The back story: Two women accused Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of rape. Not of “sex by surprise,” not of “a broken condom,” of rape. Sweden sought extradition from the UK for Assange’s arrest. Assange’s lawyers fought extradition, accusing Sweden’s pursuit of him as politically motivated (which it probably was—sadly, the vast majority of rape allegations don’t result in charges, much less an international manhunt) and the women as liars (which only a court can decide). They then lied to the press about what Assange was accused of doing, first saying it was an obscure Swedish offense called “sex by surprise,” then saying he was guilty, at most, of a broken condom.
Both of these claims about the charges were false. But they got picked up and repeated by prominent people, people with national platforms like Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore, who both dismissed the charges, effectively declaring Assange innocent of all charges without a trial.
And then something else happened: The actual documents—the rape charges, in which one woman said Assange ripped her clothes and pushed her down physically before having sex with her against her wishes, and the other said he initiated sex while she was asleep, after which she asked him repeatedly to stop—got leaked. (Oops.) And Julian Assange—champion of free information, leaker of countless documents—was furious about the leaks. Because once the charges themselves were leaked, no one could credibly claim that they should simply be ignored.
That’s where #mooreandme came in. NYC blogger Sady Doyle, furious that two “progressive” TV personalities, people she admired, were dismissing the women’s charges simply because they admired the man who was being accused, started a Twitter campaign asking Moore to apologize for dismissing, and acknowledge that it’s possible for a man to be a hero for free speech and simultaneously believe he could capable of doing a bad thing. Most rapists aren’t the Green River Killer. In fact many rapists are respected members of their communities—husbands, fathers, churchgoers, and neighbors.There is no excuse for what went down, the attacking of women, the mocking of rape, all of it was an embarrassment.
Maybe it was also a teachable moment?
Maybe we learned a few things from all of this?
I'd like to hope so but I doubt that to be the case.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):