By Dorothy Thompson.
The court of social media is now in session. All appearing before the court will automatically be found guilty.
That’s the way of things these days, accusations now that due process has been discarded in favour of immediate internet assassination.
The latest victim is veteran US actor Morgan Freeman who at the moment faces allegations of sexual harassment from a number of anonymous sources.
A woman told CNN that in 2012 Freeman “sexually harassed her and her female assistant on numerous occasions by making comments about their bodies”. I don’t know about you but the single biggest problem that I have with this CNN report is the cloak of anonymity that the accuser is hiding behind. If indeed Freeman is guilty, then in fact he should be charged and put before a court. However cowardly anonymous accusations are not the foundations on which the justice system is administered.
Trial by media, especially the cowardly practice of the social media zealots is probably the most dangerous and disturbing development that social media has inflicted upon us in recent times. It is my view that you either put up stand behind your allegations or shut up.
These allegations date back to 2012. One has to wonder why it is taken so long for these most aggrieved people to come forward.
The actor wrote in the statement that he is “devastated” that “80 years of my life is at risk of being undermined, in the blink of an eye” after multiple women came forward with accusations that the actor made them feel uncomfortable with sexual advances.
He continued by stating, “All victims of assault and harassment deserve to be heard. And we need to listen to them. But it is not right to equate horrific incidents of sexual assault with misplaced compliments or humour.”
Freeman claims he was only ever trying to make people “feel appreciated and at ease” around him with his jokes and comments.
He’s standing by his initial apology but emphasises that he never compromised the safety of people he worked with, writing “I also want to be clear: I did not create unsafe work environments. I did not assault women. I did not offer employment or advancement in exchange for sex. Any suggestion that I did so is completely false.”
Too late, pal.
One must add all these allegations are prior to any non-media investigation.
It’s always good when justice moves swiftly, but it might be nice to include some actual justice.
Twitter-scared Visa has already cancelled ads featuring Freeman, a Canadian urban transport service dropped Freeman’s recorded voice announcements and the US Screen Actors Guild is reportedly reviewing Freeman’s lifetime achievement award.
Are they kidding; where I live there is little talk about sex, other than between consenting adults. In my neck of the woods, #MeToo is seen as a Hollywood phenomenon, the product of an image-obsessed, promiscuous, hallucinogen culture. It’s preposterous to watch actors best known for their relationship instability and drug use, lecturing others about morality.
There has been a lot of hectoring about #MeToo, but few results. Four months ago, the head of the Australian movement, the former newsreader Tracey Spicer, announced she was ready to “name and shame”40 sexual predators. This was supposed to include “dozens of allegations of rape”.
“We are actually looking at prosecutions as well as exposing these people”, she said. Channel Nine reported, “Spicer has put together a fierce team of police, legal representatives, witnesses and victims all ready to go on the record.”
In November, The Australian newspaper used a sensationalised headline declaring Spicer’s “Sexual misconduct file (is) imminent”. Yet we are still waiting, with the NSW Police insisting they “are not aware of any matters where Tracey Spicer is an informant or assisting with investigations”.
In Australia, #MeToo has outed a couple of B-grade celebrities but even in these matters, the truth won’t be clear until defamation cases are finalised. Then there is the farce that has atrophied our political leaders for the past few weeks, the entire Joyce affair with its truly Machiavellian proclivities.
The threat to individual freedom is appallingly under siege, with traditional Left- and Right-wing politics uniting in support of #MeToo totalitarianism.
Not only are they trying to regulate the natural order of attraction between males and females, but in returning to the Victorian era, where by they are wittingly reversing decades of human rights gains for women.
It is time for these cowardly keyboard warriors to stand up and abandon the cloak of anonymity. Have the courage to put their name to the allegations and to face the consequences that our justice system has available to it for those who bear false witness against their fellow man. It is my view that they put up or shut up.