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#MooreandMe: On Progressives, Rape Apologism, and the Little Guy

So, here are some cheerful statistics for you: According to RAINN, about 60% of rapes aren’t reported. In those cases, there’s about a 51% chance that the 40% of reported rapes will have an arrest made. There’s an 80% chance of prosecution. And, given various factors including conviction and sentencing, there’s only about a 16.3% chance that someone who commits rape will serve time for that rape. Meaning: If we factor in the rapes that go unreported, only 6% of rapists ever serve time. EVER.

Gee, it sounds like making sure that rape accusations are taken seriously, and pursued to the full extent of the law, in all cases, is a pretty important issue, for progressives!

Meanwhile, here are some facts: A man has been accused of rape by two separate women. He fled the country in which he was accused. He is fighting extradition, so that he won’t have to go back to that country and face charges — even though there are spectacularly low rates of conviction for accused rapists, he just doesn’t think that he should have to go through the system, for whatever reason. And you know who’s posting bail for him?

Fucking progressives. That’s who. Including one man who has, for some years now, served as one of the most prominent and recognizable faces of the American left, filmmaker/rabble-rouser/all-around champion of the Truth and the Little Guy, Michael Moore. He’s put $20,000 hard, cashy dollars on the line, so that Julian Assange, white male left-wing darling, will be able to get out on bail despite posing a substantial and acknowledged flight risk, and despite the fact that he evidently is working to avoid facing the charges of his accusers. And why is that? Well, as per Michael Moore’s lengthy diatribe on the subject, which contains exactly one paragraph about the rape charges, his reasoning is as follows:

For those of you who think it’s wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he’s being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please — never, ever believe the “official story.” And regardless of Assange’s guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself.

In other words: Never, ever believe the women who are accusing Assange of rape. Never, ever believe the allegations that he forcibly held a woman down and raped her, never, ever believe that he raped a woman while she was unconscious. “Regardless of his guilt or innocence” — and it’s clear that Moore has chosen to believe in his “innocence,” despite the fact that Assange’s working to avoid being tried for the crime — help him. Don’t believe anything you hear about the charges, don’t believe the official story, despite the fact that Assange’s people have been caught lying — it turns out there is no such crime as “sex by surprise” in Sweden as Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens alleged, it is not worth a fine of $715 because it doesn’t exist, and there is also no Swedish law against having sex with a broken condom; what is against the law in Sweden, it turns out, is rape, which is what Assange has been charged with — and a reasonable person might assume that they are the ones it’s unsafe to believe. Don’t believe them. The allegations are “strange.” (They sure did seem that way, when they were being inaccurately reported all over the place, thanks in part to misinformation spread by Assange’s defense.) Believe Michael Moore.

Believe Michael Moore when he tells you that giving $20,000 in bail is fair, because WikiLeaks is important, because the government keeps secrets, and for a lot of people, “secrets killed them.”

Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.

Says Michael Moore. But hey, Michael, you know what exposes a Big Lie, a lot of the time? Rape allegations. You know who knows all about big lies? Women who have been raped. Raped, sometimes, by powerful men within our communities; raped by men who were beloved and supported by those communities; raped by our fellow progressives. And we didn’t report, because we knew no-one would believe us; because we knew we’d be shamed and smeared and lied about and harassed until we agreed to go away and let the Big Lie continue to exist. You want to employ the phrase “secrets killed them?” Women who have been raped know all about how secrets can kill people. And how, often, it’s telling the secret that gets you killed. Ask the women who are pressing these charges — their names have been so widely leaked, in one case by your fellow “progressive” media dudebro, Keith Olbermann, that it is possible to find their home addresses, their personal blogs and social media accounts, and to track their activities and personal lives. I’d imagine that they are very much in fear for their lives, due in large part to people like you, Michael Moore, who are insisting that they should not be believed.

And you’re the face of the Left. You have the platform, you have the power, you have the cash and the fame and the name and face recognition: You claim to speak for us. And when you speak, you don’t stand against rape.

So, who remembers the climactic scene of Roger and Me? Everybody, right? Poor little guy Michael Moore, standing up against The Man, standing outside the office of The Man, in fact, just because Roger has done something that has immeasurably harmed his community, and he wants to talk to the guy. He wants to hold him accountable. He wants Roger to look him in the face and tell him why he’s hurt all of these people.

You know what immeasurably harms the progressive community, though, is rape and rape apologism. Is victim-blaming; is accuser-smearing; is the unwillingness of men in positions of power to consider rape a crucial issue that must be taken seriously. And the person who’s hurting our community, and refusing to take responsibility for that, right now, is Michael Moore.

So thank God he’s on Twitter. He is @MMFlint, in fact! And here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to use the #Mooreandme hashtag to tell him why what he has done and said is wrong. We’re going to talk to the man. We’re going to stand outside his window with a megaphone until he comes down and talks to us. And what we’re going to say — what I hope you’re going to say — is this:

We are the progressive community. We are the left wing. We are women and men, we are from every sector of this community, and we believe that every rape accusation must be taken seriously, regardless of the accused rapist’s connections, power, influence, status, fame, or politics. We believe that rape is a crucial and central issue which affects us all, women disproportionately, and we are sick of being told that you should “never, ever believe” us. We believe that accuser-shaming, accuser-harassment, victim-blaming, and the suppression of rape cases all serve one distinct purpose, which is: TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO RAPE US AND GET AWAY WITH IT. To make us scared to report our rapes, even to the people we know. And we will not stand for it any more. We require — not ask, not prefer, absolutely require — progressive media and public figures to stand against rape in every case. Again, this is not negotiable. This is mandatory. This is a requirement: If you don’t stand against rape, and make that stand a crucial and central part of your platform, we do not accept you either as a real “progressive” or as someone who is in any way qualified for authority or a leadership position. We will not buy your merchandise; we will not support you; we will speak out against you. Because a progressive movement that doesn’t stand against rape isn’t a progressive movement. It’s just The Man, it’s just the oppressor, it’s just oppression, in a baseball hat, holding a camcorder.

Please tweet @MMFlint, using the hashtag #Mooreandme, until we have an explanation from Michael Moore, and preferably an apology, and preferably $20,000, donated to an anti-sexual-assault organization of his choice.

You told us the little guy had to stand up, Mr. Moore. You told us the authority had to be held accountable for harming communities. You told us that the Big Lies were worth exposing. But you’re promoting the Big Lie, you’re harming our community, and this time around, the little guy is us.

We can be loud. We can be persistent. I hope you’re prepared.


  1. spiralsheep wrote:

    Kate Harding posted an excellent and detailed takedown of the misogynist bullshit, with links to the known facts:

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink
  2. teresa wrote:

    Yes… I quit watching everyone on MSNBC after that little anti-woman BS they put out there. And yes I want to take them down as the face of the left, because those zealots don’t represent me, and they never will. I am so pissed about this…..
    Great post Sady, great post and spot on.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  3. N'Awlins Contrarian wrote:

    re: “If we factor in the rapes that go unreported, only 6% of rapists ever serve time. EVER.”

    I SUSPECT that what the stats you’re quoting, assuming they are correct, actually mean is that, for any particular rape, the chance of the rapist spending time in prison FOR THAT RAPE is 6%. The important point here is that most serious crimes are committed by people who commit more than one crime, so every victim who can work through the system and put a criminal in jail (it can take a lot of courage, strength, patience, and persistence) is probably sending to jail somebody who has actually committed several crimes, and whose being in jail may very well prevent the commission of additional future crimes.

    Also, it should have been fairly evident a long time ago what an unfair, worthless, biased, a$$h01e Michael Moore is–even if SOME of his targets may be worthy targets.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  4. Rossa wrote:

    Mine: @MMFlint: #frequentlyaskedquestions Why is Michael Moore being a rape apoligizing douche?Progressive my arse. #Mooreandme

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink
  5. Steev wrote:

    Thanks for this great post, an important contribution to this debate, a debate that seems in many cases to have turned many friends into enemies and new battle lines to be drawn.

    I think Assange should be investigated and punished for anything wrong he’s done to these women. And yet I do worry that being in custody or in a Swedish prison will make it easier for his enemies (the U.S. government) to go after him for espionage or whatever other crazy charges they make up to punish him for Wikileaks. But this doesn’t absolve him from any wrongdoings to these 2 women.

    I’m just glad that Wikileaks apparently is bigger than just Assange, and if he gets jailed or assassinated, the institution he has set up will continue to do its important work, even if its founder is, sadly, a rapist.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
  6. tirannie wrote:

    @MMFlint Rape needs to be taken seriously, even when the accused is a sacred cow of progressivism. We all expect better from you #mooreandme

    It grosses me out that he calls it all hooey and laughs about it. Grrr.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
  7. mike wrote:

    I’m a Republican and I don’t see this as a progressive / conservative issue its a decency issue and Mr. Moore has none.


    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  8. EJ wrote:

    To share my story, sadly, my rapist admitted to doing it but since the investigating officer messed up his facts in his summary to the DA . . . he got off on a technicality. Blood, sweat and tears went into getting this person in jail and our country lets another – ADMITTED – rapist on the loose.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  9. DOZ HEWSON wrote:

    I’m A MAN.
    I’m BLACK.
    I’m 42 AGEYEARS.
    I’m FAT.
    I’ve NO PARTY.
    I know myself as a LIBERATION LIBERTARIAN.
    I don’t do TWITTER.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  10. JK wrote:

    I am not a progressive. I am not a conservative. I’m an independent who hangs around in the center cause I think leaning too far in any direction means eventually you tip over.
    But most importantly, I am a father of 2 daughters. So, I will ask Mr. Moore this- If my daughter was accusing a darling of the left of rape, would it be dismissed as “hooey” if you liked his politics and not hers? Rape has no political affiliation or slant. It’s just an atrocity.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  11. Dr. Braverman Free wrote:

    Dr. Lewis E. Braverman, a Harvard trained endocrinologist, engaged in indecent A&B of the breasts of all of his female patients while he was working at UMass Medical Center in Worcester, MA. Multiple doctors observed the assaults, yet no one stopped him even after patients complained.

    No one has investigated the 15K to 40K assaults or contained him.

    Women are fodder.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
  12. Lou wrote:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been in massive feminist rage about this ever since some idiot guy called me a FASCIST for daring to suggest that hey, guess what maybe Assange did commit rape, we can’t just write off the claims of those women because he’s a powerful man. After my blind rage abated I began looking about for intelligent commentary on this, and here you are. 🙂

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
  13. Kathleen wrote:

    Hey, you know what feels really good in this feel-bad scenario? donating to the defense of Bradley Manning (Glenn Greenwald has a link at Salon).

    Somehow the plight of the alleged leaker kid actually living in 23 hour a day solitary hasn’t raised quite the same enraged empathy among Progressive Manpeople as the plight of the beleagured alleged rapist.

    (though Ida thunk the courage to leak is sort of at the heart of Wikileaks)

    Could it be because one is a gay fella and the other is a het sexxee (possibly forcible) sexytimes fella?


    Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
  14. Kathleen wrote:

    Balzac — ? Australian journalists are adorbs like baby red pandas or sumpin? I don’t follow.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink
  15. Sady wrote:

    @Smadin, @Kathleen: Balzac, or apparently “Paul Gaskin,”, apparently got past our comment screening somehow. His IP address has been banned. Sorry for the intentional, trolling disruption.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 12:37 am | Permalink
  16. smadin wrote:

    Kathleen, judging from Balzac’s comments on the other #MooreandMe thread, he’s not really here to engage in serious discussion, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a cogent response.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 12:32 am | Permalink
  17. Kathleen wrote:

    Smadin — oh, okay. Thanks for the heads up!

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 12:37 am | Permalink
  18. smadin wrote:

    I did think “circle-jerk for women who hate men” was pretty classic, though.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink
  19. Alecto wrote:

    I was raped in my sleep as well, by a progressive man.
    I didn’t report it, because I didn’t want to face police disbelief, or flat-out being turned away from the police station, being ostracised from my circle of friends – the first person I told, straight after, didn’t believe me – and I just took advantage of the fact that I was changing countries anyway to cut off all ties.
    All this is making me want to throw up. I didn’t want to go through it myself – I find it inconceivable that anyone would put themselves through this kind of shit multiplied by a billion since the man you’re accusing is a progressive hero with worldwide supporters.
    Yeah, those two women are really going to benefit from accusing him.
    I used to be fond of Michael Moore as well. Those days are definitely over
    Thanks Sady.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 4:11 am | Permalink
  20. k not k wrote:

    Thank you Sady.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  21. Kathleen wrote:

    smadin — ha ha ha ha ha hah ah. I am sorry to have missed that antic.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink
  22. Wikileaks is good wrote:

    Take care, Assange’s defenders are actively hacking anyone’s account information who posts a defense of the women involved, by tracking back to their e-mail account information. I posted a response on the Independent sympathetic to the woman’s perspective and that the facts needed to be investigated. I got several nasty posts back attacking me as a dup and worse. Within 24 hours my e-mail was hacked and my accounts accessed. These rape apologists are OUT OF CONTROL.

    Just a couple obvious points. If Assange had responded to the womens original requests for STD test, this would not have blown up in his face. He refused to communicate with them – if it walks and quacks like a duck – maybe he is just a rapist…

    Assange raised thousands to defend Pfc. Bradley Manning, and has given his defense team 0$ Can we all post or tweet Oberfool and Moore – WHERE’s THE MONEY??? afterall – Manning is the TRUE Hero here!!!

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  23. Lora wrote:

    It infuriates me that the self-aggrandizing Assange insists that his progressivist agenda precludes his eligibility for prosecution for sex crimes. Because being famous is a justification? Is Mr. WikiLeaks Hero starting to remind anyone else of Kobe Bryant?

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  24. Wikileaks is good wrote:

    @ Lora, wasnt this the Polanski defense? He is just such a good director and he does movies about liberal issues… And we all know the evil USA court system is corrupt and all…

    When Polanski happened last year, all my liberal friends had the same Saint Assnage excuses…
    She looked older than 13
    She dress sexy (asking for it i guess)
    Her Mom was a gold digger
    Two psycologists said he was ok!
    The Judge was corrupt because he didnt accept ple bargin
    The DA agreed to reduce sentence to time served

    The last two were great. Just because the DA recommends a plea bargin, doesnt mean the Judge has to accept. The Liberals used the Judges non-acceptance to show the whole process was tainted against Polanski – watch the HBO special. Just like this case, they avoid talking about the facts or allow the facts to be explored, and delve into flights of paranoid fantasy – so with Assange, it will be a CIA honeypot operation, which they will all believe with absolutelty no proof.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
  25. tinfoil hattie wrote:

    I’m sorry, Alecto. I’m so very sorry. This must be horrible for you.

    Friday, December 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  26. Julia wrote:

    troll alert.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink
  27. mb wrote:

    Hi Sady, just want to tell you that you’re amazing. 🙂

    Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink
  28. Garland wrote:

    @134: Thank you, Julia. I assume you were referring to the now deleted comment that was using a survivor’s testimony to concern troll? From the person who is no longer welcome to comment on this site? Because they are a terrible, terrible human being?

    Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink
  29. Julia wrote:

    @136/Garland: Yes. It was almost unintelligible but it pinged off my Troll Alert system. Thank you!

    Monday, December 20, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  30. Pirate Jenny wrote:

    I just want to join the chorus of thanks. I survived rape but did not report it because I was convinced by his friends (and even a few of mine) that I would not be believed. I was very young and still developing my political beliefs but I considered myself a feminist and a staunch supporter of people who had been sexually assaulted. Still, I could not bring myself to report. This is the insidious nature of rape apology / victim blaming and it needs to stop. What Julian Assange accomplished with WikiLeaks and the why and how of his prosecution are SEPARATE ISSUES from the dismissive, at times hostile attitude towards the women he is accused of raping and attitudes about the importance of rape (and by extrapolation, women) in general.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 1:30 am | Permalink
  31. Erin wrote:

    I just want you to know that what I think you are doing is fucking awesome and that I think you are so brave. And passionate. And incredibly dedicated. As a young feminist, you inspire me. Stay strong, Sady! Much love. Will be tweeting.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 3:25 am | Permalink
  32. Ashley wrote:

    Thank you so much for being the first person to talk about this rationally, and hold that horrible guy accountable for what he’s accused of.

    P.S. Just because the second woman seemed interested in Assange before she met him does not make her 1) a “stalker,” 2) obsessive, or 3) in any way RESPONSIBLE for any actions Assange may have taken towards her. Just more victim-blaming.

    I need to find the link, but some reporter uncovered some long-form ramblings Assange posted online about five years ago … he goes on about women and how “they just want someone to stand up to their father.” He treats women in an extremely shallow and harmful way. Personally, even through the victim-blaming narratives out there in the mainstream press, I can 100% see how this guy (it’s always the arrogant/powerful ones) did exactly what they are saying he did.

    Thanks again for writing this.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 5:23 am | Permalink
  33. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  34. Patrick wrote:

    Well done. In their ” zeal ” to do anything anti-american government, these guys sometimes overlook the delicate issues in front of their faces. Glad you took them to task.

    Monday, December 27, 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink
  35. Meg wrote:

    Stepping into the fray a little late on this one I guess, but WOW. Sady, your post was amazing and has inspired me to call out anyone I know who starts spouting any of this rape apologist BULLSHIT, whether it’s about Assange or any other case. Now excuse me, I need to go create a twitter account and ritualistically burn some Michael Moore DVDs.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 7:22 am | Permalink
  36. Fury Telford wrote:

    Sady, you’ll be copping a lot of flack for this, but damn fucking skippy to you.

    There has been a lot of talk where I am about this case and almost all the women (middle aged) are saying these girls are just complaining because he slept with more than one of them.

    I commend you in sticking your neck out and saying what needs to be said. This is such an important issue that everyone is for in theory and no one is for in practice.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 6:15 am | Permalink