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Paul Elam and his followers respond to Buzzfeed's devastating profile with evasion, excuses, and attacks on Elam's ex-wife.

AVFM circles the wagon.
AVFM circles the wagon.

A Voice for Men’s embattled Grand Wizard Paul Elam and his followers have responded to Buzzfeed’s devastating profile of him in some predictable ways, and in a few less predictable ones.

If you’re read the Buzzfeed piece – and if you haven’t, you really, really should – you know that it devoted a lot of time to the sad and sordid history of Elam’s three marriages and the even more sad and sordid story of the daughter he abandoned.

In a long and rambling post on Buzzfeed’s piece, Elam – all too predictably – goes after “Susan,” his first wife and the only one of his three ex-wives who was willing to talk on the record, trying his best to destroy her credibility by portraying her, essentially, as a lying slut.

Elam miraculously, and probably with considerable effort, managed to avoid the s-word – a favorite of writers on his site. But his attempts to slut-shame her are as transparent as glass.

Over the course of his post, he describes her as “very enthusiastic about sex,” “indeed very enthusiastic about sex,” and “a promiscuous wife.” He alleges that during their brief marriage “her sexual enthusiasm wasn’t limited to me,” and repeats the accusation that he leveled at her at the time – that she lied about being raped in order to cover up her own infidelity. He declares her to be a “habitual liar,” someone who “cheated and lied constantly.”

Elam also suggests that Buzzfeed paid his ex-wife and daughter to talk trash about him; and he makes several other serious allegations against his ex-wife that I won’t repeat. (EDIT: Buzzfeed’s Editorial Standards and Ethics policy forbids paying sources.]

A decade ago, you may recall from Buzzfeed’s piece, Elam reunited with the daughter he had abandoned as a baby, only to drive her away several years later after, she claims, spanking one of his grandsons for opening the refrigerator.

In his post, while referring to her as his daughter, he resurrects an old accusation, writing that “I need to point out that it has not been established that I actually have a daughter.”

Buzzfeed quotes what it says is an email Elam sent to his daughter in 2005, in which he apologized to her and to his brother. “I owe both of you a tremendous debt,” he wrote. “I just said some unflattering things involving [his ex-wife], but the more important truth here is that I failed both of you.”

In his post, though, Elam declares that “I did not, as alleged, tell Bonnie [his daughter] that I was sorry that I had failed her. I told her that I was sorry such misfortune had been her lot.”

If the email quoted by Buzzfeed is authentic, this is a blatant lie.

While the attacks on his ex (and his halfway renunciation of his daughter) are sadly predictable, Elam also resorts to a desperate if inventive diversionary tactic, suggesting that the art used to illustrate Buzzfeed’s post is somehow … anti-Semitic, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. Uh, no. I’m pretty sure that one or both of the authors of the Buzzfeed article, Adam Serwer and Katie Baker, would have said something if this were even remotely the case; they’re both Jewish.

Judge for yourself. Here’s the picture AVFM used to illustrate Elam’s post:

One of these things is not like the other.
One of these things is not like the other.

In the comments to his post on AVFM, meanwhile, Elam’s supporters circle the wagons and lash out at pretty much anyone they can think of who’s ever said less-than-flattering things about their dear leader. They are considerably less careful with their language than Elam.

In the post’s “Featured Comment,” with close to 70 upvotes at the moment, AVFM contributor “Andybob” lashes out at Elam’s enemies:

A disgruntled ex from decades ago and a brainwashed daughter that probably isn’t his who were doubtlessly given some kind of monetary incentive to say that Paul Elam won’t be getting their votes for Man of the Year any time soon. After months of sleepless nights planning his cunning revenge, the best Serwer could come up with was to drag out this pair of bitter malcontents who were probably chomping on the bit to take a swipe a man who chose not to serve them in the ways to which they obviously feel entitled.

Suzie McCarley, AVFM’s “Assistant Managing Editor,” says of the Buzzfeed article that “it will be quoted by skanks and bitches of both sexes for years to come.” She snidely writes of Serwer that “I hope the blow job his ho Katie B. owes him in exchange for his credibility, is worth it.”

Several others cleverly refer to Serwer as “Sewer.”

Very few of the commenters deal with any of Buzzfeed’s specific allegations. Instead, they resort to evasive euphemism.

AVFM’s social media director, who writes under the name Janet Bloomfield, laments what she calls “the hysterical ad hominem attacks on a man who turns out to be ….SHOCK…. human.” “I’m shocked! Who would think that an ex-wife might have shit to talk about her ex? Amazeballz!” AVFM contributor Jason Gregory writes sarcastically. “Overlord Elam is a human man?” jokes someone called ComradePrescott. “I can’t serve any master that isn’t a reptilian monster!!!!”

Others offer excuses, making clear that they would probably forgive Elam for anything short of mass murder:

 Reason • 2 days ago  I wonder how many of us can change the names in your story and call it their own. If there is indeed an "old boys club", being used and abused by a woman for paternity is it.

 smetana • 2 days ago  Wow. Seriously, even if the claim that Paul had beaten a kid were true, why should we care? I got beaten on a regular basis as a child, and it was the same thing for most of the people my age that I knew back then (90s). If I could have traded all of that for ONE beating by Paul, then I would have done so without hesitation. The ideological desperation here is really amazing.

In a separate post, AVFM’s Sage Gerard offers an even less coherent “rebuttal” to Buzzfeed’s post, filled with vague accusations against Buzzfeed and weirdly evasive defenses of Elam that if anything make him look worse.

Gerard declares that Buzzfeed’s

“evidence” is opinion carefully framed to manipulate, not persuade. This is David Futrelle’s style of toxic propoganda: Distort context until the target and all supporters appear inhuman.

It’s hard to tell what on earth Gerard even means by any of this, and of course he provides no examples.

He then goes on to offer this oddly backhanded defense of Elam’s terrible behavior:

In terms of his difficult decisions during his youth, Paul had to live with choices that only prove that he is human. Today, Paul faithfully operates within the boundaries of the law as an advocate.

Even more strangely, Gerard praises Elam for … not pocketing money from fundraisers intended for others.

Another money fact that keeps slipping by unreported is that Paul has allowed others to feed off his main revenue stream. Paul hosts fundraisers on this site where AVfM gains no money. I offered Paul a percentage in Zen Men’s last fundraiser, and he refused the money. He also gave Dean Esmay money for private dental work in public view. …

Between Dean and Zen Men, AVfM gave up access to over $10,000, which means Paul gave up more than AVfM itself raised in its last fundraiser. …

Greedy people out to exploit the masses don’t give away money.

Actually, lots of them do. Are you kidding?

If these are the best defenses that Elam and his allies can muster, he’s going to have a hard time rebounding from Buzzfeed’s report.

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7 years ago

A friend from Mississippi says when the neighbourhood kids were playing on his property and got too rowdy his mom would line them up and slap all their asses, not just her own kids.

7 years ago

“evidence” is opinion carefully framed to manipulate, not persuade. This is David Futrelle’s style of toxic propoganda: Distort context until the target and all supporters appear inhuman.

Actually, dude, I think that’s YOUR style of toxic propaganda.

Alan Robertshaw
7 years ago

The joys of an English education in the 70’s was that if you were bad you got the cane, if you were good you got a Kit-Kat.

Bit “Operant conditioning” but did seem to work.

Must confess I do fall into the ‘never did me any harm’ camp (and infinitly better than lines or detention) but I won’t be agitating for it to be brought back.

7 years ago

I still like that fact that he admits his whole inspiration was diarrhea….and that he’s still that “rebellious” kid who vehemently refuses to take his diarrhea medicine. Explains a lot.

Alan Robertshaw
7 years ago

“he’s still that “rebellious” kid who vehemently refuses to take his diarrhea medicine. ”

Perhaps that’s why he’s always spewing shit?

7 years ago

Re: spanking, I know I was spanked a few times as a young kid by my dad, but I don’t remember the actual spanking. What I remember is the rage in his eyes, the vein that bulged in his forehead, the way his voice sounded, the threats of what he would do to me, the insults, how his face would change, how quickly things could go from zero to infinity. The absolute bone-freezing terror of his rage. How hated and detested and low I felt, like garbage.

Having an event (like spilling milk at the dinner table) end in a spanking was not common, but at least when it happened it meant the event was over. Generally, the rage could go on for an hour and it would linger for days. I’d try to not make a sound, not move, not exist. At least til I got old enough to fight back, if not with my words then with my will, my independence.

I don’t at all agree with spanking but fuck, I’d really have preferred (based on my personal experience only) it if I could have chosen. Actually if I could have chosen I would have chosen not to have him around at all, and I got my wish at 14. I was the only kid I knew who was thrilled their parents divorced, and who actually had a hand in finally making it happen (I caught him having an affair, which I’d known about since I was approx. 8 but couldn’t prove).

We’re all good now, BTW. He did a lot of personal work and therapy and we reconciled in my 20’s.

@Lea and others, I really appreciate hearing your memories. Our life experiences are part of who we are and are worth sharing, even if some people find them distasteful or upsetting or somehow offensive. I don’t know about you, but I spent far to long in my youth and young adulthood suffocating on all the words that were stuck in my throat.

Credens Iustitiam (@SirMcfarlane)

Those guys seem to forget that trusting Elam on his own life story, which he is milking for profit, isn’t in the end very different from trusting his ex’s story. They still don’t have a reason to believe the man.

Terrence S M Popp
7 years ago

Ok lets see what we have going on here? the distruction of a man who has the guts to stand up and point out some obvious issues that are going on today. And his personal life is being brought into the mix? This is low down muck racking at its best. I support paul Elam not 100% in all matters but what he is trying to do , needs to be done. I run a comedy lecture web site and I am the only one on the planet who attacks the radical feminist using comedy, math and logic. Mamathhunters beware, logic and reason are your kryptonite

7 years ago

Did somebody just fart in here? Yech, I’ll go open a window…

7 years ago

This comment thread has pretty much died, I don’t recommend re activating it saying the same things to the same kind of troll who will repeatedly say the same things all the other MRAs have. And then we’ll be repeating ourselves again trying to get our point across and it’ll just be same shit different day. We’ve had so many lately and I just want a break from the arguing.

Can’t be asked. Shoo troll. Shut up Woody. Whatever.

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