Friday, December 29, 2017

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos of BuzzFeed Conspires With Jonathan Well to Produce #RevengePorn Against Jann Wenner

Hmm, has anyone else checked out this BuzzFeed piece? (Best to read before hearing me out.) This isn't anything like what BuzzFeed reported another man says happened to him with Jann Wenner. (An alleged quid pro quo.) This is a grievous invasion of Wenner's privacy poorly dressed up as a #MeToo story. Just as this accuser (Jonathan Wells) had a hard time labeling "what happened" to him, so would any reasonable person. It's very possible both men could be telling their version of the "truth." But if Wenner wasn't aware of Wells's take then I don't see how it's at all fair to Wenner to fill him in for the world to hear. (Has everyone forgotten what a phone is?) Someone drunk and on coke putting the moves on someone -- and the object of their desire not saying no or protesting in any way -- and then this person coming back on two separate occasions to have “consensual sex” afterward could very reasonably have allowed Wenner to think it was consensual. (Wouldn't anyone?) And if Wells felt like he couldn’t say no to Wenner — who was NOT HIS BOSS at the time of the alleged assault— simply because he was rich and famous, that says more about Wells and our obsession with celebrity culture than it does about Wenner. (And let’s not even get into Wells’s “daddy issues.”) Wenner eventually realized the guy wasn't into him and dropped it. 

Jonathan Wells's story is suited for a therapist, not a reporter 

The other part isn't as easy to gauge — but that certainly didn’t stop BuzzFeed from using a watonly misleading headline. People who like each other often do nice things for one another. (Every kind act isn't secretly motivated by something nefarious.) And book publishing is an extremely precarious business. But to the more specific charge, I'm not sure threatening "gay" blackmail is any better than threatening legal action to try to stop a book you wish you'd jumped at from getting published by a rival. Bottom line: Shame on Mary Ann Georgantopoulos and BuzzFeed for this sleazy attempt at publicly shaming an openly gay man for what he does in his personal life. Wells has every right to feel any way he wants and to tell whomever he wants. But that doesn't mean media outlets have to breathlessly regurgitate every word every accuser says. Yes we should lean toward believing victims. But each accusation needs to be evaluated on its own merits, and not every incident is worthy of a news story. This article has no business in a supermarket tabloid much less a Pulitzer-nominated news site. What a giant step back for an organization that has worked so hard to be taken seriously and shed its listicle past.


Edgar_Carpenter said...

This sounds like what some people discussing assault have called a "soft no", meaning saying yes but being unenthusiastic about it, then saying "he should have known".

A "soft no" is totally bogus. When you say "yes" and the other guy thinks you mean "yes", it's not the other guy's mistake. You may have thought you "had to" say yes for some reason - but if you are an adult, the doors are not locked, the other person involved is not threatening you and you are free to go at any time, it's only your problem if you say "yes" but mean "no", and you stay and participate instead of leaving.

Bob Adragna said...

Seems like regret.