Thursday, November 19, 2015

Harvard law profs point out the evidence doesn't support accusations in "The Hunting Ground," the filmmakers accuse them of hating women

It is as predictable as it is disgusting. When people of goodwill point out facts that prove presumptively innocent college men accused of sexual assault are being treated unfairly, the profiteers of the sexual grievance industry have a ready-made answer for them: they accuse them of hating women.

An atrocity masquerading as a documentary known as "The Hunting Ground" will air on CNN this Sunday, November 22. Chilling emails have surfaced that prove the producers of the "The Hunting Ground" decided from the outset they were going to take the side of accusers. This purported documentary that supposedly shines a light on "he said-she said" sexual encounters doesn't give a damn about the "he said" side of the story--the accused young men are guilty by reason of penis. Whatever "The Hunting Ground" might be, it is not a documentary.

The filmmakers were challenged by some of the most respected legal scholars in America, and the filmmakers' response is among the most morally grotesque things this blog has ever reported.

Last week, nineteen predominantly (if not entirely) liberal law professors from Harvard, with no ax to grind aside from promoting justice, wrote a stinging letter denouncing the film. The professors pointed out: "This purported documentary provides a seriously false picture both of the general sexual assault phenomenon at universities and of our student Brandon Winston." Among other things, the Harvard law professors explained that the film creates the false impression that Mr. Winston used drugs to sexually assault purported victims--the only problem, the law professors point out: there is no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Winston was responsible for the women's inebriated state.

How did the "documentary" filmmakers respond? "In statements sent to [The Hollywood Reporter], filmmakers Dick and Ziering said the professors’ reference to 'the "inebriated" state of the women who are portrayed in the film is classic victim blaming and is exactly the kind of misogynistic, punitive and shaming attitude that helps perpetuate sexual assault on college campuses.'"

Read it again. It was the film that opened the door to the issue of the women's inebriation by creating the impression that Mr. Winston drugged the women. The Harvard law professors merely pointed out that the actual evidence did not support this impression, but the filmmakers responded as if the professors invented the inebriation issue to make the accusers look like stereotypical "sluts." This takes "spin" to a new, diabolical low. Instead of dealing with silly things like facts, instead of refuting the professors' claims, the filmmakers were content to demonize the professors and resort to the worst kind of name-calling. (Emily Yoffe has written extensively about the Winston case here.)

We are stranded in an age where citing the evidence is misogyny; where name-calling has replaced civil discourse; where we can't just disagree, we must reduce our opponents to vile caricature; where keeping an open mind about a rape claim is "rape apology"; where calling for due process for men accused of rape is "rape culture" and "victim blaming"; and where no assertion is too outrageous, too untrue, or too hateful for the people whose livelihoods depend on manufacturing college rape hysteria. See, e.g., here and here. Gender zealots wage the war on sexual assault using the memes of the hangman in the Old South--due process isn’t merely unnecessary to the fair administration of justice on campus, due process is a hindrance to the fair administration of justice. Down the rabbit hole we tumble.

CNN and the filmmakers behind "The Hunting Ground" learned nothing from the Rolling Stone debacle. I am waiting for both to get their just deserts.

Write to CNN here:

EDIT: We have this additional mind-numbing fact: "A crew member from "The Hunting Ground," a one-sided film about campus sexual assault, has been editing Wikipedia articles to make facts conform with the inaccurate representations in the film." Read about it here.