Despite months of practice, it seems that not all of Hollywood has figured out how to respond to #MeToo. It's not a witch hunt, it's not going too far, and it's certainly not, in the words of Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch, "a little bit scary" for men.
Have you sexually assaulted or harassed a women? Then women coming forward about those experiences shouldn't be "scary" for you, it should be an opportunity to listen. In an interview with The AV Club, Middleditch does make some thoughtful and important points about #MeToo, like the fact that celebrities shouldn't say something about it because it's popular, but because they have something worthwhile to say. But he then goes on to say something decidedly not worthwhile.
"Speaking as a guy, as a man, as a male human, it’s kind of scary, with this fervor that’s surrounding it, where an allegation can just pop up and then it’s really incumbent upon you to fervently defend your character," he said in response to a question about accusations of sexual misconduct against his former co-star T.J. Miller. "I’m not gonna dive into what’s real or not. I’m just saying it’s a little bit scary."
He specifically cites the allegation against Aziz Ansari, in which an anonymous woman details an uncomfortable and non consensual encounter at the Master Of None star's apartment, as "kind of absurd."
"Like, there’s a difference between assault and just kind of strange sex," he continued. "You don’t want to live in a world where it’s just so stiff that there’s no, I don’t know, something? I don’t know where I’m going with that, but I don’t really know enough about [the allegations against Miller] to comment on. Just don’t know about it, really." Clearly!
Then at the end, he twists the knife:
"It’s like we live in a world where currently the climate, let’s say, is where a j’accuse will really turn your world upside down."
"Your world" equals "men's world." Their lives. Let's not think about the survivors' lives that have already been irreparably changed after alleged incidents of assault and harassment that nobody believed until now.
There's definitely a nuanced discussion to be had around the Ansari allegation — and we've had it right here on this site! — but outright dismissing it as "absurd" shows that Middleditch hasn't been listening. It's just another instance of taking a movement about the mistreatment of women and centering it around men. Please, won't someone think of the men?
Refinery29 has reached out to Middleditch for comment.
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