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#MeToo should not be undermined from within

By Dilan Thampapillai - posted Thursday, 18 January 2018

However, coercion requires obtaining acquiescence through force or threats. Pestering or badgering is not coercion. It is still deeply unacceptable, but it is not coercion. It would appear that Reynolds does not understand the conceptual overlap between coercion and rape.

It took less than 24 hours for Ansari's reputation to be skewered. The speed at which it happened was breathtaking. More worryingly, there is a chilling effect that emerges from this saga. Ansari appears to have been targeted precisely because he described himself as an ally and a feminist. Worse still, the coverage of Ansari almost completely obscured a very serious allegation made by Eliza Dushku about an incident that happened to her while she was a child actress on the set of True Lies.

Whether Ansari's career will recover is debatable.


Yet, Ansari is entitled to his reputation and his version of the truth. Ansari's response suggested that from his perspective everything seemed consensual in his encounter with Grace.

However, that has had little effect on the media maelstrom.

#MeToo is an important moment in Western culture. It is an important step towards justice and true equality. But the last day or so has been ugly and it raises a difficult question. Can we rely upon the press and social media to effectively advance the struggle for social justice?

Too many people on social media have displayed the same type of cold disregard for Ansari's reputation and personhood that Weinstein showed towards the bodies and careers of countless actresses. The context might be different, but the core of contempt and disregard for another person's humanity remains the same. This is not equality.

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About the Author

Dilan Thampapillai is a lecturer with the College of Law at the Australian National University. These are his personal views.

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