People’s opinions about Michael Avenatti seem to be split into two camps: 1. He’s a total scumbag or 2. He’s the hero (even if a scummy one) that the Democratic Party needs. Lately, every piece of news we hear about him makes it more and more clear he belongs firmly in category A.
In a recent statement made to the Daily Beast, Stormy Daniels–whose lawsuit is what rocketed Avenatti into the public eye–says that the defamation suit made in her name against Donald Trump was filed without her knowledge or permission. She says Avenatti also made a crowdfunding campaign in her name without her permission, and she’d like to know where those funds–as well as funds from a previous campaign that raised more than $100,000 in one day–are going.
“For months I’ve asked Michael Avenatti to give me accounting information about the fund my supporters so generously donated to for my safety and legal defense. He has repeatedly ignored those requests,” her statement reads. “Days ago I demanded again, repeatedly, that he tell me how the money was being spent and how much was left. Instead of answering me, without my permission or even my knowledge Michael launched another crowdfunding campaign to raise money on my behalf. I learned about it on Twitter.”
She says that Avenatti has been “a great advocate in many ways.” He “aggressively” stood up for her in her fight against Trump.
“But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client,” she writes. “He has spoken on my behalf without my approval. He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes. He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent. Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said. I’m deeply grateful to my supporters and they deserve to know their money is being spent responsibly. I don’t want to hurt Michael, but it’s time to set the record straight. The truth has always been my greatest ally.”
When reached for comment, Avenatti’s response was to say “I am and have always been Stormy’s biggest champion.”
Which is a great reminder that the type of man who declares himself to be a “champion” of women is usually the kind of person who doesn’t value or show respect to individual women, and who leverages their image as a person who champions women into huge personal gains.
Avenatti says “I have personally sacrificed an enormous amount of money, time and energy toward assisting her because I believe in her.” I don’t doubt he did make sacrifices. But he fails to mention the enormous spotlight Daniels has given him that he’s openly trying to turn into a place in the 2020 presidential run. He can care about Stormy Daniels and also want to take down Trump. But he never appears to be someone who actually cares about both of those things. One of them seems to be not much more than a tool for the other in his eyes.
There are a lot of good men who do great things for women. You can usually find them not proclaiming loudly to be our “champion.” Real allies don’t manufacture fake quotes and steamroll the women around them. They don’t talk for or talk over. They facilitate, listen, and amplify.
(via The Daily Beast, image: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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