Blocked by Keith Olbermann

by | December 21, 2010
filed under Feminism, Politics

Keith Olbermann doesn’t want to hear what I have to say. Not just me, but a whole bunch of feminist Twitter-users involved in the #Mooreandme campaign. Let’s start at the beginning for those of you who haven’t been following.

On December 14, Michael Moore was interviewed on Countdown with Keith Olbermann about the rape charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.  In the interview Moore suggested that the rape charges were bogus, and claimed the only complaint by Assange’s alleged victims was about a condom breaking during consensual sex – an outright lie. Then KO re-tweeted a link that identifies one of Assange’s alleged victims, causing concern to many feminists about how this might negatively impact her safety.

So Sady Doyle at Tiger Beatdown started an amazing Twitter campaign, #Mooreandme, mostly targeted at @MMFlint to ask for an apology for trivializing rape charges and preferably a $20,000 donation to a women’s shelter or rape crisis centre, to match the $20,000 Moore posted for Assange’s bail.

Doyle has written far details of the ongoing confrontations between the #Mooreandme tweeters and @MMFlint and @KeithOlbermann. You can find her first call to action here, FAQs and an impassioned plea to Michael Moore here, a chronicle of the very real threats Sady and other tweeters have been getting from trolls here, and tons more information as it happens at the Tiger Beatdown home pageJessica Wakeman at The Frisky also has a great breakdown of Q and As around the controversy.

Let’s clarify: I haven’t seen a #Mooreandme tweeter argue Julian Assange is definitely guilty, just that all rape allegations need to be taken seriously. Most of the messages I’ve read on #Mooreandme argue that they support Wikileaks but that you can support good work without turning a blind eye to potential sexual assault. But unlike the majority of the #Mooreandme participants, Michael Moore seems to have made up his mind that Assange is definitely innocent. By lying about the allegations (i.e. the non-existent Swedish broken condom law), it plays into a rape culture that assumes women lie and exaggerate about sexual assault, that women use these allegations to get famous or take revenge on men. It’s this type of rape culture that makes everyday victims not want to come forward.

But back to Keith. I wasn’t as surprised by Michael Moore’s part in all this: he’s never seemed very feminist to me, but I thought Keith Olbermann was an ally. I watch his show regularly. His special comments, especially the one on gay marriage, frequently move me to tears. I even just bought my friend a Countdown mug for Christmas. All he had to do was apologize for re-tweeting the identity of the accuser and go on Countdown the night after Michael Moore and correct the lies Moore had disseminated.

Well technically he sort of apologized for the tweet, but then accused the #Mooreandme folks of being in a “frenzy”, of trying to “suppress” him, and asked for an apology in return. And now he’s blocked me on Twitter. As Renee at Womanist Musings points out:  “A true ally and a decent human being, acknowledges when these mistakes occur, instead of digging in their heels and clapping their hands over their ears chanting nah nah nah I can’t hear you like a spoiled toddler.”

I’m going to finish here with a list of the Tweets I (@jarrahpenguin) sent on #Mooreandme before Keith blocked me (most not even mentioning him), so you can see what horrible things I said to merit the block. At least now I can join the growing club of former #Mooreandme tweeters who are now on the hashtag #wevebeenKOd.

Screenshot from today at 3:45 PST


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