By David Futrelle
Director Bryan Singer — best known for The Usual Suspects and a succession of X-Men movies — has been dogged for decades by rumors, and then outright accusations, that he preys on underage boys. On Tuesday, The Atlantic dropped a massive, extensively researched piece offering the details of some of these accusations, including the stories of four men who have never come forward before.
“Some of the alleged victims say they were seduced by the director while underage,” The Atlantic reports,
others say they were raped. The victims we interviewed told us these experiences left them psychologically damaged, with substance-abuse problems, depression and PTSD.
You might expect that allegations like these– suggesting that a powerful Hollywood director has been sexually exploiting and assaulting vulnerable teen boys for years if not decades — would arouse the fury of the internet’s Men’s Rights Activists.
After all, MRAs claim often, and loudly, to care about male victims of sexual assault, particularly when the victims are boys. And they do, in some cases: whenever news breaks of a female teacher preying on underage boys, MRAs are quick to pass on the news and to denounce the female perps as loudly as they can.
So I took a look to see what MRAs were saying about Singer on the two most prominent Men’s Rights websites — the Men’s Rights subreddit, with more than 200,000 subscribers; and A Voice for Men, no longer the big daddy on the Men’s Rights scene, but a site which still retains some lingering influence.
Turns out they really weren’t saying anything at all. Here is a listing of every single Men’s Rights subreddit post devoted to Singer’s case in the last four years.
As you can see, there are only five posts in all, which have collectively earned 36 upvotes and inspired a grand total of seven comments. Seven. (A post that discussed male victimization in Hollywood more generally got a bit more attention than the posts about Singer in particular, but many of the comments were from men complaining that female predators weren’t getting as much attention as Singer and Kevin Spacey.)
In start contrast to the utter lack of interest in Singer or his victims, a post about the meme below, which has been up for less than 24 hours on the Men’s Rights subreddit, has garnered nearly 3000 upvotes and inspired 254 comments.
A Voice for Men, meanwhile, has published absolutely nothing on Singer, ever.
This sort of selective interest in male victims of sexual abuse — a 4-alarm fire when the perp (or accused perp) is a women, a bored sigh when the villain is a man — is rather typical of MRAs.
In a post last October, I noted my surprise at discovering that the Men’s Rights subreddit had literally never discussed the horrifying case of former Iowa youth basketball coach Greg Stephen, who had then just pled guilty to multiple child exploitation and child porn charges after admitting to sexual exploiting some 400 boys. (A post about his case went up on the subreddit after my post was published.)
As I noted in that post, it’s almost as if the Men’s Rights movement isn’t about helping men or boys at all but is rather an excuse for a never-ending tantrum about the alleged evils of women and feminism.
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