October 31, 2003

Tabloid Sleaze Expose Kobe's Accuser:

"It is misogynistic and truly exploitative to try to get big sales off of identifying an alleged rape victim. Was a woman dressed inappropriately? Did she ask for it? Is a sexy woman more likely to get raped than a non-sexy woman? These are the anachronistic, horrible ideas that come up because of a cover like that. Morally, it's wrong. It is clearly implied on the cover that maybe she deserved it," Us Weekly's editor in chief Janice Min asked "This is someone's worst nightmare. This is why a lot of sexual assault victims don't come forward."

posted by djacobs to culture at 03:40 PM - 42 comments

What a fucking low-blow. I'm not following the case, because, frankly, I couldn't care less -- but that is a real sleazy move, and I hope they sue the Globe for it.

posted by mkn at 07:09 PM on October 31, 2003

I guess I'm not surprised. And I would remind people that two people's lives/reputations/peace of mind/future are at stake. Dirty pool is the game of the hour. The judicial system is working as it should - the case IS going to trial and both sides have competent legal advocates. You don't know what happened, I don't know what happened, but our best hope of finding out the truth is in progress. Tabloids, media, rumor, gossip - they are all part of the process. And here at SpoFi, we contribute to the noise.

posted by vito90 at 09:59 PM on October 31, 2003

I did a very poor job of responding to the specifics of the FPP. I believe it is neither misogynistic nor exploitative to try to get big sales off of identifying an alleged rape victim. It believe it is capitalism, warts style.

posted by vito90 at 10:03 PM on October 31, 2003

it is neither misogynistic nor exploitative to try to get big sales off of identifying an alleged rape victim. Hmm, seems to be the very definition of 'exploitative' to me.

posted by justgary at 02:08 AM on November 01, 2003

My vote goes to exploitive and sleazy also, but I don't know about misogynistic -- if the tabloid had pictures of Kobe Bryant that made him look violent or lecherous, they'd happily make the gutter dive and print them.

posted by rcade at 08:02 AM on November 01, 2003

another vote for sleazy and exploitive.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:30 AM on November 01, 2003

Totally inexcusable. That's way over the line.

posted by Samsonov14 at 02:33 PM on November 01, 2003

It's a free country. What's the big deal?

posted by garfield at 03:07 PM on November 01, 2003

It's a free country. We are a free country, but we are also a society with rules and laws, both written and unwritten, they keep everything from falling into anarchy. You can argue the merits of keeping the accuser's identity a secret or not, and I'm sure there are points for each side, but the argument that its a free country really has no bearing on the situation.

posted by justgary at 03:32 PM on November 01, 2003

Garfield, if, God forbid, a female member of your family was ever in the same situation, I'd be sure to go looking for a photo of her in a low-cut blouse, then run the picture and her name on the front page of a paper with the headline, "Was She Asking For It?" Let me know if you think you'd feel the same then. There are some terrific arguments both for and against keeping the name of the accuser in a rape case secret. I think hiding the name helps keep the shame factor for the victims, and it hides those who would wrongfully accuse. But there is no, and I mean NO, justification for what The Globe did.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:40 PM on November 01, 2003

honestly, I just wanted to spark some commentary. It's deplorable, no two ways about it...though the death-threat makers might see this is comeuppance....but who gives a shit what those idiots think.

posted by garfield at 05:35 PM on November 01, 2003

This is bad, barely defensible, but mitigated slightly because her identity was already public. Saw it in the rack while we were paying at Safeway this afternoon and averted my eyes.

posted by billsaysthis at 08:26 PM on November 01, 2003

"It's a free country" kind of doesn't apply to crimes, even alleged ones. I know you were sparking debate, but... kind of not applicable.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:57 PM on November 01, 2003

"it's a free country" applies to freedom of speech, and the realm of journalism. but i'm not going to go any further, as the statement was facetious.

posted by garfield at 09:50 PM on November 02, 2003

well with journalism... there's the issue of libel too. ok, i am shutting up.

posted by jerseygirl at 10:43 PM on November 02, 2003

jerseygirl: please don't shut up.

posted by djacobs at 09:26 AM on November 03, 2003

I won't. I just didn't want garf to think I was picking on him. :) dj, i thought of you the other day when a group of us were discussing enormous baseball contracts that blew up in the faces of the teams... and the name got around to Mo Vaughn. Mo was on the back cover of the Herald a couple weeks back. He's starting to look like Ruben Stoddard. Poor Mo!

posted by jerseygirl at 09:40 AM on November 03, 2003

ok, whenever 'it's a free country' is employed as reasoning, just laugh, because it's a ludicrous justification for anything (and usually employed by morons). this ain't no free country, there aren't any free countries...never has been, nor will there ever be; 'free' and 'country' are contradictorary terms. there will always be some measure of control and limitation. but we all know this, so i'll stop. and jgirl, if you shut up, i'll have pissed off a major spofi contributor for no reason..which wasn't my aim, but i can't win 'em all.

posted by garfield at 10:01 AM on November 03, 2003

Does anyone else resonate with the notion that on many levels, none of this is anyone's business - but that of the accused and the alledged victim? I undestand that media/news is just another veiled attempt at the almighty dollar - but at some point corporate behaviour can be regulated by the marketplace. Of course, most news organizations were hoping for someone to 'break the seal' - so they could follow suit without having to take the brunt of the backlash. I think we've basically crossed over into the unfortunate territory of greed being equated to ambition and success only measured in dollars. It's pathetic and cheapens our supposed 'freedom of speech' and 'way of life'. Welcome to the last days of the Roman Empire.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:25 AM on November 03, 2003

On a moral level I agree, Weedy, none of this is anyone's business. But once charges are filed, its becomes part of the public record, so it can be our business. How it is made our business via the media is the grey in question. It's sad the trash rag exploited the limitations of Colorado's privacy legislation, being that it only applies in CO. But it's legal, I think, so what can you say, except that just because its legal, don't make it right.

posted by garfield at 10:41 AM on November 03, 2003

Welcome to the last days of the Roman Empire. +1 for insightful. And before we all overlook this and blame the Globe's editors et al, remember that they wouldn't publish this (and similar crap) if there weren't many millions of our countrymen and women paying them good money to do so. We here may be offended but far too many others think of it as entertainment. I could go off on a rant but will leave that for another day.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:27 AM on November 03, 2003

I don't agree that crass or regrettable speech cheapens the First Amendment. I think it demonstrates the strength of our commitment to freedom of expression; anyone can protect speech that they like. On the other hand, the attention we give to crass, regrettable speech is probably punching our collective ticket to hell. In my lifetime, I can't recall a single trash tabloid going broke.

posted by rcade at 12:39 PM on November 03, 2003

at some point corporate behaviour can be regulated by the marketplace The issue was pulled from alot of racks in CO. so that's a positive. rcade, 10 months ago I would've passionately jumped all over your 'strength of our commitment' line.

posted by garfield at 01:17 PM on November 03, 2003

Does anyone else resonate with the notion that on many levels, none of this is anyone's business - but that of the accused and the alledged victim? The issue is not civil liberties. By assuming (unfairly) that Kobe is innocent, other sexual assault victims are discouraged from coming forward. Is 'Free Speech' free if no one believes you, or worse, slanders you?

posted by djacobs at 02:01 PM on November 03, 2003

rcade, so exploiting the First Amendment for personal gain doesn't cheapen it's revolutionary lineage? Sounds like the gun lobby saying people have a need for fully automatic hunting rifles. Crass or regrettable language would not cheapen the First Amendment if there were some tangible benefit (vague, I know), other than lining a media mogul's pocket. djacobs, so you prefer facist judicial systems? And, are you looking at both sides of this?

posted by garfield at 02:25 PM on November 03, 2003

I still contend that issues that tend to be given the mantle of free speech - like this example which is nothing more than an attempt to cash in on infamy and sell some more toilet paper does cheapen those arguements that do rely on free speech for reasons far removed from selling magazines. I think that we've now raised a generation of people who think that every bruhaha where some one mentions free speech is directly related to selling something. I agree that the right of free speech dictates that even the unsavoury possess it (and rightly so) but free speech is a crutch on which media and individuals alike now hang their hats whenever they knowingly tread on the rights of others for their own financial gain. You're right though rcade - the alternative is worse.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:48 PM on November 03, 2003

By assuming (unfairly) that Kobe is innocent I think innocent until proven guilty is still applicable to this case, the trial not having begun. What will discourage other victims from coming forward is the public disgrace so wrongly but readily attached to coming forward with such an accusation. 'She wears trashy dresses to high school proms, so she must have provoked the man.' Further, free speech is simply the ability to have your say; the Constitution says nothing about other people believing you. You can print all the stories about Bigfoot and alien babies that you like, I still won't believe any of them.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:02 PM on November 03, 2003

where does libel fit in Bill? Obviously, you don't hear many cases of Bigfoot v. The National Enquirer or Martians v. The Weekly World News. When it's real people and real situations, then what?

posted by jerseygirl at 06:08 PM on November 03, 2003

Libel would only be applicable if they maliciously printed a lie. IANAL but I'm guessing the public figure standard would be used in this situation, plus no one is saying that she didn't wear that dress or isn't the victim in this alleged rape.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:14 PM on November 03, 2003

plus no one is saying that she didn't wear that dress or isn't the victim in this alleged rape. Bill, they are precisly claiming that she "isn't the victim in this alleged rape."

posted by djacobs at 02:50 PM on November 04, 2003

Where is that claim, precisely? "Did she really say no?" is not a claim.

posted by garfield at 04:05 PM on November 04, 2003

what the hell does "IANAL" mean?!? Does it have something to do with the case?

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:40 PM on November 04, 2003

IANAL: The Jargon Dictionary.

posted by dusted at 06:48 PM on November 04, 2003

wfrazer, what kind of newbie are you? djacobs, how can they claim this is not the woman who Bryant is alleged to have raped--whether or not she is a victim I suppose has to wait the trial's result--and that's the criteria for determining whether or not to print her name or photo.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:52 PM on November 04, 2003

djacobs: Supposing Bryant's innocence is, in fact part of the, you know, legal system. Unless you want to start banging up anyone when another person cares to come forward with an accusation of rape, trials and evidence be damned. The problem isn't a presumption of innocence, the problem is the portion of the population and the press that is pandering to them who still retain screwed up ideas about female sexuality that would mesh well with those in Saudi Arabia or Nigeria. So long as you've got a bunch of people who think dressing provocatively equals permission to rape, you're going to have this problem. Of course, one can also argue that Bryant is unfairly treated in that, just as there are a bunch of people assuming the alleged victim is really lying, there are a bunch of people who have already decided Bryant is guilty, and will continue to think thus even if he's found innocent in court.

posted by rodgerd at 12:32 AM on November 06, 2003

Hey, how come no one's said it yet?.... She isn't that hot. Kobe, baby, you could do better. My karma just shifted so fast I fell out of my chair.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:28 AM on November 06, 2003

Dude, she's like a 6...maybe a 7. weeds, see ya on the floor.

posted by garfield at 09:48 AM on November 06, 2003

I mean, with a face that distorted, how can she pull at all.

posted by garfield at 09:49 AM on November 06, 2003

This woman needs to be identified. For far too long, women who've made malicious and irresponsible allegations against men - the sort of allegations that destroy lives, quite frankly - have been able to hide behind their gender and alleged status as a "victim". If Kobe Bryant - who is innocent until proved guilty, by the way - is going to have his name splashed all over the front pages, then this woman should, too. Alas, we live today in a culture where women like Janice Min so monopolize the debate swirling around sexual assault that all accused men are hastily placed on public trial without due process and without appropriate protections in order that the usual feminist drivel can be promulgated (this phenomenon is especially apparent when we consider the plight of black men unjustly accused of wrongdoing by white women). As a young man concerned about social justice and about genuine racial and gender equality, I needn't tell you how much I worry about Kobe's precarious situation as a result of the racial dynamics involved; I also worry about Kobe because of the perfervid political correctness contaminating our court system at the present time. Frankly put,the underlying issue in this case is not sexual "misogyny"(although every time the Janice Min's the world don't get their own way its misogyny), or even about how men treat women more generally (as a brief aside, I find it appalling how unthinkingly the pathologically selfish and childish female ego is indulged in our culture - but I'll set aside that matter for another time) but rather it is about politically correct misanthropy and about an appalling eagerness by self-righteous feminazis to invidiously brand every public man tainted by some anonymous woman's "allegation". In our politically correct world, a woman can work her vile treachery under the cover of darkness; a young black man like Kobe, however, is publicly pilloried as a result of those vile machinations. For everyone's sake, let's hope this young black man receives the justice he deserves and that this young white female receives the help she needs.

posted by bk at 03:13 PM on December 27, 2003

As an addendum to my earlier post, it would benefit young men immeasurably if we would start viewing women with the cynicism and mistrust they deserve. At the present time, American men are the everyday victims of a covert and exceedingly vicious gender war(just spend an hour in any feminist studies class if you need further proof) and it's well-nigh time we started to bring our real enemy into sharper focus.

posted by bk at 03:21 PM on December 27, 2003

[brings bk into sharper focus]

posted by jeffmshaw at 05:36 PM on January 01, 2004

bk, tell us how you really feel.

posted by rocketman at 09:03 AM on January 02, 2004

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