Note: This is a personal opinion piece from one of us from Justice For Cuomo. While our core values and motivations are aligned, each individual has a different background and point of view.
When I first read Lindsey Boylan’s medium article last February, I had a laughing fit. It was a crossover of Penny Dreadful, a Harlequin novel, and Little Red Riding Hood. I have been concerned by the direction the #MeToo movement and so-called feminism has taken for years, but I didn’t take Boylan seriously and didn’t think anyone would.
Charlotte Bennett was next, and even though her story also had nothing to do with sexual harassment, it was different – not laughable, but tragic. I saw in her the product of exactly what I had been criticizing: #MeToo and “feminists” infantilizing women, depicting them as helpless little things who can’t handle themselves, encouraging a victimhood mindset, effectively disempowering them – in conjunction with mollycoddling adults in colleges (safe spaces, trigger warnings) and the concept creep of words like abuse, trauma, grooming, bullying, etc. At first, I gave Bennett the benefit of doubt, thinking she had mental health issues, a distorted perception, but not bad intentions. She was possibly manipulated and used.
Within the next days, it became evident that something was wrong. The absurd article about Anna Ruch came out around the same day I became aware of Charlotte Bennett’s history of false allegations. Ana Liss, Karen Hinton, and Kaitlin Moody added more ridiculousness as well as the certainty that this was a coordinated attack, and every additional accuser with ludicrous tales made it more obvious that Governor Cuomo was the one abused here, as we know now partially by people who colluded, partially by bandwagon jumpers looking for attention or personal gain.
I was flabbergasted how media and legislators handled the case since it was crystal clear that the allegations were mostly frivolous and the women – as quick background checks revealed – not credible. But while I was upset, I wasn’t overly worried, because I was (naively) sure the investigation would reveal the truth, expose the lies, dismiss the rest, and vindicate the Governor.
When Tish James announced her verdict, my heart stood still and I almost fainted. Over the next days, I frantically read her “report” and reviewed the available evidence. I was in a state of shock, disbelief, feeling as if the world I knew had ended and I had been transported into an alternate, dystopian reality.
The report was full of nonsense, with important information hidden in footnotes, e.g. witnesses contradicting the accuser. Not once, but systematically. Evidence such as text messages and photos did not support the claims of the accusers and conclusions of the report, but just the opposite. There was a witness who had said he was threatened and thus changed his story to support the accuser, and this witness was deemed more credible than 3 or 4 others who had not been threatened and supported Cuomo.
Since then, much more has come to light that shows that the investigation was fraudulent, and Tish James abused her office. The media has failed and betrayed the public, selling cheap headlines instead of doing their job and investigating. Spineless, opportunistic, backstabbing politicians have failed and betrayed New Yorkers to protect their own careers, further their ambitions, or simply out of spite.
Boylan, Bennett, Commisso, Hinton, and Co. have used their sex for personal gain, abused the legal protections sexual harassment law is intended for, ridiculed victims of real abuse, set women back, and decreased their chances to be taken seriously and treated as equals. They made it harder for women to be believed. They have weakened female progress; they have disempowered young women instead of empowering and demonstrating to them how to interpret and deal with different situations adequately. They have weakened our society – their examples show that playing victim can be a career, a path to recognition and success without one’s own merit, an easy way to get rid of anyone we don’t like, who is in our way, or whose name we can use to market our own.
Tish James has abused her office, her power, the trust of the people. Any politician and journalist not calling her out has done the same. The tools James and her supporters are using are the same ones applied by Trump and Illiberals throughout history and around the world (left and right), such as “flooding the zone with s***” as Steve Bannon so eloquently called it. They are putting democracy at risk. If it happens in New York, it can happen anywhere.
This is why I am fighting for Justice For Cuomo – it is not just about him. The name is a slogan, an already existing hashtag that was convenient to pick up as a website name. It is about justice for New Yorkers, for women; it is about protecting democracy and progress.
I will do my best to make people aware, to spread truth, fight dis- and misinformation and I won’t stop until everyone has been held accountable. I will continue to donate to Andrew Cuomo’s campaign because I want him to use all legal options available, not just to clear his name, but because we simply can’t allow them to get away with it. They must be stopped, or others will follow and set up society and future generations for failure.
- How Trigger Warnings Are Hurting Mental Health on Campus – The Atlantic
- How ‘Concept Creep’ Made Americans So Sensitive to Harm – The Atlantic
- Has #MeToo Gone Too Far? – The Atlantic
- Trigger Warning: Safe Spaces Are Dangerous – YouTube (IntelligenceSquared Debate)
- The impeachment trial didn’t change any minds. Here’s why. – Vox (about the strategy of flooding the zone)