UPDATE: Elam has retracted his original story. See the end of this post for more details.
Men’s Rights Activists often insist that false accusations of rape are literally as bad as rape itself, and that false accusers of rape should spend as much time in prison as actual rapists.
Presumably they feel the same way about false accusers of other crimes, from murder to check kiting.
So in the wake of Paul Elam’s reckless false accusations against recent Georgetown graduate Arianna Pattek, one would expect other MRAs to rise up en masse to demand that Elam turn himself in.
Elam, you may recall, accused Pattek of serious violations of civil rights laws, claiming that she, as an employee of Georgetown’s admissions office, showed clear bias against white men. Indeed, Elam didn’t even qualify his accusations with an “alleged,” as journalists routinely do when writing about those accused but not convicted of crimes. Here’s what he wrote about her:
Pattek, who clearly has issues with sexual and racial bigotry, decided she would not only trash the applications of white males on sight, she also decided to blog about her activities under what she assumed was anonymous conditions. Writing for a web blog called The Feminist Conservative, Pattek laid out precisely what she was doing in very clear terms. …
Clearly this is a person not only warped by ideology, but who also holds deep seated prejudices that guided her unscrupulous actions. Her targets were selected by sex, race, political beliefs and perhaps even religion. Her identity was traced after she referenced the subject of her master’s thesis at Georgetown in some of her writing, including the “about” page at the Feminist Conservative.
The trouble is that absolutely none of this is true. There’s nothing linking Pattek to the blog, which seems to be a hoax, and numerous things suggesting that she is NOT the author of the blog any more than Paul Elam is.
As Georgetown has made clear, Pattek never worked for the school’s admissions office. She never wrote a Master’s thesis; she graduated from Georgetown in 2012 with a bachelors degree, not a masters (as Elam claims) or a doctorate (as the FeministConservative blogger claimed about herself, if she is even a she). Pattek’s thesis was a Senior thesis required for her minor in Justice and Peace, which a program for undergraduates. The topic(s) of her senior thesis only bear a slight resemblance to the topic(s) of the alleged doctoral thesis of the FeministConservative blogger. Even a quick perusal of the “evidence” posted on A Voice for Men will reveal numerous other discrepancies.
Indeed, the falsity and recklessness of Elam’s charges against Pattek are so patently obvious that even some MRAs have begun to doubt. On the Men’s Rights subreddit, for example, the mods have added “May be fake” to the title of the thread discussing the feministconservative blog controversy.
In the comments, someone called isktamin offers this take:
I’ve been on another forum with a couple other people, and this is absolutely a fake. [Pattek’s] thesis states that she is of Jewish descent and identifies wholly as Jewish, while the blog states that she is Christian and not of Jewish descent.
Pattek seems to be a pretty good person. Someone’s been deleting all traces of her from the GU website, likely another student. Google archives are telling us that she has multiple awards, she helped children in need in Kenya. Her thesis is of pretty good quality, too. The blog is of shit quality without effort to spell things correctly. It’s quite the blatant online defamation campaign, and I haven’t the slightest idea why.
Incidentally, he’s right about the difference in religion, the awards, the work Pattek did in Kenya, the difference in quality between the blog and Pattek’s thesis. He’s wrong about who deleted the information: as we learned yesterday, it was the current director of the Justice and Peace program, in response to harassment from white supremacists.
Meanwhile, alt right Manosphere blogger Chuck Ross of Gucci Little Piggy has also cast serious doubt on Elam’s accusations.
So where is the upswelling of outrage amongst MRAs at Elam’s false accusations? Where are the calls for him to be charged with crimes as serious as the civil rights violations he has accused Pattek of? Where are the calls for him to turn himself in – or at the very least, to apologize for his misdeeds and step down from his position at A Voice for Men?
I haven’t seen any.
For MRAs, sorry seems to be the hardest word.
You might expect Pierce Harlan of the so-called Community of the Wrongly Accused to have some sympathy for the wrongly accused Pattek. But he’s said nothing on his site (or anywhere else, as far as I know) about Elam’s false and reckless accusations, and Elam is still listed in the Community of the Wrongly Accused sidebar as a “False rape activist,” whatever that is.
Over on the Men’s Rights subreddit, meanwhile, the mods actually deleted a post asking “So, when does the woman you guys falsely accused get an apology?” (You can still find it here, but you can no longer reach it from the Men’s Rights subreddit itself.) The comments, naturally, are full of denial, and many have been deleted, making for a surreal discussion indeed. “I don’t recall having falsely accused anyone of anything,” real-boethius wrote indignantly. “Even AVFM had the story up as “Georgetown University Coverup?” – note the question mark, and they state that the evidence is inconclusive.”
Uh, Did. You. Actually. Read. Elam’s. Post?
Elam, for his part, after adamantly attacking all those who challenged his accusations in any way, may now realize that he’s made a huge mistake. He hasn’t admitted this, of course, but he has awkwardly appended to his post some of the information gathered by Chris Deslone that clearly shows that his accusations are completely bogus. So now we have the strange spectacle of a post that accuses Pattek of various civil rights violations, without even an “allegedly” to qualify the accusations, which ends with links to official statements from Georgetown that undercut everything Elam has said:
All of this is surreal enough, but perhaps the most surreal response to the whole thing comes from the Reno, Nevada MRA known as Scarecrow, a former-but-now-banned Man Boobz commenter, in a comment on Reddit:
Apparently nothing is ever the fault of MRAs ever, including the things they do.
UPDATE: Elam has now retracted his original story naming Pattek as a civil rights violator. Here are the key bits of his retraction:
In hindsight it is apparent that I was too fast on the trigger in establishing a connection between the blogger who claimed to have sabotaged the applications and that of a former student at Georgetown. While there is circumstantial evidence that does connect the two, and many unanswered questions, there is nothing that makes that connection a verifiable certainty.
It was a mistake on my part for which I apologize to the woman in question, and to any readers who felt they were misled. The original article naming her has been updated with a link to this retraction and her name has been redacted from the article. I am also removing all comments to the article and closing them to make sure no references to her are made.
I think this somewhat mealymouthed mea culpa is about as close to an admission of wrongdoing as we’re ever likely to get from Elam on anything.
Elam continues to cast vague aspersions on Georgetown itself, however:
I also want to make it clear that this retraction does not mean that AVFM is abandoning its investigation into the validity of the claims made about trashing university applications based on sex and race. Additionally, we are not done with concerns about the university itself, whose unusual and somewhat cryptic manner of responding to this story leaves more questions than answers.
Actually, I think Georgetown was fairly direct in responding to most of the questions on its official Twitter account. Elam also brings up his conspiracy theory, saying that
we did not take an interest in it until it became apparent that Georgetown University was moving, without explanation, to remove all references to her from their websites.
In fact, the director of the Justice and Peace program at Georgetown, Mark Lance, provided an explanation of this to my readers yesterday, as I pointed out in this post. But I’ll recap: according to Lance, the past director of the Justice and Peace program took her information down in response to harassment from white supremacists. There’s nothing particularly mysterious about that.
I’m honestly surprised to see Elam admit to being wrong about anything. I suspect — though I have no proof, and this is simply speculation — that he may have spoken to a lawyer — either his own, or someone else’s.