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Briefly, On Andrew Sullivan, Katie Roiphe, and Due Process

(Editorial content note: There is a brief but graphic description of child sexual abuse at one point in this post. It’s a photo of text.  I think it’s pretty clear that it’s coming up from the body of the post, but wanted to make a note in case you’re one of those folks whose eyes skip to the pictures first.– Maribou)

Authorial note: Because it is now impossible to keep up with the current flow of national news, this post will be hopelessly out of date by the time it is published. Such is the ebb and flow of the current culture.

#MeToo and The Shitty Media Men List

A quick primer: in October 2017, #MeToo started trending on Twitter. It presented an opportunity for women to speak publicly, to whatever extent they wanted, about their experiences with everything from harassment to sexual assault. That same month, the Shitty Media Men list was created; it was an anonymously-sourced document describing the behavior of various men in media. It was created as a warning for other women, allowing them to know what to expect when interacting with the men listed.

Predictably, almost immediately after this meteoric outpouring of women speaking openly about their experiences, the inevitable backlash began. It was led, as these things so often are, by aggrieved men and sympathetic women, both of whom believed that women speaking freely on such matters risked the well-being of innocent, or perhaps clumsy, men. It was a hell of a claim. Among the critics voicing these concerns were Andrew Sullivan and Katie Roiphe.

Andrew Sullivan

Sullivan wanted the world to know that the #MeToo movement had gone too far. Although he objected to a great many things about the movement, the one that seemed to trouble him the most was its alleged refusal to embrace due process. It was an odd complaint given that the movement seemed to be constructed around the idea that due process could not be trusted, but here was Sullivan, repeatedly appearing to insist that women were obliged to simply quietly endure everything that they were unwilling to provide men the opportunity to rebut.

His examples included Moira Donegan’s Shitty Media Men list. Sullivan was outraged that it even existed:

“It’s worth recalling here exactly what she and others did. They created an online forum in which anonymous people could make accusations about men whose careers and reputations would potentially be destroyed as a consequence.”

Ignore, for a moment, that Sullivan appears to be less concerned with what had happened to the women who created and contributed to the list, and more concerned with the men whose reputations might be hurt by appearing on it. That is a current that runs throughout so much of the ongoing objections to the list ever having even been created. Instead, focus on this bizarre passage:

It includes charges that have absolutely nothing to do with workplace harassment. Someone is accused of “creepy DMs or texts especially when drunk,” “weird lunch dates,” or “being handsy — at the very least — with women at parties.” One man is accused of “secretly removing condom during sex,” with no claim of workplace misconduct at all. Another is damned for “flirting,” another for taking “credit for ideas of women of color,” another for “multiple employee affairs, inappropriate conversation, in general a huge disgusting sleaze ball.” And this chorus of minor offenses is on the same list as brutal rapes, physical assaults, brazen threats, unspeakable cruelty, violence, and misogyny.

That Sullivan apparently views “secretly removing condom during sex” as a “minor offense” gives away an apparent ignorance about what might be concerning to women, although he later apologized, barely.* And that he thinks women are obliged to endure men who send creepy direct messages and who get handsy at parties is its own oddity. It is perhaps unreasonable to expect Sullivan to have any familiarity at all with what women report experiencing, for a variety of different reasons. More interesting perhaps is that Sullivan’s commitment to intentionally ignoring the list’s intent. Donegan has been entirely frank about why the list was created: to offer women in media information that they would not otherwise have about the men that they might interact with. Think of it as Consumer Reports in a world where no such document would otherwise exist. The information would allow its readers to make more informed options about the men they might interact with. Those disinterested in receiving “creepy DMs” might choose not to share their phone numbers, for example. Donegan was explicit about this too:

In October, I created a Google spreadsheet called “Shitty Media Men” that collected a range of rumors and allegations of sexual misconduct, much of it violent, by men in magazines and publishing. The anonymous, crowdsourced document was a first attempt at solving what has seemed like an intractable problem: how women can protect ourselves from sexual harassment and assault.

Sullivan either skipped that paragraph, or did not bother grappling with what it said, as he viewed the list as McCarthyism:

The act of anonymously disseminating serious allegations about people’s sex lives as a means to destroy their careers and livelihoods has long gone by a simple name. It’s called McCarthyism, and the people behind the list engaged in it.

And because that was not enough of an accusation – again, the list’s creator made it very clear why the list was created – Sullivan doubled down to insist Donegan, and those that contributed to it, believed that what they were really doing was fighting the patriarchy, almost as if they were simply using their own safety as a cloak for their real intent:  

Sure, they believed they were doing good — but the McCarthyites, in a similar panic about communism, did as well. They believe they are fighting an insidious, ubiquitous evil — the patriarchy — just as the extreme anti-Communists in the 1950s believed that commies were everywhere and so foul they didn’t deserve a presumption of innocence, or simple human decency.

It is a hell of a thing that Sullivan, seemingly with a straight face, manages to insist that Donegan (who created a Google Spreadsheet designed to give women information they would not otherwise have) is the moral equivalent of McCarthyites (government actors who were fully empowered to root out and then punish Communists using the power of the state itself) before, in his very next breath, insisting that men are owed the presumption of innocence and human decency that women attempting to protect themselves are not. 

Two weeks ago, Sullivan went back to the well. He rampaged again about the importance of due process and the presumption of innocence, and he once against implicitly reminded his readers that he apparently believes, with a genuinely heartfelt sincerity, that men are owed women’s ignorance, that women warning other women is worse than women walking blindly into potentially dangerous situations, that it is unfair to men if women can make more informed decisions about which men to risk interacting with. Sullivan remains furious that Donegan continues to not apologize, despite him having insisted upon it:

“Moira Donegan has yet to express misgivings about possibly smearing the innocent — because the cause is far more important than individual fairness. Besides, if they’re innocent, they’ll be fine!”

The “cause,” as Sullivan writes derisively, is the literal safety of women, although as he has already made clear, he is not convinced that these women have much of anything to worry about. He has described much sexual harassment as ham-fisted attempts at flirtation, which is, of course, an entirely normal way to describe behavior that he neither knows or understands. Confronted by women telling him that the list was created to document dangerous behavior, Sullivan concludes that these women are lying, and that they are obliged to remain quiet instead, lest an innocent man suffer even slightly for his behavior having been misconstrued. Men, in Sullivan’s world, trump women. He writes as much below, making it clear that he believes that male reputation is of far greater concern than female safety, burying his claim within an apparent belief that Western civilization was founded upon willful ignorance.

“And yet this principle of preferring ten guilty people to go free rather than one innocent person to be found guilty was not so long ago a definition of Western civilization.”

“Found guilty” is particularly instructive here, as Sullivan – just as he did when he compared Donegan to McCarthyites – seems to think that one woman telling other women about a potentially dangerous man is, or at least ought to be, the equivalent of American jurisprudence. Sullivan then goes farther, conflating an attempt by women to protect themselves with a broader cultural conversation about who does and does not benefit from our structures as they currently exist:

The idea of individual merit — as opposed to various forms of unearned “privilege” — is increasingly suspect. The Enlightenment principles that formed the bedrock of the American experiment — untrammeled free speech, due process, individual (rather than group) rights — are now routinely understood as mere masks for “white male” power, code words for the oppression of women and nonwhites.

That Sullivan looks at the American experiment and imagines that untrammeled free speech, due process, and individual rights were ever part of its bedrock is, on its face, ridiculous. Our national history tells us that, right from the jump, these were things only afforded to some. Everybody else has had to fight, and continue to fight, for the same. And then look closely at that first bedrock idea: untrammeled free speech. Sullivan, it would seem, is all for an untrammeled free speech right until the point at which it starts saying things that he does not like, as is the case with Donegan’s. Of course, women like Donegan creating a spreadsheet is the free-est speech imaginable, but Sullivan views it only as a threat to men, one that must be eliminated and apologized for. Untrammeled free speech for him, Sullivan seems to be saying, but not for her. This fits within his broader project though. After all, Sullivan would rather sacrifice ten women to abuse than even consider the possibility of risking one man’s reputation. 

Katie Roiphe

Sullivan’s fury extended beyond Donegan and #MeToo. It also extended to the reception that Katie Roiphe has received since staking out her own position in opposition to both #MeToo generally, and Donegan specifically. Roiphe, it should be noted, has spent her career focusing her fire on women, insisting repeatedly that they are at fault for how they are treated, and objecting to the idea that women are victims of anything. Roiphe came in for specific criticism this time around because she hatched a plan to out Donegan in the pages of Harper’s Magazine (before Donegan voluntarily outed herself), which was all part of her broader assault on what she considered to be the excesses of #MeToo movement. Those excesses were crystallized by Donegan’s list: its existence unjustly risked the lives and reputation of men.

Sullivan has repeatedly defended Roiphe. He blustered about an attempt to undermine Roiphe’s proposed outing, insisting with a straight face that Nicole Cliff’s willingness to purchase articles that had been slated for publication in Harper’s Magazine was itself an act of anti-speech sabotage designed to “silence” Roiphe and end her career, whatever that means; once again, we see somebody’s free expression (Cliff’s willingness to outbid Harpers) as untenable and unacceptable, whereas Roiphe’s plan to out Donegan is not. Sullivan used Roiphe’s example as one to pillory anybody who has defended both #MeToo and the list’s existence. Sullivan’s alleged concern is that the response to Roiphe “chills open debate” although it is not too terribly difficult to note that this formulation of open debate is one in which Sullivan (or people he agrees with) speaks freely, and those that they disagree with do not speak at all.

Roiphe’s thinking is in remarkable lockstep with Sullivan’s. In a podcast with Slate, Roiphe unbelievably compares the reaction she received to threatening to out Donegan (something she first lied about having done before then insisting the threat was actually the factchecker’s fault) to Alfred Dreyfus, a claim as histrionic as Sullivan’s insistence that the list itself was McCarthyism. Dreyfus, it should be noted, spent years in jail on false charges, whereas Roiphe’s changed article did appear in Harper’s Magazine and then she appeared on the aforementioned Slate Podcast, and in other publications, and for somebody who was being silenced, nobody had a very difficult time hearing from her.

Roiphe, echoing Sullivan, wants us to believe that her foremost concern is due process. She said as much at Slate:

To me, that’s sort of depressing, along with what I see as a lack of interest in due process. To me, it would seem important that any man who’s accused of something has a fair hearing, and that we give them the benefit of our American judicial system, which does presume innocence. There is a little bit of impatience with that due process, which also makes me nervous.

And again here:

To me that idea, that kind of shadowy accusation, does remind me of the Hollywood blacklist, does remind me of the most hysterical or we could say shameful moments in American history, where we are sort of abandoning our principles. Even if it’s not death or prison, it’s just losing their job, obviously for many people that’s a pretty terrifying prospect. So I think there are some things about the list that are legitimately creepy.

Forget the principles for a moment: note what Roiphe finds “creepy” is the existence of the list itself, but not the men on it accused of sending “creepy” DMs, which Roiphe (like Sullivan) likens to clumsy attempts at romance rather than a red-flag, as if women are supposed to know, without any additional information that something like the list might have provided, the substantive difference between the two. Then, in just the same way that Sullivan did, Roiphe reveals that her belief in free speech seems to become negotiable just as soon as she is done talking.

There are a very large number of people who are setting the conversation who really think, and they do believe, that someone like me who should be reviled from humanity and cast out, shouldn’t be allowed to write for a magazine. The mere mention of my name means I should be boycotted or fired. There is a Stalinist element to that, I have to say. It’s a lack of belief in freedom of expression.

Roiphe, like Sullivan, seems to actually believe that the importance of free expression ends immediately after she has freely expressed her belief that those opposing her are themselves edging up against actual Stalinism. Free expression, in this case, seems involve Roiphe getting to say and do whatever she wants, without criticism or pushback, or even competition, all while those who disagree with her remain silent. It is an odd form of free expression, one that is frustratingly absurd.

Perhaps the bigger issue here is the idea that Donegan, the other women who contributed to the list, and women in general owe men whatever due process that Sullivan and Roiphe are imagining. Both of them obviously believe deeply that men are owed such treatment in all matters. And unless these men are given this opportunity for due process, women must agree to remain silent. Sullivan and Roiphe would both deny women the ability to warn one another of potential danger before they would ever consider risking the possibility than an otherwise innocent man might be misidentified. And this they pin on Enlightenment principles, which oddly seem to benefit them while restricting those who disagree. 

This, though, misunderstands both the #MeToo movement and the list’s existence. Neither exist because of a contempt for due process; they exist because due process routinely and predictably tends to fail in favor of abusive men.

Due Process (Larry Nassar and Rob Porter)

Sullivan and Roiphe want the world to believe that the women backing #MeToo, including Donegan, are being unnecessarily unfair to men. Surely, if these women were willing to realize this inherent unfairness, they might realize that they are risking false positives, and would be willing to either tread more carefully or abandon the effort altogether. This is an odd implication.

Start first with Donegan. She made it clear that the issue is not that she has not considered due process, but rather, that due process routinely fails specifically because it is designed to fail, Enlightenment principles or not. Donegan noted as much when she wrote:

The police are notoriously inept at handling sexual-assault cases. Human-resources departments, in offices that have them, are tasked not with protecting employees but with shielding the company from liability — meaning that in the frequent occasion that the offender is a member of management and the victim is not, HR’s priorities lie with the accused. When a reporting channel has enforcement power, like an HR department or the police, it also has an obligation to presume innocence.

Donegan is not ducking this issue. She is acknowledging it while noting that the ongoing and persistent failure of due process is what necessitated the list’s creation. She knew, as did the list’s other contributors, that she could not count on the processes that existed to handle such issues. Had other avenues taken concerns seriously, women would not be forced to create whisper networks in an attempt to protect themselves from aggressive and dangerous behavior. If women could count on police departments or human resources departments, it might not be the case that such a list would ever need to be created. But the failure to take seriously the claims made by abused parties is precisely what forces women to pursue other means of achieving desired outcomes. Sullivan wrote that women like Donegan were abandoning the idea that it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man go to jail; Donegan’s retort (which was actually a pretort, given that it came before Sullivan’s jeremiad) is that the victims of those ten men matter too, something which Sullivan and Roiphe both seem to willfully ignore (when they are not too busy recontextualizing abuse as men’s ham-handed attempts at romantic gestures).

Lest this turn into an academic exercise absent real-world examples, the broader American culture has been busy churning out reasons to be extremely leery of the idea that due process can be counted on to substantively deal with claims of abuse. Yes, there have been plenty of identified abusers – including Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, and so, so many more – but each of them operated for decades, protected by the mechanisms that are allegedly designed to prevent their behavior. Due process repeatedly gave these individuals a thumbs up while victims were left to quietly endure unbelievably objectionable behavior. In those cases, would Sullivan and Roiphe have us believe that due process worked? Wait, do not answer that. Let’s go much bigger.

Let’s think about Larry Nassar, the doctor convicted of abusing hundreds of his female patients over the course of a decades-long career.

Both Nassar’s victims and their parents repeatedly reported his abuses to those with the ability to do anything about it, and at literally every turn, due process failed. Nassar was reported to higher-ups at the United States Olympic Committee and the United States of America Gymnastics, and both repeatedly punted on the issue, assuring parents that Nassar’s behavior was perfectly acceptable. Nassar was reported to Michigan State University on multiple occasions, and MSU’s repeated conclusion was that Nassar was not molesting athletes. Nassar was reported to various policing agencies, including the Meridian Township Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and none of them did anything but choose to believe Nassar and disbelieve his hundreds of victims. Since investigations of Nassar first began, it is estimated that he has abused at least 265 known victims.

Repeatedly and methodically, due process failed these girls, and women, and families. It concluded again and again and again that Nassar was telling the truth, and that all of his victims were lying, and if not lying, then simply incapable of understanding that what had seemed inappropriate was actually medical treatment. Here are literally dozens of stories about the stories that officials everywhere failed to take seriously.

For those wondering what it was exactly that Nassar did, it was this:

Briefly, On Andrew Sullivan, Katie Roiphe, and Due Process

 

Nassar’s victims told the same stories, over and over and over again, and nobody took them seriously, at least until there were so many voices that ignoring them became an impossibility. Do Sullivan and Roiphe account for this sort of systemic failure? Of course not. To them, it is the principle of the thing that matters, not its outcome. As both have made clear, Nassar’s behavior having been excused is, presumably, due process working perfectly: claims were investigated and dismissed repeatedly after all. One wonders if either of them believed Nassar was guilty until a court told them so. One wonders if they genuinely believed that it was more important to believe Nassar than it was to believe the more than 100 women who testified at his trials. But one does not wonder too hard.

Is it worth noting that the authorities who repeatedly excused Nassar are the same ones that Donegan was describing above, the ones who put institutions ahead of individuals, the ones who put abusers ahead of the abused? Yes, it absolutely is. Sullivan and Roiphe want to dichotomize this conversation, insisting that there is no middle ground between ten guilty men going free and one innocent man being imprisoned but…actually, let’s get back to that.

Nassar is hardly the only case wherein officials in positions of power – cultural, religious, sporting, legal – failed to act in the best interest of victims. There as in here, we see the opposite: due process failing repeatedly as it both excuses abuse and enables abusers. But if Nassar does not put a fine enough point on it, the example of Rob Porter should.

Rob Porter is the now-former White House Staff Secretary. Several weeks ago, rumors started swirling that he had abused both of his previous wives. These rumors were bolstered almost immediately by photographic evidence of Porter’s assaults. These assaults themselves prevented Porter from getting a security clearance, something that apparently did not end up stanching his meteoric rise in the Trump Administration. And when all of this became publicly available, his enablers tried desperately to excuse his past behavior, before he ultimately left his job. In the aftermath of his departure, Donald Trump tweeted this:

People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?

The message could not be clearer: men and their reputations are simply more important than women. And if that argument looks familiar, it is because it is precisely the same one that Sullivan and Roiphe are making. To be fair, Sullivan and Roiphe have both been making this argument because they apparently genuinely believe it, or at least, they are both better at putting a veneer on their ask that women trust in a system that has repeatedly failed them; Trump’s belief in due process begins and ends with whatever is most beneficial to him at any particular point. But there is no denying that one side in all of this is demanding that men are owed the due process of a system which very routinely ends up protecting those very same men. All three see it as fair that the Enlightenment idea of due process – the very foundation of Western civilization, claimed Sullivan – repeatedly seems to excuse the bad behavior of those who tended to benefit most from that same Enlightenment idea. 

For whatever their shortcomings, and there appear to be very many of them, Sullivan and Roiphe both seem to be smart enough to understand that due process routinely fails to substantively handle issues of abuse. Yet, despite the mountain of available evidence that suggests this faith will go unrewarded, both continue to insist that women – and particularly, younger women – trust in it anyway. This alone is an absurdity.

Sullivan and Roiphe go much, much further. Both want to see these women voluntarily deny themselves the ability to try to protect themselves, insisting that men are owed due process in a court of reputational opinion – a court that does not exist – and that the refusal to do so, coupled with their refusal to cotton to such absurd demands, is evidence of their scant commitment to free expression itself. Which is a hell of an accusation to be making when your fundamental belief is that these particular women have been expressing themselves too freely.

Neither Sullivan nor Roiphe is going to change. They have been at this shtick for decades, both braying loudly at younger people for having the outright audacity to wonder if our cultural norms are really all that great. We see it here, with both going to bat for due process, without ever once acknowledging that maybe it is not working as well as advertised –nevermind that girls and women are being hurt as a result. Sullivan and Roiphe worry incessantly about the possibility of misidentifying an innocent party, and cannot be bothered to be troubled at all when entirely guilty parties go free. “This is what it means to have ideals!” both scream to those who, like themselves, would prefer to believe that it is the kids who are the problem.  

It remains entirely unclear what Sullivan and Roiphe would prefer that women do, or if they would simply prefer that women not do, or say, anything at all. What is clear is what we do know: that both are opposed to women warning one another about dangerous men in a methodical way, that their belief in free expressions ends (curiously) as soon as they are done freely expressing themselves, that their belief in idea of due process matters more to them than does the systemic failure of due process, and that, ultimately, their belief is focused far more intensely on reputations of men than in the safety of women.

As long as this commitment to men continues – as long as the needs and wants and desires of men are considered more important than the realities of what women face – this will not go away, and the commitment to due process that both Sullivan and Roiphe demand of those that they criticize will only get more tenuous. Such is the damage done by refusing to listen, to account, to reckon, and to struggle with a principle’s shortcomings, no matter how obvious those shortcomings are. Such too is the fundamentalism of refusing to acknowledge, even for a second, that maybe something needs to change.

___

*Sullivan would later insist that he had not intended for the sentence to be read in the way that it was written, but apologized nonetheless. But because heaven forbid Sullivan admit that he had (badly) screwed up, he added this:

“to note that such charges had nothing to do with sexual harassment or abuse of power – which meant that the movement had morphed into policing sex outside the workplace.”

He wrote this without acknowledging that Donegan had specifically dealt with the idea that the list was only meant to capture the things that happened within an office’s walls:

Last summer, I saw two of the most notorious of these men clutching beers and laughing together at a party for a magazine in Brooklyn. “Doesn’t everyone know about them?” another woman whispered to me. “I can’t believe they’re still invited to these things.” But of course we could believe it. By then, we’d become resigned to the knowledge that men like them were invited everywhere.

It Sullivan does understand that secretly removing a condom during sex is not, in fact, a “minor offense,” then he can damned sure figure out why women might want to know if a man was prone to engaging in such behavior, whether or not that behavior was occurring within an office’s four walls.

 


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103 thoughts on “Briefly, On Andrew Sullivan, Katie Roiphe, and Due Process

  1. This, though, misunderstands both the #MeToo movement and the list’s existence. Neither exist because of a contempt for due process; they exist because due process routinely and predictably tends to fail in favor of men.

    Statements like this show me that we have a fundamentally different understanding of American history.

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    • I had been bouncing back and forth between drafts, and have updated this to put “abusive” in front of men. As in, “due process routinely and predictably tends to fail in favor of abusive men.” Do you also disagree with that idea?

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    • So how many women have been groped, raped, or otherwise harassed? Nearly every one I’ve ever met; it’s ubiquitous.

      Now how many men are serving time for that groping, raping or harassing? Statistically, almost zero; particularly when compared with the numbers of women on the receiving end of this behavior.

      So I’d be really interested to hear just how you think due process has a different history.

      I wonder why some men are so eager to demand due process; because due process means they’re facing legal action and a potential jail sentence. Losing a job because your employer deems you unable to treat others (particularly women) with the respect due colleagues in the workplace or academia seems a better alternative; and I fully suspect that men who demand due process only do so because it has, traditionally, benefitted men and absolved them of the crimes they committed because ‘he said/she said’ without other witnesses. Calls for ‘due process’ gives shameful men opportunity to question how much she drank, what she wore, who else she’s had sexual relations with all as opportunity to prove she an inclination to be sexual, so her charges were without merit.

      It’s been a very long time since I commented here; but I want to give Sam a shoutout for the excellent writing he’s done on the topic of gender violence, I’m grateful; it’s a good antidote to the willful ignorance of other’s lived experiences; attitudes that seem to fester here in the name of diversity of opinion, and that the responses that attack Sam instead of consider what he’s saying are truly pathetic, and why I won’t participate.

      Wishing you all well.

      Good job, Sam. Thank you.

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      • So I’d be really interested to hear just how you think due process has a different history.

        It’s hard for me to imagine how this could be a serious question. I could argue that implying my comment is an “attack” is exactly the sort of thing that I’m talking about.

        But yeah, I’m happy to agree to disagree. As I said above, some of us have a different understanding of American history. You’re welcome to hold onto yours.

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          • I’ve been thinking about how to say this in the least aggressive way possible and the best that I could come up with is to say that is a pretty obtuse question. I have to believe that you know what I mean. So it’s weird to try to turn it around and make it about something else instead of just dealing head on with the issue.

            If you want to criticize Sullivan and Rophie for being in insifficiently interested in stopping sexual assault or being indifferent to victims, you’ll get no complaints from me. If you want to say that they’re using due process as a cop out, that’s fine as well. But when you go so far as to try to claim that due process is itself something that has routinely benefited male perpetrators at the expense of female victims, you’re only telling half a story. There is a pronounced history of black and brown men being cast as hypersexual predators and being railroaded in cases involving alleged sexual assault. Adding the word “abusive” doesn’t change my objection to your statement.

            As points out below, you don’t need to attack the idea of due process. Due process is not the problem. The problem is that due process has historically not been enough to overcome white supremacy and not enough to overcome misogyny. The whole point of due process is to get focused on the merits of an individual case and not reduce every dispute to a question of identity. Making this about men v women is not the way to justice.

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            • There appears to be a substantive difference between the Due Process that you’re referring to and the due process that Sullivan and Roiphe are referring to, and there is no denying the ugly history of sexual assault’s use as a cudgel against minority populations, but it seems just as clear that the Due Process investigations of sexual assault – on the rare occasions that they do occur, and do not involve investigators insisting that victims must have done something to deserve the crime committed against them – seem to be often be done with regard to the best interest of the accused. Maybe that’s how we want our justice system to function, but that again leaves victims of abuse high and dry in the pursuit of justice.

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              • Let’s not get too far away from your (true and important) distinction between private and state action.

                I’d rather that consideration of the rights of the accused (in criminal lawsuits) be the default than that we criticize the resort to it when we really don’t like the accused. Now, if you are referring to failures to prosecute under that rubric (e.g. the utter failure to process rape kits in many jurisdictions) that’s a fair dig, but this comment seems to reach further than that in the specific context of criminal law and therefore makes me concerned.

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            • To support ‘s point, one of the big divides in 70’s era feminism, between the mainstream “white feminist” types, and the emerging black feminists/womanists, was over the issue of “always believing women.” I hope we can all see how a group of women who had direct memory of lynching would reach a different conclusion from a collection of bi-coastal, upper-middle-class academics, whose experience largely consisted of drunk frat boys and handsy professors. (Yes, it’s more complicated. But still.)

              The point is, I think ‘s point stands, at least with regards to gender dynamics not otherwise shaped by class and race. Add race, things change. gave an important correction.

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        • FWIW, I don’t see your comments on this topic as attacks and never have. (There have been some exceptionally blatant personal attacks on Sam in the comments of other posts on this topic, by other commenters, which is what I’m choosing to believe was referring to.)

          I also very much appreciate this thing you just said:
          “The problem is that due process has historically not been enough to overcome white supremacy and not enough to overcome misogyny.”
          Which is pretty much my entire issue with “justice” as done by historical courts (as in, historically up to the present day though not as bad now as it used to be), far more concisely than I would have been able to put it.

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      • And this is why #metoo is important, because my experience in history is similar to jr’s.

        I have never even once, had an experience with the police or legal system that wasn’t polite, professional and ended with anything but a just result.

        But I’ve also come to understand that my experience is radically different than many other people. #metoo is important in that it is women speaking in their own voices about their own experiences.

        And Mrs. Daniels has corroborated that virtually every woman has experienced some degree of harassment, pressure or unwelcome sexual advances.

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        • Which is why Sullivan is such a frustrating figure. Coming out, and putting the faces of people/friends/neighbors on the issue, is EXACTLY how the LGBT community gained acceptance in lots of places. MeToo is pretty obviously the same thing (or, at least, an overlapping venn diagram of things), so the fact he doesn’t see that is… let’s say telling.

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        • And this is why #metoo is important, because my experience in history is similar to jr’s.

          I have never even once, had an experience with the police or legal system that wasn’t polite, professional and ended with anything but a just result.

          I am having an enormous amount of cognitive dissonance between these two sentences.

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          • Allow me to explain-
            I have never experienced the injustice that women and many minorities describe.

            Yet I have come to understand that my experiences are just that, my experience; women and minorities experience our justice system very differently than I do.

            This is why hearing them speak in their own voices about their lived experience is so important.

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            • I took that to be the case, which is why I found

              ” my experience in history is similar to jr’s.” quite puzzling.

              He’s spoken before in these very comments about the choices he’s had to make specifically as an African-American man, in sexual situations, knowing that he’d be judged differently than white men would be in the same context.

              I don’t know about his experiences with the law, but I’ve inferred them to be somewhat different than perfect politeness from other things he’s said.

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      • These are very kind words. I truly wish your experience had (or would have) been different here, but comments sections are what they are, unfortunately. And even if you are here only briefly, it is so nice to have you back.

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  2. Due process is supposed to protect the accused. The ideal of common law criminal jurisprudence is the assumption of innocence and that it is better for ten guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be punished falsely. Reality often works differently but the common ideal is a real thing. Its an important way of preventing tyranny. One reason why the 20th century dictatorships were so fearsome was that they did not pay lip service to liberalism in their quest to achieve ideological utopia.

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    • Ideals are great, but we should be honest about how they often have limitations, and one of them is dealing with instances of abuse. To deny women a workaround – as both Sullivan and Roiphe want to do here – is to implicitly acquiesce to the abusive behavior.

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      • The star of any criminal trial is the accused. It doesn’t matter what the crime is, it could be burglary, murder, sexual assault, or financial fraud. The issue is whether or not the accused is guilty or not guilty and whether there are mitigating circumstances when determining the punishment if found guilty. The victim’s rights movement had bad effects on the criminal justice system and American society. It helped create our current semi-police state.

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      • This is true, which is why your criticism of them is well founded, why no criminal action is (or could be) brought against anyone contributing to the list, etc.

        It does not justify a change in criminal procedures to be more hostile to the accused.

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        • There’s also the fact that “creepy” is not always “criminal” and things that are criminal are not always worth pursuing through a criminal case.

          Grabbing someone’s butt is a misdemeanor assault, I believe. Which is unlikely to go anywhere, and certainly not worth the hassle to many women. But they’d also like to go unmolested.

          Honestly, I don’t even see why Sullivan is whinging about due process when no one’s talking criminal or civil charges, or court cases, or anything other than literally people expressing their opinion about other people.

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      • Carceral feminism is going to work just as well as the War on Drugs. Lots of liberals and people of color supported the War on Drugs. Drugs were seen as doing a bad things in poor communities. Going against the drug dealers was supposed to help shape those communities up and make things better for everybody. Turned out very differently.

        I wrote this before but the problem with sexual assault is that we are dealing with two very different things. You have sex assault the legally defined crime. Theoretically, sex assault the crime should be treated no differently from a legal perspective than any other crime. The person accused of sexual assault should be treated no differently than burglar. Sexual assault is more than a legally defined crime though. It has an ideological definition as a tool of oppression against women, children, and the powerless that other crimes do not. This means that there is an argument to be made that sexual assault should be treated differently from other crimes with fewer rights for the accused.

        As stated above, I think this will work out as well as the War on Drugs from a liberal perspective.

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          • Depends upon where.

            For example, San Francisco has a policy of aggressive prosecution of crimes in this category. One result is that the only time I served on a jury was for an assault without battery (i.e. man makes threatening gesture at woman on the street, no physical contact or harm) where the woman’s statement was contradicted by the available witnesses, and inconsistent with the police report (though police were not present until after the critical time). It was an easy acquittal, to the point where I suspect there would have been no trial but for the policy.

            One could have interesting conversations about how to balance limits on prosecutorial discretion in this area (because you are absolutely right it has been misused too many times). If, instead, you’re saying that each case should be more tilted against the accused, though, you’ve thoroughly lost me.

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        • Very true and as points out above, our noble concepts of justice have a way of being transmogrified into vehicles of prejudice.

          But I think@jaybird has the right of it here where #metoo is essentially an asymmetric guerilla tactic, by those who don’t occupy the commanding heights of power.

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          • Jaybrid’s point is a good one. Sexual assault and sexual harassment are real issues and very tricky issues to deal with because common law presumptions about innocence and American rules on due process really do help people accused of sex crimes more than somebody on trial for grand theft auto. Its a lot easier for prosecutors to prove that a young man stole a car than that a young man raped a woman. When you add the ability of a wealthy person to hire good lawyers exasperates this.

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            • I dunno about this. It seems like American police and prosecutors have a pretty good record of locking up young men for rape or sexual assault even when those young men aren’t guilty.

              It’s just that they are able to do it because those young men are viewed through the lens of racial prejudice, and on top of that don’t have the resources to actually mount a vigorous defense.

              Then a little while later someone who does have those resources, and gets acquitted or receives a slap on the wrist, often despite strong evidence of guilt, and we’re told that it’s the system working and the rights of accused have been upheld.

              Of course, for a variety of reasons, we hear a lot more about the latter case than the former, and then people conclude from what they’ve heard that due process protects the guilty, without noticing the part about protecting the innocent.

              And perhaps they’re actually getting the right impression, since the ability of due process to protect the innocent is pretty dubious.

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                • I don’t think they take it seriously, since if they did take it seriously they’d care a hell of a lot more about only locking up the guilty. Locking up someone for a crime they didn’t commit is obviously not helpful in any way.

                  Here, for all their nonfeasance in the face of that backlog of sexual assault cases, and the bending over backwards to extend the benefit of the doubt accorded to high status men regardless of strong evidence of guilt, we still wind up with quite a few innocent men in prison.

                  So we’re left with a system that functions badly, but not in a way that consistently serves the interests of the guilty or the innocent. Instead, it consistently serves the interests of the powerful.

                  And for all the rhetoric about what due process does in an ideal world, in our actual world it seems to provide little benefit to many, many people who have the full force of the state bearing down on them.

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              • I think it may be worth pointing out that the list under discussion was not aimed at naming average joes without any means of defending themselves. It was aimed specifically at men who have the money/power to get away with harassment and even outright assault because they can have the influence and resources to do so.

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  3. This may come off as nitpicking, but Due Process is a real thing that has value, so I don’t want to buy in to the corruption of the term that #metoo critics are pushing. Due process is what restricts arbitrary us of the power of the government: it’s what keeps the government from locking you up, taking your property, or depriving you of other rights and benefits without showing it’s work and exposing itself to legal challenge. It has fish all to do with whether or not a private employer keeps someone on payroll or whether or not people decide that somebody else is a scumbag they want nothing to do with.

    So what failed the victims of Nasser, Weinstein, etc. was that other people with the power to stop it didn’t take them seriously. Because these people protected abusers, they never reached the point where die process was an issue. In some cases they still haven’t. Due process doesn’t matter at all when predators never come close to the inside of a courtroom.

    This means that Sullivan and Roiphe aren’t actually demanding due process at all. They’re demanding that people keep ignoring victims and not taking women seriously, because they are more worried about reputational damage to rich and powerful men like Weinstein. If they were worried about people being fired for bad reasons they would be coming out against at-will employment, not the shitty media men list. After all, you can only lose your job from a flimsy accusation if your employer takes it seriously. Indeed, people get fired all the time for terrible reasons that leave them no recourse. But when it’s the word of a woman bringing down a powerful man, suddenly something must be done.

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    • Right on, Brother .

      As I opined on Twitter some time ago, due process is like federalism. It is too often invoked by those who deploy it in the defense of what, on the merits, would be obviously indefensible. This doesn’t mean that it lacks independent and inherent value, and ought not diminish our respect for the concept. I’ve long argued (since before my association with Ordinary Times) that due process is the basic and fundamental reason that the United States of America exists in the first place.

      Punishment for crimes, consistent with the concept of due process, does require the state to produce some evidence. For some reason we seem to like the concept of victim testimony as evidence in some cases and we seem to not like it in others. Consider two statements from victims of two different crimes, one theft and one sexual assault, both made to police officers:

      “That’s the guy who took my wallet.”

      “That’s the guy who grabbed my butt.”

      We seem to take a victims at his word when he visually identifies the perpetrator of a property crime like theft. “That’s the guy who took my wallet.” There’s no other hard evidence of the crime happening, no hard evidence that the victim ever had a wallet in the first place, and if the event occurred, it’s exceedingly likely that the thief took the cash and ditched the wallet somewhere. Yet “That’s the guy who took my wallet” is enough for a police officer to arrest someone.

      Protesting that a woman saying “That’s the guy who grabbed my butt” is “not sufficient evidence” ignores the fact that her statement is, inherently, evidence in its own right, exactly as much as “That’s the guy who took my wallet.”

      Taking a property crime victim at his word, but making a sex crime victim come up with objectively-verifiable corroborating evidence, is not extending equality before the law as a practical matter. Equality before the law is also a very fundamental American value. And given that sex crime victims are overwhelmingly women, that’s a big equal protection problem for our government complying with its Constitutional mandates.

      I hope that’s a way of phrasing the issue in the parlance of the “male system” describes infra.

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    • Given the jaw flapping over “due process,” this seems an obligatory read: https://theestablishment.co/due-process-is-needed-for-sexual-harassment-accusations-but-for-whom-968e7c81e6d6

      I told her that I’d be happy to write about how the fixation on “due process” for these men was an attempt to re-center the concerns of men. How the question itself was absurd, because if there’s anything these stories show, it’s that these men in their years of open abuse were given more than just due process—but the women, many of whom had tried bringing this abuse to those in authority years before, were given no process at all. I said I’d love to write about the countless women whose careers were ended by coming forward with the abuse they faced, about the countless women whose careers were never able to get off of the ground because of abuse and gender discrimination. Due process. Women would love ANY process. They would love to even be heard.

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        • Absolutely an amen to this. The List was, as plainly stated by its creator, a workaround to the reality that the systems in place to prevent or at least minimize abuse had all failed completely. Sullivan and Roiphe genuinely seem to believe that these women, despite knowing of potentially risky individuals owe it to due process (for some reason) to let others remain ignorant of dangerous situations. It is such a huge ask which they have thus far refused to fully explain.

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          • I keep coming back to how selective this fear of losing a job is. I mean we’re talking about workplace sexual harassment! An unknown, but almost certainly very large, number of women lose jobs or are driven out of industries by harassment. If you get fired for turning down your boss’s advances or for complaining to HR, it is sadly common for you to have no practical legal recourse. That’s because there are very few due process protections for employees of any kind. This concern for people like Aziz Ansari or Garrison Keillor is so obviously selective in order to make a cheap argument and defend the influential media figures that these influential media figures identify with.

            (Yes, I am fully aware that retaliation like i describe above is illegal. But when the default rule is that you can be fired for almost any reason at any time, or when job seekers don’t know what their former employer is telling their prospective new one, proving anything is very difficult. You know who has always been capable of screwing your career with malicious rumors? Your former boss)

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            • That’s one reason I support “for cause” laws and end the presumption of “at will” employment. It might help move the needle a little bit to protect people from such harrassment.

              That said, it’s certainly no cure all. I just see it as one thing we could do that might help in some situations and that might do so just enough to justify the bad effects of such a change in policy.

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  4. I probably made all of the points that I’m inclined to make in the original “Briefly” comment section. I’ll restate this one because, hey.

    Well, there are public accusations of violent felonies and private ones.

    To repeat a point made every time we discuss sexual dynamics, one of the big problems with a lot of intimate interactions between two people is that there is nothing that really meets the level of legal proof after the incident. Just a he-said/she-said.

    Which then brings up the question… if a guy does something that would be felonious if it could be proven (that cannot be proven after the fact), is his victim obligated to not tell anybody in private?

    If she tells someone else in private, is she obliged to tell him about telling someone else so that the someone else can hear his side of the story too?

    This seems odd.

    Heck with that, let’s build on the above. (Disclaimer that I’m hesitant to wander into EvoPsych territory or, Atheist God help us all, essentialism.)

    Let’s call the modern legal system a Male System. This has all sorts of various traditions that were hard-won across culture. These include such things as “presumption of innocence” and stuff touched on in the Sixth Amendment like the right to face one’s accuser.

    The Male System has a handful of problems when it comes to stuff like the private felonies mentioned above. Someone grabs your butt in the breakroom… how do you prove this? If there isn’t a camera in the breakroom and there aren’t any witnesses, how could you possibly prove this? It’s a he-said/she-said. Let’s say that the person who did the grabbing has a great deal of power in the company? Look at Weinstein, again. Let’s say that he grabs your butt. Is that someone who you want to accuse in public? He can have you fired, make your life a living hell at work…

    (If you want a recent example of this, Terry Crews says that he’s been pressured to drop his sexual assault lawsuit. It would help “avoid problems”, he says he was told.)

    How do deal with how the Male System Fails? Well, there is also a somewhat Female System. The Grapevine. The Whisper Network. The Writing On The Restroom Stall. “Hey. New Person. If you find yourself in the breakroom with Bob From Accounting, watch yourself. He is a butt grabber.” Write it on the bathroom stall. “Bob from accounting grabs butts.” This Female System helps protect people that The Male System isn’t set up to deal with.

    Indeed, most of The Male System responses to this Female System is to look at it and to complain that The Male System doesn’t have the tools to deal with problems like these. “But what about due process? What about presumption of innocence! What about the right to face one’s accusers, for goodness’ sake!”

    Well, this Female System arose because The Male System doesn’t have the tools to deal with problems like these.

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  5. I think you and I have some very different ideas about some parts of this…. but overall we have more in common than we differ on. Particularly about calls for “due process” that really mean calls for quashing women’s efforts to protect themselves without relying on the court system that has repeatedly (not universally, but more often than not) failed to protect anybody except people at the top of whatever food chain.

    Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful and incisive writing on this topic.

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    • He later apologized, sort of, but blamed a copy editor, in what sure as hell looked like a repeat of Roiphe blaming the factchecker for threatening to out Donegan. He insisted though that a man who removed his condom during sex, even discretely, is not in violation of any workplace standard, which Donegan accounted for. It was frankly unfathomable.

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  6. Our choices rather seem to be limited to having due process or allowing something akin to … enlightened mob rule.

    I doubt we’ll be able to synthesize a third option, at least in a bounded amount of time.

    Due process is an acknowledgement that *uncertainty* is just a fact. And #MeToo is not a legal stricture, but rather a thing from which legal stricture may emerge.

    That sort of thing has a … checkered reputation.

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      • I don’t know of a third course. Worse; I don’t know how one could be constructed, and am skeptical than any such construction is possible.

        But it’s pretty clear that you can found a universal self-interest in due process on (of all things) an argument shaped like The Golden Rule.

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      • If it’s all just leverage of power then as they used to say – “devil take the hindmost.” We *must* be guided by universal principles.

        If women can somehow …. construct a world in which there are very close to no false accusations, then it might be better. But I’d still rely only on a well-vetted due process.

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          • We’re not *even* in a place where we could start design. I apologize if I failed to communicate that said “due process” is a mythic beast.

            We are unfortunately in a span of time where neuroscience is emerging and I would start there. Then again, giving science moral authority is very uncomfortable. Almost as uncomfortable as ignoring it…

            If you follow the arguments in Sapolsky’s “Behave” to their logical conclusion, I’m not sure the existing criminal justice system can “stand in the wind that would blow” ( grossly misquoting “A Man For All Seasons” there ) .

            Eric Berne wrote books in which “games” like “Rapo” and “Let’s You And Him Fight” were identified. It’s a seemingly cynical reduction of these things to… transactions.

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    • You really can’t place meaningful due process constraints on individuals talking, or avoiding associating with other people in a professional or personal capacity. It’s a category error to assert that you can, one which Roiphe and Sullivan commit.

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      • Right.

        A group of women writing down who they think is evil/criminal/yucky/etc. for the purpose of avoiding those people has nothing to do with due process.

        An at-will employee being fired for appearing on that list will ultimately have something to do with due process, assuming the employee challenges his termination in civil litigation.

        Someone being arrested for a crime because their name appears on the list would enjoy the full due process protections available to any criminal defendant (and, given the list, likely enjoy them more than most as those are folks who aren’t using public defenders).

        This, to me, all seems entirely above-board.

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        • An at-will employee getting fired for being on the list still isn’t a due process issue, not is it anything new. That person’s boss can fire them for liking the Steelers, for talking about their kids too much, or for insulting the boss’s haircut. Being on the list isn’t an illegal criteria.

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          • If they sue for wrongful termination (or, I suppose, business torts like interference with contract/defamation against the list writers) they’ll get due process.

            They might not like the outcome, because as you say at-will employment makes wrongful termination claims inherently tricky, but that’s a whole separate question.

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          • That person’s boss can fire them for liking the Steelers

            But this is a bad thing, . We *could* want more process than that – and even say that it’s due the employee.

            And it’s not even true in a lot of workplaces. There is very often more process than that laid out, and, it being laid out, we are right to say that it is due (owed). It’s not a legal violation if it is denied in that case as it is with a wrongful imprisonment, but that’s not to say that it’s not process that is due. In some (many) cases, contractually.

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                • Which is to say, in general I would like more protections restored for workers from termination of any kind, and certainly from wrongful termination. More process, that is. And I would like that to apply to termination processes pursuant to sexual harassment accusations (and of course to retaliation for same!).

                  But my actual point was that, even under the status quo, there are workplaces where a degree of process before termination is roughly guaranteed as terms of employment, and that it is a reasonable use of the term due process to say that due process has been denied when those processes are circumvented. Obviously you can disagree – it’s not a violation of the 5th amendment – but I think it’s an important extension of the concept. We shouldn’t *want* the minimum of process before termination to be promised (and thus be due) to workers.

                  And I certainly don’t like the fact of the lack of protections for workers in general to be used to leverage against people who are accused of workplace misconduct, because it has the effect of endorsing the general status quo in terms of at-will employment if we’re at all eager to make that argument.

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        • That is correct, Kazzy.

          I am in some ways that I haven’t totally clarified to myself uncomfortable with the Shitty List as well. But to the extent Sullivan and Roiphe relied on due process as one of the names for their objections to the list itself (and I don’t know that extent because I haven’t read either essay closely), they really should have thought harder about what their objections are, and what due process is, and seen how they aren’t the same.

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      • I don’t believe that for a millisecond. IMO. you’ve abandoned principle in the service of only seeing power relationships. What you are prescribing is a collective exercise of power on behalf of the powerless. That could be eminently useful but it can’t trump due process.

        We don’t know what happens, in the “it takes all you can do to see what’s under your nose” sense. We must be prepared to spend resources on this. That process is due process.

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          • I’m not sure power relationships can be included in principle because the process would cost too much. It’d be too computationally complex. Consider rules against fraternization or rules against insider trading – they’ve both grown substantially in size over the last few decades.

            People aren’t equivalent but they’re on an equal footing legally. Trying to make them equivalent seems daunting. I think we conflate the two often.

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          • All I mean is that instead of having a schematic description for a tort/”crime”, now you need a full description of all the variables necessary to estimate power relationships. That’s a lot harder. It’s subject to salami slicing.

            “Principle” in general means something that you can unpack to show a situation conforms to expectations of a model. .You have a laundry list of things that, if true, add weight to one finding or the other.

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        • FWIW, rather than making a claim that someone has “abandoned principle”, which I think I know what you were getting at but which is extremely easy to interpret – probably most logical to interpret – as a direct insult, there’s a much more civil way to say something similar that I think is even more relevant to what you’re trying to argue:
          “Were I to sign on to this, I would feel that I had abandoned principle in the service of only seeing power relationships.”

          Now you’re not insulting anyone and expressing your discomfort with the idea in a way that can be addressed, but is fundamentally, unshakably, about your own experiences.

          Sorry if this is too explainy, but it seemed worth suggesting since I’d like you to have room to keep arguing your perspective on this without it becoming sidelined into personal animus.

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          • Of course there is – I’m a bit puzzled by anyone being insulted. Okay then. I mean, do I even word? :)

            By “principle”, I mean a rule/set of rules or heuristic that enables determination of whether a given …. situation has transpired. Trying to convert a simple thing like that into a comparison of relative power between individuals seems much more difficult and error-prone.

            As an example,. I am thinking of how insider trading regulation and how it’s taught has changed over the years. It’s gotten quite opaque and hard to manage. An offhand comment in a phone call can trip the regulations.

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    • Just to reiterate what the lawyers have said, due process is not actually a factor here. These accusations are not being made in a court of law, civil or criminal.

      Public, and even more so, quasi-private, accusations of misbehavior/misconduct have been made against powerful and not-powerful people for all of human history.

      To turn your concern on it’s head, if a person near the top of a given hierarchy was to quietly accuse a subordinate of misconduct, how much due process is the subordinate afforded to defend themselves before their career is tanked because none of the managers/executives want to work with that person anymore?

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    • Our choices rather seem to be limited to having due process or allowing something akin to … enlightened mob rule.

      Not necessarily. A third way is that we arrive at a different cultural place in which women’s accusations regarding sexual harassment are taken seriously, male culture has changed such that harassing behavior is actually rare, and due process applies (as it does now) to actions which potentially violate the law. In order to get there, tho, things have to change. Your worry strikes me as applying more to the cultural journey than the destination.

      And #MeToo is not a legal stricture, but rather a thing from which legal stricture may emerge.

      My understanding of #metoo is that its *primarily* about women sharing their stories to give everyone – including women but especially men – a sense of how pervasive sexual harassment actually is in our culture. The lever isn’t resort to the law, but an appeal to decency or common-sense morality. Metoo can be successful even if no laws change.

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      • Nicely put, Stillwater.

        This particular cultural artifact probably has a home deep in the neural makeup of the human animal. Mamallian procreation isn’t hearts and flowers; it’s red in tooth and claw. We still have, essentially, the same brain structure for that. We’ve added a few things; the frontal cortex and moral disgust, mainly.

        Being pretty isolated from the aggressors who populate #MeToo stories, the whole thing really caught me by surprise. In that, the phenomenon has worked. I am fairly certain that the number of people I actually know who are sexual predators is zero and will remain zero.

        And to be brutally honest about it, I’ve had my brushes with the entertainment industry, and this phenomenon surprises me not at all. I’m mainly shocked that we *haven’t* heard about this before.

        Beyond simple awareness, I don’t hold a lot of hope for “fix the culture” things. Perhaps over the span of generations.

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