After The New York Times exposed Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sex abuse, the internet blew up with responses. Many celebrities came forward with stories of their own, and Facebook’s #metoo campaign revealed the scope of the problem. But not all celebrities stood with the victims. Regular people also piled on the criticism on Twitter, because dumpster fires love company. We rounded up some of the most cringe-worthy tweets so far.
15. The rule we all love to hate
Vice President Mike Pence made headlines earlier this year when a Washington Post profile of his wife, Karen Pence, noted that he never dines alone with a woman who is not his wife. He also never attends events where alcohol might be served without her there. This stance presents serious barriers to women advancing in the workplace. As Vox explained, “in these scenarios, women may be more protected from harassment — just as their male counterparts are more protected from the specter of spurious allegations — but they are likewise barred from interactions that might benefit them professionally.”
Gorka does not stand alone in drawing that comparison.
14. When women get shut out, the workplace suffers
Erick Erickson agrees that shutting women out of career-advancing opportunities would “save” them from predators like Weinstein. These two are hardly alone in thinking the “rule” solves a problem. An anonymous survey of female Capitol Hill staffers conducted by National Journal in 2015 found it common practice.
“Several female aides reported that they have been barred from staffing their male bosses at evening events, driving alone with their congressman or senator, or even sitting down one-on-one in his office for fear that others would get the wrong impression.” One told The Atlantic that in 12 years working for her boss, he “never took a closed door meeting with me … This made sensitive and strategic discussions extremely difficult.”
The next Twitter user has a better idea: More formality, less fun.
13. Want to curb sexual harassment? No more fun for anyone
The linked Business Insider column suggests that office happy hours and informal work environments make it harder for employees to keep it professional. “Instead of excluding women with boys-club rules around these activities, and instead of just telling men and women to go out and drink and have fun but be professional, it’s worth reconsidering these cultures broadly,” the author writes. Trusting both men and women to both have fun and keep their hands to themselves, apparently, is too much to ask.
The next tweeter misses no opportunities to take down her opponents.
12. When in doubt, blame Hillary
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway makes her ability to misread current events one of her hallmarks. Conflating Weinstein, the NRA, and Hillary Clinton hits new lows. After Stephen Paddock opened fire on a concert in Las Vegas, Clinton did slam the NRA. According to Variety, she tweeted, “Our grief isn’t enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.”
While Clinton did take longer than many other celebrities to respond, she said she was “shocked and appalled” at his actions. In conversation with CNN, she elaborated. “I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way,” she said. “And, you know, like so many people who’ve come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past.”
Many reported not knowing about Weinstein’s behavior, but Conway and others expect Clinton to know and see all. The former secretary of state drew particular ire, for both accepting donations from Weinstein and remaining ignorant of his bedroom advances. She recently reported that she will donate the funds to charity.
The next tweeter expected another political figure to see and know all.
11. Who else should have known? The Obamas
Sexual abuse like Weinstein perpetrated thrives in secrecy. According to the New York Times report, Weinstein enforced a code of silence. Even stories that were “out there” circulated in whispers and undertones, or got discredited or paid off before they earned wings. Employees of the Weinstein Company signed contracts saying they would not criticize it or its leaders in a way that could harm its “business reputation” or “any employee’s personal reputation.”
As Vox explained, much of Weinstein’s most disgusting behavior took place behind closed doors, and within a culture coded with silence. Blaming the Obamas for not knowing makes as much sense as asking why women continued taking meetings with the predator, which is to say, none.
The next tweet combines two more abhorrent tactics: victim-blaming and fat-shaming.
10. Instead of asking ‘why were you raped?’ This tweeter asks ‘why weren’t you?’
Because victim-blaming didn’t strike low enough, this tweeter decided to stoop even lower. This troll decided to attack an African-American woman, an LGBT woman, a country music star, and a woman whose weight Donald Trump also attacked.
According to a 2010 summary report from the CDC that included 9,086 women, black women experience rape at a higher rate than white women. The Human Rights Campaign reports 44% of LGBT women experience rape, violence, or stalking by a partner. Saying Weinstein didn’t rape these women suggests they aren’t sexually desirable at best. It also implies that rape doesn’t affect those demographics, which is untrue. Opinions like these spread dangerously toxic assumptions.
The next tweet attacks another vulnerable population.
9. This user employs a loose definition of ‘logic’
The user implies that allowing anyone access to the restroom of their choice empowers predators like Weinstein. According to CNN, those who oppose laws allowing transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity say it will give sexual predators access. However, whenever the topic comes up in the news, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and state human rights commissions have consistently denied any correlation.
8. Getting the wrong idea about what sexual harassment actually entails
Twitter user Steve McGranahan sees Weinstein’s sexual comments as compliments. He couldn’t be more wrong. As The Huffington Post points out, “sexual harassment isn’t a compliment, it’s an expression of power. It is just one manifestation of a culture that is openly hostile to women, one in which women and girls exist for the pleasure of men … Sexual harassment not only reflects sexist attitudes towards women, it communicates messages of power between men and women, reminding women of their place, and what they are for.”
The next user also has confused ideas about how to treat women.
7. At least he calls Weinstein a ‘pervert’
This barely coherent tweet suggests women who work in the entertainment industry are akin to prostitutes. He fails to acknowledge the prevalence of rape among sex workers, as well. As The Huffington Post reports, sex workers face a 45-75% chance of sexual violence over their careers. To date, no sex workers have reported abuse by Weinstein. Contrary to this user’s assumption, doing so would not make them less valid as victims.
The next tweet makes use of a familiar trope.
6. This tweet twists reality beyond recognition
5. This man decided his grievances carried more weight
In a now-deleted post, Paul Schrader went as tone-deaf as he could in his response to the Weinstein scandal. He later followed up with The Hollywood Reporter and said his post was “misinterpreted.”
“I’m going to wipe out all those posts,” he said. “It was clearly something stupid. The worst part of Facebook is you think you are part of a conversation, but in fact you got hijacked.” Blaming the platform for your horrible perspective sounds a lot like blaming the victim for sex abuse. Attitudes like Schafer’s exemplify why victims often feel belittled when they come forward.
The next user just decided to go all the way.
4. This user’s heart is not in the right place
Broadcast journalist Sean Plunket later called his insensitive tweet a “little social experiment,” but the damage stuck. According to NewsHub, he resigned from the Broadcasting Standards Authority after the internet took him at his word. The BSA works on upholding “good taste and decency” in the television and radio industry. Plunket said he resigned “in the interests of the smooth running of the Broadcasting Standards Authority.” Sounds like someone just learned about consequences.
The next tweet misreads those consequences for a Salem-style witch hunt.
3. Great, now abusers will see justice
Geraldo Rivera tweeted his apparent displeasure that harassment allegations might get taken seriously. He speaks to a common issue in harassment — that women fear coming forward. NPR recently reported on the issue. HR consultant Sharon Sellers said a big gap still exists between what should happen with these claims and what actually does.
“The employer should take every complaint seriously, and this is one area I see where it falls down,” Sellers says. She said many employees fear retaliation or HR directors themselves don’t have the guts to confront the perpetrator, so claims get swept under the rug.
The New York Times also printed a follow-up piece detailing workplace harassment’s prevalence. That story features many reports of employees’ getting blackballed, signing gag orders, losing their jobs, and more. The issue, as Rivera fails to understand, does not lie with too many false claims. It’s that a floodgate has opened into how many credible ones went unreported for too long.
The next tweet demonstrates just how terrible the internet can be.
2. This tweet makes Trump’s look mild
Scandals like this one bring out the worst in some people, as this user demonstrates. Even worse, Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke agrees. The white supremacist called the allegations “a case study in the corrosive nature of Jewish domination of our media and cultural industries,” The Huffington Post reported. “It’s really shocking to think that this Jewish pervert could be revealed to be a Jewish pervert,” Duke said sarcastically in a podcast posted on his website.
An article in Jewish magazine Tablet by Mark Oppenheimer didn’t help. The story, “The Specifically Jewy Perviness of Harvey Weinstein,” called Weinstein a “specifically Jewish kind of pervert.”
An article published in The Canadian Jewish News called the editor out for his views. “Anti-Semitism remains a stain on our society, and it doesn’t take much to light the spark of Jew hatred,” the authors wrote. “And while it may be harder to call it out when the weapon is a Jewish literary analysis rather than a spray-painted swastika on a synagogue wall, we must. A Jewish author writing in a so-called Jewish publication provides no cover, nor should it.”
The last tweet gets a little bizarre.
1. Enough about Weinstein. What about spirit cooking?
According to Alex Jones, Hollywood Illuminati engage in a practice called spirit cooking. New York Magazine reported that according to InfoWars, “Spirit Cooking,” refers to “a sacrament in the religion of Thelema,” which was founded by alleged “satanist Aleister Crowley.”
It’s also the name of a performance art piece by Marina Abramovic. In a 1997 video, the artist writes in blood various “recipes.” Those include “Mix Fresh Breast Milk With Fresh Sperm,” “Fresh Morning Urine Sprinkle Over Nightmare Dreams,” and “With a Sharp Knife Cut Deeply Into Your Middle Finger Eat The Pain.” The artist once invited Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for dinner, sparking conspiracy theories.
Alt-right blogger Mike Cernovich said that “Spirit Cooking” caters to those who attend the Clintons’ “sex-cult rituals.”
“Those brainwashed by hoaxing media will find this outrageous, until they watch the video from a 1997 ‘performance,'” he wrote. “Occult symbolism, as I’ve reported on extensively, is done openly to taunt the public. It’s a form of power and control. Secret Societies do not want to remain secret.”
The Weinstein scandal undoubtedly opened the floodgates on something. Occult rituals? Maybe. Rampant sexual abuses? More likely. Then again, in 2017, almost anything goes.
Follow The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!