Yes, Gordon Campbell, you’re a rape apologist

Gordon Campbell has made his third post in a row in which he treats the accusations against Julian Assange, and his own journalism!fail, so seriously they’re the second item in the column.

After explaining that his “comments policy” boils down to “I don’t have to engage with my audience, now I’ve made my declarations from on high you are permitted to talk amongst yourselves”, Campbell has a go at me.  Without being so open as to just name names, then people might actually look me up and see both sides of the story, which I understand is the most important thing in the world to him under other circumstances.

But since there’s still some apparent confusion, let me explain why Gordon Campbell is, indeed, a rape apologist.

From the most recent post:

I do not, and have not, absolved or condemned Assange’s personal conduct.

Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you equate “accurately stating what the charges against Assange are” with “believing the charges against Assange”.  You’re a rape apologist because you are contributing to the narrative that says people who say they want Assange held to account in a court of law must actually be “assuming” he’s guilty – and therefore, obviously, are not worth listening to.

You’re also a rape apologist because you refuse to address the fact that his personal conduct involves not simply denying the charges and waiting for trial, but employing lawyers who have outright lied about the charges and allegations and continually fed into rape culture with their statements about the accusers.

In the second Wikileaks article, I repeated the gist of the accusations against Assange, and put them alongside the gist of his initial response in court to them. It was an attempt at balance, not to absolve the left’s golden boy of the hour.

You’re a rape apologist because you continue to pretend that the answer to “you have printed misinformation about the case” is “okay that bit was maybe kinda wrong but here’s their side of the story!”

You’re a rape apologist because you’re acting like accurate reporting of the accusers’ statements – not agreeing, not supporting, just stating what they have said and what the charges are – needs to be “balanced” by Assange’s [lying] lawyers’ statement.

Guess what, Gordon.  If the Herald prints that Remmers McFlorist won the Ellerslie Flower Show, and someone points out that actually, Flowers McArrangement won the Ellerslie Flower Show, it would be a bit fucking douchey if the Herald then printed, “Okay, okay, so we printed the wrong name, but here’s 500 words from Remmers McFlorist on why she SHOULD have won!”

That’s not balance, Gordon.  And Assange’s rebuttal is not actually relevant to you correcting and apologising for your misinformation – misinformation which was weeks out of date.  You’re a rape apologist because you have taken the lies of a “golden boy’s” lawyers at absolute face value over the statements of women You’re a rape apologist because you instantly believed that unprotected sex is a crime in Sweden (those silly liberals, eh?) and thus the charges must just be nothing that Real Countries would prosecute.*

From the second post:

I think Bianca Jagger’s piece in the Huffington Post explains why doubts exist about the sturdiness of the case against Assange …:

It is widely known that the complainants first approached the police because they wanted assistance in securing an STD test. Initially, there was no mention of pressing charges of rape, coercion or molestation. How did this escalate from a request for a test to an investigation of a criminal nature? Who made this decision? After considering the evidence, Eva Finne, a female Chief Prosecutor chose to dismiss the charges. The case was then taken up by a politician who was facing re-election and whose motive may be questionable. The matter was taken to a prosecutor in a different city where none of the events had taken place. Why was this done? Was any pressure brought to bear? These are the questions a truly committed investigative journalist should be asking.

Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you uncritically post comments which criticise rape victims for not behaving the way they “should”.  You’re a rape apologist for posting comments which imply that the cases must be silly if a women lawyer dropped the charges initially.

Below that, you’re a rape apologist for posting the “gist” of the charges against Assange … a “gist” which just happens to omit that whole “tearing off somebody’s clothes”, “holding somebody down” aspect.  Funny how the charges, which you misreported, get given the “gist” treatment while the lying lawyers’ statement bullet points get the full “can I hold your coat while you take the stage, sir” rub-down.

Back to the latest post.

What I’ve said all along is that Assange’s personal conduct shouldn’t determine, one way or the other, how the revelations by Wikileaks are judged.

Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you’re the one who keeps bringing up Wikileaks.  You’re the one who keeps waving the Wikileaks flag and you’re certainly fucking smart enough to know that waving that flag just keeps everyone conscious of the fact that Julian Assange is linked to Wikileaks, and Wikileaks is awesome, and the Powers That Be hate Wikileaks, and so we have to take accusations of rape with a grain of progressive dudebro-brand salt because HEY, WIKILEAKS!  DID I MENTION WIKILEAKS YET?

If you want the charges against Assange and the work of Wikileaks to be treated separately, maybe you could stop fucking playing the Wikileaks Is Important card every fucking time you are asked to report ethically on the charges against Assange.

You know what would be awesome and bold and courageous, Gordon?  If you had stood by your premise from the start:

Assange’s alleged sexual misconduct has managed to divert some media attention away from the content of the cables. The two things are – or should be – unconnected.

Who keeps connecting them, Gordon?  I’ll give you a clue:  it’s not the feminists who want rape charges treated seriously.  It could, you know, be Assange himself who wants to constantly remind us (when not playing the I Can’t Help It If I’m A Rocking Stud line) that there are powerful forces against him and that “CIA honeypot” is a real conspiracy-theory-tickler of a line.

But don’t think he’s done, people.

Yet at this point, Assange has to be presumed innocent until proven guilty of the charges against him.

Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you have just busted out Rape Apologism Maxim the First.  Guess fucking what?  That’s a principle applicable to justice systems.  Is my blog a justice system?  Is media reporting a subset of the justice system?  And hang on, at what fucking point is accurate reporting of the nature of the charges tantamount to assuming guilt?  At what fucking point have I said “you have to assume he’s guilty”?  OH THAT’S RIGHT, NEVER.

We claim to want the same thing here, Gordon.  We claim to want to see these charges answered in court.  But because you’re a fucking rape apologist you aren’t waiting until the charges are answered in court, you are making statements right now that the charges are silly, the women didn’t act the way they should have, HAVE I MENTIONED WIKILEAKS IS IMPORTANT AND IMPLIED THAT THIS IS A CIA HONEYTRAP YET???

The Guardian’s actions in releasing part of the Swedish prosecutor’s file against him was – I thought – an injustice.

You’re a rape apologist, Gordon, because you think an “injustice” is having the facts of the case published AFTER Assange’s lawyers have lied about them, AFTER Assange’s lawyers have lied about the entire Swedish legal system, AFTER the accusers have been not only named but had their photos and addresses publicised and been FORCED INTO HIDING.

But sure, what the Guardian did was the “injustice” here (now you’ve gotten around to reading it).

I found it interesting that one commenter portrayed me as part of a gendered tendency to minimize women’s experience and testimony in sexual complaints, while also denigrating me for linking to Bianca Jagger

Don’t worry, Gordon, this one isn’t about you being a rape apologist.  This is about how you’re a misogynist douchebag for acting like quoting Bianca Jagger magically absolves you of your significant contributions to rape apologism.  You’re a misogynist douchebag for going on to say naming the accusers mustn’t be that bad because hey, these Famous Feminists totally did it – failing to mention that one had retracted those names until after the quote, which was even better for your argument what with it boiling down to “everyone else did it so I did it too”.  But as a bonus, you and Bianca Jagger are both rape apologists for pretending that criminal cases can never be re-opened unless Dark Forces Are At Work.

Then it’s a fine finish with a lather/rinse/repeat of “we can’t assume his guilt” [CITATION NEEDED] and a wonderfully oblivious expression of male privilege:

Personally, I do find it depressing that so much energy has been spent on Assange’s actions in bed and so relatively little on the morality exposed in the Wikileaks cable

WHY AREN’T THE WIMMINZ INTERESTED IN REEEEEEEAL ISSUES??  Oh, and Gordon?  You’re a rape apologist for spending so much time pretending to care, so much time claiming it was about balance and fairness and did you mention Wikileaks … and then you fucking write off rape allegations as “Assange’s actions in bed”.

Gordon, you’re a rape apologist because you continue to make excuses for the fact that you spread misinformation.  You’re a rape apologist because you pretend that factual reporting of charges requires a critique-free rebuttal.  You’re a rape apologist because you have continued to downplay the charges and continued to privilege Assange’s side of the story.  You’re a rape apologist because you have on multiple occasions, contributed to a culture which denigrates rape victims and treats rape as far less serious than other crimes.

You’re a rape apologist because every single thing you have said over three columns is straight out of the rape apologism playbook.

I can’t think why Polanski-defenders came to mind in light of all that.

~

*Protip, Gordon:  most countries are pretty shit at even prosecuting “real” rape cases.

Many links sourced from megpie’s excellent round-up.

8 comments

  1. stargazer

    simply brilliant. thank you for putting in the time to take this on, and for explaining it all so clearly. if mr campbell still can’t manage to get it after reading this (if he even bothers to give it a serious read & due consideration), then i don’t think he will ever get it.

    • QoT

      Thanks! It was … a bit of a marathon but thank the pixies for awesome feminist bloggers doing a lot of the background work before me!

  2. Not A Feminist

    Dear Gordon Campbell: If you happen to come across this blog, and are looking to the comments for an outside opinion on all of this, she’s right you know.

  3. Digital Stealth

    [QoT: This thread is simply not going to be derailed by discussion of the case against Assange. Other authors and blogs, linked to throughout this post, have already covered this. Smearing victims, victim-blaming, belittling rape charges because of how victims behaved will not be permitted.

    Criticism of the Swedish prosecutors involved will also not be permitted unless from verified Swedish legal experts. So ... no.

    This post discusses the rape-apologism behaviour of Gordon Campbell. It will not rehash a rape-culture-fuelled debate which has already been had and which contributes only to reinforcing patriarchal norms.]

  4. Tamara

    impressive work QoT!! Your analysis is amazing! However, understanding it and the concepts you apply would take a lot of thinking and open-mindedness on the part of someone new to them so I guess it may simply fall on deaf ears.

  5. Helen

    AFTER the accusers have been not only named but had their photos and addresses publicised and been FORCED INTO HIDING.

    An Oz blogger has published one of those photos, which is bad enough for anyone, but the blogger in question is so paranoid she posts under about 6 different sockpuppet identities – even on HER OWN comment threads! o how the feck can she justify it to herself? The power of the male rockstar is still pretty hard to overcome.