Sady Doyle Takes On Michael Moore

Michael Moore has made a career of standing up, as a gutsy average guy, to corporate power in the United States. Last week he inspired feminists to give him a taste of his own medicine online.

Appearing on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Moore (along with the host) summarily dismissed the sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange, the man behind Wikileaks. Moore (see transcript) called the allegations “all a bunch of hooey,” and repeated the rumor (debunked by Jessica Valenti and others) that the charge against Assange is merely that “his condom broke during consensual sex.” Moore is so eager to defend Assange that he blogged about posting bail money for him.

#MooreandMe is feminist blogger Sady Doyle’s campaign to take Moore to task on this issue. As in Moore’s documentary Roger and Me, she wants to hold The Man accountable to the “little guy”–except that now, given his rape apologism, Moore has become The Man and the little guy is women. (By the way, if you’re not up on it yet, the “#” is a hashtag, used in Twitter to collect tweets on a subject and make them searchable.)

You may have seen the #MooreandMe phenomenon on Twitter, Salon and Jezebel; beautifully dissected by Kate Harding (twice); or on Tiger Beatdown, where Doyle started it all and is continuing the drumbeat with several follow-up posts.

The first step of the #MooreandMe campaign was to call out Moore and inform him that to mock accusations of sexual assault is to participate in rape culture. (What is rape culture?  Check the exhaustive illustration by Melissa McEwan at Shakesville). Assault survivors pointed out the fear involved in making an accusation of sexual assault, particularly against someone popular. Olbermann and Moore just reinforced those fears.

The second step Doyle took was to call on Moore to donate the same amount he gave for Assange’s bail–$20,000–to an organization that combats sexual assault and helps survivors. Moore has shown no signs of being receptive to the criticism not being willing to make a comparable donation. Instead, he has just written a general post about sexual assault in Sweden. “Hey, look over there!” is a classic way of deflecting criticism. As sociologist Barry Glassner shows, the art of misdirection isn’t just for magicians.

The idea for the donation was to make a gesture of support for victims of assault. Since Moore hasn’t done it, Doyle decided that she and her followers would make the gesture themselves. In the words of Lily Tomlin:

I said ‘Somebody should do something about that.’ Then I realized I am somebody.

So this has been the third step: thousands of dollars have been raised and donated by the “little guy” activists to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and similar organizations.

I applaud Sady Doyle for her campaign, which succeeded so well and so quickly. She has made an important contribution by exposing sexism within the progressive movement, speaking up on behalf of assault survivors and demonstrating feminist activism and bringing more people on-board. Some Tiger Beatdown readers had never ventured to Twitter until motivated by #MooreandMe.

But Dolye has also experienced an unfortunate backlash: She’s been harassed online, cursed out and reportedly some people have even exposed her personal offline information.  I can’t fathom the loyalty to Moore that would inspire that. It only makes sense in the context of misogyny, and I admire Doyle’s strength in standing up to it.

She writes, four days into the action:

No matter what they do to me, no matter how long Michael Moore ignores me, I am still going to be here outside the tower. At this point, if you want to fucking stop me from demanding that apology, you will have to get a gun and literally shoot me down. And if I survive that, I’m Tweeting from the hospital.

Apart from the misogynists, the #MooreandMe campaign does have detractors within the left. Perhaps for Moore and his allies like Keith Olbermann, gender issues always come second (or third) to issues of class inequality. But I disagree. I don’t insist that fellow progressives share my own priorities, but they should respect gender-based issues. If they instead aid the oppressors, we’re never going to get very far. Remember Stupak? There’s no reason women should stand for being pawns or collateral damage in men’s politics.

Recently, someone (twitter.com/SnarkysMachine) pointed out that RAINN has some record of transphobia. Did Doyle block Snarky’s? No. Did she dodge the criticism with misdirection, like Moore did? No. Doyle tweeted and posted a link to Trans friendly resources [PDF] after a constructive dialogue with Snarky’s. Imagine that. Yet another reason to applaud her.

Photo from Flickr user nicogenin under Creative Commons 2.0.

Comments

  1. But it says, in the blog post that they are ALLEGATIONS ("sexual assault allegations he's being held for"). He's not saying the man is guilt free I think he's just saying that he thinks the guy deserves a fair trial for the allegations. He says " 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."" I think everyone deserves a fair trial…. and based on my reading of THIS blog post on Moore's that's what he seems to be suggesting.

    • snobographer says:

      He said the charges were "hooey" and repeated the lie that consensual sex without a condom is considered rape in Sweden.

  2. Just because I think that Julian Assange and wikiLeaks is doing an important job in exposing hypocrisy in the global military industrial complex and other areas of power and money, that does not mean that I must defend him for acting in a sexist and arrogant manner. That said, let me point out that the only thing the POWERS THAT BE could pin on Julian Assange was this sexual charge, and the fact that there was nothing else to hold him on, makes the sexual misconduct charge more suspect. Then, let's look at the ridiculous amount of bail they were asking. The media did seem to say that the women agreed that the sex was consensual, meaning agreed upon by them, so perhaps rape is a rather strong word. But if you are doing your best to discredit someone, rape is a good word to use. Once the word rape was used, it didn't matter that the women retracted it because the damage to Assange's character was already done. Women are not always victims, you know. There are many women out there that would take money to seduce a rich, good looking guy and accuse him later. Just sayin.

  3. I was very distressed this morning to see Mr. Moore's post on his website listing charities to consider donating to for Christmas. There was nothing about donating to RAINN or similar organizations. I wonder if Mr. Moore was aware of the #mooreandme campaign prior to that post, and if so, whether it was a deliberate oversight.

  4. yoteech2002 says:

    Point #1 – Government/corporations who want to discredit someone will do it with the help of global media. Did a rape occur or is this another case of "We are going to get you" ?
    Point #2 – Most men will never take responsibility for their own or their sex's bad behaviors. Even the most aware men have a block when it comes to owning men's own stuff.
    Neither of the above realities means that we should stop fighting to awaken them.

  5. But alyshia, Moore has already determined that the charges are "hooey." This doesn't imply that he wants a fair trial. It implies that the women have colluded against him. Whatever he may say about a fair trial is tainted by the fact that he has already condemned the charges as specious, before a trial can be had. Ana, women are not always victims. True. But trotting that old canard out victimizes every woman, especially those who fear reporting a rape. He should be tried. Fairly, of course.

    Women deserve to be more than "collatgeral damage." And there is no real way to separate sexism from classism. One complements the other. Kudos to Ms. Sherwood on a well-written piece.

  6. antiporn feminist says:

    "Did Doyle block Snarky’s? No. Did she dodge the criticism with misdirection, like Moore did? No."

    I'm very proud of Sady for starting the campaign ball rolling, but the truth is she has banned anti-porn feminists from posting at her blog because she disgrees with them.

    Let's not repeat the error of pretending our heroes are infallible.

    • snobographer says:

      I'm antiporn and have gotten into it with Sady on her blog. She hasn't banned me from commenting there. Maybe I was just more polite in my disagreement on the issue.

      • antiporn feminist says:

        You can decide for yourself if Sady berating and banning swaths of antiporn activists she has never interacted with is reasonable. I don't think it is, especially not from someone who makes a big issue out of people refusing to listen or respond to her.
        http://tigerbeatdown.com/2010/07/02/1662/

        Tinfoil hattie mentions you in her polite comment. She deserved better than the way Sady treated her, as do all the antiporn members of Genderberg she rudely and hypocritically banned from the blog.

        I’m with snobographer. Porn is bad. All around. Gross. Harmful to women. Repulsive. Has nothing to do with my thinking sex is “shameful.” I love sex. I hate porn.

  7. well,we definitely NEED to talk about IT: SEX
    sex in cultural contexts
    differences in males/females biological responses,instincts,approaches,reactions,responses
    alpha male stuff and is there a correlative for females?
    we can condemn the war(s),support or don't support our troops but let's not ignore at the same time that 1 in 3 or so women in the military experince some form of sexual assault and what do the McCains and Palin and Palinites, and Moore and and more or less have to say about that?
    Like, why do we do what we do?
    Social scientists come forth please.

  8. I'm not sure this situation is as black and white as people are trying to make it seem. First, this man is accused of rape and Michael Moore supposedly dismisses it as less than. However, I feel that many people are already burning Assange at the stake. We have to remember not to organize within the realm or the Prison Industrial Complex or police state. If we are aware of this while complicating this situation, we see that we all would have a hard time determining Assange's guilt or innocence, he hasn't stood trial for either yet..

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