By David Futrelle
As we round out another terrible news week here on Planet Earth, it’s a safe bet that very few of you have found yourself wondering what Men’s Rights has-been Paul Elam has to say about that whole Harvey Weinstein thing.
Well, today is your unlucky day, because I’m going to tell you anyway.
In a post on his site A Voice for Men that came out the same day as Ronan Farrow’s disturbing New Yorker story, which reported for the first time some of the disturbing details of nearly three decades worth of allegations against Weinstein, Elam suggested that Weinstein’s alleged victims weren’t really victims at all, but rather canny opportunists who hoped a session on Weinstein’s “casting couch” would bring them rewards in Hollywood that were denied their uglier rivals — not to mention most of their male counterparts.
Elam began his, er, analysis by handwaving away the decades of accusations, declaring that
the case against him, as it was with Cosby and so many others, is absent a few things we normally associate with sexual assaults. Like police reports and criminal charges. Like any kind of forensic evidence. Like any kind of evidence at all save the word of women who have collected money from Weinstein on the weight of their allegations over the years.
Apparently Elam didn’t bother to check the news before posting his piece, because then he might have noticed that Farrow’s New Yorker piece, posted that morning, had detailed the case of one woman who not only went to the police after allegedly being assaulted by Weinstein but also agreed to wear a wire during a subsequent meeting with the mogul. To allay any possible doubts about what went on during that second encounter, the New Yorker posted a portion of the tape online. (Warning: It makes for a pretty harrowing listen.)
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) October 10, 2017
But never mind, because Elam followed his demand for proof with an admission that, yeah, Weinstein is probably guilty as hell.
Based on his easy payoffs to silence his accusers, and alternating rounds of guilt-ridden contrition and awkward defiance, I think Weinstein probably did do things that resulted in all this condemnation and sanctimonious gasping from the Hollywood crowd. He’s all but admitted to as much.
That said, Elam’s notion of guilt is evidently quite different than yours and mine. He doesn’t think Weinstein is really guilty of anything other than allowing young “starlets” to take advantage of his lust in their quest for stardom, suggesting that we can’t really use
the term “guilty” with a straight face in an industry where the dicks sucked in exchange for opportunities to pursue the limelight can be measured by the mile.
Women in Hollywood don’t just dive onto the casting couch, they pick the fabric and the color that will make them their sexy best.
Apparently feeling that this grotesque argument wasn’t quite grotesque enough, Elam then added Donald Trump to the mix.
President Trump was right. When you are rich and famous, scores of women will happily let you grab them by the pussy for half a shot at some of those precious resources produced by affluent men.
“Happily?” Listen to that tape of Gutierrez and Weinstein again. See if you can detect any happiness there.
But never mind that, because Elam wants us to know that the so-called “casting couch” predates Hollywood by “eons.”
Women have been hitting their knees to enrich their professional lives, be it for money, more authority, power over other employees or career advancement. It’s been happening for as long as women have been in the workplace. And it’s modeled exactly on how women use sex to gain power from men in private life.
While Elam does acknowledge in passing that some women actually get ahead on their own merits, he declares that this
has nothing to do with the big picture in this argument.
Women, just as they always have, get the bulk of their advantages in life drawing on the resources of men. Men, just as they always have, use their power and resources to attract what they want from women: their bodies.
Now, women using sex to get power meets with little or no criticism in modern times. By hook or crook, they can swallow and get paid for it and it bothers exactly no one.
But Elam wants us to know that there are real victims here — and no, he’s not talking about the aspiring “starlets,” except in “those cases where real coercion and threats are employed.” But Elam seems to think “those cases” are rarer than white peacocks. As he sees it, there are two main classes of victims here.
On the one hand, there are those who never get the golden ticket to the casting couch (or its non-showbiz equivalent).
[E]very time a woman gets a promotion or a raise from fellating her boss, someone else, probably someone harder working and more deserving, gets left out in the cold. Often, it’s other women who are less attractive, or who won’t suck dick for an edge at work.
And then there are the biggest victims of all: the poor, suffering Hollywood moguls and non-Hollywood CEOs who end up getting sued for nothing more than accommodating small armies of Machiavellian ladies offering them sex.
Even years down the road the women who willingly and aggressively pursue using sex to gain power from men can suddenly and successfully paint themselves in the light of victim and cash in a second time, usually to much more painful effect.
Those poor, poor movie moguls!
The easiest path to wealth and success for attractive women is through their open legs. Nobody cares. The easiest path to sexual success for men being in control of the assets and power for which many of these women are not inclined to work. When it goes sour, everyone loses their minds and wants to go postal on the man.
Cue the outrage machine and make plenty of room under the bus for all the male offenders and their enablers.
Never mind that Elam and those who think like him are in fact throwing real male victims under the bus here — most obviously the men who have themselves been sexually harassed and/or assaulted by powerful men in Hollywood.
In the wake of the Weinstein revelations of the past week, actors Terry Crews and James Van Der Beek have both come forward with their own stories of being sexually assaulted by powerful Hollywood men. A Men’s Rights movement worthy of the name would stand in solidarity with Crews and Van Der Beek, just as these men have stood in solidarity with the actresses and other women who have come forward with accusations against Weinstein.
But MRAs like Elam, as always, would rather rant about the alleged perfidy of women rather than lift a finger for any man other than themselves.