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Noted Ass-Clown and Rape Apologist Bret Easton Ellis Mansplains the James Deen Accusations


I don’t know about you, but when I see numerous women stepping forward to reveal themselves as survivors of sexual assault, my first thought is not “let’s see what American Psycho author and proud misogynist Bret Easton Ellis thinks!”

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Unfortunately, The Hollywood Reporter has decided to compound its recent string of sexist coverage by giving Ellis a platform to spread rape apologia and insult the ten women accusing adult film star James Deen of sexual assault.

Speaking exclusively to THR, Ellis, who became “a good friend” of Deen’s after working with the actor on Deen’s 2013 ‘crossover’ film The Canyons, says that claims of assault are ‘distorted:’

This whole thing is a ridiculous witch hunt. Most of the people in James’ close circle know that this is a wild distortion, a lie on Stoya’s part. And when this evidence comes out with texts and emails, it’s going to prove everyone who is #solidaritywithstoya to be ashamed of themselves. So I think that’s part of the problem.

Ellis goes on to allege that Deen has evidence in the form of texts and emails that the actor’s ex-girlfriend and first accuser Stoya is “a very unstable person” who “has threatened rape claims against him at other times in the relationship.” When THR’s Seth Abramovitch pointed out to Ellis that Stoya’s initial tweet “open[ed] the floodgates to other accusations, if not of rape, of some dangerously abusive behavior,” Ellis then went on to say that female porn stars, because of their line of work, deserve to be assaulted:

In the porn world! And BDSM invite-only parties! What are we talking about? Is everyone nuts? Is everyone so hungry for a witch hunt — does James arouse such complicated feelings in people — that this is the endgame? I don’t know, what do you think? Does [MTV’s Teen Mom star and Deen screen partner] Farrah Abraham coming along and saying, “Yeah, I guess I was raped too” — doesn’t that kind of invalidate everything? I don’t know! I’m asking you this.

But what are the claims? Overly-rough sex in a porn BDSM scene? “Pressing his penis against me while we were taking showers on a porn set?” Where are we going with this? Most people I know who know James are not taking these claims seriously. And, of course, if they say anything supporting him they are immediately labeled “rape apologists” on Twitter and social media, which you can either give a shit about or not in this particular case.

When asked again by THR how he explains why, if Stoya is lying, nine other women have also come forward to make allegations, Ellis deflected by name-dropping The Crucible:

Why did The Crucible happen? That’s the big question Arthur Miller raised in The Crucible. Why does this happen? You would have to write a sociological book about why people get drawn into these witch hunts. I don’t know. That is just a complex psychological thing. I have no idea.

I mean everyone’s saying, “It doesn’t matter if you’re in the porn world. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the porn industry.” Well I think it does. I think when we’re talking about porn sets and BDSM parties, I don’t know. Are there any of these allegations – and I was looking at them closely to see, “Am I wrong about James? Am I wrong?” – but to me there is a sliding scale of offenses. I’m sorry, but there is a sliding scale of offenses. It just seems so distorted, let’s put it that way. The allegations seem so distorted. And because they are on porn sets and stuff, I don’t know, out of the 6,000 women James has been with, ten people come forward with this and are complaining.

Time out: there is no sliding scale of assault. THERE IS NO ‘SLIDING SCALE’ OF ASSAULT.

Not surprisingly, Ellis also feels that the comparisons between Deen and Cosby are undeserved:

Clickbait. Nothing. I see that as part of the language of the Internet. Nothing more than that.[…] Of course it is! It’s, “Look at me, how do I feel?” “I’ve been victimized, I’m a victim too.” “Oh, she said she’s a victim? I’m also a victim.” It’s a domino effect. And I don’t know where it will stop with James. Maybe it will be 80. Maybe 80 women in porn are going to start saying, “Well, looking back on it, that was pretty rough sex and he did go further than he probably should have in that scene.” It seems to me to be all a kind of joke.

Listen: Bret Easton Ellis’ voice has no place in this conversation. Publishing his thoughts on #IStandWithStoya isn’t even a matter of ‘hearing from both sides’ (a problematic philosophy in its own right), since Ellis is neither the accused or the accuser. There’s no way of telling from the article if Ellis approached THR in a desperate bid for relevancy, or the other way around (Ellis claims that normally he “wouldn’t talk to anybody about this, but it is kind of enraging to see how this thing blows up”); regardless, it’s an insult to women to publish the rape apologist ramblings of a man who is, at the absolute most, tangential to these accusations. Holding my breath for THR to publish an interview from a friend of one of the accusers willing to vouch for her character.

Ellis was irrelevant to the conversation, but because he does still have a certain influence–an influence that THR increased by publishing this masturbatory interview–it’s important to reiterate certain things that should not need to be reiterated. For the twenty-billionth time:

  • Rape is rape. Rape is not something you can “distort” when making an accusation, and there is no “sliding scale of offenses.” If consent wasn’t given, then it was rape. End of fucking story.
  • Just because someone is a sex worker does not mean that by the nature of their profession they’re consenting to sexual assault. As TMS’ Teresa Jusino pointed out last month, the idea that assault ‘doesn’t count’ when it happens during sex work is a gendered double standard designed to silence and disenfranchise women.
  • Believe survivors. As history has proved time and again, rapists have systemic support on their side. Women–particularly sex workers–do not.

(image via Shutterstock)

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