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Apr 1·edited Apr 1

Mike Tyson is a great redemption story. A guy who came from a pretty harrowing background that has done the work, put in the time, said the things, walked the walk, and clearly has transformed into the guy he is now. We know this through interviews, through documentaries, through his one-man show, his podcast, etc. Allen and Spacey’s backstory may be every bit as tragic, but to my knowledge there’s been no remorse, reflection and most importantly change. As such, for me at least, Mike Tyson wins this fight unanimously.

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Mike Tyson has never expressed an ounce of remorse for any of his alleged crimes and in fact offers constant justification for them when he's not seemingly bragging about them. This is laid out in the post with links. If you're not going to read carefully, don't comment. Also, and more importantly, the question is of CONSISTENCY OF PUBLIC MORALIZING. Anyone who made the kind of comment you've just made in support of Allen or Spacey or all manner of other figures would have gotten yelled at for hours in 2019. That's the point!

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Apr 1·edited Apr 1

There's no shortage of media out there where Mike quite candidly reflects about all areas of his past with remorse...everything from the way he has treated women, to his ego and addictions, to his spiraling after the death of Cus D'Amato, to his rocky relationship with Evander Holyfield, to his apology to Tony Atlas, to sharing some of his concerns when it comes to returning to fighting, to adopting a new lifestyle, embracing love and family, etc. In the court of public opinion, he was mocked and mostly ostracized for close to a decade for being a jerk in and out of the ring, before he made a personal change and found sympathetic ears and talents (Spike Lee, etc) that gave him a forum to openly talk about it. Also, let's not forget he served time which capsized his career (enough for you rank him the way you did) and reversed his fortune.

I agree with your larger point, fwiw. I just feel like I've been a lot more taken by Mike's transformation in interviews, artwork, etc, and it seems many in the public have been as well. To me, he clearly is not the "monster" he was...and that's been enough for many to see him through a different lens.

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Do what they do down south. Do something bad then go to church for forgiveness/redemption than on the way home to the wife and kids stop by a strip joint. Redemption can come (again) the following Sunday.

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Stripe joint?

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You've never been to a stripe joint before? You go there and watch women put stripes on things.

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Like tabby stripes?

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Yeah. Tabby, Zebra, you name it.

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Odd.

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It’s where you go to feed your pet mogwai after midnight.

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Especially not in Klamp Tower.

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Just remembering the Klamp logo makes me smile, all these years later.

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Oops

Thanks...did an edit.

Sp corrected

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No worries. Humans do the damnedest things.

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I saw that documentary Sony did on him back in 2007 and never forgot it. I'm not condoning his actions, but it was impossible not to be moved by him describing growing up in Brownsville (arguably the worst neighborhood in all 5 boroughs) in the late 1970s (arguably the worst time to live in NYC). Tyson in so many ways got the absolute worst of the American experience, and I think that goes a long way towards explaining why people grant him so much leniency. He also went to jail for his behavior towards women, something that can't be said about any of the other celebrities listed in Freddie's essay. In a way, I think the public attitude towards Tyson is a little more healthy. A kind of attitude that says "he did some really bad things, grew up in terrible circumstances, but he's on kind of a redemption arc now and we have to offer people hope that your past doesn't destroy your future once and for all."

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But the question is whether that more healthy attitude is shared among everyone, or just with Tyson, or just with a few, and why, and what the standards are, and how this all works....

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I agree. Before I saw this comment my original response was going to be about how all of this was just an exercise in covering your ass by people in the media, and that's all it ever really was. That's why there is very little consistency or consideration in how the moral standards are applied, everyone is just trying to make sure they weren't targeted for a dogpile on Twitter/X. Sadly, it was never much deeper than that. It costs you nothing to pay lip service to whomever cancelling whomever the Twitterati have decided is the target for their scorn on any given day. Better to throw a couple of stones, protect your career, and make sure the heat is always on someone else.

I think the biggest mistake was ever thinking it was really about morals of cancellation rather than career building and protection. Crude self interest masquerading as piety, which is why most people can't stand them. The media manages to be one of the most loathed institutions in America, often polling even below politicians and cops most of the time. It's always worth asking "why?"

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Apr 1·edited Apr 1

Honestly, I sort of just thought that Tyson got a break because he actually went to prison, served his time, and tried to move on with his life without (as far as I know) trying to promote some BS story about how his sentence was not justified. I don't follow the man's life closely, but my general take was that it was a rare sign of a less retributive attitude in American attitude towards criminal justice for a felon to be allowed back into society when (as far as I can tell) he's clearly no longer a particularly violent person. No one else you mentioned was actually punished by the criminal justice system, which is probably why people feel justified in trying to apply a social one.

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But are people really thinking about it all that hard? Are they actually using this kind of logic to justify it? Or do they just selectively not care because no one has brought it to their attention that they should?

I strongly suspect it is the latter. There's no moral consistency here. You can justify it ex post facto like this, and there's something to the reasoning if you dig for it, but I don't actually think that's the reality of what's happening.

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Why should anyone else tell them what they "should" care about? If they don't care, they don't. There's no moral consistency in the public, that's ok. It's their call.

The problem lies in the moral consistency of the people demanding cancellation.

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I think it's very natural for humans to tell each other what to care about. If you feel strongly about an issue that you feel other people are ignoring, you generally try to get them to care about it too, yeah? This is the backbone of social progress.

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But the thing is that these people aren't the majority. They are using functional blackmail against decision makers.

I'm not saying it's illegal. Just saying these decisions aren't being made because of public marketplace disapproval.

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I think a lot of people would like to be informed, or reminded, that someone they admire, or are publicly lifting up in some way, have been convicted of sexual assault. I wouldn't call that blackmail in a lot of cases, it's people living values they hold, but would not be able to apply if someone hadn't informed them.

In the specific case of Mike Tyson though, you may have a point I suppose. It's unlikely any of these people don't know that he is, in some ways, a very shitty person.

Now do they truthfully not care about that? It seems like it, since they are allowing him to participate.

But also maybe they just need someone to remind them, "Hey, this is a shitty person. You shouldn't elevate them." and then they go "Hmmm...yes. I suppose you're right." without feeling blackmailed. They are just being reminded to live their actual values of not elevating people who have committed some pretty awful crimes.

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Is this sarcasm?

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Allen and Spacey both deny the allegations against them and have not been found guilty of any crime. What if the allegations against them are simply false?

Imagine that you were in this position. You've been accused of a crime you didn't commit, and society has shunned you based on the court of public opinion, even though the actual courts did not find evidence to convict you. You have two choices: maintain your innocence be shunned indefinitely, or claim remorse (thereby both lying and validating the lies against you) in a desperate gambit to get the court of public opinion to swing back.

I don't know about you, but I would never be willing to even slightly admit to a crime I did not commit. I find Allen and Spacey's behavior consistent with the hypothesis that they simply did not commit these crimes.

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Apr 1·edited Apr 1

I’m not arguing my personal views of Allen and Spacey, but I am speaking to public perception and why Mike has found redemption amongst the masses where they have been “canceled.” Tyson has been very open about his past (to me, in a very humbled and genuine way) while Allen has been quiet (at least to my knowledge) and Spacey’s only moment in the public is while leaning into the whole alter-ego House of Cards villain thing (perhaps not the safest PR move). Perhaps someday they too will have the opportunity to put their candid story on display the way Mike has (whatever that may actually be), and we can see the results.

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The best thing Tyson was ever in was the documentary (Fox Sports?) produced about his life. Holy shit.

One other thing is that the allegations against Tyson are much more iron clad than the charges against Woody Allen. The family that he shared with Mia Farrow has been split down the middle with one of the adopted children from that relationship publicly siding with Allen while accusing Farrow of de facto child abuse.

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This is the part that I find most strange about the phenomena. A lot of these other situations are contested on the facts in ways that strongly suggest the truth may never be known for sure. I think people tend to be overly credulous to whoever flatters their worldview most in these situations, but at least you have to concede that people could reasonably reach different conclusions. But then you have Mike Tyson who was actually convicted and went to prison.

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FWIW at the time I believed that Tyson was really getting his comeuppance for beating up Robin Givens and that the specifics of the case for which he was convicted was pretty weak.

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Personally, I find it easier to forgive public figures who actually went to jail (not that they need my forgiveness, who the hell am I?). If a person has paid their debt to society and gone through the criminal justice system, I don't believe anything is accomplished by continuing to punish them. That's how we get a system of recidivism.

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Oh I agree 100%. Just think it's also fair to ask if that's really going on here re: Tyson. The whole thing seemed to have an expressly extra judicial component to it.

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With Allen, I think it is primarily a lizard brain disgust reaction to him marrying the much younger adoptive daughter of his former romantic partner. Everything else is an excuse to hate on him for that.

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On top of that ties to Epstein, too many jokes about sleeping with pre-teens, the teenage girlfriend plotline in Manhattan. Also a lot of his girlfriends in his movies have a sort "underdeveloped" look to them.

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What "jokes about sleeping with pre-teens"?

Also: you know who had extensive ties to Epstein? Mia Farrow's lawyer, Alan Dershowitz!

The fact that a Prince of the United Kingdom was openly accused is, in my mind, very strong evidence that unless we can plausibly say X individual connected with Epstein has a better security apparatus at their disposal than HRH Carolus Rex, X individual was probably not party to sex crimes.

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Allen in an interview made a joke saying something along the lines of "it wouldn't be crazy if you caught me in bed with a twelve year old" and in Annie Hall his friend has a joke along the lines "I'm dating two eleven years olds, think of the mathematic possibilities." It's been a while since I've seen any of his movies. I don't have a dog in the fight. It is certainly possible Farrow is lying. I'm simply pointing out how someone might get this impression of Allen.

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That feels like Farrow’s logic: okay, I can’t get him for that daughter so I’ll get him for the other one. And the world went along with it.

I haven’t watched the documentaries that give the Farrow side of the story. If anyone has, does she ever show any concern about Soon-Yi? Surely a mother’s first concern would be ‘how long has this been going on’, especially if you suspect your husband of unhealthy behaviour with young women or girls anyway, but as far as I know she’s never had that reaction, and from the moment the affair was discovered Soon-Yi’s been the enemy.

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Hot take: Mia Farrow is demonstrably a more awful parent than Allen.

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That was, in fact, the prevailing view at the time. She's a horrible person and her career, which hadn't been much other than Allen's movies, was in fact the one that died the death at the time.

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Apr 2·edited Apr 2

Woah. I realize this has nothing to do with the broader subject but...Rosemary's Baby is a great movie. And Mia Farrow looks great and acts great in it.

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Yeah, but her best work was definitely behind her.

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I made a similar point on another post about Kanye West vs. Amiri Baraka, though they're not really comparable in terms of public stature. But I don't know if that really applies here—Allen isn't overtly political, though certainly liberal-coded in most respects. (In fact, Tyson is probably more conservative-coded, though within the strain of Black conservatism which is a whole different thing.) Perhaps a better point of comparison to Tyson would be someone like Jonathan Majors or Nate Parker (remember him?).

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Parker is indeed a good example: his career was ended, for all intents and purposes, over a single disputed incident. Whereas Tyson has had a whole life of aggressive acts against women, and yet....

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I think Nate Parker's career ot hurt because Birth of a Nation didn't make that much money. He is working. Directed a film that got reviewed by major media outlets. But his next picture, Solitary,which had at least two solid named stars, had trouble getting picked up. I'm not sure it's been out yet. Again, though, his movies haven't made much money.

Not to say that it didn't suck what happened to him.

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> Another good example of effective cancellation is Kevin Spacey, who appears unlikely to ever act in a major movie or show again, though he has been convicted of nothing. And I say good! That seems like a just outcome to me.

Really? Non-judicial punishment affecting someone's professional life (to the tune of tens millions in the case, but could just as well be their livelihood and support for family for some common folks), is "a just outcome"?

Would it also be a just outcome if someone was similarly cancelled for "making false accusations" (that could have equally serious pepurcusions)? Or is forgiveness and letting bygones by bygones ok in that case?

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Employers refuse to hire people over bad vibes every single day. Employers refuse to hire people because of optics every single day. Employers refuse to hire people because they don't want to get involved in any personal complications every single day. Do you object to every single one of those? Under what standards can people refuse to hire someone for public bad behavior that's not criminal? Literally none? I don't think you actually believe that.

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All of the above I consider as bad as lack of public healthcare or "fire at will" rights, and among things that make America a worker's backwater amongst western countries. They are certainly not arguments to make me see this as "just" as if those were also somehow just. They're just legal.

Also they're a huge affront to freedom of speech and to the right to a private life.

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Is there a number of accusations and a level of corroboration and a degree of communal belief of bad behavior that you would accept as a reason for a casting director to avoid an actor? Again, what are the parameters here?

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I would accept the actor not being suitable for the movie regarding their physical characterists, talent (or lack thereof), and the vision the director has for the role.

But there is no "number of accusations and a level of corroboration and a degree of communal belief of bad behavior that I would accept as a reason for a casting director to avoid an actor". Doubly so when "degree of communal belief of bad behavior" is often just a factor of "media amplification of the accusations". And even more so when it concerns their personal life (not conduct on the job), or even worse, their political or personal views.

It's not a matter of corroboration either. I believe than even an actual verified thief, or murderer, or whatever, can also play, direct, write a screenplay or a book, and do a great job at it.

Hell, they could paint masterpieces too - just ask Caravaggio.

Or Genet, Villion, Burroughs, and others, including Leadbelly.

I believe its hypocriticy, optics (insecere distancing to avoid harming the bottom line), sadism combined with schadenfreude, and the protestant attachment to retribution over forgiveness and rehabiliation, that doesn't give them the opportunity.

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Apr 1·edited Apr 1

Okay...so if an actor punches the director in the face, goes through the legal process, gets all appropriate state mandated punishments, then that director should be morally obligated to hire them/keep them on?

I think you're confusing 'can this person still create great art' with 'should you hire this person' and even in the arts, it's never the case that the only goal is to produce great art, it's also to run a safe/successful business.

ETA: Also, since you're saying this is about worker's rights...can a convicted fraudster be hired as a banker in this model? A convicted mugger as a cop? Or, to take this back to Woody Allen, is it really unjust if he can't get a job at a daycare?

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A person under your management accuses you of sexual harassment at the workplace. You get put on paid administrative leave during the investigation, which determines that there likely no sexual harassment. Your reputation has been trashed, and you note that your coworkers are barely cordial to you after you return from leave where they were once quite friendly. Yet, you are prohibited from firing, demoting, or even transferring your accuser because that would be retaliation. What's the difference?

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Are you talking about Klaus Kinski? Because El Aguirre is commonly held to be one of the greatest movies ever made.

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But what if a large chunk of the audience says "Ew, I don't want to see a movie with Jerk Actor in it", so the movie makes less money, and that's predictable? Seems like the producers, who are in it to make money for themselves and their investors, have a solid reason not to hire him.

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I would say that affects big movies, not necessarily the smaller ones. If 30% of the potential audience loves actor X because he is politically incorrect then you just use a smaller budget because you know that 70% is out of your reach. I would still rather make a million versus nothing so arguing that II won't make 100 million is kind of meaningless.

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Except that's not why they aren't hiring Spacey. Almost no evidence the public cares about his supposed wrongdoings (most of the charges have been found by juries to be false).

The decisionmakers aren't hiring Spacey because they're afraid the cancel class will come for them.

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You're ignoring that actor vibes and exterior reputation are a crucial piece of the reception of movies and TV shows. If Rowan Atkinson turned out to be a serial child molester, it would completely and irrevocably change the interpretation of Mr. Bean.

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There's no universal consensus on whether art should be judged based on the personal lives of artists rather than solely on their work.

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Would you hire Bill Cosby to host a charity benefit for women's rights, in light of his conviction being overturned? To my knowledge he's only ever lost civil suits and had them actually stick, but if you want for this hypothetical, we can say he's never officially been convicted of anything without it being overturned. Yes or no?

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"Would you hire Bill Cosby to host a charity benefit for women's rights, in light of his conviction being overturned?"

I don't believe in charity benefits, I believe in getting organized and fighting for rights. So there's that. If he had a turnaround and was willing to advocate and fight for womens rights, why not? Out of a quasi religious belief that people are either good or evil, and once they did a crime they've shown they're no longer salvageable?

Are we supposed to say the same for someone who e.g. stole something from their job? "That person should never be employed again". Way to validate the punitive mentality of the prison system and its hardline supporters fighting against rehabilitation and re-integration.

Political organizations have lots of historical examples of accepting people that used to belong to the opposite camp (like ex-reactionaries turned leftists), including people who had done violence before against their members on their previous capacity.

So not sure why we're asked to entertain this from the viewpoint of a celebrity charity organizer (itself a job all about optics if there ever was one). Were the people we talk about merely not invited to host charity benefits for the cause their actions offended? Or were they shunned from working in their profession in general?

In any case, had I the money, I would certainly not stop commissioning works from Caravaggio.

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I would hire Bill Cosby to host an event if the price was right. Maybe not women's rights, but MC'ing at a club or bar? No problem.

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There are separate arguments here, one is when someone is forgivable the other is when someone is replaceable. If Kevin Spacey occupied such a critical niche in terms of acting ability and importance to the cultural conversation that it was agreed it would be very hard to find anyone else who can do what he does, he would probably still have a career, and then we would all just be opining over whether it was "fair" that he still had a career. And then you could make your arguments about the weight of talent vs respectability. But as good as Spacey is, he's not THAT good. His last major public facing role, he was replaced by Christopher Plummer in reshoots over the course of a couple of weeks, and everyone agreed it turned out fine, that was the final nail in his coffin.

If you want an interesting counter-example: James Gunn was fired over what, to be fair, everyone agrees now was a dumb of even-more-than-usually-manufactured controversy, but his career looked quite dead at the time, only it turned out no one else felt up to the task of making a "James Gunn style" production so he was allowed one more chance, and it was so successful that he was the first person ever to essentially have his cancellation "retracted" by the studio that had pulled its support.

To quote Neil Gaiman, "you have to be talented, you have to be nice, and you have to hit your deadline, but you only ever have to do two of those at a time to have a career." I think every person who has ever lost a job because of "the vibes" has failed along at least one other vector as well.

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It's interesting to code people like Tyson, Allen and Spacey as workers.

They and other celebrities seem to inhabit a role in American culture more akin to that of the old aristocracy in Europe in terms of how they are treated and what they have access to socially.

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However rich or famous they may be, if they are making money off their labor (be it acting or construction or food prep) they are workers. Allen has his own production company so probably is not part of the worker category.

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I believe this is inside the bounds, but if not, I will obviously accept the ban as I know I'm stepping close to the edge here, but how do you square the last sentence of the above comment with:

"But you don’t get to say “this is wrong because what you actually believe is….” I won’t tolerate people purporting to tell me my own beliefs."

Is it that this is your house? Or am I missing a nuance?

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I’m all for rapists being treated fairly in prison. To work on my engineering team, or more on point direct a major film? Nah… fuck them. They can be a pariah now.

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Which rapists are you talking about? Neither Spacey nor Allen has been convicted of any crime.

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Since when does crime conviction have anything to do with morality?

And anyways, my point is that it’s ludicrous to pretend there are no situations where “cancelling” is morally justified. This is on top of the fact that cancelling is simply an exercise of freedom of association.

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It has to do with the liberal values of due process. Is it enough to simply trust any and all accusations as true? What does that do to society?

It's bad that accusations of the worst behavior in 2024 (sexual misconduct and racism) carry the lowest burden of proof, especially when those accusations are used to justify destroying someone's life, and cheered on by the public.

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The flaw of due process is that it only accounts for what is officially law. As an example, there was a high school teacher in my city who was (most likely) grooming minors. He had multiple proven accounts of dating or sexual relationships with previous students within months of them graduating, and a lot of strange behavior such as favoritism to 17 year old girls in his classroom that was reported. Due process was applied, but no charges stuck because nobody could prove anything technically illegal happened with a 17 year old or current student.

Do you want this dude teaching your daughter?Is what he did magically acceptable because it didn’t technically violate a law?

Would you go to bat for this guy vs the principal who ultimately got him fired, even though no official charges actually stuck?

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And to be clear, I’m not advocating that there should be no burden of proof for accusations. I’m suggesting that due process does not determine morality just legality. I’m suggesting that freedom of association allows cancellation/firing/pariah status even if something a person does is not illegal. I’m suggesting that sometimes when legality does not line up with morality, that cancellation is morally justified.

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Apr 1Liked by Freddie deBoer

I recall the praise that the three leads of The Hangover received online when they refused to allow Mel Gibson to appear in a cameo in the sequel (a role that eventually went to Nick Cassavetes of all people). At the time I was sort of perplexed considering how big a role Tyson had in the first film… make it make sense

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Tech is filled with annoying nerds like Damore who have jobs because they are smart and right, not because of their social skills. What happens when the culture shifts and those guys are pushed to the fringe? Technical competence is devalued compared to arbitrary social nonsense and you get Google AI churning out images of black Nazis.

Plus in keeping with this article I will note that Quillette, in the aftermath of Damore's firing, came out with an article where they quoted an array of social scientists and academics who testified that Damore was completely right and his opponents had no idea what they were talking about. I notice nobody went after them.

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I mean, it’s Quillette. No one comes after the Daily Wire, either.

(I am totally a Quillette reader but let’s all just be honest about this.)

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There are a ton of people on social media who basically throw down, say terrible stuff, and then challenge the cancelers to come at them. Basically they're spoiling for a fight (and the fame that would presumably come with it).

Nobody ever seems to take them up on it, however, which I think is telling.

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Apr 1·edited Apr 1

Slaw, I know you know all this, but for those who don't; What Damore did, in response to a kind of "diversity homework" assignment, was write a lengthy memo, citing industrial and social psychological studies, about what kind of workplaces women prefer, and pointing out that Google's workplace did not match those preferences. The obvious implication of the memo was that Google could and should change it's workplace culture to be more welcoming to women. Instead, he got smeared as "the guy who said that women shouldn't be in tech." The reason was that his managers wanted self-flagellation that didn't call for real changes in the workplace culture. Anyone who wants to know the truth about Damore should listen to his interview with Joe Rogan. Rogan invited him on after reading his memo and realizing just how badly he had been slandered.

Freddie loathes the identity politics Left, but is still too quick to accept their characterizations of people and situations at face value. I suspect that his image of Damore was picked up from the same twitterati that he so often skewers.

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From what I recall Damore cited the gender equality paradox, which posits that there may be biological inputs into career preferences. Maybe guys just like working with machinery better.

It's been a while since I took a close look at the controversy but didn't he assert that if that were the case that trying to get to 50% just wasn't going to happen absent massive, distorting incentives?

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If you read the memo in full, I'll defer to you on that point. But of course, saying "Guys just like working with machinery better" doesn't mean "Women shouldn't be allowed to work with machinery", which seems to be the public perception of what he said.

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Damore was defamed in the public sphere and the press because what he said was politically incorrect.

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Wrong. First, the "public perception of what he said" was that most people didn't care in the slightest. He was fired because Google management was afraid *they'd* be cancelled if they didn't.

And the public perception of what he said was quite accurate. The offense wasn't "women shouldn't be hired" but rather "because of women's preferences, the gender gap in tech is perhaps understandable and not fixable even though Google should continue to strive to improve". That was what was understood, it was correct, and he was castigated for saying so.

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Actually, in the memo I read, he came up with suggestions he thought would make Google a more attractive place for women to work given fairly well agreed upon differences between men and women. He felt Google's approach was counter-productive. This is what I read.

https://web.cs.ucdavis.edu/~koehl/Teaching/ECS188/PDF_files/Damore.pdf

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You've got a lot of leaps here, Slaw, but maybe I'm misreading you, so I have some follow up questions.

- Do you think being "annoying" is required to be good at tech?

- Do you think there is a direct line between Damore being fired and Google AI's bug?

- If so, do you think that's because Damore is right about his claim that women and minorities are too biologically inferior to folks like Damore to have jobs in tech?

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Annoying, no. But somewhat atypical in thought and communication style which can often come across poorly? Yes, 100%.

He didn't argue biological inferiority.

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What gives people who don't communicate well an edge in creating tools used by the masses to communicate?

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Because large projects are typically coded by teams. Somebody who works on UI could easily be an incompetent when it comes to devising the backend database structures that store messages, for example.

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Sure. That doesn't answer the question. Temagami argued that poor communication skills are necessary to be good at tech. I've worked with plenty of great, mid, and terrible engineers, and I don't think poor communication was what set the great ones apart.

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No. I said atypical. I'd argue they communicate very clearly and efficiently. These people run the most successful companies in the world. But the average person is very thrown off by the directness and disregard for niceties, etc.

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- Annoying isn't required but it's pretty commonplace.

- What happened with Google's AI images wasn't really a "bug". They designed it and failed to foresee the consequences of their design choices. That's just garden variety idiocy.

https://www.thefp.com/p/ex-google-employees-woke-gemini-culture-broken

- What exactly did Damore say about minorities in tech? Half of Silicon Valley is Asian, far outstripping the overall percentage of Asian residents in the US, so I'm curious as to what you think his issue was.

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- I agree it's pretty commonplace. I don't think annoying coders write better code than non-annoying coders.

- I'm an SDET. When the output does not meet expectations, it's a bug. Whether it was the product team or the eng team that introduced it, it's a bug. If the submit button doesn't work, that could also be defined as garden variety idiocy, too, no?

- You're right, I just went and read the memo. He focuses on women, I confused him with some other controversial annoying engineer hot take.

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- At this point I have been doing working for so long that I really don't care about the personal foibles of individual coders. There's not enough hours in the day and my primary concern is whether or not the person involved knew what they were doing.

- There are bugs and then there are bugs. Large code bases inevitably have problems just because of the number of lines of code, leading to some issues being overlooked.

On the other hand there are mistakes that arise due to incompetence and stupidity. Technically you could classify those as "bugs" as well but a lot of people, myself included, find it useful to sort those into their own distinct category.

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- Right up there at the top of this thread you were implying that we were going to have a reduction in technical quality if we push out annoying coders like Damore. I've been doing this a long time too and I think we could all get a lot more done without having to coddle annoying coders. There's no shortage of coders these days.

- Cool, agree to disagree.

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- I think there are two types of people in the world. For some the question of "What do you think of this idea?" is a disguised invitation for agreement, an opportunity to bond and practice tribalism.

But others will interpret that question literally and respond with (potentially brutal) honesty. Even if delivered with equanimity and courtesy an exhaustive list of shortcomings and problems can often be interpreted as an attack even when that was not the intent. It's not "rudeness" per se, it's just two different world views colliding.

For years nerds/geeks/whatever have been overrepresented in tech. Maybe it's Asperger's, maybe it's just general crustiness, maybe it's the impatience that the intelligent often have with being forced to slow down to accommodate the less bright but in my entirely subjective personal experience that second world view is overrepresented among techies. And by that I mean the people who actually do the technical work, as compared to the hangers-on that make up the bureaucratic apparatus of any large business.

As for labor shortages, there's a chronic shortage of people who are good at what they do. Finding warm bodies to fill chairs is another issue entirely.

- If you're okay with hiring people who have no idea what they're doing what's the point of interviews, or standards?

Also, get used to lots of people knowing your SSN, login details, etc.

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That's not what Damore said.

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At least put your back into the argument, Ed. I just read what he said. Let's discuss.

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>do you think that's because Damore is right about his claim that women and minorities are too biologically inferior to folks like Damore to have jobs in tech?

I don't believe Damore ever claimed anything of the kind. Nothing even remotely resembling that characterisation.

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I found (I think) Damore's Google memo and his defense of it. That's all I know about him. I haven't heard him speak or read anything else by him. If what I read was really what he wrote, I don't see how that should have gotten him fired. I find it amazing that saying men and women have innate differences, albeit with significant overlaps, can be so controversial.

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I wonder if, in the cases of Spacey and Allen, the cancellation's success had a little to do with the perception that both were washed. People knew about the Allen pedophilia accusation for years, but he still presented at the Oscars after 9/11 and made major movies over that period with A-list stars, which received widespread distribution. I like a lot of his work, but I think it's fair to say that by the time the efforts to cancel him were successful, he had definitely lost his fastball. Maybe the same can be said of Spacey, although I'm less sure there. I do think his Frank Underwood shtick had grown preetty stale by the end.

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author

I mean, yes, I think that's true in general - Kanye West's downfall has been accompanied by the perception that he's no longer making relevant music. But, like... it's not supposed to work that way!

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I agree. I don't think it's just. I just think it's part of the calculation.

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Perhaps hidden right there in plain sight was the most relevant consideration i.e. 'can we still make money off you?' I think it's pretty widely acknowledged that's how it is in pro sports and has been forever.

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I'll defend Café Society as being the best film of his late period. Has Kristen Stewart disavowed him?

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Wouldn't Mike Tyson be considered washed as well? He's certainly far from his glory days as a boxer.

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Yeah I was thinking about that..he would seem to be a counter-example. I think in his case other factors are more pertinent than his washed or non washedness. It isn't a perfect predictor.

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This is part of the reason why it’s so ridiculous to me that certain film professionals (Colin Firth) and even critics (the New Yorker’s Richard Brody) claimed, amidst the resurgence of the accusations against Allen at the onset of the MeToo movement, that they had somehow never heard of the allegations until that very moment. Just a weird and obvious lie, considering that I am decades younger than both men and I was aware of the claims against Allen many years before he was actually canceled. Everyone in Hollywood decided that he was innocent of those charges and desirable to work with right up until 2018 when the winds started blowing a different direction

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Absolutely. It was a huge story.

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It also seems likely that Ronan Farrow's heightened profile and increased credibility helped his sister's case, insofar as he has always supported her claims unwaveringly. He cut off his father and changed his name because, rightly or wrongly, he believes his sister's testimony. I know people who believe that Mia brainwashed him and some of the other children, but I don't feel like I'm in any position to know. It's just so horrible to think about, and it also doesn't seem like it's any of my business. I'm on record as a Chuck Berry and Richard Wagner fan, though, so I could never presume to be a culture cop.

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I think Mia Farrow and her execrable son resurrected those charges while #metoo was a thing with the intentions of satisfying an old grudge.

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Yes, it seems clear to me that Ronan Farrow's huge popularity during #metoo played a role.

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> I do think his Frank Underwood shtick had grown preetty stale by the end.

I maintain that if Spacey hadn't done his cringey Christmas video with the hat and the spatula at the time that he did, he could have been on the path to redemption by now. Not because the video was evidence of moral depravity (although it was, a little bit) but because the widespread mockery amplified the initial complaint and strengthened the impression that Spacey was non grata.

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I think you're right, but that's sort of the point. The Christmas video showed that he had kinda gone off the deep end a little bit, and probably wasn't a safe bet when it came to investing millions of dollars in him in order to make a movie.

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Yeah, there's definitely some reverberation between what people think broadly and whether and how someone can make you money. Spacey is more valuable--monetarily, culturally--as an object of disdain than he could be as the subject of a comeback.

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Very few people who get cancelled go so far off the deep end that they make anything approaching those videos as a public rejoinder but tbh being at the center of a public shaming spectacle and feeling like there is nothing you can do or say to defend yourself is pretty destabilizing, so as off-putting as they are I chalk those videos up to him being totally mentally adrift at the time. FWIW the man has gotten his day in court and has been legally exonerated (not that the people who gleefully cancelled him actually care about due process)...

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Even before the Christmas video his response where he came out as gay didn't do him any favours. His whole reaction might go down in public relations history as the worst possible way to deal with a serious allegation short of publicly bragging about it.

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I don't think so. As I wrote in my own comment, Spacey wasn't at all doing poorly. He'd just ended a 12 year stint running The Old Vic and had returned to movies.

Louis CK was cancelled at the top of his game.

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John Lennon struck his wife, and he's the Paragon of peace and love.

And, of course, Michael Jackson. Amazing how nobody cares or is "sickened" by his continued popularity.

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As Chris Rock said, after Jackson was accused of abusing a second boy, “Another kid?! We like Michael so much, we let the first kid slide.”

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You must have missed the documentary on Jackson, Leaving Neverland, and the voluminous media discussion when it came out. It was brutal. Impressionistically, I'd say that, while there weren't really calls to castigate him, Jackson was no longer lionized in the press and the entertainment industry after that.

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3

The multiple Tony Award winning "MJ: the Musical" (2021) is currently on a successful run on Broadway and in the West End though. I recommend the "Think Twice: Michael Jackson" podcast for more insight on what happened with MJ.

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Apr 1Liked by Freddie deBoer

It sure feels like everything is just vibes and fads. Kudos to you for calling it back in 2021 that Social Justice Yelling would peter out.

https://freddiedeboer.substack.com/p/this-too-shall-pass

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Yeah, people are mainly looking to others for cues here, which means that contingent and irrelevant factors can play an outsize role. It's not a question of who should be punished for their crimes and to what extent, but a question of who's allowed into the club again.

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I am not sure that Allen has actually been cancelled so much as he simply became too old to work anymore and, as a consequence, exited the public stage.

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Yeh, he’s 88 years old.

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No, I have to push back there. Allen famously never stops working, had a multiple-movie deal with Amazon Studios, Amazon reneged because of MeToo bad press, and Allen sued them. He wanted to keep making movies and still does with obscure European companies.

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What's he working on now though? He famously stuck to a one film a year schedule and that petered out a while ago. As you point out getting funding for him isn't an issue so I chalk it up to age.

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As I recall he announced his retirement last year.

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At least Wikipedia claims he's still working.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coup_de_chance came out six months ago.

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Prior to that his last movie was in 2020, so he's not adhering to his self imposed schedule.

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Can hardly blame him for a worldwide pandemic during which film production was effectively impossible for anyone during two of those years.

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In the US at least lockdowns did not stretch past a year since the economic repercussions would have been disastrous.

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Wasn't Allen also supposed to have his memoirs published a a big name publisher? He ended up having to self publish it.

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I think Skyhorse published it.

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Apr 1Liked by Freddie deBoer

You're right. Still, it was originally going to be published by a bigger publisher and they pulled the publication over employee walk outs

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In this context I feel obligated to make the observation that it was a best seller. Echoes of J. K. Rowling and the rage of tastemakers that the general public still seems to love her stuff.

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I read the 5000 word essay that J.K. Rowling wrote which was linked to a NYT article bashing her. I thought it demolished the NYT journalists argument quite handily. I wondered if she actually read the essay she was condemning. The negative commenters went on and on about it being a 5000 word essay. Who could ever read so much!!

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LOL, they settled. Which means Allen got paid and Amazon got nothing for their money.

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Apr 1·edited Apr 1

He also hasn't made anything in recent years that has wowed people. I think everyone's convinced he's done and has nothing left to say. https://www.metacritic.com/person/woody-allen/?sort-options=date

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Even so he's still able to attract major talent. Timothee Chalamet and Elle Fanning worked with him in 2020.

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I don't know how you disentangle cause and effect here. It's a lot harder to make stuff which wows people (and even harder to produce stuff people admit has wowed them) in his current circumstances than his previous circumstances.

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In the last five years he's released three films and two books, and has appeared in two documentaries.

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His stated goal was a movie a year. At the very least he didn't adhere to that schedule from 2020 to 2023.

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Does trying "to wring justice out of the world by yelling at it" not work because as you put it about those on the right so many are now "beyond shaming"? would Joe Welch (who literally was yelling), Emile Zola, or Frederick Douglass make a difference with their own efforts to wring justice out of the world in a time when shame itself appears to be canceled? One of the reasons that I subscribe is because these pieces force us to think through what the hell is really going on, to drop certain pretenses that this is all going to work out.

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"I certainly do believe that most of the people who tried to wring justice out of the world by yelling at it did so because they sincerely wanted to protect vulnerable people, along with their deep desire to fit in."

This is too charitable. At least on a subconscious level (if not a conscious one) social justice warriors simply enjoy taking prominent people (particularly straight white men) down a peg.

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Not quite. Remember, #metoo got folded up real quick along with "believe the women" when Tara Reade revealed that Joe Biden raped her. The social justice types bend over backwards to protect white men who are high level Democrats. Same with Clinton back in the '90s. I heard self-identified feminists say some real heinous shit about Monica Lewinski, Juanita Broadrick, and especially Paula Jones to defend president and rapist Bill Clinton. And don't forget Hillary with her "drag a dollar bill through a trailer park" comment. Disgusting human beings one and all.

So not all white men, just the deplorables.

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Every moral crusade has a loophole for "we'll help our enemies if we go after this person."

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The fact that the entertainment industry welcomed Mike Tyson back always bothered me. I think a big part of it is that the part of entertainment Tyson found success (movies like The Hangover and channels like Adult Swim) were pure bro culture. A lot of bros who said boilerplate during MeToo were trying to avoid backlash from women more than they were actually concerned with actually confronting violence against women. One of the few times I remember someone pushing back against Tyson in public was Amy Schumer in a Comedy Central Roast that featured both of them.

I also wonder if people were handling him with kids' gloves since he seemed like a cartoon character that took too many punches to the head and was thus seen as analogous to someone like Gary Busey.

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So it was the "bros" who folded up #MeToo to protect Joe Biden when Tara Reade revealed that Joe raped her?

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Tara Reade's stories were never consistent enough to require anyone to "protect" Biden. She lives in Moscow now where anti-Biden forces consider her a useful idiot.

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I believe the women, not the rapists. I find it vile that you are trying to discredit a rape victim because she felt it necessary to flee the United States because the man who raped her became the president. You should rethink you politics.

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Big fan of this piece.

I like Woody Allen, I love his movies, and I have no idea if he’s guilty or not (actually, I think he’s innocent; he makes a pretty good case for himself in his memoir, but I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a detective so).

But on the other hand! There are so many Mike Tysons! The Murrays and Dres that Freddie mentions, but also virtually every popular musician of the sixties through eighties, including your favorite Beatles and Goblin Kings.

It’s much easier to cancel celebrities who are less beloved than it is those whose creative output is still beloved to this day (or who has a shot at hurting an obnoxious celebrity this summer).

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Part of growing up is understanding that Paul McCartney was the best Beatle. As far as I can tell, he's unblemished. "Get Back" would've been derided as hagiographical if it wasn't a raw-footage documentary.

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100% couldn’t agree more. John and George are who you want to be when you’re a teenager; Paul is the one who actually supported underground music and was a loving husband and father.

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Apr 1Liked by Freddie deBoer

I know you're not necessarily taking the shot at the Ringer specifically in this piece; however, someone could t-bone The Ringer at the fine intersection of the pinnacle of the Media Landscape and "person guys."

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"At this point any discussion of canceling is just a trading of clichés, and nobody’s listening anymore. It’s a completely exhausted discourse and both sides have retrenched to the point that there’s nothing constructive about the debate. "

Cancellation is primarily a popularity contest. The Cool Kids are forgiven or get to laugh their real or imagined misdeeds off as transgressive irony, while the uncool kids are cast into Outer Darkness for far lesser sins.

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Counterpoint: Al Franken was a "Cool Kid" and he was thoroughly metooed.

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Good point, although I am not sure how "cool" Al Franken was. Still, the intent at the time was to use MeToo to go after Trump, so it would not do to open MeToo up to charges of hypocrisy if Trump were pilloried but Franken not.

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Good point. Franken as the scapegoat Democrat to deflect from the hypocrisy when it came to Biden raping a woman.

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I disagree. He was sort of a cool kid in showbiz, but an outsider in politics. That's why he got cancelled for pretending to grope a sleeping woman while Clinton and Biden can get away with rape.

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