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Paul Elam: The real victims of Harvey Weinstein were those denied a spot on his casting couch

This guy again

By David Futrelle

As we round out another terrible news week here on Planet Earth, it’s a safe bet that very few of you have found yourself wondering what Men’s Rights has-been Paul Elam has to say about that whole Harvey Weinstein thing.

Well, today is your unlucky day, because I’m going to tell you anyway.

In a post on his site A Voice for Men that came out the same day as Ronan Farrow’s disturbing New Yorker story, which reported for the first time some of the disturbing details of nearly three decades worth of allegations against Weinstein, Elam suggested that Weinstein’s alleged victims weren’t really victims at all, but rather canny opportunists who hoped a session on Weinstein’s “casting couch” would bring them rewards in Hollywood that were denied their uglier rivals — not to mention most of their male counterparts.

Elam began his, er, analysis by handwaving away the decades of accusations, declaring that

the case against him, as it was with Cosby and so many others, is absent a few things we normally associate with sexual assaults. Like police reports and criminal charges. Like any kind of forensic evidence. Like any kind of evidence at all save the word of women who have collected money from Weinstein on the weight of their allegations over the years.

Apparently Elam didn’t bother to check the news before posting his piece, because then he might have noticed that Farrow’s New Yorker piece, posted that morning, had detailed the case of one woman who not only went to the police after allegedly being assaulted by Weinstein but also agreed to wear a wire during a subsequent meeting with the mogul. To allay any possible doubts about what went on during that second encounter, the New Yorker posted a portion of the tape online. (Warning: It makes for a pretty harrowing listen.)

But never mind, because Elam followed his demand for proof with an admission that, yeah, Weinstein is probably guilty as hell.

Based on his easy payoffs to silence his accusers, and alternating rounds of guilt-ridden contrition and awkward defiance, I think Weinstein probably did do things that resulted in all this condemnation and sanctimonious gasping from the Hollywood crowd. He’s all but admitted to as much.

That said, Elam’s notion of guilt is evidently quite different than yours and mine. He doesn’t think Weinstein is really guilty of anything other than allowing young “starlets” to take advantage of his lust in their quest for stardom, suggesting that we can’t really use

the term “guilty” with a straight face in an industry where the dicks sucked in exchange for opportunities to pursue the limelight can be measured by the mile.

Women in Hollywood don’t just dive onto the casting couch, they pick the fabric and the color that will make them their sexy best.

Apparently feeling that this grotesque argument wasn’t quite grotesque enough, Elam then added Donald Trump to the mix.

President Trump was right. When you are rich and famous, scores of women will happily let you grab them by the pussy for half a shot at some of those precious resources produced by affluent men.

“Happily?” Listen to that tape of Gutierrez and Weinstein again. See if you can detect any happiness there.

But never mind that, because Elam wants us to know that the so-called “casting couch” predates Hollywood by “eons.”

Women have been hitting their knees to enrich their professional lives, be it for money, more authority, power over other employees or career advancement. It’s been happening for as long as women have been in the workplace. And it’s modeled exactly on how women use sex to gain power from men in private life. 

While Elam does acknowledge in passing that some women actually get ahead on their own merits, he declares that this

has nothing to do with the big picture in this argument.

Women, just as they always have, get the bulk of their advantages in life drawing on the resources of men. Men, just as they always have, use their power and resources to attract what they want from women: their bodies.

Now, women using sex to get power meets with little or no criticism in modern times. By hook or crook, they can swallow and get paid for it and it bothers exactly no one.

But Elam wants us to know that there are real victims here — and no, he’s not talking about the aspiring “starlets,” except in “those cases where real coercion and threats are employed.” But Elam seems to think “those cases” are rarer than white peacocks. As he sees it, there are two main classes of victims here.

On the one hand, there are those who never get the golden ticket to the casting couch (or its non-showbiz equivalent).

[E]very time a woman gets a promotion or a raise from fellating her boss, someone else, probably someone harder working and more deserving, gets left out in the cold. Often, it’s other women who are less attractive, or who won’t suck dick for an edge at work.

And then there are the biggest victims of all: the poor, suffering Hollywood moguls and non-Hollywood CEOs who end up getting sued for nothing more than accommodating small armies of Machiavellian ladies offering them sex.

Even years down the road the women who willingly and aggressively pursue using sex to gain power from men can suddenly and successfully paint themselves in the light of victim and cash in a second time, usually to much more painful effect.

Those poor, poor movie moguls!

The easiest path to wealth and success for attractive women is through their open legs. Nobody cares. The easiest path to sexual success for men being in control of the assets and power for which many of these women are not inclined to work. When it goes sour, everyone loses their minds and wants to go postal on the man.

Cue the outrage machine and make plenty of room under the bus for all the male offenders and their enablers.

Never mind that Elam and those who think like him are in fact throwing real male victims under the bus here — most obviously the men who have themselves been sexually harassed and/or assaulted by powerful men in Hollywood.

In the wake of the Weinstein revelations of the past week, actors Terry Crews and James Van Der Beek have both come forward with their own stories of being sexually assaulted by powerful Hollywood men. A Men’s Rights movement worthy of the name would stand in solidarity with Crews and Van Der Beek, just as these men have stood in solidarity with the actresses and other women who have come forward with accusations against Weinstein.

But MRAs like Elam, as always, would rather rant about the alleged perfidy of women rather than lift a finger for any man other than themselves.

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calmdown
calmdown
2 years ago

A helpful PSA for men who are worried about sexual assault/harassment charges.

Zenobia Augusta
Zenobia Augusta
2 years ago

I think the reason why a lot of people, some men especially, have a hard time understanding how serious this is, is because they have a misconception about how the “casting couch” works. They believe you have sex once, get The Role, and then you have a lifetime of fame and fortune that makes up for an afternoon of unpleasantness. They don’t understand that you have to keep having sex to keep the job, the pay probably isn’t that great, and everyone else in the community dismisses your talent because you only got your break by sleeping with the CD/director/producer or whatever. (not that either of these scenarios is acceptable)

Christina Nordlander, Keyboard Battlesister
Christina Nordlander, Keyboard Battlesister
2 years ago

This man is trash. He not only despises the victims of sexual harassment, he also apparently thinks that women would never get anywhere in their careers without bartering sex.

Well, enjoy your next long stint of irrelevancy, Elam.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
2 years ago

he also apparently thinks that women would never get anywhere in their careers without bartering sex.

If true, the clear implication of that statement would be that feminism is desperately needed, and particularly gender equality in the workplace, instead of men having most of the power there.

So why is Elam opposing feminism? Does he not realize the implications of his own words?

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
2 years ago

If true, the clear implication of that statement would be that feminism is desperately needed, and particularly gender equality in the workplace, instead of men having most of the power there.

So why is Elam opposing feminism? Does he not realize the implications of his own words?

Because he recognizes that women having to barter sex for status is exactly the way he wants it. He’s jealous of Weinstein. The only thing that he’s critical on Weinstein about is not being powerful enough. And it isn’t even that. He’s upset that women aren’t happy to barter sex for status, that’s all. He wants to see more of that. Men are kings, women are objects to be used and discarded for whatever scraps the men deign to give them, and they should be grateful.

I recognize you were bein’ snarky! But it’s all just so nauseating.

Gussie Jives
Gussie Jives
2 years ago

@ booburry

Anyone see this absolute trash piece in Harvey Weinstein by Mayim Bialik? I really quite admire her (at times) but I just can’t with this victim blamey bs.

Yeah, read that one on Twitter this weekend. Also read Sarah Polley’s much better NYT column on the same subject. Which only reminded me why Sarah Polley is a Canadian national treasure and I keep mixing up Mayim Bialik with Larisa Oleynik.

Wait, was there ever a Blossom/Alex Mack crossover? If not… why the hell wasn’t there?

And what the heck is Jenna von Oÿ up to?

90s kids TV shows aside, those two articles coming in such close proximity has me giving a side eye to the theoretical newspaper of record of the United States. Why did they print one very prescient article from the perspective of a very gifted introspective filmmaker noting just how emotionally grinding Hollywood as an industry and institution really is for women, and one very victim-blamey article from the perspective of a smart but in this instance clueless actress? These articles don’t just flutter onto the printing press, somebody upstairs has to okay them. I’d like to know who that person is.

AuntieMameRedux
AuntieMameRedux
2 years ago

Content for Sexual Harassment.

The thing about the Weinstein audio is that it is so run of the mill. It actually reminds me of a restaurant manager I worked for back in the long ago who used to ask to “see” us and then put himself between us and the door. Once a few of the girls and women had talked to each other we used to try and avoid going in and thus having to run the gauntlet to get out. There was always the threat that we wouldn’t be employed much longer if we made too much of a fuss. After all, he wasn’t raping us. This guy used some of the same words and phrases that Weinstein did.

Robin Morgan posted a great article about the commonplace of this kind of thing. That we live with it every single day.

While I was going through my Facebook feed this morning, I noticed a man who typed Me too. Oh the conflict. Because I know that this particular man was abused as a child and a teenager. I also know that he grew up to be an abuser and a cunning one who has never had a single consequence for his abuse and uses it to gain pity and attention and as an excuse for his behavior with other people. So, which do I feel? The compassion and sorrow for the teenager who I know was a victim? Or the anger for the man who has become an abuser himself?

And what about the general population of boys and young men who are sexually predated? We don’t want to ignore that reality. And then I realized what the difference was – besides piggybacking onto a social media movement that is trying to draw attention to the crimes large and small that women live with every day and the physical vulnerability and fear we cope with so routinely that we barely acknowledge it because to do so would make us unable to cope.

The difference is that this man and others like him, while they continue to live with the trauma of sexual abuse and assault, once they are firmly out of the women and children category, they don’t live with the daily fear of vulnerability. They just don’t.

Here is a link to Robin Morgan’s blog where she talks about the workaday nature of women’s experience of being a sexual object.

Austin Loomis
2 years ago

These articles don’t just flutter onto the printing press, somebody upstairs has to okay them. I’d like to know who that person is.

Probably the same person, or at least the same apostle, who decided Bret Stephens, Ross Cardinal Douthat, and David Fucking Brooks needed to be given column-inches that might otherwise have gone to somebody who actually had one iota that lives down the street from a clue what they’re talking about, and my main man driftglass hasn’t been able to find out that alleged person’s identity in roughly a decade of wondering.

Zoe
Zoe
2 years ago

This report is hugely cherry picked to spin a narrative with many of the quotes taken out of context. You clearly just hope people don’t go to read the sources linked because it’s so obvious the amount of manipulating you do, deliberately omitting essential caveats that entirely change the tone of the message.
It speaks volumes about the mental fortitude of many of your readers that they clearly only come here to confirm their prejudices. Choosing to look at the world through Futrelle-tinted spectacles.
I hope you still get those pangs of guilt from time to time where deep down you know what you’re doing is dishonest, even if you have already mostly calcified inside.

– Given your patent silencing policy I have no doubt that you’ll immediately moderate this comment. Nevertheless that probably miniscule pang of shame that you get from this is good enough for me.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
2 years ago

Oh, how cute, it’s a little flame! Nothing that’ll send anyone here rushing to the medicine cabinet for burn cream, mind you, but you’re trying! Maybe when you’re all growed up you’ll actually be able to make someone, somewhere, feel insulted.

Of course you’ll have worn out your welcome and been banhammered here long before then, in all likelihood, so you’ll have to do it someplace else …

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Zoe,

If we’re interpreting it wrong, than what exactly did Elam mean? Explain it please.

What context would make this not misogynistic?

President Trump was right. When you are rich and famous, scores of women will happily let you grab them by the pussy for half a shot at some of those precious resources produced by affluent men.

Or this?

Women, just as they always have, get the bulk of their advantages in life drawing on the resources of men.

Please. Do tell.

Thanks for making me picture joke glasses with pictures of David’s face over the lenses though. You did provide me with about 5 seconds of entertainment, so your trolling career won’t be completely worthless.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

It’s also pretty ironic that an AVFM fan would accuse David of silencing. Paul Elam is well known for banning anyone who ever questions him. Including other MRAs.

PaganReader - Misandrist Spinster

Anti troll kitteh
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Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
2 years ago

Was this a drive-by? I think it was a drive-by.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
2 years ago

things we normally associate with sexual assaults. Like police reports and criminal charges. Like any kind of forensic evidence. Like any kind of evidence at all save the word of women

The willful naivety is almost impressive. Also, testimony is evidence

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
2 years ago

Like any kind of forensic evidence

And all evidence is forensic by definition. That’s one of my minor bugbears.

(I can also often be found yelling “Sprinkler systems don’t work like that!” at movies)

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
2 years ago

@Alan:
Heh. While the line was originally written about news stories, it applies to TV/movies almost as much:

“Have you ever read a news story about an event you were personally familiar with, and were disappointed at how inaccurate it was?

What makes you think any of the rest of it is more accurate?”