1999 Me: Hey, that is really great. I'm glad he's finally able to live his truth. I know it's hard to come out in his business and there's a danger of being typecast, but with his talent...
And I would have meant it then. And I mean it now--sometimes the truth hurts but you have to take it--even someone whose work you really like. It's true if the artist is someone you know, the way Sarah Silverman talks about Louis CK :
“One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C.K., masturbated in front of women,” she continued. “He wielded his power with women in -—ed up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely. I could couch this with heartwarming stories of our friendship and what a great dad he is, but that’s totally irrelevant, isn’t it? Yes, it is. It’s a real mindf—, because I love Louis. But Louis did these things. Both of those statements are true. So I just keep asking myself, ‘Can you love someone who did bad things? Can you still love them?’ I can mull that over later certainly, because the only people that matter right now are the victims. They are victims and they are victims because of something he did. So I hope it’s OK that I am, at once, very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend. But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It’s vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are. We need to be better. We will be better. I can’t -—ing wait to be better.”
What she said. So, taking in that Al Franken, who has been a solid liberal voice, and a capable US Senator, has behaved in ways that are inappropriate with respect to female coworkers in any setting, my instinct is to believe the accuser, to look at the picture without trying to deflect that he seems to be miming groping only, or that he touched her for the sake of "comedy", as if that made autonomy and personal choice about being touched less important.
Of course what he did was wrong. The thing with being a real feminist or ally is owning up to the failures of people to be who we need them to be regardless of how they mostly represent themselves as. I don't need an 80% anti harassment ally. I need a 100% ally, because that 20% is what keeps sexism and inequality going strong. I think people should acknowledge their bullshit and understand why their bullshit was wrong, and promise to never go back on their bullshit. I think Franken did a good ego-check based on his statement of apology and contrition, and called for his own senate investigation. He isn't deflecting. He's here to do the work. I can support that kind of accountability. I can also pick apart why it is stupid to carry out a mime-groping of a sleeping individual and sympathize with her dismay about what people saw fit to do around her while she was unconscious and incapable of consent and mourn how that was not transparently beyond the pale for them.
It's a reckoning. I like Al Franken and think he does good work, and am proud of him for calling for his own investigation. I don't think he's probably abusive as a general rule, and recognize that comedy can be about exploring edges, and might sometimes encroach on shibboleths, so I don't hold his comedic speculations against him as "proofs" of eventual poor behavior. I truly think proportionality is an essential part of justice.
But yeah. I also have to check in that what Franken did was sexist bullshit that took no input regarding the woman he was working with. That is wrong.
But like the vicious partisan I am, I need to also remark on this:
The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? .....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2017
Yeah. Trump is still also an abuser, and has done worse than Franken as far as we have heard alleged. So I don't think Mr. Glasshouse should be using his slingshot like that right now.