I had hoped to avoid writing about Cassie Jaye and her strange journey into Red Pill-land again so soon.
Jaye, you may recall, is the apparently former feminist who is now directing a movie about the Men’s Rights movement that is, as she herself put it in one interview, “kind of being funded by men’s rights advocates.” A Voice for Men, the Men’s Rights garbage site at the heart of her film, actively helped her to raise money on Kickstarter for postproduction work on the film.
It’s no secret that I have some rather serious doubts that she will provide the “balanced” look at the Men’s Rights movement that she has been promising. I have written several posts here highly critical of her and the direction her Red Pill documentary seems to be going.
So I can understand that she’s not a big fan of me at the moment. Unfortunately, she’s responded to my criticisms with, well, lies.
And now she’s added a new lie to the pile, claiming in a recent interview with YouTube blabber Sargon of Akkad that I sent her “bullying” emails. After dismissing my concerns about her film as a “smear campaign,” she went on to say that
David Futrelle was also emailing me privately – two different emails since the Kickstarter – and so I made a statement video, I think a week ago, trying to just have something on record where I’m explaining the false allegations that Futrelle is reporting and so I had my say out there on record. And something maybe I should have included in that it hasn’t just been his articles and tweets; it’s also been private emails. Well, I think the word that most closely describes it is bullying.
(The interview is more than two hours long; she first brings me up about ten minutes in, and makes the comments above at around the 23 minute mark, after being asked about harassment.)
Jaye is right about one thing: I sent her two emails since the Kickstarter started. But to describe them as “bullying” is beyond bizarre.
So let’s take a look at them, shall we?
I sent the first email before she solved her funding problems by giving an interview to Breitbart, and when I still thought there was a chance Jaye might deliver something even vaguely close to a balanced view of the Men’s Rights movement in her Red Pill film, rather than the straight-up MRA propaganda that it seemed to be turning into.
In the subject line of the email, I told her I was “deeply concerned” about her film. In the email, I explained why
We haven’t talked since the plans for an interview with me fell through, which may have been my fault.
But I have just watched the preview for your film and looked at some of the things you’ve posted on your facebook page and I am very deeply concerned about the direction of your film, and the highly unbalanced list of people that you interviewed for it.
It looks as though you have gotten a highly distorted, one-sided view of the Men’s Rights movement, by talking to a bunch of MRAs who tamped down their anger long enough to give you a sanitized pitch about what it is they do.
It’s good that you talked to some feminists. But instead of talking to those feminists and writers who have actually dealt with MRAs on a regular basis you have talked to feminists who have only a vague connection to what is really going on with the Men’s Rights movement.
I’ve been writing about them for five years now, and trust me, the video here is a better representation of them than what I’ve seen in your preview.
I linked to the now-notorious video of Paul Elam’s crude, drunken and NSFW tirade about two feminists.
I suppose that might have been a little harsh. saying that Elam’s video was a more accurate representation of MRAs than what she’s posted from her film. Then again, it is. I continued, referencing something Elam said in in the clip of the film she posted:
Elam, I think it was, made a joke about how no feminists were harmed during the making of your film. But in fact during the several years you have been making this film, many feminists and other women have been harmed by Elam and his allies.
Though she talked to one of the more famous victims of MRA harassment, I noted that there had been “many, many others,” and suggested that
Making a video about Elam and his allies at AVFM without talking to these women would be like making a documentary about Bill Cosby without talking to any of his accusers.
I listed a number of these women, with links to relevant posts of mine about them.
I mentioned one AVFMer who, since Jaye had interviewed him, had fallen out with Elam, with each accusing the other of being a con man. I mentioned that one MRA that Jaye had “managed to get an almost reasonable-sounding quote out of” was better known for his bitter, vicious attacks on Twitter. I mentioned “Janet Bloomfield’s” troubles with the truth.
And I pointed her to a notorious post from Paul Elam in which he declared he wasn’t actually interested in doing anything to help men beyond yelling at people on the internet.
I ended with this:
You can find more information about almost all of these things on my blog, even if I haven’t provided a link. And if you need any more information or links or contact information, please feel free to contact me. And I really hope you do.
And I hope even more strongly that you contact some of the women that Elam and his allies have harmed.
I should point out that I was not writing out of the blue. She had in fact contacted me during the filming of The Red Pill, asking for information and advice and attempting to set up an interview on film, which ended up falling through for various logistical reasons. We hadn’t communicated since then.
In any case, after this note, Jaye offered to talk to me on the phone about some of these issues and, after a few brief emails back and forth to set up a time to talk, we did, for about 20 minutes, I think.
I was polite, she was polite, and I believe I offered apologies for the sometimes blunt tone of my email to her. She assured me she was aware of all the issues I was raising, and that the film would reflect many of my concerns, which she told me that she herself shared.
After this conversation, I seriously considered stepping forward to offer public support to her Kickstarter, despite my serious misgivings over the footage she had released so far, her marketing strategies, and the unbalanced roster of interviewees.
But I couldn’t overcome my doubts about her, and after reading her interview with Breitbart I realized that my gut feelings about her had been right. She had been bullshitting me, and bullshitting feminists in general. And so I wrote my Open Letter to her.
So what about that second email of mine? I wrote that after A Voice for Men accused me of threatening her, in an attempt to clarify to her what I had actually meant in my Open Letter, and to check one fact with her.
Here’s the whole thing:
She didn’t respond. Figuring that she didn’t want to talk to me, I didn’t send a followup.
I’m having trouble understanding how my saying that “hey, these MRAs giving you money are actually total jerks” counts as bullying, exactly.
Indeed, in an interview published a day after I sent that email, she made it clear that MRA harassment is something she herself worries about, jokingly telling Tracy Clark-Flory of Vocativ that she could always “go into hiding” if the MRAs partially funding her film weren’t happy with it.
Cassie, if you want to see what bullying looks like, take a look at what A Voice for Men’s “social media director” did to feminist writer Jessica Valenti on Twitter. Look at Elam offering $100 for a clear photo of one of his enemies. Look at the hate campaign Elam launched against one female college student because she attended a demonstration and made a few jokes on Twitter. Click on the “harassment”or “bullying” tags on this blog for countless more examples.
Hell, go take a look at any of the examples of women harassed by AVFM and other MRAs that I sent you in that first email of mine.
I wasn’t trying to bully you; I was doing my best to convince you to listen to the women that the apparent heroes of your documentary have bullied, and continue to bully to this day.
I know that you spoke to one of these women. I hope that you at least do her justice in your film, though at this point, admittedly, I don’t have much reason to think you will.
NOTE: For reasons of space I didn’t include all of the first email. If you are a journalist or someone else with a legitimate need to fact check this piece I can send you the entire email. As text, as a screenshot, with the gory details of the email’s passage over the internet, whatever.