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Worst Australian wins award for best Australians, and it’s the antifeminist pedophile apologist Bettina Arndt

By David Futrelle

The last time we heard from Australian antifeminist sex therapist blabbermouth Bettina Arndt she was involved in a baffling, if short-lived, feud with A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam over the location of an upcoming Men’s Rights conference she’s scheduled to speak at.

Now she’s in the news again for an equally baffling but far more egregious reason: she’s been awarded one of Australia’s top honors for her alleged contribution “to gender equity through advocacy for men.” Arndt is now a Member of the Order of Australia, which as the Guardian points out, is “the third-highest rank under Australia’s civic honours system.”

Trouble is, Arndt’s alleged service on behalf of men has consisted mainly of slagging on women, defending pedophiles, and teaming up with SPLC-designated hate group A Voice for Men.

Arndt is perhaps most notorious for the pedophile thing. Here’s how the Guardian summed it up:

In 2018, Arndt was criticised by sex abuse survivors for conducting a 17-minute interview with convicted paedophile Nicolaas Bester …

Bester had been jailed for grooming and repeatedly raping his 15-year-old student when he was a 58-year-old teacher in Tasmania. He was convicted of possessing 28 pieces of child pornography and committing up to 30 sexual assaults.

On an internet forum in 2015, after being released from prison, Bester wrote that his crime was “awesome”. The paedophile was then convicted a second time as a result, and for sharing further child exploitation material.

“The majority of men in Australia envy me,” Bester wrote in 2015. “I was 59, she was 15 going on 25 … It was awesome.”

In 2017, Arndt interviewed Bester following both convictions, in a YouTube video titled “Feminists persecute disgraced teacher”.

“Over the years I’ve talked to many male teachers about sexually provocative behaviour from female students,” Arndt said. … “[T]he teachers are … really vulnerable because they can easily be subject to false accusations if they reject or offend the young woman in question.”

Never mind that the accusations against Bester weren’t false; he literally bragged about what he’d done.

She added that young women needed to “behave sensibly and not exploit their seductive power to ruin the lives of men”.

In response to Bester’s comments that his crime was “awesome”, Arndt laughed and said it was “pretty stupid” but that “I can imagine how easily this happens”.

This is a mighty strange form of service to “gender equity.” (Arndt later offered a weak apology to “those I have offended by the relaxed tone of the interview.”)

But Arndt doesn’t just have terrible opinions on the subject of pedophile teachers. She has terrible opinions on a whole host of other issues as well.

Like the “huge feminist domestic violence industry” that she claims is ginning up false accusations against men and hiding abuse against men.

Like #MeToo, which she says is a “nasty witch hunt” and a “joke.”

She’s a bit obsessed with false rape accusations, which she sees as something of an epidemic. Last year she toured college campuses decrying what she calls the “rape crisis scare campaign” and the “illegal campus kangaroo courts” set up to deal with accusations of rape.

Despite her endless handwringing about female “false accusers” targeting men, she’s not above making dubious accusations herself — in her case, against women — like her recent “joking” suggestion that Prince Harry’s decision to bow out of most royal duties might have been the result of abusive manipulation by new wife Meghan Markle.

You can find many more examples in this Twitter thread by @Vic_Rollison, from which I got the above screenshots. Or you could just go to Arndt’s own Twitter page, where she provides fresh bad takes on an ongoing basis, including mini-rants against the feminists who have objected to her award.

My own brief stroll through her Twitter history uncovered tweets lamenting “women’s deceitful ways,” attacking trans men, and claiming that sexual abuse “vigilantism” may soon lead all men to avoid working with children.

She also posted this incoherent and reality-challenged GamerGate-ish babble:

Oh, and did I mention her various connections with everyone’s favorite men’s rights hate group A Voice for Men?

It’s no wonder that feminists and others who actually do care about gender equality consider her winning this award a travesty, and why some are calling for the award to be rescinded.

That’s what happens when you give one of the worst Australians an award meant to go to the best.

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Lacroix
10 months ago

I still remember a delightful newspaper column from Ms Arndt where she argued against married women being in paid employment because…..they might be tempted to have affairs with their male co-workers.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

Seriously? I know Australia is going through hard times right now with the fires, and this is the last thing they need to add insult to injury. It’s even worse when you think about the fact that someone in Australia probably did something deserving of an award but got none because this asshole got it instead.
Condolences to all my Australian siblings.

This one is so incoherently labeled I’m going to try to break it apart:

Feminists take a gender-neutral activity, gaming, and insist on holding girls-only events

There’s kind of a reason those events were needed.

after complaining they weren’t treated properly

Well, there’s the reason, men were being abusive toward women in gaming.

when male gamers actually cop far more abuse than women do.

[citation needed]
This reminds me a bit of the old GamerGate chestnut that women should be okay being called misogynistic slurs because men call each other slurs

Yet men are never allowed to do their own thing.

Nobody is stopping men from gaming. This reminds me of the GamerGate argument about gaming being a “safe space” for nerdy men.
Is this an intentional reference to MGTOWs?

Whenever I see an antifeminist woman like this, I wonder how she could have become so misogynistic. Many women have some internalized misogyny, but few have it to this degree.

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

This award is just such a kick in the teeth, especially given how the country is still reeling and brokenhearted by fires and other disasters.

I’ll just add two more things to the already disgusting list of Arndt’s actions.

1. apparently feminists have convinced women that we need to want sex to enjoy it, and this has been a travesty for het relationships

2. A previous Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, became a prominent anti-violence campaigner after her young son was murdered by his own father.

Arndt and scumbag friends (like Mark Latham, a vicious MRA) went after Batty for years, trying to discredit her. Here’s one journalist noting how Arndt asked him to dig up dirt on Batty:

https://twitter.com/SquigglyRick/status/1164048153445670912?s=20

I’m off to hug my cats.

Crip Dyke
10 months ago

With coercive control an offense in the UK people are joking that Meghan should be charged. But as a female that would never happen.

I can’t speak to what has happened in the UK (or even Canada, because I came here right when was starting law school and haven’t been extensively involved in anti-DV work here), but in the USA women are constantly charged with DV-related crimes when acting in self-defense.

The problem is that abusers are good at that whole “reverse victim and offender” thing, so they make much better/more convincing witnesses than the actual victims do. Since cops in the USA are very likely to arrest both parties in a 2-person “domestic dispute” and leave it to the prosecutors to sort out who needs to be charged, and because there is pressure to charge somebody (so as not to be seen as neglecting the important issue of DV), the actual victims who worry “oh, maybe I shouldn’t have fought back quite so hard, and maybe it was my fault, and what if I could have done something better so the fight never happened?” come across to ignorant prosecutors as having no reasonable defense against the charges, since even they doubt their own defense. Meanwhile, the actual aggressors/ controllers have no problem saying, and quite smoothly, “It’s all that other person’s fault. The fault is zero percent mine.” They say it confidently and loudly and persuasively. In other words, they make a better witness.

Although there are many good prosecutors out there with a good ability to see through the RVO strategy, there are also very many prosecutors who can’t see through RVO. In those jurisdictions, charging the victim might be even more likely than charging the perp – and even if it’s not (for instance, if the prosecutor simply refuses to charge most DV so the instances that do get charged are the most egregious ones where RVO doesn’t work well even on a stupid prosecutor), then at least some significant percentage of the time the victim will be charged.

Given that women are – near as we can tell, given differential reporting patterns based on gender – much more likely to be victims, then whether or not a woman (or “female”) is likely to be charged really depends a lot on a prosecutors education and gullibility and prejudices. Since these vary quite a bit, saying that women/ “females” would “never” be charged is completely ludicrous.

In fact, those truly competent prosecutors who handle DV cases are also likely to see through RVO and other deceptive tactics when the perp is a woman. The only prosecutors unlikely to charge women are those that are still stuck in the late 1980s where society was beginning to recognize that assault laws actually don’t have an “except when married or dating” clause built in and that hitting your partner is a crime … but hadn’t yet recognized what DV actually is and still bought into the stereotypes about men being always stronger and more violent so that they just couldn’t believe a woman could be a perp.

Sure, those prosecutors might never charge a woman in DV, but those prosecutors are both rare and completely incompetent. They aren’t feminist and feminists try like hell to educate the stupid fucks.

Saying that an entire nation has nothing but stupid/ incompetent prosecutors is a bit much, even if she were alleging that about the “Tough On Crime” USA.

Bina
10 months ago

I’d call her a piece of shit, but that’s clearly a terrible insult to shit. I hereby apologize to any turds I may have inadvertently offended.

Cheerful Warthog
Cheerful Warthog
10 months ago

I have written to the Governor-General. It’s the first time I’ve written to the Governor-General. It’s one of the first times I’ve cared even the tiniest amount about the Governor-General. But this is Something.

Alex
Alex
10 months ago

I am utterly bewildered as to how this could have happened. I mean, sure, our current government are led by the worst example of evangelists, but I didn’t think that brand of casual misogyny went this far.
Arndt is notorious. I mean, not only is she an open fan of Jordan Peterson, her last book was called #Men Too. There’s dog whistles, and then there’s air raid sirens.

I don’t know how much good it will do (some are saying that Australia Day honours can be revoked?) but just in case: there is a petition.
https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-revoke-bettina-arndt-s-australia-day-honours

In more encouraging news, some excellent Australians were acknowledged in the lists. And of course, the shortlisted candidate for Young Australian of the Year, Madeline Diamond, who appeared on stage with ‘Climate Justice’ prominently written on her décolletage.

https://10daily.com.au/news/australia/a200125sajbo/young-australian-of-the-year-finalist-paints-climate-message-on-body-during-award-ceremony-20200125

AJ Canberra
AJ Canberra
10 months ago

You don’t know Australians very well if you think she’s one of our worst. We really don’t deserve to be a country.

Steph
Steph
10 months ago

As an adopted Aussie I was actually massively disappointed at this. Her supporters claimed that her paedophile defence was a misreported interview and the only example of her incredible misogyny.

But there are so many examples out there who on earth felt she deserved the award?!

Diptych
Diptych
10 months ago

Good lord, this country is terrible. This comes on the heels of our government, notorious for its human rights abuses against refugees, considering offering fast-tracked refugee status for victims of the entirely mythical attacks on white South African farmers. And, of course, voting to support a white supremacist slogan. Among so many other expressions of support for right-wing extremism that it numbs the brain.

gijoel
gijoel
10 months ago

Honestly, as an Australian, this doesn’t surprise me. The current ruling party is the Liberal/National coalition. For our American readers don’t let the word Liberal fool you, the Liberals are economical liberals and amongst a fair number of them socially regressive. The National party represent the conservative rural vote.

The more regressive elements of the coalition have been incredibly pissed off lately with losing the marriage equality battle, as well as set back in their religious discrimination bill1. Scott Morrison’s (hence forth called ScoMo) bungling (2) of the 2019-20 bush fires has forced him to acknowledge climate change, which in turn has lead to some within his own party to threaten to roll him if he keeps on about it.

So ScoMo has to throw the desk bitters a bone,and who better than Bettina.

1. Apparently discrimination against bigoted god-bothers wasn’t in the plan.

2. This probably the only thing that comes closest to representing the average Australian’s fury is this song. Very NSFW.

kat
kat
10 months ago

In response to Bester’s comments that his crime was “awesome”, Arndt laughed and said it was “pretty stupid” but that “I can imagine how easily this happens”.

Bettina! As a woman, your job is to smile and agree when a man says his crime was awesome. Under no circumstances are you to say that his crime was stupid!

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Kat

Bettina! As a woman, your job is to smile and agree when a man says his crime was awesome. Under no circumstances are you to say that his crime was stupid!

How rude of her. And she forgot to make him a sandwich. /s

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
10 months ago

@Naglfar
Right. A lady lives a life that is inauthentic. A lady never allows her true feelings to show.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
10 months ago

Apropros of nothing; but this seems like something some people here will appreciate.

comment image

Crip Dyke
10 months ago

Apparently Brie Larsen is just as horrible as Bettina Arndt.

At least if you believe the Hollywood rumor sites.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
10 months ago

Mostly off-topic, but since we’re looking at pseudo-intellectuals, this sounds it might turn out to be one of the most unintentionally funny books of the year: https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Meaning-Jordan-Peterson-Perspective/dp/1683593626

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Rabid Rabbit
So someone wrote a whole book comparing Peterson to Jesus? This sounds like it will be incredibly inaccurate and potentially entertaining but also infuriating. Maybe we could buy David a copy and he could mock it. It could be good fodder for a lot of posts.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
10 months ago

@Naglfar (I hope I don’t mangle that name too often) : in my opinion, their main common point is that both are fictional character, based on how the behavior and alleged power of each is bizarre, inconsistent, and implausible.

Dalillama
Dalillama
10 months ago

@gijoel

For our American readers don’t let the word Liberal fool you, the Liberals are economical liberals and amongst a fair number of them socially regressive

Yeah, that’s the same as our liberals.

Katamount
10 months ago

Wow. I thought governments were more canny about stuff like this. Certainly the Canadian government is… they seem to go out of their way to avoid sensational Order of Canada nominations. The only ones that have been removed were those convicted of crimes. Even Conrad Black kept his until he was finally convicted.

Cuz having unsavoury characters like this among the members tarnishes these Orders, which require popular support to maintain their prestige. We’ve all seen what’s happened with the Nobel Peace Prize after all; it’s basically a joke at this point.

Moggie
Moggie
10 months ago

@Crip Dyke:

Apparently Brie Larsen is just as horrible as Bettina Arndt.

At least if you believe the Hollywood rumor sites.

How very dare you! I had to clean a load of clutter off my fainting couch, for nothing!

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Katamount

We’ve all seen what’s happened with the Nobel Peace Prize after all; it’s basically a joke at this point.

It’s not the only failed prize. The literature prize got given to a genocide apologist last year.

NOBODY
NOBODY
10 months ago

@Crip Dyke

Excellent comment re: charges in domestic violence. Nuanced and informative.
Would upvote if possible.

rv97
rv97
10 months ago

@Naglfar

As always, fuck the system. I can’t remember who this was exactly (I believe someone involved in or supporting a more recent genocide, I think the Bosnian genocide), but the sort of people running these things (and many other institutions) don’t really care.

I think hate in this world gets rewarded too much. One of the reasons being is because it makes money or because it’s a sign of someone’s resilience.

Katamount
10 months ago

OT, but anybody get a chance to see the first episode of Star Trek: Picard?

I thought it was… alright. Has potential, but I think Star Trek is still floundering under the weight of trying to be prestige TV. I was kind of hoping that Picard would be a departure from that.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
10 months ago

@Katamount:
Probably the most controversial Order of Canada nomination was the one to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the man who spent much of his career fighting for abortion rights in a time when those were rather not guaranteed, and who faced jail time, death threats, and clinic bombings as a result. The Archbishop of Montreal gave up his own Order of Canada in protest, among others.

Things seem to have been a bit reversed in the Australian case, though.

Katamount
10 months ago

@Jenora Feuer

Yeah, that’s the one that leapt to mind. Regardless of how anti-abortion zealots feel about him, his role in shaping Canadian law certainly demanded recognition. I seriously doubt this Arndt character has done anything comparable.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I refuse to pay extra for CBS all access when my household already has a cable subscription. So, I’d like to see all the new Star Trek shows, but it’s not going to happen unless I decide to find an illegal stream. Greedy fucks.

EverythingIsRidiculous
EverythingIsRidiculous
10 months ago

The Dear Joan and Jericha podcast was a perfect parody of the condescending misogyny so common to a particular subset of women, Bettina Arndt most emphatically included. No matter what, they’ll always make excuses for men and find a way to make everything women’s fault.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

As always, fuck the system.

Or, in song form:

tim gueguen
10 months ago

Hard to imagine this is 32 years old.

Fabe
Fabe
10 months ago

@Katamount

OT, but anybody get a chance to see the first episode of Star Trek: Picard?

I thought it was… alright. Has potential, but I think Star Trek is still floundering under the weight of trying to be prestige TV. I was kind of hoping that Picard would be a departure from that.

I liked it. definitely following the foot steps of discovery in tone and looks but I’m going to keep watching.

Crip Dyke
10 months ago

I really liked Discovery. I know it’s not to everyone’s tastes. Many people prefer episodic Trek to continuous-plot Trek and light/hopeful tones as more in keeping with Trek traditions, for instance. But I think it gets a very bad rap for things it doesn’t actually do badly just because people are already put off by it not being sufficiently “Trek-like”.

For instance, I hear groans about ridiculous “science” that makes no sense in Discovery, but if you can’t find ridiculous “science” that makes no sense in TOS you’re still chewing on your copy of Goodnight Moon.

So if Picard matches Discovery in quality, I’ll probably like it.

Lainy
Lainy
10 months ago

Well after reading that it’s time for a brownie.

cubist
10 months ago

sez Crip Dyke:

if you can’t find ridiculous “science” that makes no sense in TOS you’re still chewing on your copy of Goodnight Moon

{a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwhAq3F8NCE”>You don’t say…

Frederic Christie
10 months ago

Again, I love the naked bias of people who are skeptical about repeated accusations against people with the power to have gotten away with bad behavior (when the accusations are by women against men) but will happily make up abuse when there is precisely zero evidence or even an accusation at hand (when it seems as if there may a man being abused by a woman). How odd that all the hand-wringing about hysteria and witch hunts stops at that point.

Naglfar
Naglfar
10 months ago

@Frederic Christie
Indeed, how odd…

Fabe
Fabe
10 months ago

@crip Dyke

Yeah I have split feelings about ‘Discovery’ . I think it’s a good science fiction series but I’m still not really sure if its good Star Trek series.

Personally I think one thing that might have made it better was if it was set in the kelvin timeline from the new movies. it just looks and feels more like those then traditional trek.

Still,I enjoyed Discovery and will watch the next season when it comes out and will be Watching Picard as well .

Paireon
Paireon
10 months ago

WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN
*AHEM* Wow. Just… Wow. How. Just… how can a university-educated woman with such retrograde beliefs and attitudes about her own gender. It boggles the mind. I mean, I kinda got why Phyllis Schlafly was like that, being boern and raised where such attitudes and prejudices were almost the norm… I can only guess she had a sheltered, pampered and privileged life where she never even had to contemplate sexual abuse, except in rationalizing, misogynistic terms, and as a result of the entitlement she feels from that life enjoys lording it over all the “inferior” women less fortunate than her. And she’s probably incredibly devoid of both compassion and imagination.

And RE: the archbishop who gave back his order of Canada due to Henry Morgentaler receiving it, since I know people in my family who were abused by pedophile priests in the archdiocese of Montreal, and that during this archbishop’s tenure (admittedly decades after the fact), he pretty much stayed mum on the subject save for platitudes about “feeling for the victims” and “the value of forgiveness” and all that shit, then his smug, hypocritical ass never even deserved any honors and I hope he rots in the sixth bolgia of the eight circle of hell* (even though I don’t even believe in the place, being atheist and all that).

*Yes, I know, The Divine Comedy isn’t an official depiction of hell, but we’ve been using elements of it for the better part of a millenium by now, cut me some slack 😛