men’s Rightsers gleefully reporting that they in fact had reported false information. Among them:

froggymorning 46 points 15 hours ago (59|13)  I've already filled one out.      permalink     source     parent     save     give gold     hide child comments  [–]Muffinizer1 6 points 7 hours ago (9|4)  Was kind of fun. I swear to god though, if they track us down it would be terribly ironic, however it's mildly likely.

Your_Bacon_Counselor 5 points 6 hours ago (6|1)  Looks like there is an epidemic at Occidental, particularly female-on-female assault.  Even though most of these will be scrubbed, I promise the numbers will be kept and used to justify programs.

 

unexpecteditem 6 points 9 hours ago (11|5)  I like this. Where can I fill it in. I've been raped all over the place. Let's get submitting boys? Has anyone been raped by the dean of women's studies? Surely somebody. I find her a bit creepy.  I've also been raped by the president of the US. And of course by everyone I don't like. Heck, why don't I just go down the phone book. I've been raped by everybody. There. That ought to do it. Nothing like a practical demonstration of the absurdity of an idea.

gonecatfishin 8 points 11 hours ago (9|1)  Filling this out is fun!

It’s one thing to criticize an anonymous reporting system because of its potential for abuse; this is something else entirely.

The post has been up for 17 hours at this point, with more than 700 net upvotes, and some of the calls for “breaking” the form have been up for nearly as long. The moderators of Men’s Rights have done nothing to stop their subreddit being used to interfere with a school’s attempt to assist rape survivors — including men.

“Breaking” a school’s rape reporting mechanism is apparently a form of Men’s Rights activism.

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