Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
The #MeToo movement appeared to usher in a new era in which many women who were victims of sexual harassment and assault had reasons for cautious optimism.
Calling out and penalizing sexual predators is laudable, but there was credible concern that such a movement could be wielded as a political weapon to shame women who disagreed with its potential overreach in some cases, while conversely punishing undeserving men in others.
The movement gained initial momentum and notoriety largely as it addressed the wrongs of rampant sexual abuse in Hollywood and politics. It rightfully ended the (previously successful) careers of sexual predators like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, sentencing both to lengthy prison terms in the process. Other prominent Hollywood names have also been mentioned and targeted.
It similarly and swiftly took down a sitting U.S. Senator in Minnesota’s Al Franken while fittingly keeping Roy Moore out of the U.S. Senate.
But excesses began to emerge. Actor Aziz Ansari was “cancelled” because of a woman’s allegation of what amounted to nothing more than an awkward date.
The #MeToo movement was also incorporated into the pro-abortion Women’s March. While #MeToo was promoted to its followers as a broad-based women’s rights’ advocacy push, it may in fact have been a subterfuge to politically protest and undermine President Donald Trump, disingenuously, and largely based its objections on lurid comments that he made during a 2005 Access Hollywood tape (claiming that women let him grab them), among other alleged sexual and adulterous transgressions. While Trump’s remarks were gross, he recognized their inappropriateness and apologized for them. Such remarks, however, should not be equated with sexual assault.
The #MeToo movement was then weaponized against (now U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 Senate confirmation hearings. During the contentious hearings, psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford made allegations of decades-old sexual assault, yet she was unable to substantiate any of her claims with either witnesses or other evidence.
Some of Hollywood’s best-known promulgators of the #MeToo movement seized a leading role in the anti-Kavanaugh protest and took to social media with the #believeallwomen hashtag. They were immediately joined in this opposition mantra by Democrat politicians and their supporters, and mainstream media predictably followed suit. Yet throughout the process, it was clear that this consortium, including Blasey Ford, opposed Kavanaugh for the political views he would bring to the Highest Court.
In response, the Senate extended the Kavanaugh hearings and organized an unofficial Senate Trial. Even though he was ultimately confirmed to the Supreme Court, many wrongly view Justice Kavanaugh as a sexual predator. Moreover, the trial set an unofficial precedent for future unsubstantiated allegations to derail a promising career, regardless of an individual’s partisanship or policy. #MeToo politicized sexual assault, which in fact belittles it and the genuine claims of its legitimate victims.
Fast forward to 2020, and former Vice-President Joe Biden has all but secured the Democratic nomination for President. Tara Reade, a former Biden Senate staffer, comes forward and accuses him of forcing her up against a wall, digitally penetrating her, and – when she resisted – he ridiculed and humiliated her.
Shortly thereafter, when Reade complained about the alleged 1993 incident, she was fired. Only recently, given Biden’s ascent, was she able to speak publicly in detail about the incident. Her story has been corroborated by friends who were in close contact with her during the time she claims the incident took place.
In response, she was ignored by the same mainstream Democrats who, until recently, were proclaiming that we should #believeallwomen. She was smeared and attacked by the Twitter mob. Detractors claimed that Reade’s motives were disingenuous because her politics were no longer aligned with Biden (she is a self-proclaimed Sanders supporter), and that her long period of silence and inaction rendered her claims invalid. Even if accurate, these contentions by the left are at the very least incredibly hypocritical, insofar as the source is the same groups who until recently proclaimed #believeallwomen.
Many supporters of due process were hesitant to believe Reade, despite a myriad of photos and videos of Joe Biden sniffing and manhandling young girls. That is, until a few days ago, when an August 1993 video clip emerged in which a woman called in to The Larry King television show to discuss her daughter, who at the time worked for a prominent Senator. The caller was clearly alluding to the Biden-Reade incident and her daughter, and the caller’s location – San Luis Obispo, California – clearly supports this conclusion. While the clip mysteriously disappeared from Google Play, the internet is “forever” and copies of the video have been preserved and circulated.
If the #believeallwomen crowd was sincere, they would amplify Tara Reade’s story and raucously call for Biden to withdraw his nomination. Since this has not happened, the only conclusion to be drawn is that #MeToo is a cohort of disingenuous and politically motivated voices. In a just world, our society would care about sexual assault and due process regardless of political affiliation. Reade’s allegation is credible, but those who proclaim to care about sexual assault have done everything in their power to kill the narrative. In doing so, they and Joe Biden have effectively killed the #MeToo movement by exposing it as a political agenda aimed at removing their male detractors when and only when it advances their political choices, while deterring those they oppose.
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