Cuomo Deploys New Post-MeToo Defensive Strategy for Accused Men

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned he would verify the allegations himself. On Tuesday, following the release of the state attorney general’s report on his alleged sexual misconduct, together with sexual harassment of quite a few ladies, Cuomo appeared to lend his critics a serving to hand as they known as for his resignation. Fairly than staunchly deny the accounts of his a number of accusers—which had been bolstered by the report’s findings—Cuomo provided extra examples of his personal inappropriate conduct.

“I do it with everybody,” Cuomo mentioned in a video assertion that afternoon. “Black and white, younger and outdated, straight and LGBTQ, highly effective individuals, mates, strangers, individuals who I meet on the road.”

By “it,” Cuomo meant kiss individuals on the cheek, as he had done with Anna Ruch, a 33-year-old who met Cuomo at a marriage in 2019, or Ana Liss, a junior worker who labored with Cuomo within the govt chamber. “It” is also grabbing somebody’s face, touching somebody’s again, or cupping somebody’s chin, Cuomo advised, taking part in a slideshow of different situations during which he engaged in this type of touching, with males, ladies, and youngsters alike. And “it” is all OK, based on Cuomo: It should be, as a result of he’s carried out it to quite a few individuals and he’s gotten away with it for this lengthy.

Cuomo’s peculiar approach of defending himself is in keeping with a bigger post-MeToo technique sometimes adopted by liberal males. Satisfied of their very own good intentions, they really feel comfortable enough admitting that they dedicated the acts their accusers have described. In some circumstances, they achieve this as a result of they really feel sure that the implications they’ll face can be gentle or nonexistent—or that “coming clear” is a solution to keep away from penalties altogether. The penance, they could consider, is within the act of confessing itself. And that’s insidious sufficient. However a lot worse is that in conceding their unhealthy conduct, males like Cuomo train essentially the most highly effective device they’ve—the flexibility to manage a story.

By embracing essentially the most primary parts of the accounts his accusers put forth, Cuomo is ready to rewrite their experiences extra convincingly. He appears to acknowledge that merely calling ladies liars is usually a shedding technique in Democratic circles, particularly when one has already made so many political enemies. Agreeing with them is a approach for Cuomo to reassert his authority to relate the world (and, by proxy, males’s authority) and make ladies’s perceptions conform to his personal. I did it, however not like they suppose I did it, Cuomo is saying, in so many phrases. I did it, however as a result of I didn’t imply to hurt them, everybody will need to have skilled my conduct as innocuous. Ladies, they recommend, would possibly simply be too emotional to know what’s actually taking place. Whereas the rhetorical strikes is likely to be novel, the underlying rules of such arguments are as outdated as time.

MeToo targeted on what ladies’s speech can do, however not as a lot on how males’s speech can nonetheless so simply overwrite it. MeToo carried over the longtime assumption that ladies “breaking their silence” is the important thing to bringing about feminist justice, in addition to “telling ladies’s tales.” Although the feminist web known as for males to satisfy some form of additional punishment, the torrent of ache and struggling—the torrent of ladies’s speech—gave the impression to be an finish unto itself. And, for the primary time it appeared, so lots of them had been being believed.

However at many various factors over the previous couple of years, it’s been the case that males’s speech is solely extra highly effective. Their capability to place forth a single model of actuality—their very own—has allowed different individuals to each “hear” and “consider” their accusers, without having to do anything about it. Forward of Supreme Courtroom Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, for instance, Senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Joe Manchin said that they “believed” Christine Blasey Ford earlier than voting for her alleged assailant.

Undoubtedly these senators are disingenuous; however the nature of their psychological gymnastics is instructive. It might be that the entire talking and listening to and believing concerned in calling out a robust man doesn’t finally do much for survivors themselves, an unlucky actuality many realized anew when Invoice Cosby was released from prison in June.

Cuomo should still face repercussions for his actions, however he’s unlikely to change his conviction that different individuals’s existence on the earth—their emotions and experiences—are secondary to his personal. And he definitely received’t lose his energy to persuade individuals of the identical. | Cuomo Deploys New Submit-MeToo Defensive Technique for Accused Males


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