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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.

UPDATE: DOUBLETREE STATEMENT

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.

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kittehserf
7 years ago

It’s like Stockholm Syndrome, isn’t it, when feMRAs identify with these abusers.

Tigerbos
Tigerbos
7 years ago

They’re lying so when no one shows up to the hotel, they can blame it on the faux ‘threats’…just as Girlwriteswhat on youtube was the speaker for men’s rights in Chicago not long ago and all of five people showed up. I laughed my ass off.

tinyorc
7 years ago

Slightly off topic, but does anyone else find it interesting that so many MRAs seem to equate We Hunted The Mammoth (and also Jezebel) with the entirety of feminism? Absolutely no disrespect intended to David – this is one of my favourite blogs and I think it does an important job – but this is fairly niche end of the feminist blogosphere. Similary, Jezebel is celebrity gossip and fashion without all the latent misogyny of mainstream magazines, which is why it has a large feminist audience. While they’ve got some great writers and publish interesting pieces from time to time, it’s not exactly a bastion of deep feminist thought.

It seems like the height of projection to me. The MRM is based around a couple of big websites and peripheral blogs and forums, and their MO is bashing feminism. Thus, they think that feminism is also just a few websites and We Hunted The Mammoth is somehow a central node in the feminist industrial complex or whatever they’re calling it this week. Their entire movement is dedicated to hating feminism, ergo the entirety of feminism must be dedicated to hating them.

marinerachel
marinerachel
7 years ago

When you demand money from people to cover costs they’re supposedly responsible for, yeah, you provide evidence that those costs exist.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

In any case, AVFM says it’s going to provide the proof when they hire the police/get the insurance, so I guess we’ll see.

Proof of what, though? Proof that they hired the police/got the insurance or proof of the alledged death threats alledgedly received by the hotel from alledged feminists?

hrovitnir
hrovitnir
7 years ago

auggziliary | June 4, 2014 at 9:57 pm
Also most people learn about it through the douchiest, loudest atheists. I think it’s addictive too because it makes you feel like the only rational person.

Yes, there is that. *sigh* I have friends that like Richard Dawkins and, just… no.

Anand
Anand
7 years ago

Tell me, would you change your mind if actual feminists protested in front of the hotel, disrupting the conference and pulling the fire alarm wasting fire fighter’s time and using vandalism and destruction of property as a way to intimidate MRAs? Oh wait, that already happened. -_-

cloudiah
7 years ago

Anand, people are allowed to peacefully protest, you know. It’s part of the whole “We have free speech too” thing. Most people here don’t condone pulling fire alarms, but let’s put it into context: that happened at ONE location. The speakers who were at those U. of Toronto events have all spoken numerous other places without being disrupted. What this shows is that MOST OF THE TIME feminists have totally ignored them or protested peacefully, not that OMG FEMINISTS ALWAYS PULL FIRE ALARMS.

Learn to logic, please.

contrapangloss
7 years ago

Anand, since when has anyone here said that pulling fire alarms and vandalism were wise and good moves by anyone, including feminists? I do believe David actually had a post where he specifically said that that incident was a poor choice.

Protesting, totally fine. Actually crossing that line, no good. However, I’ve seen far more evidence of death threats, rape threats, and abusive language from the MRA side.

I’m skeptical about the death threats, here, seeing as there exists no evidence but the word of Paul and a sketchy letter. I’d expect the hotel would actually tell the police about the threats, regardless of whether the insurance was bought.

brooked
brooked
7 years ago

Oh, and you think we’re a cult? Try saying that to victims of actual cults, jackass.

Oh shit, we aren’t a cult?

::awkwardly bandages the freshly carved labrys symbol on forehead::

::regret::

::blood loss::

::more regret::

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

Shut up, Anand.

(Sorry for not being ~classy~)

brooked
brooked
7 years ago

I’m getting a wee bit tired of MRAs acting like the counter protest at one Canadian Uni is their Wounded Knee. Someone pulled a school fire alarm. That’s called a prank. It’s the equivalent to almost nothing happening. Stop crying about how almost nothing happened in Toronto in 2012. Look into getting what’s called perspective, it will serve you well in future endeavors.

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

On the pulling the fire alarm, because clearly every single protestor there broke the glass and pulled the thing. Not an individual, but the entire protesting collective is responsible.

Yeah right. (Tui ad slogan in NZ).

Robert
Robert
7 years ago

So, we’ve got a pulled fire alarm and an attempted murder over forty years ago. The Feminist Conspiracy to Eradicate the Menz is doing about as well as Obama’s socialist overthrow of the USA.

Of course, some of the same people are outraged by both, which is Crank Magnetism at work.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

Seconding the shut up to Anand. You’re not fooling anyone. It’s pretty plain to see you support the MRAs.

Cliff Pervocracy
Cliff Pervocracy
7 years ago

AFVM doesn’t owe us proof. They owe their members proof. As disinclined as I am to weep for any of those guys, they did just get sca… potentially scammed out of $25K. That seems like it would be kind of a big deal for them.

pecunium
7 years ago

Anand: Tell me, would you change your mind if actual feminists protested in front of the hotel, disrupting the conference and pulling the fire alarm wasting fire fighter’s time and using vandalism and destruction of property as a way to intimidate MRAs?

Are those pre-emptive death threats?

No.

Well then, right there in your question is the answer.

BTW, did that stop the lecture? No. So it seems the, legal and legitimate protest didn’t intimidate them, and the not-so legal fire alarm pulling didn’t stop them.

Now… since you went there, how do you feel about the campaign of harassemnt the MRM unleashed on the woman they decided to blame for it? What about the death threats she got?

Is the MRM gonna have a fundraiser for her protection (seeing as they created the need for it)?

I didn’t think so.

pecunium
7 years ago

Cliff: AVfM owes me proof before I’ll consider coughing up any cash to pay for their police detail. Since Elam said we “owe it to them” he has to convince me.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Clear off, Anand. You’re just another shitstain getting off on the only attention anyone will give you.

damselindetech
7 years ago

Would it be out of line to point out that the events where there was more vitriolic interaction with MRAs were the ones where anarchist groups showed up in solidarity? I mean, I agree with a lot of anarchist ideals, but their tactics and feminist tactics don’t tend to intersect in a lot of areas.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

So it’s the 6th June, the deadline accoording to the iffy letter for the insurance and police protection to have been purchased and proven to be purchased. *Looks expectantly towards AVfM for the promised proof*

Anand
Anand
7 years ago

Weirwoodtreehugger, True. The more i read the comments here the more i support the MRAs. After coming across this thread, ive personally donated to avfm for the extra security costs. The fact that violence has been used once to silence MRAs for a peaceful talk is proof enough that there are going to feminists at this conference too. I dont care if the death threats are real or not.. I would be glad to know security will be appointed for the conference. I will not tolerate violence from any group in an attempt to silence a particular group when they are having a private conference with presold tickets. Its disgusting to know that some of you still approve of this behavior from feminists. You’re no better than violent misogynists if you think those women were right in what they did in canada.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

TL:DR

Us: We condemn violence, vandalism and property damamge as forms of protest, no matter who the perpetrator and whom the target.
Anand: Its disgusting to know that some of you still approve of this behavior from feminists. You’re no better than violent misogynists>
Us Whahah?

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

Anand,
You always supported MRAs and you never fooled any of us into thinking otherwise.
Go away.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

@Lea, it is kind of sweet that Anand seems to think he fooled anyone and that we might think our comments had driven him from the feminist fold into the arms of the MRAs. Bless.

fromafar2013
7 years ago

Shorter Anand: Look at what you ebil wimminz made me do! I didn’t want to do it, but you made me do it by being all uppity and not being nice when I was being an asshole! I hope you’re happy!

-_-;

We know you’re a manipulative abusive little shit who’s always supported the MRA. You’re just getting mad because we aren’t playing your stupid little game. The only hope I have is that the more time you spend here the less you spend with humans in meat space while being horrible.

Also, way to waste your money, but it’s your money, you can give it to whomever you like.

I can’t wait to see how this mess ends. Fridays at work are always slow so I have plenty of time to check teh interwebs. *Gets popcorn*

Howard Bannister
7 years ago

The more i read the comments here the more i support the MRAs

PT Barnum was right.

sarah
sarah
7 years ago

I’m looking forward to the “proof” too, as Janet has claimed the letters were sent by courier, but others have said they were sent certified mail. There are also supporters claiming AVfM has reported the threats to the FBI and DHS, and that’s why DPD has norecord of threats.

Would a hotel really courier OR send by overnight certified mail 6 copies of that letter to 6 different people?

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

There are also supporters claiming AVfM has reported the threats to the FBI and DHS, and that’s why DPD has norecord of threats.

I really don’t have any clue if this letter is genuine, and I don’t know much at all about American Law Enforcement, but if the FBI and DHS were told about threats of violence wouldn’t they speak to the local police dept. about it? O_o

sarah
sarah
7 years ago
Reply to  Viscaria

I have probably 6 people flaming me right now for being an illogical idiot for assuming law enforcement would be contacted.

They assert that the hotel would not want the bad PR/cause a panic.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

The more i read the comments here the more i support the MRAs. After coming across this thread, ive personally donated to avfm for the extra security costs.

There’s a fucking shocker. Anand, we already knew you supported them.

If you’ve donated, well, you know what they say about fools and money.

Anand
Anand
7 years ago

I would never call myself an MRA or a feminist but i severely condemn violence. If a feminist meeting or conference was ever threatened by MRAs who pull fire alarms and feminists were doing the fundraising for security, i would gladly donate. Its not a matter of political perspective, its a matter of protecting free speech for everyone. I know you believe feminism is above criticism but using violence in the name of feminism or any other ideology to silence a group should and always should be condemned by the followers of the particular ideology and im happy to hear that david has not supported the violent protesters. Anyone who thinks violence is a good way to get your point across will be mocked(see big red). She had great points in favour of feminism, but telling some to “listen, fuckface” isnt going to get them to listen. It only makes you look bad and you entire point no matter how good lose credibility.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

They assert that the hotel would not want the bad PR/cause a panic.

…in Detroit.
Because some threats made to a hotel staff are the worst PR Detroit could have.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

Anand,
Why are you still here?
No one cares. We had you pegged from the get go.
Shoo!

sarah
sarah
7 years ago

OK that didn’t work right sorry

cloudiah
7 years ago

There’s this reddit MRA (and occasional /r/WhiteRights poster) who sent the r/AMR mods a PM gloating about how he had “gilded” an anti-feminist comment multiple times to the tune of about $30. Gilding comments gives the comment maker some extra privileges and also gives the comment extra visibility. We all ruthlessly made fun of him for spending his $30 on reddit karma instead of donating money to something that actually helped men–a homeless shelter, prostate cancer research, whatever.

Anand reminds me of that dude.

fromafar2013
7 years ago

Anyone who thinks violence is a good way to get your point across will be mocked(see big red). She had great points in favour of feminism, but telling some to “listen, fuckface” isnt going to get them to listen.

TIL, yelling at a bunch of people, who are yelling at you also, is horrible violence and will cause you to loose all credibility.

@ Anand

Listen, fuckface, you are obviously not here to discuss or learn anything. You either willfully ignore what we tell you for the sake of argument or are just too confirmation bias blind to understand us when we don’t behave the way you expect or want. So fuck off, fuckface.

cloudiah
7 years ago

Sara, you just need the plain, unvarnished youtube URL. Make sure there’s no s at the end of the http, it should start with www, and ideally nothing extraneous at the end of the URL. Plop it in a comment, and hit enter, and it usually works.

The WordPress and youtube gods will occasionally just mess with you, though, even if you do everything correctly.

cloudiah
7 years ago

Oops, I meant Sarah

sarah
sarah
7 years ago
Reply to  fromafar2013

Yeah, I finally saw that video from Toronto and I was SHOCKED, just shocked, that there wasn’t any actual violence, just folks protesting and being loud.

cloudiah
7 years ago

I just listened to some audio history from participants in the Freedom Summer campaign for civil and voting rights in the US south. Glad they and other movement members weren’t as fragile as MRAs were or the South would probably still be segregated.

titianblue
titianblue
7 years ago

Anyone who thinks violence is a good way to get your point across will be mocked(see big red).

TIL that being doxxed, harrassed for years receiving death threats and rape threats, and held up as the ultimate evil feminazi on the MRM is just being “mocked”.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Anand, you fucking simpleminded jackass, NO ONE CARES. Go, shoo, fuck off.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

So, Anand is disturbed to his very core because feminists protested one even but is OK with “bash a violent bitch month” and register her and yet he want’s to believe he wasn’t an MRA until he came here? Riiiiiight. My eyeballs just rolled so hard and fast that they achieved escape velocity and are currently orbiting the earth.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

There’s gonna be a galaxy of eyeballs out there if Anand keeps his bullshit up.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

“I’m opposed to violence! That’s why I donated to the site that created Register-Her!”

I wonder if Anand is stupid enough to believe his own bullshit, or if he’s just hoping we are.

Lea
Lea
7 years ago

Donating to the MRM: When you hate women more than you love your money.

emilygoddess
emilygoddess
7 years ago

When the conference ends up not happening, should we all point and laugh at Anand, or just feel sorry for him for being so gullible?

sarah
sarah
7 years ago
Reply to  emilygoddess

one would think with all tthe money they raised so quickly, they would update with their proof since they had to give that to the hotel today, according to the letter they claim was couriered to six different people.