You could almost feel it in the air at Sunday’s Golden Globes. With all of Hollywood decked out in black, patting themselves on the back for fighting back against sexual harassment and giving sanctimonious speeches that only they could appreciate, you could sense that this was probably the peak of the #MeToo movement. Which is to say, it was all downhill from there.
But the truth is that the backlash against this movement has been percolating for some time, kept at bay, perhaps, by the politically correct atmosphere the media is so good at maintaining. After all, who wants to be the first one to come out IN FAVOR of sexual harassment and assault? Which is, after all, exactly how it will be portrayed, regardless of what you actually say. The left has a wonderful way of policing speech and thought to the point where no nuance is allowed. You’re either with us or you’re against us, and they are only too happy to chew up and spit out any so-called “liberal” who isn’t on message.
But if the backlash was delayed, it’s here now. In a stunning denouncement of the movement, French actress Catherine Deneuve and more than 100 other popular French women in the fields of entertainment and academia are insisting that innocent men are having their careers destroyed on the altar of a reckless witch hunt.
“Rape is a crime. But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression,” said the women in an open letter. “As a result of the Weinstein affair, there has been a legitimate realization of the sexual violence women experience, particularly in the workplace, where some men abuse their power. It was necessary. But now this liberation of speech has been turned on its head.”
The women insisted that however well-meaning the movement was, it was circumventing the realm of due process and, indeed, common sense, to throw men accused of “crimes” as disparate as actual rape and light flirting in the same category.
“This expedited justice already has its victims, men prevented from practicing their profession as punishment, forced to resign, etc., while the only thing they did wrong was touching a knee, trying to steal a kiss, or speaking about ‘intimate’ things at a work dinner, or sending messages with sexual connotations to a woman whose feelings were not mutual,” they wrote.
These French women may be the first to speak out about the absurd aspects of the #MeToo movement, but we hope they are not the last. If this movement is hijacked by the same feminist extremists who coined the term “rape culture” and tried to get Americans to believe that practically every female college was being assaulted by brutish frat boys, it will end as quickly as it began. A crusade to protect women from unfair and unsafe workplace environments is a noble one. A crusade to demonize male sexuality is not. Maybe we can find a balance before things really go off the rails.