By David Futrelle
On Thursday, former Iowa youth basketball coach Greg Stephen pled guilty to multiple child exploitation and child porn charges after admitting to sexual exploiting some 400 boys, including players he coached, over the course of many years. The details of the case are truly horrifying. As the Associated Press notes,
Stephen, 42, posed as girls on social media to trick the boys into making live videos masturbating. He secretly recorded them showering during trips to tournaments. In some cases he recorded himself fondling nude players as they slept.
Despite the appalling nature of Stephen’s crimes, his case has gotten very little media attention since his arrest last March.
It has also gotten zero attention from the Men’s Rights subreddit, the largest and most active men’s rights forum online, with nearly 200,000 subscribers.
After learning of Stephen’s plea deal I went to the Men’s Rights subreddit to see what the regulars there were saying.
Turns out they were saying absolutely nothing. As of 6 PM this afternoon — Saturday, October 20th — I could not find a single post dealing with the case. After scouring the top 100 posts in the subreddit, I did searches for posts containing Stephen’s name, as well as separate searches for “Iowa,” “basketball” and “coach,” from the past week. Nothing.
I extended the search to include posts from “all time,” and it appears that Stephen’s appalling crimes have never been discussed on the Men’s Rights subreddit. Not even once. (Unless they somehow managed to discuss his case without using his name or mentioning his profession or the number of his victims.) Apparently not one of the subreddit’s 191,917 subscribers has thought the subject important enough to bring up.
There are also no less than 34 or 35 (I lost count) posts about “false accusations” in the top 100 posts there now — that is, roughly a third of the total.
It’s not that Men’s Rights Redditors don’t care about the sexual abuse or exploitation of boys. There are several posts about female teachers sexually assaulting their underage students, a post about a damning year-old report from Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and multiple posts about a 9-year-old boy falsely accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a convenience store after he accidentally brushed her with his backpack while walking past her. (He’s black; she’s white.)
These are all issues worth discussing, though the spin that the Men’s Rightsers put on these stories can be, well, a little eccentric, to say the least.
Uh, the problem with this woman isn’t her age, her looks or her allegedly “predatory” nature — there was nothing sexually predatory about her actions at all — but the fact that she’s a racist asshole who called the police on a black child who accidentally brushed against her.
But that’s a whole other can of worms. My point here is that Men’s Rights Redditors only seem interested in talking about the abuse or mistreatment of boys when women are (or are among) the perpetrators.
Indeed, they are so unwilling to acknowledge that men are often the perpetrators of this abuse and mistreatment that they are willing to completely write off the FOUR HUNDRED victims of Greg Stephen.
It’s almost as if the Men’s Rights movement isn’t about helping men or boys at all but is rather an excuse for a never-ending tantrum about the alleged evils of women and feminism.
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