On Tuesday, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro appeared on Fox News’ The Story with Martha McCallum to discuss the sexual assault accusations leveled at actor Aziz Ansari as well as the testimony from former members of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastic Team against former team trainer Larry Nassar, who is accused of sexually abusing them when they were barely into puberty.
Shapiro defended Ansari, pointing out that the woman accusing him of sexual misconduct, who insisted he should have understood her “non-verbal cues,” had given some non-verbal cues of her own, including “getting completely naked in his apartment and then performing sex acts multiple times on him.”
McCallum started the discussion with Shapiro and Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist by asking whether the national discussion about sexual misconduct had reached a tipping point. She said, “The question is have we reached a tipping point in this discussion where due process enters the discussion and the assumption that every woman must be believed, which is what everyone was admonished to adhere to in the early stages of this, Mollie, seem to be questioned at this point.”
Hemingway answered that the woman’s story in the Ansari case was quite similar to other stories revealed in the #MeToo movement that targets men who have abused women. She described that movement as a kind of panic that attempted to “come up with some kind of sexual morality after we have thrown off all objective sexual morality.”
McCallum turned to Shapiro, noting that he had written a great deal about the Ansari incident, in which the woman insisted that Ansari should have picked up on her non-verbal cues.
There were some non-verbal cues that were given, including getting completely naked in his apartment and then performing sex acts multiple times on him. If I were Aziz Ansari, I would be thinking, “That’s a pretty solid non-verbal cue that you might be into things.” I have a hard time believing that she really expects Aziz Ansari or that anyone expects men to be mind readers.
And this is the problem. It’s one thing to say that we should believe women about objective verifiable facts or even objective views of what happened: “My hand went here and then my head went here,” you know, that kind of stuff, but when you’re talking about we have to believe all women’s subjective perceptions of events that are often very messy, that are very confusing, they’re very chaotic, and in which the feelings conflict in one person — forget about both people — that conflict for a woman, this woman was enthusiastic at the beginning of the date. By the next morning she was talking about how terrible it was.
Is it the job of men to now decide when women are capable of consent? I thought the entire purpose of the feminist movement was to say that women are supposed to be the mistresses of their own consent, that it’s not up to the man to say, “Listen, I don’t think it’s possible for you to give consent right now. I don’t this sex is in your best interest and I don’t think that we ought to be doing this.” That would be mansplaining to the woman, presumably.
So I guess men are caught between the rock and hard place of, if we say “No,” and the woman actually is giving non-verbal cues that say “Yes,” then we’re mansplaining, but if she’s giving non-verbal cues that we think say “Yes” but she thinks say “No” then I guess we’re guilty of what, sexual assault or sexual abuse?
McCallum then switched gears, asking Shapiro and Hemmingway to comment on the women on the U.S. Women’s Gymnastic Team who had been sexually abused by trainer Larry Nassar. She played tape of various victims offering moving testimony in front of Nassar describing the horrific abuse he inflicted upon them. McCallum then mentioned that gold medal gymnast McKayla Maroney settled out of court with the U.S. Gymnastics Association and as part of that settlement she’s not allowed to speak out about her abuse or she faces a $100,000 fine.
McCallum turned to Shapiro, asking, “Ben, your thoughts?”
Shapiro answered, “I’ll put up some money right now and we should start a fund to make sure that she can speak out however often she wants on this particular topic. If #MeToo is to stand for anything, it’s to stand for the idea that the entire culture — men, women, everybody — look at instances of actual sexual assault and not only condemn them but want to make women free to talk about them more openly.”