The Hollywood Sex Scandal of 2017 is still going strong, and it long ago escaped from Hollywood and entered the real world. While a steady stream of celebrities are still being accused of both slightly creepy and outwardly predatory behavior alike, the sexual abusers are no longer confined to a small part of southern California. Politicians aren’t immune, as is the case of Roy Moore, Al Franken, and even Robert Doyle, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Australia, being among the accused.
The big takeaway from the uproar has been #BelieveWomen. Despite there having been male victims of sexual abuse—the victims of Kevin Spacey, George Takei, and the multiple pedophile priests; Coreys Worthington and Haim—most of the alleged victims have been women, hence the male victims have been largely ignored. But this is not about the male victims. This is about the female victims. When Ronan Farrow was largely credited for exposing Harvey Weinstein, little did we know what would soon follow. According to feminists, this was to be rejoiced. In a patriarchal world, women were finally being believed, and #MeToo was being used liberally. People were shocked. Some of their favorite celebrities were being accused of horrifying behaviors, and as with the case of Weinstein, there was visible proof of the sexual abuse.
#BelieveWomen, they said. Believe victims of sexual assault and abuse, because as we all may well know, victims of abuse were rarely believed in the past, especially if they were women. It is definitely understandable why so many kept quiet about predators like Harvey Weinstein. However, that’s no longer the case. Victims of abuse can speak freely of their abuses, and will actually be believed. #BelieveWomen is a pretty useless hashtag nowadays, because we all know, in the Great Hollywood Sex Scandal of 2017, women will always be believed, even the fraction of those who lie, because #BelieveWomen takes precedence over truth and facts.
Enter Linda Sarsour. Sarsour is a prominent and controversial Muslim-American, and was the national co-chair of the Women’s March. She’s also widely revered in intersectional feminist circles. She was also accused of enabling the sexual harassment of another woman who was working for her. Asmi Fathelbab was a contractor for the Arab American Association, with Sarsour as her boss, and claims she was “allegedly sexually assaulted, body-shamed and intimidated” by a male co-worker, only for Sarsour to allow it to continue. Just recently, Fathelbab has come forward to admit the abuse, only for Sarsour (and those she has retweeted) to shut her down and accuse Fathelbab of many unsavory claims,
such as accusing Fathelbab of working for the “Alt-Right” to smear her reputation (while simultaneously implying that Asmi Fathelbab is not a woman):
While criticizing the original Daily Caller article for inaccuracies, these same people are using notable gossip site Buzzfeed as a “source” to prove Sarsour is correct and Fathelbab is not:
For all we know, Asmi Fathelbab could be lying, and Linda Sarsour could be telling the truth. It’s all just conjecture at this point. But isn’t it telling that when it comes to someone on the Correct Side of History, those on the intersectional Left are able to quickly find reasons to #NotBelieveWomen. Can we only believe claims of sexual assault and abuse when it is someone we are not personally attached to?
Actress and serial attention-seeker Lena Dunham was accused of defending sexual harassers when she defended a close friend who was accused of rape. Dunham quickly apologized after receiving a huge backlash, but the damage was done. By no means is Dunham a good person—in fact, in her own biography, she allegedly admitted to sexually assaulting her younger sister—but how come Lena Dunham received criticism for supporting an alleged abuser, yet Linda Sarsour is portrayed as the victim? Supporters of Sarsour are quick to denounce the claims of an alleged victim of abuse, while also utterly destroying Lena Dunham for doing the exact same thing.
The Linda Sarsour case points out the many flaws that lie within the #BelieveWomen brigade. On one hand, so many people are rightfully pointing out that we should be listening to all women when they reveal their stories of sexual abuse and harassment. Yet, on the other hand, we have people like Asmi Fathelbab who are immediately ignored by the same #BelieveALLWomen crowd for doing exactly that. Are only certain types of women allowed to come forth with their stories? Are only victims of sexual abuse that follow the Correct Line of Thinking allowed the status of “woman” and “victim”?
While it is reasonable to expect proof of Fathelbab before she accuses someone of sexual assault, this desire for proof should be for all victims. For example, we do not expect the same proof before accusing Matt Damon of being supportive of abusers, or for Louis CK or Dustin Hoffman’s careers to be destroyed. What the Linda Sarsour case shows is that we need to toe the fine line between listening to victims of abuse—many who have been keeping their attacks a secret for many decades—and listening to the evidence to purport their claims.
Otherwise, it appears that there will be no truth and justice in the Great Hollywood Sex Scandal, just a senseless, calculated bloodbath to destroy only predators with the wrong political beliefs, and not just any proven predators.