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New Men’s Rights hero: the Cleveland bus driver who punched and choked a female passenger

The bus driver winding up for the punch; the passenger’s arms are by her side.

Men’s Rights Activists have a new hero: a Cleveland bus driver who punched and choked a belligerent female passenger who had apparently refused to pay her fare.

The top post in the Men’s Rights subreddit at the moment, with more than 500 upvotes, links to a petition urging the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to reinstate the bus driver, Artis Hughes, who was suspended after video of the incident leaked out. (See videos here and here.) According to the petition,

As a bus driver, mr. Hughes was lied to, insulted, threatened and eventually attacked by one of the passagers. He was clearly justified in striking back. Were he to suffer any negative consequences to his employment as a result of defending himself and striking back, this would set a disasterous precedent: he and other employees would legitimately believe that their workplace expects them to put up with harrassment, and that they will lose their jobs if they choose to stand up for themselves. …

As well as being a bus driver, mr. Hughes is a man, and [Shidea N. Lane, the passenger] is a woman. We continue to live in a world in which some people see fit to scold men for fighting back against the women who abuse them. After mr. Hughes struck ms. Lane, a woman could be heard protesting about it, saying “That’s a [censored] female”. Mr. Hughes responded by saying: “I don’t care. You want to be man? I’m going to treat you like a man!” This is a healthy attitude: if men refuse to strike back, fearing that the law will favour their female abusers over them, we create an environment in which women can harrass and victimize men with impunity. Instead, a man’s decision to fight back against a woman should be respected.

It is for these reasons – the fact that the bus driver was the real victim and was justified in hitting back; that he and other bus drivers should not fear the legal consequences of responding to attacks by passagers; and that men in general should not fear the legal consequences of responding to attacks by women – that we urge you to reinstate mr. Artis Hughes following the investigation on the incident, and hope that future policies will safeguard him and other bus drivers from legal assault whenever they respond to a passager’s physical assault.

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