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Paul Elam and his followers respond to Buzzfeed's devastating profile with evasion, excuses, and attacks on Elam's ex-wife.

AVFM circles the wagon.
AVFM circles the wagon.

A Voice for Men’s embattled Grand Wizard Paul Elam and his followers have responded to Buzzfeed’s devastating profile of him in some predictable ways, and in a few less predictable ones.

If you’re read the Buzzfeed piece – and if you haven’t, you really, really should – you know that it devoted a lot of time to the sad and sordid history of Elam’s three marriages and the even more sad and sordid story of the daughter he abandoned.

In a long and rambling post on Buzzfeed’s piece, Elam – all too predictably – goes after “Susan,” his first wife and the only one of his three ex-wives who was willing to talk on the record, trying his best to destroy her credibility by portraying her, essentially, as a lying slut.

Elam miraculously, and probably with considerable effort, managed to avoid the s-word – a favorite of writers on his site. But his attempts to slut-shame her are as transparent as glass.

Over the course of his post, he describes her as “very enthusiastic about sex,” “indeed very enthusiastic about sex,” and “a promiscuous wife.” He alleges that during their brief marriage “her sexual enthusiasm wasn’t limited to me,” and repeats the accusation that he leveled at her at the time – that she lied about being raped in order to cover up her own infidelity. He declares her to be a “habitual liar,” someone who “cheated and lied constantly.”

Elam also suggests that Buzzfeed paid his ex-wife and daughter to talk trash about him; and he makes several other serious allegations against his ex-wife that I won’t repeat. (EDIT: Buzzfeed’s Editorial Standards and Ethics policy forbids paying sources.]

A decade ago, you may recall from Buzzfeed’s piece, Elam reunited with the daughter he had abandoned as a baby, only to drive her away several years later after, she claims, spanking one of his grandsons for opening the refrigerator.

In his post, while referring to her as his daughter, he resurrects an old accusation, writing that “I need to point out that it has not been established that I actually have a daughter.”

Buzzfeed quotes what it says is an email Elam sent to his daughter in 2005, in which he apologized to her and to his brother. “I owe both of you a tremendous debt,” he wrote. “I just said some unflattering things involving [his ex-wife], but the more important truth here is that I failed both of you.”

In his post, though, Elam declares that “I did not, as alleged, tell Bonnie [his daughter] that I was sorry that I had failed her. I told her that I was sorry such misfortune had been her lot.”

If the email quoted by Buzzfeed is authentic, this is a blatant lie.

While the attacks on his ex (and his halfway renunciation of his daughter) are sadly predictable, Elam also resorts to a desperate if inventive diversionary tactic, suggesting that the art used to illustrate Buzzfeed’s post is somehow … anti-Semitic, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. Uh, no. I’m pretty sure that one or both of the authors of the Buzzfeed article, Adam Serwer and Katie Baker, would have said something if this were even remotely the case; they’re both Jewish.

Judge for yourself. Here’s the picture AVFM used to illustrate Elam’s post:

One of these things is not like the other.
One of these things is not like the other.

In the comments to his post on AVFM, meanwhile, Elam’s supporters circle the wagons and lash out at pretty much anyone they can think of who’s ever said less-than-flattering things about their dear leader. They are considerably less careful with their language than Elam.

In the post’s “Featured Comment,” with close to 70 upvotes at the moment, AVFM contributor “Andybob” lashes out at Elam’s enemies:

A disgruntled ex from decades ago and a brainwashed daughter that probably isn’t his who were doubtlessly given some kind of monetary incentive to say that Paul Elam won’t be getting their votes for Man of the Year any time soon. After months of sleepless nights planning his cunning revenge, the best Serwer could come up with was to drag out this pair of bitter malcontents who were probably chomping on the bit to take a swipe a man who chose not to serve them in the ways to which they obviously feel entitled.

Suzie McCarley, AVFM’s “Assistant Managing Editor,” says of the Buzzfeed article that “it will be quoted by skanks and bitches of both sexes for years to come.” She snidely writes of Serwer that “I hope the blow job his ho Katie B. owes him in exchange for his credibility, is worth it.”

Several others cleverly refer to Serwer as “Sewer.”

Very few of the commenters deal with any of Buzzfeed’s specific allegations. Instead, they resort to evasive euphemism.

AVFM’s social media director, who writes under the name Janet Bloomfield, laments what she calls “the hysterical ad hominem attacks on a man who turns out to be ….SHOCK…. human.” “I’m shocked! Who would think that an ex-wife might have shit to talk about her ex? Amazeballz!” AVFM contributor Jason Gregory writes sarcastically. “Overlord Elam is a human man?” jokes someone called ComradePrescott. “I can’t serve any master that isn’t a reptilian monster!!!!”

Others offer excuses, making clear that they would probably forgive Elam for anything short of mass murder:

 Reason • 2 days ago  I wonder how many of us can change the names in your story and call it their own. If there is indeed an "old boys club", being used and abused by a woman for paternity is it.

 smetana • 2 days ago  Wow. Seriously, even if the claim that Paul had beaten a kid were true, why should we care? I got beaten on a regular basis as a child, and it was the same thing for most of the people my age that I knew back then (90s). If I could have traded all of that for ONE beating by Paul, then I would have done so without hesitation. The ideological desperation here is really amazing.

In a separate post, AVFM’s Sage Gerard offers an even less coherent “rebuttal” to Buzzfeed’s post, filled with vague accusations against Buzzfeed and weirdly evasive defenses of Elam that if anything make him look worse.

Gerard declares that Buzzfeed’s

“evidence” is opinion carefully framed to manipulate, not persuade. This is David Futrelle’s style of toxic propoganda: Distort context until the target and all supporters appear inhuman.

It’s hard to tell what on earth Gerard even means by any of this, and of course he provides no examples.

He then goes on to offer this oddly backhanded defense of Elam’s terrible behavior:

In terms of his difficult decisions during his youth, Paul had to live with choices that only prove that he is human. Today, Paul faithfully operates within the boundaries of the law as an advocate.

Even more strangely, Gerard praises Elam for … not pocketing money from fundraisers intended for others.

Another money fact that keeps slipping by unreported is that Paul has allowed others to feed off his main revenue stream. Paul hosts fundraisers on this site where AVfM gains no money. I offered Paul a percentage in Zen Men’s last fundraiser, and he refused the money. He also gave Dean Esmay money for private dental work in public view. …

Between Dean and Zen Men, AVfM gave up access to over $10,000, which means Paul gave up more than AVfM itself raised in its last fundraiser. …

Greedy people out to exploit the masses don’t give away money.

Actually, lots of them do. Are you kidding?

If these are the best defenses that Elam and his allies can muster, he’s going to have a hard time rebounding from Buzzfeed’s report.

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Judas Peckerwood
Judas Peckerwood
6 years ago

Dare we hope that this is the beginning of the end for this scumbag and his whole sordid “movement”?

scalyllama
6 years ago

I’m still marvelling that he managed to persuade three women to marry him. Poor souls! There should be a support group for ex-partners of MRAs.

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

haha, I quite agree with “Reason.” Elam’s story probably is the same as a lot of his fellow-travelers, only the names have changed. Dysfunctional, irresponsible, emotionally stunted people.

Faint Praise
Faint Praise
6 years ago

… to take a swipe a man who chose not to serve them in the ways to which they obviously feel entitled.

This is an unintentionally frank admission. Apparently for MRAs, being abandoned as an infant child is the very heart of “female entitlement” against which they rail.

The same goes double for the other defenses, which try to tell us this is the typical dirt any ex-wife would have on their husband. Apparently this sordid tale is what they’re willing to admit is NORMAL in the life of MRA-husband/fathers.

Faint Praise
Faint Praise
6 years ago

I’m just going to leave a post-it note on my monitor reminding me how to properly Blockquote.

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

I’m still marvelling that he managed to persuade three women to marry him.

I’m not. There are still a lot of women who think marriage is the sine qua non of feminine accomplishment, and as long as that belief remains reasonably widespread there will always be a taker for even the scummiest dude’s lowball offers.

ceebarks
ceebarks
6 years ago

blockquote monsta is out in force today. Beware!

davidknewton
davidknewton
6 years ago

Do… do they not realize that that Paul illustration is directly based on the We Can Do It poster retroactively called “Rosie the Riveter”? I mean… why would you attempt to say it looks like something it blatantly doesn’t look like, when the inspiration is so obvious?

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
6 years ago

The ideological desperation here is really amazing.

I would say so!

Lady Mondegreen
Lady Mondegreen
6 years ago

“Susan,” his first wife and the only one of his three ex-wives who was willing to talk on the record

The fact that at least one of the others wouldn’t go on record due to fear of the way these “human rights activists” treat anyone who criticizes them, speaks volumes.

Personally, I thought the authors of this piece were more than fair to Elam. But I’m still waiting for a mainstream article that critically examines his claims about how opressed men are as a class.

BTW, I can’t recall if it was in Buzzfeed or in Mother Jones, or both, that Elam compared himself to Eldridge Cleaver and Valerie Solanis, but–

Cleaver and Solanis were never mainstream voices of their respective movements. Solanis was never a “leader” in any sense–she was a mentally ill loner who wrote a single piece that was published, as satire, by Maurice Girodias’ Olympia Press (which was dedicated to pushing the boundaries of free speech) and later picked up by Robin Morgan for her collection, Sisterhood is Powerful.

M.
M.
6 years ago

If MRAs aren’t at the cult of personality stage yet, they’re pretty damn close.

WatermelonSugar
WatermelonSugar
6 years ago

Ah yes, the Nazi propaganda thing is classic. What an idiot.

Does he not realize that his managing editor, Deanypants, is a rabid GamerGate supporter, and that they actually use actual anti-Semitic imagery all the damn time?

Miss Andry
6 years ago

In the comments he admits to having used the N-word plenty while he was younger because he was born in the ’50s in Texas. But yeah, feminists are racist and anti-Semitic.

WatermelonSugar
WatermelonSugar
6 years ago

Also, Sage Gerard can no longer claim that his campus group KSU Men/Zen Men is not affiliated with A Voice for Men (as he has done in the past). He says right there, point blank, that Paul is using AVFM funds for KSU Men/Zen Men.

Would that be helpful to KSU to get that group off campus, I wonder?

Anne Mette
Anne Mette
6 years ago

Amazing that people actually donate money to P.E. – has any of them ever seen any proof that the money are spent the way P.E claims???

vbillings
6 years ago

Excuse me, what? I stopped at the comment about every kid in the 90s getting beat and actually had to shake my head and blink and read it again to make sure. Not every kid in the 90s was beaten, and it is far from natural or harmless.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

bitter malcontents who were probably chomping on the bit to take a swipe a woman who chose not to serve them in the ways to which they obviously feel entitled.

Fixed your projection for you, AVFMorons.

MaudeLL
6 years ago

At least Gerard admits that he has a problem with evidence based arguments.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Ah yes, the Nazi propaganda thing is classic. What an idiot.

I seem to recall reading somewhere (was it here?) that Elam is, quel surprise, also a rabid antisemite. Yet he doesn’t hesitate to use antisemitic imagery to claim that he’s being persecuted on the same level as six million exterminated Jews.

“Idiot” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I grew up in the 80s and 90s and corporal punishment was not the norm. At least not where I lived.

Cyberwulf
Cyberwulf
6 years ago

I think I’m going to keel over and die of not surprise.

Amanda Ching
6 years ago

I am still reeling over the fact that we’re now allowed to refer to the 1990s as “back in the day”.

castiron
castiron
6 years ago

The illustration makes me think of Joe Camel, or a real camel, crossed with Rosie.

http://171.67.24.121/tobacco_web/images/tobacco_ads/targeting_teens/joe_camel/medium/joe_116.jpg

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/5386106/images/1249789861486.jpg

Elam could have disallowed comments to avoid the savaging of his daughter. He let the gang run wild instead. He’s letting them say all the vicious stuff he doesn’t think it politic to say himself. You can bet every one of those comments was reviewed by him before it was posted. Talk about proxy (emotional) violence!

Not to mention calling her a liar about what he told her, when the email proves he’s the liar. Nice work picking up on that, David.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

Wow. Seriously, even if the claim that Paul had beaten a kid were true, why should we care?

The AVfM commentariat: such Human Rights, so ethics.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
6 years ago

“I hope the blow job his ho Katie B. owes him in exchange for his credibility, is worth it.”

Cause there’s no way she might actually be a competent editor or something. Nah, she’s just there to pretty up the place and ‘raise morale.’ Can’t ask more from a lady yanno.

Ugh. Ugh.

Quiet Wolf
Quiet Wolf
6 years ago

I was born in ’92 and I think I remember being hit on the leg with a switch ONCE. Usually, I got sent to the “time-out room” which was actually closer to a hallway. My younger brother got beat, like, three times that I can remember? It sure as hell wasn’t because we opened the fridge.
My mom once threatened our dog with a beating, but that didn’t actually happen.

Rael
Rael
6 years ago

Once an addict, always an addict. And these guys are all too happy to hand their money over to someone who’s surely putting it in his arm.

emilygoddess - MOD
emilygoddess - MOD
6 years ago

Once an addict, always an addict. And these guys are all too happy to hand their money over to someone who’s surely putting it in his arm.

As a recovering addict, I kindly invite you to go to hell.

WatermelonSugar
WatermelonSugar
6 years ago

Once an addict, always an addict.

My three and a half years of sobriety, recovery, and therapy politely disagree.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

I’m still marvelling that he managed to persuade three women to marry him. Poor souls! There should be a support group for ex-partners of MRAs.

Pretty sure guys like him were the reason for more than a few consciousness-raising groups in the ’70s. MRAs: like all misodges, giving feminists loads of extra work to do since FOREVER.

Spindrift
Spindrift
6 years ago

Saying people can never overcome their addictions is a good way to encourage them not to try. Not cool.

M.
M.
6 years ago

Once an addict, always an addict. And these guys are all too happy to hand their money over to someone who’s surely putting it in his arm.

I haven’t been drunk in eight years and haven’t had a drink at all in five. Piss off.

seraph4377
6 years ago

I seem to remember a lot of public figures in the Eighties and Nineties complaining that what was wrong with Kids Today was that spanking was going out of style – as it was, since there were plenty of psychologists proving that it was pretty much the worst form of discipline you could use.

My parents were consciously old-fashioned, so I did get spanked when I was little.

Oddly, I don’t feel any particular need to defend my parents, or the practice of spanking, or to argue “I turned out all right” like that’s some kind of defense. Most people do turn out all right. Maybe I – and my relationship with my parents – could have turned out better.

isidore13
isidore13
6 years ago

That was really shitty Rael. I think you owe everyone here an apology.

Jenny (@dontgiveah00t)

this pair of bitter malcontents who were probably chomping on the bit to take a swipe a man who chose not to serve them in the ways to which they obviously feel entitled.

Generally speaking, isn’t everyone, regardless of gender, entitled to a certain amount of financial and emotional support from a parent? Isn’t everyone entitled to a certain amount of emotional support (and when applicable, financial assistance) from a spouse?

Not to mention that it looks like his wife agreed to drop the request for child support because her parents (likely quite rightly) felt that it was worth it to get Elam out of her life. Sure, he was ordered to pay some back pay before their link was legally severed, but that’s hardly on his ex wife, especially after she flat out told him his friend raped her and his response was to accuse her of voluntary infidelity.

Spindrift
Spindrift
6 years ago

I wish everyone in recovery well and wanna congratulate those who’re managing to stay clean.

suffrajitsu
suffrajitsu
6 years ago

“I did not, as alleged, tell Bonnie [his daughter] that I was sorry that I had failed her. I told her that I was sorry such misfortune had been her lot.”

Even if he *is* telling the truth here (and I see no reason to believe that he is)…isn’t this still kind of a shitty thing to say to a kid you abandoned? “I’m sorry you had a bad life” is already pretty damn passive from a parent. But “I’m sorry such misfortune is your lot” seems…I don’t know how to put it, but I’m getting kind of a “this is just your fate just suck it up” vibe here.

I’d have more respect if he’d actually said “I’m sorry I failed you.”

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago
WatermelonSugar
WatermelonSugar
6 years ago

But “I’m sorry such misfortune is your lot” seems…I don’t know how to put it, but I’m getting kind of a “this is just your fate just suck it up” vibe here.

“I’m sorry such misfortune is your lot” lets Elam get off blamelessly. Is that what you’re feeling from it? That’s what I am feeling from it.

As in, “I’m sorry such misfortune is your lot. Of course, my abandoning you as a child had nothing to do with it. Shit happens, amirite?”

Elam, per usual, takes no ownership for his own actions, nor their effects on other people.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

It’s a lot like when George W Bush said “mistakes were made.” I can’t remember which debacle he was saying that about; Iraq or Katrina. It’s a totally passive way to speak of past mistakes. As if they were something that just happened. Not the result of choices.

suffrajitsu
suffrajitsu
6 years ago

Yeah, that’s it. As I said, even “I’m sorry your life has been hard” would be evading responsibility, since he’s the one who abandoned her. I admit I have something of a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of “misfortune as one’s lot” in general (it was a common rationalization of oppression of women in traditional Chinese patriarchy, which was more honest about the fact that women got the shitty end of the stick than the “benevolent sexism” rationalization model in places like Europe or India), and I just cringe even more when people actually tell OTHER PEOPLE that misfortune is *their* lot.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

“The toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where each tooth-point goes;
The butterfly upon the road
Preaches contentment to that toad.”
William Blake

Tina S
Tina S
6 years ago

His response was nothing but BS.

ParadoxicalIntention
6 years ago

Whelp, if Elam wasn’t a terrible person before…oh, who am I kidding? Paulie’s always been a terrible person. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Especially how he’s letting his minions tear his ex-wife and daughter apart in the comments of that article. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself and whatever woman he can leech money out of.

And anti-Semitic? Really? Is Paulie even Jewish?

minilizzy
6 years ago

Tina S
All his responses have been nothing but BS…..pretty much ever.

yumicpcake
6 years ago

Not trying to be a bugaboo but ya should really find a way for us to upvote the comments and reply to people on here!!! There are some really good ones here!!!!!

seraph4377
6 years ago

And anti-Semitic? Really? Is Paulie even Jewish?

Even if he isn’t, righties really seem to believe that “Playing the (x) card” is an actual thing. That when dealing with liberals, it’s a game of whoever gets to label the other side some kind of bigot first wins

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
6 years ago

A lot of MRAs, Gamergaters (but I repeat myself), and fellow reactionaries seem to treat social justice language like a magic spell. It doesn’t have to make sense, you know?

So if David Futrelle accused Gamergate of using anti-semitic imagery, then, why can’t they accuse Buzzfeed of using anti-semitic imagery? After all, it wasn’t like David laid out a strong case with multiple originally anti-semitic images and their Gamergate offspring, after all.

Also, I agree that “I didn’t say I was sorry for abandoning you” makes him look worse. And “I care enough about my children being biologically mine that I will cut them out of my life if I suspect they aren’t, but not enough to actually get a paternity test” also looks terrible whichever way you look at it. I think it is kind of an asshole thing to do, to cut a kid you helped raise out of your life because of suspicions, but to use that to justify not trying to salvage the relationship as an adult? It isn’t like he was asked to do the work of parenting! Just have a relationship! Fuck, it is like he doesn’t believe that he should have to do anything to maintain a human connection, at least with a woman.

proxieme
proxieme
6 years ago

Once an addict, always an addict. And these guys are all too happy to hand their money over to someone who’s surely putting it in his arm.

Hm.

If you’d meant, “People who have been addicts must be ever vigilant of their behaviors and actions,” then, sure – “Once an addict, always careful.”

Otherwise…mmm, no.

Some of the very best people I know have had struggles with addiction.

marinerachel
marinerachel
6 years ago

There’s actually no truth to that. When you take people out of an ugly situation (let’s use the example of the Vietnam War where 1/5 American soldiers were habitually using heroin) and into a positive one where the drug is still available (home) they don’t tend to resume drug use. It’s environmental. Paul Elam is rich from donations. He can afford a very, very nice life for himself, one in which he wouldn’t be inclined to shoot up. He’s probably good and sober.

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