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  1. #41
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    White Venture Capitalist uses his White Privilege for Sexual favors of minority Entrepreneurs

    Binary Capital's Justin Caldbeck accused of unwanted sexual advances towards Minority female founders. Where's the outrage?





    The headline -- “Silicon Valley Women Tell of VC’s Unwanted Advances” -- is almost Onion-like in it’s “yeah, well, duh” quality.

    It’s only after reading past the paywall that you realize the extent of the “well-connected” Silicon Valley venture capitalist’s “advances”. They included allegedly groping a woman under a table, sending lurid texts late at night, and propositioning them for sex.

    The Information deserves credit for breaking the story, and I’m sure there were myriad legal considerations before publication, but still: If you’re going to publish a story like this, you can’t downplay the details.

    Here’s a better headline: Six women allege lurid texts, groping and unwanted sexual propositions from Binary Capital’s Justin Caldbeck

    Several of the women say the advances occurred when they sought funding or advice while trying to start businesses. At least two of the women decided to avoid business dealings with Mr. Caldbeck as a result of the episodes.”

    The Information also buries the most important part: Three of the six women they spoke with spoke on the record using their own names to describe the harassment they say they experienced.

    Those women, Niniane Wang, Susan Ho and Leiti Hsu, took massive professional and personal risks in doing this. Most men in the startup world won’t speak on the record about a VC who treats them poorly. For three women to do so and risk the industry’s retaliation shows not only their courage, but the giant shift that’s taking place in Silicon Valley.

    We are now in a post-Susan Fowler world, where the power of one woman coming forward and saying things so many other women experience on the record has never been clearer. I wrote after Emil Michael’s ouster from Uber that no bro is safe anymore. Everything I said in that piece goes double after Travis Kalanick’s ouster. It’s hard to overstate the cultural shift and importance of Susan Fowler’s honesty and courage bringing down the most untouchable bro in the startup world.

    In the immediate aftermath of Fowler’s post, a lot of people in the Valley dismissed it as saying everything in tech is just like this. Nothing to see here! Move along! This is the same dismissal we saw after Ellen Pao came forward against Kleiner Perkins with her litany of so-called “micro-indignities.” Similarly, the accounts of these women in the Information story are unlikely to shock any woman who has raised money, reported on this industry, or worked in the industry.

    But the fact that this is so commonplace is why the move was so brave. It was a way of standing up and saying that something that most women consider an inevitable part of doing business here simply isn’t OK. That if you do it, you will be outed.

    “Leiti and I originally were not going to say anything because we felt that what happened to us was just unfortunately so commonplace and trite these days,” Susan Ho told me via a closed Facebook Group this morning (she gave me permission to quote her publicly.)

    “But after hearing the stories of other women who endured much worse, we decided we had to say something to make sure this article would get written. Niniane Wang was the first to agree to go on the record and she said it best — if we don't say anything and this happens to someone else, it's really something we could have had a hand in preventing.”

    Binary Capital, for one, seems to agree that the actions are so commonplace that Caldbeck did nothing wrong. The firm’s statement in his defense to The Information is jaw-dropping:

    In a statement, Mr. Caldbeck said, “I strongly deny The Information’s attacks on my character. The fact is, I have always enjoyed respectful relationships with female founders, business partners, and investors.”Binary issued a statement that said the notion Mr. Caldbeck had “engaged in improper behavior with female entrepreneurs”was “false.” Binary said that while The Information had “found a few examples which show that Justin has in the past occasionally dated or flirted with women he met in a professional capacity, let’s be clear: there is no evidence that Justin did anything illegal and there is no evidence that any of his investing decisions were affected by his social interests.”

    His social interests.

    Let’s unpack both statements. By saying he has “always enjoyed respectful relationships with female founders” Caldbeck is either claiming these women lied or that he considers grabbing a woman’s leg under the table is “respectful.” I’d love to understand which, and have emailed Caldbeck to ask him. I’ll update this post with his response, if he gives one.

    Binary’s statement is worse. It denies that these accounts are “improper,” for one. And it minimized his abuse of his power position to fund or not fund a woman’s business as mere “social interests.” Bear in mind, the Information reviewed the lurid emails and texts.


    [UPDATE: Binary Capital has sent a new statement from Caldbeck. It reads: "Obviously, I am deeply disturbed by these allegations. While significant context is missing from the incidents reported by The Information, I deeply regret ever causing anyone to feel uncomfortable. The fact is that I have been privileged to have worked with female entrepreneurs throughout my career and I sincerely apologize to anyone who I made uncomfortable by my actions. There’s no denying this is an issue in the venture community, and I hate that my behavior has contributed to it."]


    Will the bravery of these women have any impact? You’d think in a week where Travis Kalanick’s resignation has put yet another spotlight on Silicon Valley’s bro/harassment culture that this story would be leading every industry news site, and maybe a few mainstream outlets. And yet I’m seeing remarkably little outrage or even coverage. Social too: The story has gotten almost no attention in my Twitter feed-- which is a pretty large cross-section of men and women in the venture capital industry.

    Oh, and speaking of Uber….

    Joe Fernandez @JoeFernandez : Always bummed about the negative perception of Emil vs how anyone who as actually worked with him feels

    Justin Caldbeck @caldbeckj
    : Also massive mob mentality w @Uber right now. Guilty before proven innocent on everything

    I don’t quite know what to make of the silence on the Caldbeck allegations and his response. Does the wider tech industry agree with Binary? That these actions aren’t “improper”? Does it agree with Caldbeck? That this is what a “respectful relationship with female founders” looks like? That propositioning a woman who is pitching your firm is a mere “social interest” that shouldn’t have any impact on a man’s perceived “character” in the industry? Will any venture capital firm or male VC come forward and say, “Oh, hey, FWIW, we don’t think this is cool…”

    Perhaps the Valley hasn’t come as far as I’d hoped earlier this week.

    There is another elephant in the room here: All three of the women who came forward are Asian. As is Ellen Pao. As is Tina Huang who sued Twitter for discrimination. As is Chia Hong who sued Facebook for discrimination. Other women of color like Tracy Chou and Susan Wu have also been outspoken in sharing their experiences and demanding the industry become more inclusive.

    I was reminded about the Facebook and Twitter cases by a female venture capitalist who has herself suffered discrimination in Silicon Valley (I’m not naming her because our conversation wasn’t explicitly for publication). When I asked her this morning what she made of the coincidence (?) that the women in the story were all Asian, she responded: “It is interesting, isn't it?”

    I don’t quite know what to make of this clear correlation that no one wants to seem to publicly acknowledge. Are women of color more frequently targeted by abusive men in Silicon Valley? Or are they just more likely to be the ones who come forward?

    Think Progress wrote about this correlation when the Pao, Hong and Huang suits were all filed around the same time. It honed in on Kleiner Perkins seemingly contradictory claims that Pao was both so meek she was unable to hold a room, but also combative and arrogant and competitive. It quoted the work of Joan C. Williams, whose widely cited book “What Works for Women at Work” is essentially the bible of decoding universal workplace bias. Williams did a 2015 study of the double jeopardy of bias that women of color face in the STEM world, in particular.

    The study found that all of the women interviewed said they’d experienced gender bias, that African American women were the most likely to have to prove their competency over and over again, that Latinas who assert themselves are seen as “angry” or “too emotional” and that Latinas are most pressured to do admin work for male colleagues. It found that both Latinas and African American women reported “regularly being mistaken as janitors.”

    Wow.

    The findings from Asian women were interesting too. Williams found that the stereotype that Asians are “good at science” was helpful when they were considered as students, but not as colleagues. Asian women also reported more pressure to “adhere to traditionally feminine roles.”

    This brought to mind the work of behavioral scientist Amy Cuddy, who has measured the impact of viewing different groups as warm or cold and competent or incompetent. These are mostly snap judgements people make rooted in evolutionary survival, she argues. In terms of leadership, the best quadrant is warm and competent. Guess who owns that one? Working dads. The well-known “fatherhood bonus.”

    Working moms are seen as warm and incompetent, invoking pity. Single moms of in poverty are in the worst of all quadrants: Cold and incompetent, invoking hostility.

    Guess where professional women of color land? Cold competent, invoking envy and resentment. As Cuddy describes it, these women are frequently picked to be part of a team for their skills, but grudgingly.

    From a Harvard Magazine piece on Cuddy’s work:

    A new pupil in a mathematics class is told to pair up with another student to work on a problem. Research suggests that a pupil who knows no one in the class will tend to partner with an Asian student; Asians are stereotyped as cold/competent. “People are willing to team up with them, but it’s only out of self-interest,” says Cuddy…

    ...In general, she explains, this cluster “tends to contain high-status minority groups: they’re seen as having a good lot in life, but there’s some resentment toward them. ‘We respect you, there’s something you have that we like, but we kind of resent you for having it--and you’re not the majority.’ Asian-Americans, career women, and black professionals also tend to be perceived in the cold/competent quadrant.”

    If gender discrimination and harassment is about power and putting women in their place, it makes sense that women of color would face that in a more pronounced way. Williams spoke about the issues Ellen Pao was facing with Think Progress and how common that is among professional Asian American women:

    [The] diametrically opposed images of Asian American women in the industry aren’t odd or uncommon at all but part of the very specific oppression Asian women face in STEM. Her research shows while all women are forced to navigate a tightrope between being seen as too feminine to be competent or too masculine to be likable, Asian American women walk the thinnest line of all.

    “The tightrope is literally narrower for Asian American women,” Williams said. Asian American women are more likely than other women to report pressures to play traditionally feminine roles, such as office mother or dutiful daughter, but also backlash for stereotypically masculine behaviors such as being assertive and self-promoting. Williams said she clearly sees these same narratives being spun in Ellen Pao’s case, “There it is. Right there.”
    Another issue Asian women face in particular is a perception that they are the minority group that is doing well in the tech world, when evidence has found the opposite is true. Studies have shown that Asian women lag behind men and all other women when it comes to career advancement. From that same Think Progress piece:

    The percent of Asian women employed in universities and colleges who were tenured in 2008 was 20.6 percent compared with 40.5 percent of white women, 32.1 percent of black women and 30 percent of Hispanic women.

    Among Fortune 500 companies, Asian women lag behind pretty much everyone, including not only whites and Asian men but also all other people of color, men and women…

    ...According to a report by Catalyst, a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions, women of Asian origin are one of the fastest growing groups of women in the U.S. labor force and yet their scant representation in influential leadership roles demonstrates profound racialized gender bias. Asian American women are most likely to have a graduate education but least likely to hold a position within three levels of the CEO or to have supervisory responsibilities.
    It’s possible in the allegations made against Caldbeck that the ethnicity of the women he targeted (at least those who have spoken on the record) is a coincidence. “A type,” if you will. But industry-wide, it’s hard to ignore this much anecdotal evidence and statistical data, that something unique is going on when it comes to women of color increasingly being the ones to stand up and demand change.

    It’s also impossible to ignore the depressing reality that, despite the departure of Travis Kalanick and the occasional other “victory” for women in the Valley, there is still a mountain to climb. The first step should be demanding a far, far better response from Caldbeck, and Binary, to the incredibly serious allegations made against him.

    https://pando.com/2017/06/22/binary-...heres-outrage/

    ---------------------------------------------------------


    Founder: Days before scandal broke, Binary's Justin Caldbeck "tried to use funding to shut me up"






    What a difference a day makes.


    When Binary Capital’s Justin Caldbeck was first exposed as a serial predator by The Information, he issued a statement that was, frankly, breathtaking:

    “I strongly deny The Information’s attacks on my character. The fact is, I have always enjoyed respectful relationships with female founders, business partners, and investors” he said.

    Binary was equally dismissive, describing the reported behavior as “a few examples which show that Justin has in the past occasionally dated or flirted with women he met in a professional capacity.”

    Just hours later, though, Caldbeck and Binary had completely changed their tune:

    “The past 24 hours have been the darkest of my life. I have made many mistakes over the course of my career, some of which were brought to light this week. To say I’m sorry about my behavior is a categorical understatement… The Binary team will also be taking measures to ensure that the firm is a safe place for founders of all backgrounds to find the support and resources they need to change the world, without abuse of power or mistreatment of any person.”

    From “not guilty” to “I have made many mistakes… Binary will be taking measures to [protect against further] abuse of power and mistreatment."

    Caldbeck’s original statement seemed to imply that either groping a woman under a table during a business meeting was a “respectful” way to treat her or that all three women speaking on the record were lying. But then his statement the very next day seemed to admit he had done everything he was accused of -- so much so that he needed counseling and a leave of absence.

    The about face is even more pronounced given what I’m hearing from multiple sources about Binary’s aggressive attempts to shut down the story right up until publication. Those sources describe threats of legal retribution against anyone reporting Caldeck’s behaviour.

    And that’s not all.

    I’m also now learning that Caldbeck, knowing the story was close to breaking, apparently made one last gasp effort to stop at least one of his victims coming forward.

    Earlier today Niniane Wang shared with me an email she received from Caldbeck three days after she agreed to go on the record for the Information’s story. According to Wang, Caldbeck had only contacted her once in the previous two years.

    Here’s the message:




    Again this was received three days after Wang had agreed to go on the record about Caldbeck's behavior. Wang says she interpreted the email as an attempt by Caldbeck to: “stop the ‘Justin uses funding to harass women’ story by…. Trying to use funding to shut me up.”

    I've asked Binary for comment on the email and will update this story if I hear back. But certainly Wang's interpretation of the email seems reasonable especially given what we now know about other efforts Binary was making to shut down reporting by the Information and others.

    The whole story is disgusting -- but one part of it is both disgusting and puzzling: Why did Binary initially publicly support Caldbeck only to turn around the next day with such a dramatic mea culpa and the promise to completely overhaul the way they do business? Why not do the right thing in the first place and get out ahead of the scandal?

    One possible/probable answer: It seems that as the story was about to break, Binary was in the final throes of raising an additional $75 million to its second fund, predicated on Matt Mazzeo joining the firm. The firm was trying to do everything it could to close that fund before the scandal broke, apparently even dangling future funding opportunities at one of the victims.

    Venture funds typically last for ten years. So it’s no small thing for Binary to secure this fund before the full effects of the scandal are felt. It will buy them time. Time for a rebrand, time to get some reputation experts to scrub those search results, time in the penalty box, time for Caldbeck’s rehab, time to hire a female partner so things look better.

    It wouldn't be the first time a firm had jumped through hoops to try to avoid a Caldbeck-related scandal. Dan Primack’s Axios story about Caldbeck gave the example of…

    [S]eparate accusations against Caldbeck by the female founder of a company in which he had led a Lightspeed investment (and where he served as board observer). The situation rose to the broader board level, with the ultimate resolution resulting in non-disclosure agreements on all sides. Lightspeed also would sell some of its existing investment in the company to a different investor, although the exact reason for that remains in dispute (what isn't disputed is that Lightspeed's sold shares would later rise in value).

    Four separate sources have told me the name of that company and confirmed that everyone involved is bound up by gag orders and NDAs. I’ve emailed the company for comment and want to give them a bit longer to respond before naming them here.

    As you can imagine, Wang was distraught when she heard that the delaying tactics may have worked for Binary. “I felt helpless for seven years,” she told me. “Then for one day, I felt like I actually made a difference. Now I feel helpless again.” An hour later she added, “You know what? No more feeling helpless. I am going to ask the LPs to withdraw from fund two. We must fight.”

    As entrepreneur Alex Castro said of the women who spoke on the record about Caldbeck, “Unfortunately for him, he ran into some very strong women.”

    Indeed.

    I have a longer story on Binary coming Monday.

    https://pando.com/2017/06/24/niniane...ow8kquMw%3D%3D

  2. #42
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    Silicon Valley VC Accused of Sexually Harassing Multiple Asian Female Startup Founders

    Six women have come forward to openly allege prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Justin Caldbeck, of unwanted sexual advances, reports The Information. Of the six women, three have willingly given their names to publicly accuse Caldbeck of this indecent behavior. Niniane Wang (co-creator of Google Desktop and former CTO of Minted), Leiti Hsu, and Susan Ho (co-founders of Journy) are stating for the record that Caldbeck had made unwanted advances towards them, including sending sexually suggestive text messages, trying to incite sex, even groping one of them inappropriately.

    According to The Information, Wang stated that Mr. Caldbeck tried to sleep with her while she was being informally recruited for a tech company, asking about her dating history instead of business, moving closer to her so that she was forced to be touching his body at all times, and even pressuring her to let him sleep at her apartment (which she declined). Ho received text messages from Caldbeck in the middle of the night asking for a hookup, and when she ignored him until morning to politely offset his unwanted advances, he continued to inappropriately push for further sexual interaction. Hsu was inappropriately groped by Caldbeck under a table at a Manhattan hotel bar while she was seeking funding with Ho for their startup, Journy; he grabbed her thigh while they were discussing the future of their company.

    Three other women had similar stories, but did not use their names for fear of backlash from Caldbeck and other men in the tech industry who would defend Caldbeck’s behavior
    . One woman showed The Information the sexually explicit text message received from Caldbeck, while another woman had agreed to meet with Caldbeck to discuss business only to find that he wanted to take her to a hotel room privately.

    In a statement, Caldbeck, who is married with children, said, “I strongly deny The Information’s attacks on my character. The fact is, I have always enjoyed respectful relationships with female founders, business partners, and investors.” Binary, Caldbeck’s company, stated that the idea of Caldbeck engaging “in improper behavior with female entrepreneurs” was “false.” Binary further stated that while The Information had “found a few examples which show that Justin has in the past occasionally dated or flirted with women he met in a professional capacity, let’s be clear: there is no evidence that Justin did anything illegal and there is no evidence that any of his investing decisions were affected by his social interests.”

    According to Pando.com, Susan Ho was initially worried about coming forward with her experiences. “Leiti and I originally were not going to say anything because we felt that what happened to us was just unfortunately so commonplace and trite these days, but after hearing the stories of other women who endured much worse, we decided we had to say something to make sure this article would get written. Niniane Wang was the first to agree to go on the record and she said it best — if we don’t say anything and this happens to someone else, it’s really something we could have had a hand in preventing.”

    Six women have come forward to openly allege prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Justin Caldbeck, of unwanted sexual advances, reports The Information. Of the six women, three have willingly given their names to publicly accuse Caldbeck of this indecent behavior. Niniane Wang (co-creator of Google Desktop and former CTO of Minted), Leiti Hsu, and Susan Ho (co-founders of Journy) are stating for the record that Caldbeck had made unwanted advances towards them, including sending sexually suggestive text messages, trying to incite sex, even groping one of them inappropriately.

    According to The Information, Wang stated that Mr. Caldbeck tried to sleep with her while she was being informally recruited for a tech company, asking about her dating history instead of business, moving closer to her so that she was forced to be touching his body at all times, and even pressuring her to let him sleep at her apartment (which she declined). Ho received text messages from Caldbeck in the middle of the night asking for a hookup, and when she ignored him until morning to politely offset his unwanted advances, he continued to inappropriately push for further sexual interaction. Hsu was inappropriately groped by Caldbeck under a table at a Manhattan hotel bar while she was seeking funding with Ho for their startup, Journy; he grabbed her thigh while they were discussing the future of their company.

    Three other women had similar stories, but did not use their names for fear of backlash from Caldbeck and other men in the tech industry who would defend Caldbeck’s behavior. One woman showed The Information the sexually explicit text message received from Caldbeck, while another woman had agreed to meet with Caldbeck to discuss business only to find that he wanted to take her to a hotel room privately.

    In a statement, Caldbeck, who is married with children, said, “I strongly deny The Information’s attacks on my character. The fact is, I have always enjoyed respectful relationships with female founders, business partners, and investors.” Binary, Caldbeck’s company, stated that the idea of Caldbeck engaging “in improper behavior with female entrepreneurs” was “false.” Binary further stated that while The Information had “found a few examples which show that Justin has in the past occasionally dated or flirted with women he met in a professional capacity, let’s be clear: there is no evidence that Justin did anything illegal and there is no evidence that any of his investing decisions were affected by his social interests.


    According to Pando.com, Susan Ho was initially worried about coming forward with her experiences. “Leiti and I originally were not going to say anything because we felt that what happened to us was just unfortunately so commonplace and trite these days, but after hearing the stories of other women who endured much worse, we decided we had to say something to make sure this article would get written. Niniane Wang was the first to agree to go on the record and she said it best — if we don’t say anything and this happens to someone else, it’s really something we could have had a hand in preventing.”

    A study conducted by Stanford University found that 60% of women in tech reported unwanted sexual advances, and over half of these unwanted sexual harassment incidents go unreported due to fear of backlash or unsatisfactory outcomes. Venture capitalism is another industry rife with sexual harassment and indecent behavior towards women, as the laws surrounding the funder/seeker relationship are outdated, failing to keep up the pace with employer regulations required by law.

    Pando.com also pointed out that Wang, Hsu, and Ho join the ranks of other Asian women sexually harassed by predominately White men in the tech industry. Ellen Pao, Tina Huang, Chia Hong, Tracy Chou, and Susan Wu have all experienced what has been called “the Elephant in the Valley”; these high profile sexual harassment/discrimination cases have been largely fielded by Asian women. Which begs the question – are Asian women in tech being targeted by their overwhelming number of White male peers? Caldbeck is certainly not the first and will likely not be the last unless more investors show public disdain for this kind of behavior.

    And unfortunately, it isn’t looking so good – according to The Information, “Binary’s investors, or limited partners, include the University of California, Los Angeles, Weathergage Capital and Legacy Venture. Those firms declined to comment.”


    Source: The Information


    https://nextshark.com/silicon-valley...rtup-founders/

  3. #43
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    Charlie Hebdo May Now Be Criticized Because It Mocked White Texans Rather Than Muslims


    The newfound free speech crusaders borne of the January 2015 murders of 10 Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in Paris sought to promulgate a new and quite dangerous standard. It was no longer enough to defend someone’s right to express their ideas while being free to condemn those ideas themselves — long the central tenet of the free speech movement (I defend their right to free speech even while finding them and their ideas repugnant). In the wake of the Hebdo killings, one had to go much further than that: It was a moral imperative to embrace and celebrate the ideas under attack and to glorify those who were expressing them, even to declare ourselves to be them (#JeSuisCharlie).


    As a result, criticizing the content of Charlie Hebdo’s often-vile cartoons became virtually blasphemous. It became common to demand that one not only defend the right of the cartoonists to publish them but also, to show “solidarity,” one had to republish those cartoons no matter how much one objected to their content — thus adopting that speech as one’s own. Opposition to lavishing these cartoonists with honors and prizes was depicted as some sort of moral failure or at least insufficient commitment to free speech rights, as evidenced by the widespread, intense scorn heaped on the writers who spoke out in opposition to bestowing Charlie Hebdo with an award at a PEN America gala.


    A dangerous conflation was thus imposed between the right to express Idea X and one’s opinion of Idea X. Of all the articles I’ve written in the last several years, perhaps the most polarizing and anger-generating were the ones I wrote in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings: one article that rejected the demand that one must celebrate and even republish Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons by criticizing those cartoons and illustrating the results of applying this new, dangerous standard (celebrate offensive and blasphemous cartoons by republishing them) universally; and then a series of articles defending the PEN America writers who objected to the Charlie Hebdo award on the ground that one could simultaneously defend free speech while refusing to praise, honor, and glorify those whose speech rights were under attack.


    The most dishonest and confused commentators distorted mine (and others’) critique of the content of Charlie Hebdo’s speech into an opposition to free speech itself. “When Glenn Greenwald castigates the dead Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for racism,” decreed the anti-Islam high priest of New Atheism, Sam Harris, “he’s not only proving that he’s a moral imbecile; he’s participating in a global war of ideas over free speech — and he’s on the wrong side of it.” Similarly confusing these distinct concepts was Quillette’s Jamie Palmer, who, after surveying my years of work defending free speech rights for everyone both as a lawyer and a journalist, somehow concluded that “it would seem logical to suppose that Greenwald’s solidarity with the staff of Charlie Hebdo could be taken for granted.”


    What was clear all along, and what I argued repeatedly, was that it was not a belief in free speech that was driving these demands that Charlie Hebdo cartoonists be honored and revered and their cartoons be celebrated. Free speech was just the pretense, the costume.


    Indeed, most of the political leaders who led the “free speech parade” in Paris (pictured above) had long records of suppressing free speech, and few of these new free speech crusaders uttered a word as the free speech rights of Muslims have been assaulted and eroded throughout the West in the name of the war on terror. What was driving this love of Charlie Hebdo was approval of the content of its cartoons: specifically, glee that it was attacking, mocking, and angering Muslims, one of the most marginalized, vulnerable, and despised groups in the West.


    The proof of this was delivered yesterday. Charlie Hebdo published a characteristically vile cartoon depicting drowning victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston as being neo-Nazis, with the banner that declared “God Exists”: because, needless to say, white people in Texas love Hitler, and it’s thus a form of divine justice if they drown.


    That led to a virtually unanimous tidal wave of condemnation of Charlie Hebdo, including from many quarters that, just two years ago, were sanctifying the same magazine for its identical mockery of Muslims. Yesterday’s assault on white sensibilities also led many people to suddenly rediscover the principle that one can simultaneously defend a person’s free speech rights while expressing revulsion for the content of their speech.


    The examples are far too numerous to comprehensively cite; some representative samplings will have to suffice. Here was Piers Morgan in January 2015, with a beloved tweet that was re-tweeted by almost 24,000 people:



    Here was the same Piers Morgan yesterday:




    For the crime of mocking white Americans, vehement scorn for Charlie Hedbo was commonplace yesterday. “An evil, despicable cover,” opined National Review’s Tiana Lowe, who nonetheless added that “the losers at Charlie Hebdo have a God-given right to publish it.” Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson, long a fan of Charlie Hebdo’s anti-Muslim cartoons and an advocate of the duty to republish its content, yesterday announced that, actually, one may hate and denounce the cartoons while still supporting the cartoonists’ free speech rights: “The Charlie Hebdo cover is offensive & dumb, and I fully support their right to be as offensive & dumb as they like.”


    The right-wing actor James Woods announced: “So much for ‘Je Suis Charlie,’ I guess,” calling the cartoonists “French traitors” in a hastag he added. National Review’s Byron York, showing a picture of the new cover, was similarly candid: “Today, we are not all Charlie Hebdo.” One popular tweet, from journalist Jason Howerton of the conservative Independent Journal Review — who previously mocked news outlets for not showing the full Charlie Hebdo anti-Islam cartoons — declared that one should not, after all, share Charlie Hebdo cartoons that one finds objectionable: “Was going to go off on Charlie Hebdo for that sick Texas cover. But then I realized that’s what they want. **** you. I’m not sharing it.”


    It’s almost as if the glorification and praise for Charlie Hebdo that became morally mandatory in 2015 had nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with love of the anti-Islam content of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons. This new rule that one must not only defend Charlie Hebdo’s free speech rights but also honor and praise its work seems to have disappeared rather instantly, violently even, as soon as its targets stopped being Muslims and began being white Americans. This person put it best:

    Tom Bloke @21logician : really angry at charlie hebdo today for doing the thing they always do except this time they did it to a group i feel connected to


    What happened here is beyond obvious: Charlie Hebdo was fun, delightfully provocative, bold, and deserving of awards when it was publishing mockery of Muslims. When its cartoonists began publishing exactly the same sort of thing aimed at white Americans, they became “vile,” “evil,” “despicable,” “losers,” and “traitors.” As the author Robert Wright put it this morning: “I’m guessing PEN won’t be giving Charlie Hebdo an award this time around.” The viral 2015 Twitter hashtag campaign would have been much more honest had it read: “#JeSuisCharlie (*pour les bandes dessinées sur les musulmans”): “#IAmCharlie (*for cartoons about Muslims).”


    Whatever else is true, let this episode bring about the full and permanent death to the new, warped principle that to defend free speech, one must celebrate the ideas under attack and honor those expressing them. It should have never been difficult to grasp the basic yet vital distinction between defending the right of ideas to be expressed and celebrating those ideas. Now that a Charlie Hebdo cartoon has been aimed at white Americans, offending white Westerners, it seems the wisdom of this principle has been rediscovered.

    https://theintercept.com/2017/09/01/...-than-muslims/


 

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