Well, right now it seems like the flood gates may be open when it comes to famous sexual deviants and predators, and of course, it seems much of the reaction has been to use these revelations as fodder for political attacks. I don’t want to feed that either way, but I do want to talk about something that does seem to be coming up which I think is important.
This weekend (it may have been earlier on both, but I heard about them this weekend) Louis C.K. and George Takei were both accused of different types of harassment or assault, and there has been some talk about the presumption of guilt. I saw some posts talking about how Takei will be treated easier because he’s been an outspoken opponent of this behavior, and similar with Louis C.K.
Now, let’s get this out of the way, if Takei did what he’s accused of (assault that seems to be an attempted rape) then he’s a monster, and should be treated as such. Louis on the other hand admitted to what he did. Now, I tend to grant Takei more leniency than most of the accused right now, because he is outright denying it. Now, that doesn’t mean that I think he definitely didn’t do it, but it is different than what others who are being accused are saying in their responses.
Let me give an example, Kevin Spacey, tried two separate tactics, he first said he didn’t remember that type of behavior, and second threw out the fact that he was gay as a distraction. What Takei did was say “I did not do that.” Did he do that? I don’t know, but he knows whether or not he did, as does Spacey, and he denied outright. This has been an issue in many of these denials is people saying “I don’t remember,” and there are situations in which you may not remember, but clearly intentional sexual assault (in Spacey’s case laying on top of a minor on a bed) isn’t something you forget, unless of course you do those type of abhorrent things so often that you don’t remember that specific time.
So, until there is an abundance of accusations, or more evidence, I will give Takei the benefit of the doubt. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t believe him, just that I don’t think he deserves everyone’s immediate scorn. I don’t however believe that disliking any of them violates the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” because I am not a court of law, so that doesn’t apply to me, until I am asked to serve on a jury.
The reason I bring up Louis C.K. at all, isn’t to make excuses, but more to comment on how bizarre his situation is. I’m literally not aware of any celebrity/politician or anything admitting fault in something like this as directly as he does, and many have said “well, there was a story in the New York Times, and it seems pretty undeniable,” and to that I say, if there is anything that I’ve learned in my life about celebrity scandals, it is that everything is deniable. We have a country where many people believe OJ didn’t do it, even after he tried to publish a book so blatant that it was originally a Chris Rock sketch.
I don’t think admission of guilt absolves him in any way of it, but it really is so strange to me that he did. Perhaps it speaks to his lack of malice in his actions, and they were just selfish and not intentionally predatory, but still I’m so surprised.
Ultimately what I’m trying to say, is that across all of these accusations, one thing that I think can be as telling, or at least informs my own opinion as much as any other factor, is the response of the accused. Even in non-celebrity cases I think this is true. Whenever I’ve heard about a rape or other sexual crime case, in which the victim is purposely made to appear immoral, or any of the other rape defense plays that we’re all familiar with, it actually makes me presume the accused’s guilt more than just a regular, concrete denial.