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A Voice for Men falsely accuses a male feminist blogger of being a “confessed rapist,” because “karma is a BITCH.”

A Voice for Men's Paul Elam: Serial False Accuser
A Voice for Men’s Paul Elam: Serial False Accuser

When is a false rape accusation not a false rape accusation? When it’s leveled against a feminist man.

That, in any case, is the logic behind an appalling post on A Voice for Men attempting to smear a male feminist blogger named Jason Thibeault, who posts on FreeThoughtBlogs as Lousy Canuck, by proclaiming him a rapist.

The post is a typical bit of AVFM “satire” — that is, sophistry — arguing that “by his own feminist standards” Thibeault is a rapist … because he was once accused of rape by a girlfriend, as he wrote about in a recent post. And since feminists believe that ALL accusations of rape are true, AVFM’s Birric Forcella argues, Thibeault is thus a “confessed rapist.”

Obviously, this argument is ludicrous on its face. Feminists don’t believe that all accusations of rape are automatically true. And Thibeault, for his part, says that he was falsely accused.

This doesn’t stop AVFM from giving their piece the frankly libelous headline: “FreeThoughtBlogs’ Jason Thibeault, confessed rapist.”

AVFM may defend its post as “satire” — they have a rather expansive definition of the word — but that headline is pure libel. It’s false — and would be so even if the accusations of rape were true, as Thibeault (who’s responded to the AVFM post here) maintains his innocence.

And AVFM’s intent is clearly malicious. In the first comment to the piece, AVFM founder and publisher Paul Elam declares frankly, and revealingly, “Karma is a BITCH.”

Thibeault’s real crime, in AVFM’s eyes, is that he has publicly supported women who have come forward in recent weeks to accuse prominent skeptic writer Michael Shermer of rape and sexual assault.

And so they have responded by making what is an unequivocally false accusation against him in a headline on their site.

Of course, this isn’t the first time A Voice for Men has falsely accused someone of something based on bad evidence or no evidence at all.

In April of this year, Elam (along with a number of other MRAs and an assortment of White Supremacists as well) worked himself into an uproar over a blog post from an alleged feminist allegedly working in a college admission office who claimed she was routinely trashing applications from white males.

Though even the most rudimentary amount of fact-checking would have revealed that the woman they blamed for the blog had nothing to do with it, she had her contact information posted online by MRAs and others, leaving her open to harassment and widespread vilification. Elam contributed to the hubbub by posting a vituperative post identifying the wrong woman by name — and only after being called on his mistake by numerous other MRAs did his finally retract the post.

You can read about the whole appalling affair here.

Elam has also made false accusations against little old me. In yet another case of libel-by-headline, he accused Jessica Valenti and me of being “child abusers” … because we’re feminists. (Seriously, that was the entire basis of his accusation.)

And at one point, either lying outright or misled by a  troll, he put forth the absurd conspiracy theory that I was somehow responsible for an appalling Reddit forum known as the Beatingwomen subreddit.

In his post on the subject, he claimed to have “intel” from two separate sources that “confirm[ed]” my involvement in the subreddit — he provided none of this evidence — and promised that “further word” on the subject would be forthcoming.

Of course, this evidence never materialized — because it was fraudulent and/or imaginary. Elam dropped the subject. I had and have no connection to the subreddit.

And not long ago, AVFM’s Dean Esmay very publicly accused its former Canadian News Director Kristina Mendez (AKA TheWoolyBumblebee) of (maybe, possibly) running off with the money she collected for a center devoted to the memory of Earl Silverman, a Canadian MRA who committed suicide partially out of frustration over the difficulties he had in funding the DV shelter for men he ran out of his home. The folks at AVFM have admitted quite plainly that they have no evidence of wrongdoing here.

Apparently, AVFM’s strategy is to prove that false accusations are common by making as many of them as they possibly can.

EDIT: Added the bit about Valenti and me.

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fit-to-flip
fit-to-flip
8 years ago

I’m with Bee- unfortunately being involved in the feminist community is no guarantee, although I really, really wish it was. I don’t know a ton of the details in this case, so I’m not like trying to pass down final judgement, but in general I assume rape accusations are true. Is it fair? Well, no. But this is isn’t a court of law, Knowing how frequent rape is, and how little a victim gets for speaking out… I stand with them. I’m biased, but the rest of the world is biased against us. All I know is there were people who called me a liar, cause the guy was liberal and nice and feminist.I don’t ever want someone else feeling that way. 🙁

YoullNeverGuess
8 years ago

No, I am not excluding asexual people. If we want to give people access to the full spectrum of sexuality and gender indentity, then that includes asexuality.

Ally S
8 years ago

@YoullNeverGuess

Ah, gotcha. I guess I just didn’t read that very carefully. ^_^ Sorry about that.

fit-to-flip
fit-to-flip
8 years ago

Also, in regards to the ‘sex positive’ ‘sex negative’ conversation- I’ve started going by ‘consent-positive’ because I feel like it fits my feelings better. As a rape survivor I don’t always feel comfortable with the ‘sex-positive’ crowd and as someone whose done sex work I am often uncomfortable with the ‘sex negative’ crowd. I don’t hold it against people who do identify that way (provided they acknowledge the issues in the respective movement) but I don’t think either one has a place for me, or represents my concerns appropriately. Idk if that makes sense.

YoullNeverGuess
8 years ago

No, my bad. I should have been more clear. I’m all about being who you want to be, as long as you are not acting exploitively.

YoullNeverGuess
8 years ago

One other thing I’ve always wondered about with Freud’s whole thing about the right type of orgasms for adult women: as a youngling, a girl would probably be discovering the pleasures of her outsides. When people married at younger ages, it seems reasonable to me that a lot of women wouldn’t discover their g-spots until they started having PiV sex. I’ve always wondered if Freud looked at a normal progression of female sexual discovery and pathologized it. My half-baked theory.

lightcastle
lightcastle
8 years ago

I always understood it to be that “sex-negative” got attached to the feminist movement, particularly the second-wavers, although not necessarily as a specific term. Then the third wave wanted to talk about sex and female desire as a positive good (whether straight, lesbian, or kink, or asexual, or anything else) – and framed it as “sex-positive” , thus by default solidifying “sex-negative” as the other position.

So I think it was a label that was attached, not claimed. Then once you had a binary set up like that, both sides’ positions got caricatured and played off one another.

I may be misremembering, of course. But I’m with the group who doesn’t particularly like either term. I’ve seen “sex neutral” before, and like both it and “sex critical”. I think the terms positive and negative are too elastic, and carry too many varied connotations to be very clear.

Ally S
8 years ago

I think the terms positive and negative are too elastic, and carry too many varied connotations to be very clear.

I feel this way, too, especially when I see sex-positive and sex-negative folks try to argue that they’re ACTUALLY exactly the same as the other side. It’s annoying.

lightcastle
lightcastle
8 years ago

especially when I see sex-positive and sex-negative folks try to argue that they’re ACTUALLY exactly the same as the other side.

Right. The terms may have had value as political/philosophical labels at some point, but they seem to be more obfuscatory than clarifying these days. To be fair, I think this is the kind of thing that happens with lots of labels, which is why terms get invented, re-invented, modified, dropped, etc. over and over. (I mean, just look at political parties or political labels, where you see this all the time.)

gl205
8 years ago

Howdy, I’m coming out of lurking briefly to contribute a little. Late to the party, but I just read Jason’s ‘confession’ post from 2009, and this paragraph really stood out for me and made me uncomfortable:

“Throughout our relationship, that first girlfriend had been a compulsive liar. I covered for her — I became extremely adept at explaining why what she had said wasn’t so much a lie as it was a misinterpretation of facts, or a misspeaking of the truth, even to the point where I was lying to cover for her lies, and I didn’t honestly realize I was doing it until the whole relationship came to a crashing screeching halt. You see, after about a year of us seeing one another, having sex, breaking up over the phone then (usually mostly me) crying until we got back together, she slept with another guy, then worried that I’d find out, preemptively broke up with me, then set about tarnishing my reputation as hard as she possibly could. She accused me of raping her, though she never brought the charges directly to me — she had passed this execrable lie around to all her friends instead.”

These kind of situations are difficult for us as feminists, I think. We know how much a victim’s past behaviour is dragged up to ‘disprove’ that they could have been raped, and how not reporting it to the authorities but just passing it around friends is also seen as ‘disproving’ their story. It’s therefore quite difficult to negotiate your reaction when someone tells you their ex-gf accused them of rape but was a compulsive liar and no charges were brought, so she’s a filthy liar.

This isn’t a defence of the AVfM article. Those shitbaguettes don’t give a shit about challenging rape culture, obviously. I guess I’m just saying that I don’t see how we as feminists can automatically accept in this situation that Jason definitely isn’t a rapist. And that sucks.

rabbitwink
rabbitwink
8 years ago

One of the common critiques of the young generation of progressive women is their reluctance to identify as feminist, despite their living under certain now-assumptions of entitlement to being fully human, because there really is a kind of cultural amnesia abut just how much worse things were not so long ago.

Also, among the younger women who do identify as feminist, the “sex positive” thing can be jarring to the older-school people, who don’t see participating in burlesque and porn and so forth as particularly “liberating”. They see it as women happily participating in the culture of objectification, without acknowledging how hard it was to achieve even some moderate degree of non-objectivization in the first place.

“Sex-negative” was never a moniker, back in the day. This term was a reaction to the sex-positivity movement.

It is tricky, I think, to have a fully egalitarian socio-sexual life, despite being informed and consenting adults, because we don’t live in a vacuum. You may be a consenting, liberated, shameless individual going about your life in a way that makes you feel good. And you’ve thought about what things may “mean”, and analyzed your position, etc. But there’s also another person doing the exact same thing who hasn’t been liberated, hasn’t consented, and thinks it’s the only way things work, and from the outside, with no context, it looks the same to many onlookers. For one admittedly lame example, high heels are high heels, and regardless whether you’re conditioned to think you must wear them and openly accept that, or choose to wear them ironically, or have never thought about it at all, most people still just see high heels = sexy lady shoes, and make culturally dominant assumptions. And that’s tough, because you can’t control the reactions of an observer. Unless you want to live with a subtitle or caption following you around IRL, it’s not easy to participate in certain areas of feminine culture without being subject to majority assumptions.

Rin
Rin
8 years ago

Very off topic: have you all heard of these guys, Simple Pickup, who have a series of videos instructing men in how to give complete strangers massages, fondle and touch them, and generally commit sexual battery in pursuit of [insert some horrible PUA jargon for sex: the close? Or am I mixing them up with Glengarry Glen Ross?]. They’ve had press attention in the past just for general PUA assiness, but apparently in May a woman on Tumblr started a campaign to get them reported to the police and to campus security for criminal behavior and general sexual harassment; the Daily Dot wrote them up yesterday, and I’m passing on info I’ve gathered about them in the hope that y’all might report them.

Daily Dot: http://www.dailydot.com/lifestyle/simple-pickup-youtube-sexual-assault/

Tumblr: http://genderbitch.tumblr.com/post/59809331792/third-worlding-katematty-these-men-are-sex

These men are Jesse Jhaj, Jason Roberts, and Kong Pham. Their business address at the time of incorporating Simple Pickup, LLC was 4201 E Cornwall Ave Orange, CA 92867. They’re apparently Cal Fullerton students. It looks like some of these videos are now private, so if you’ve seen them, write down the content as best you remember and send it to the cops. Some of what is described in the above articles — the touching of breasts — is criminal behavior. I’ve pasted the exact statute language below. You can also register a complaint about the business entity with the state. Heading off any incoming MRA or PUA whinge: this is not doxing. They’re a registered LLC. Also, you’re wrong about pretty much everything. Just generally.

LAPD has a web-reporting form at https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencyID=365
Their phone reporting # is 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).

USC campus security: http://capsnet.usc.edu/department/department-public-safety/online-forms/contact-us

Fullerton phone #s: http://police.fullerton.edu/contactus/Default.asp

California Penal Code Section 243.4
(e) (1) Any person who touches an intimate part of another person, if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and is for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery, punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

andemilybites
8 years ago

gl205 – I’m finding this tough, too. I know nothing about this blogger except he blogs at FtB as ‘Lousy Canuck’ and I haven’t actually read any of his pieces though I’m a regular at Pharyngula. (AVfM is also a den of shitheads, and I’m leaving them out of this completely. I didn’t read what they wrote, and they are liars and misogynists.)

I’m just going by Jason Thibeault’s own account, and I don’t see how we can dismiss the (self-described) ‘my ex falsely accused me of rape’ statement without wondering about it. Usually, when a woman says ‘My ex raped me,’ we say ‘That’s pretty likely and I have no reason to think you’re lying about it in this instance, so I’m sorry to hear that.’

Yes, his account could be totally true, but we generally believe the person who says they are a rape victim, so I find this…difficult to just dismiss. I know the only reason we know about the rape allegation here is because the person accused has told us himself, but I’m uncomfortable dismissing it out of hand and just accepting ‘my ex was a compulsive liar and all-round asshole’.

This is the article where he originally talks about it: http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2009/05/22/this-ones-gonna-be-raw-lots-of-naked-jason-and-not-the-good-kind-you-are-warned/

mildlymagnificent
8 years ago

It’s therefore quite difficult to negotiate your reaction when someone tells you their ex-gf accused them of rape but was a compulsive liar and no charges were brought, so she’s a filthy liar.

Nuh. It’s easy if you have experience of being on the other side of the kind of behaviour that preceded that point.

I became extremely adept at explaining why what she had said wasn’t so much a lie as it was a misinterpretation of facts, or a misspeaking of the truth, even to the point where I was lying to cover for her lies, and I didn’t honestly realize I was doing it until the whole relationship came to a crashing screeching halt.

How often have we heard women saying that they didn’t see their partner’s behaviour clearly until some particular thing happened or they’d been out of the relationship long enough to get a bit of perspective. Most importantly, they didn’t see their own role in covering up or enabling or explaining away to themselves just how bad it was until an event or the passage of time allowed them to do so.

YoullNeverGuess
8 years ago

Hm. Well, if the argument is that we default to believing someone is a victim of a crime when they say so, that all other things being equal, we would believe someone who said they had been raped, and we would also believe someone who said they were falsely accused. Both are crimes. If we have one side of the story, and the person seems reasonable, shouldn’t we tend to believe them?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

The problem I’m having is that “she’s a compulsive liar” is pretty much what people always say when someone filed rape charges. I’m staying out of the whole thing because unless we hear from the other person we don’t have enough information to make a definitive call, and I’m uncomfortable with how closely the story follows the usual script.

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

I think AVfM is a bunch of shitheads who really don’t care if this story is true or not, they just want to shit disturb. That said, I’m not 100% comfy with Jason’s narrative, for all the reasons others have given.

andemilybites
8 years ago

Youllneverguess, I think it’s more that a report of rape is WAY more likely to be true that not, so the classic ‘She was a compulsive liar and truly evil’ narrative from an ex-boyfriend makes people immediately suspicious.

Ally S
8 years ago

We live in a culture that discourages people from believing rape victims, so it only makes sense to default to believing the victims.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

I think it’s human nature to believe the first thing you’re told about a subject, or the first story you hear. I also think that knowing this can help you avoid believing something despite evidence to the contrary.

Currently there’s a statement “Jason was falsely accused of rape,” for which I have one bit of evidence. It’s anecdotal, which makes it shaky, and there are some patterns that are a bit disturbing that make it shakier still. But there’s nothing else, so with reservation I would have to say that I believe it.

Is this going to make me more likely to think other rape victims must be lying? No. Am I going to be more likely to think that, in the hypothetical case that Jason were to be accused again, that accusation was false? No. Actually I might be slightly more inclined to believe it, but that’s beside the point. Am I going to think that the woman in Jason’s story is probably a pathalogical liar, or that if she ever steps forward with a claim I should just dismiss her? No.

The point is that I am also uncomfortable with Jason’s narrative. If that story is challenged, I’m not going to let myself just dismiss the challenge simply because I heard Jason’s side first. This is why I feel comfortable saying “I believe the story”; I do it with full knowledge that this is a decision made with incomplete knowledge. If this makes any sense whatsoever, I’d call it “skeptical belief.”

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

What David said. Also (insert eyeroll here).

cloudiah
8 years ago

I do want to note that in the comments Dean Esmay says something to the effect that “Obviously, Jason is innocent.”

markb
markb
8 years ago

What patterns do you see that are shaky?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

@markb:

Basically what CassandraSays and gl205 said.

I feel like I need to step back a bit from what I said though… What I’m comfortable with is saying “I believe the story” if I had to make a decision one way or the other… I’m far more comfortable witholding judgement altogether…

Also, just read the AVFM article. It is disgusting, not just because of the premise, but the author seems to have invented a set of imaginary feminist women (one originally, plus 5 in an “update”) that have “come forward” with more accusations against Jason, all in the name of satire and trying to make a script mirroring what’s going on with Michael Shermer.

Fuck those guys…

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