• The Shortcut to Moral Superiority: Jamie Kilstein and Male Feminists

    An ex-girlfriend once told me she wasn’t sure she could be with someone who didn’t consider himself a feminist. That I subscribed to the requisite values didn’t seem to matter. She was stuck on the label. I attempted to explain that actions are more important than labels, but this had little effect. However, the recent actions of many male feminists have only reinforced how meaningless labels can be.

    Lefty comedian Jamie Kilstein has joined a Black Friday-like line of abusive and predatory male feminists. Slapping a virtuous label on oneself is seemingly a shortcut to moral superiority. Repeatedly signalling one’s virtue takes the pressure off behaving like a decent human being. If you say all the right things in public, you can behave however you want in private—until the evidence against you piles up. People like Kilstein use feminism as a shield.

    How can he possibly be guilty of abusing women? He seems like the perfect ally. I mean, look at his social media feeds. He sounds woke as fuck. As a straight white male, he even hates himself just the right amount. There’s no way he’s guilty of those charges.

    It’s either a shield or making all the right Twitter noises is some sort of penance for their misdeeds. Of course, I don’t want to be overly general. I suspect these people are too full of self-loathing to ever start a #NotAllMaleFeminists hashtag, but there are undoubtedly male feminists who are every inch the moral black belt they portray themselves to be. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that they are the exception, though.

    It’s time people stopped giving so much credence to labels. Behave like a decent human being and you’ll be recognised as such. If you want the credit, do the work. If you continually trumpet your feminist bona fides, I’m likely to view you as the dude who consumes fat burners and never leaves his couch.

    Category: FeaturedFeminismgenderSocial Justice

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    Article by: James MacDonald

    James MacDonald is a freelance writer and featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. In addition to sports writing, James holds masters degrees in both Psychology and Social Sciences and covers subjects including sex, gender, secularism, media, and gaming, among others.
    • This is what happens when you abandon hearing from both sides before evaluating blame:

      We believe all of the women involved and were able to come to a swift and easy decision without having to hear Jamie’s side of the story or anyone else’s.

      It is no wonder skepticism doesn’t mix well with their ideology.

      • That’s a silly and unnecessary statement from his distributor. I certainly didn’t publish this post based on their reasoning. While I generally agree with your point, Jamie seems to have owned the charges against him.

        • I’ve yet to hear him admit anything more than mental illness and being a bit of a dick.

          • I’d assumed his leaving the show was an admission, given that the last episode of Citizen Radio was purposely vague. Unless Allison just flat out decided to make up that entire story after the show. That strikes me as extremely unlikely.

            In addition, more than one person has claimed to have been aware of the story in advance of it breaking. He also hasn’t made any attempt to refute the claims. Instead, he appears to have simply deleted his social media accounts and gone into hiding.

            If someone I was close to made up a story (corroborated by others) about me being abusive towards multiple women, I’d be pretty quick to offer a denial if it was false.

            I think common sense suggests he’s owning the charges. I’m not one to simply “listen and believe”. This goes beyond that, though.

            • “He also hasn’t made any attempt to refute the claims.”

              He knows that he cannot do so, having been steeped in the epistemology of intersectional feminism for years. If he tries to make even a weak denial, the accusations will increase in both severity and frequency.

            • I find it hard to believe he would just accept blame for something he didn’t do. Richard Carrier didn’t even do that, if I recall correctly.

              Just off the top of my head, at least three women have come forward. One of the people closest to him has signal boosted the allegations, believing them to be credible. He quit Citizens Radio in light of the claims, and he hasn’t taken any steps to defend himself. That’s pretty compelling evidence, I’d say.

            • I can think of exactly zero examples where refusing to accept the blame worked–for a privileged cishet white dude–when it comes to rehabilitating his reputation among intersectional feminists following a barrage of accusations from women. #BelieveWomen #FuckMaleFeminists

              A rational actor would just walk away and find a new community.

              Richard Carrier, on the other hand, would sue for defamation. We shall see how that plays out, but I doubt that he will ever be invited back to Skepticon, FtB, or wherever Atheism Plus is flourishing these days.

            • The alternative is to just say nothing. I can’t imagine that’s ever worked. Even in cases where evidence isn’t compelling, guilt tends to be assumed.

              If refusing to accept blame never (or rarely) works, we’d see nothing but convictions for sex crimes. Besides, if he’s guilty of all charges I think he’s already burned his feminist bridges.

            • I was not making any claims about how these things tend to play out in the justice system. My point was that in the #BelieveWomen crowd, once the accusations are made the jig is up. There is no point denying them, unless you are hoping to save face outside of that community.

            • Fair enough. I just don’t see how accepting the accusations will help rehabilitate his image with the feminist crowd. All he has is the “outside” crowd at this point.

            • I think it is fair to say that he isn’t particularly well known outside of the social justice left.

              Relatedly, how much do you have to hate yourself (as an unexceptional dude with few oppression points) to make that community your home? About this much:

              https://twitter.com/johnknefel/status/836978752198410241

            • Oh, it’s brutal. Regardless of whether the accusations are true, you can expect to be disowned immediately. If you don’t have the requisite oppression points, I daresay no one in that community is likely to be a true friend. They won’t hesitate to throw a white male under the bus.

              It’s amazing how many people think so little of themselves that they’d accept that environment.

            • An Ardent Skeptic

              I’m with Damion on this. Just because you, James, would deny something doesn’t mean everyone else would do the same, particularly if they know that a denial just generates more heat than light. And, that is precisely what happens. More and more people hop on the condemn Person X bandwagon and analyze everything said by the culprit to cast it in the worst possible light.

              Furthermore, leaving the show is not an admission of anything nor is deleting all of his social media accounts. Retreat is smart when faced with certain defeat. When it comes to anonymous public allegations of wrongdoing, the accused cannot win. According to Allison’s post about the matter, he did refuse to publicly acknowledge wrongdoing even if he hasn’t denied wrongdoing. Leaving the show and deleting his social media accounts isn’t an admission of wrongdoing it’s an exit out of a no-win situation.

              And finally, I’m sure lots of people were aware of the story “in advance of its breaking” because ugly, juicy gossip always spreads like wildfire. People’s awareness of juicy gossip proves nothing other than that people are gossiping.

              As the accusations are anonymous and Jamie isn’t talking, the only position a skeptic should take is to have no opinion on the matter because they do not have enough facts to reach an evidence based conclusion. You’ve reached a conclusion based on what you think Jamie should do because it’s what you would do. What you would do would only make matters worse for yourself because there is no victory to be had in denying vague anonymous accusations of wrongdoing. Jamie can’t talk about specifics because the accusers have refused to publicly identify themselves and make very specific claims which can be refuted. You have provided no proof that the accusers are right and Jamie is guilty. Jamie may very well be a sexual predator but your suppositions based on Jamie’s actions are unconvincing “proof” of his guilt.

            • The accusations are not anonymous. If you’re going to come at me like this, do the bare minimum of research:

              http://www.dailydot.com/irl/jamie-kilstein-male-feminist-abuser/

              With that information in mind, allow me to sum up how ridiculous your position is.

              Jamie’s former partner, who he remains close to, decided to slander him and throw him under the bus with allegations of abuse and manipulation.

              You expect me to believe at least three separate women are lying, that this is some sort of coordinated campaign involving people he’s close to? These aren’t anonymous women, mind you. They’ve put their names to these allegations. They just decided to take down a prominent feminist ally?

              I remain open-minded, but being a skeptic doesn’t mean suspending common sense. Once again, do a little digging before coming in guns blazing.

            • An Ardent Skeptic

              You’re the one who wrote the post and, based on the information you provided in the post, which includes a statement that the accusers wished to remain anonymous, I am responding to what you wrote. If you want people to agree with you than it’s your responsibility to write a well-researched post which includes the sources on which you are basing your opinion. I am not to blame for your sloppiness in writing a post which readers can dismiss as lacking any concrete evidence for your opinions. If the Daily Dot post was important in supporting the claims then you should have included a link to it in your post. It isn’t the readers job to find the evidence to support your claims, it’s you’re job to provide the evidence.

              Next time do it right. Here’s an example of how to do it:

              http://www.skepticismandethics.com/2011/07/on-naming-names-and-tuning-tones.html

            • I’m to blame for your ignorance? I provided a single link to Allison’s post. My post wasn’t intended to be entirely about Jamie Kilstein. It was about a pattern with male feminists. It wasn’t supposed to be a detailed analysis of his situation, so the idea that my post is at fault for you not have a fuller picture is absurd.

              You came on here with absolutely no clue about what occurred, clicked on one link and assumed you had all the information you needed. That’s on you. Don’t come on here and lecture me about skepticism when you’re too lazy to do a simple Google search.

              Guess what I did after I read Allison’s post? I listened to the show and searched for additional information. What I didn’t do is get my facts wrong and blame other people for my own failings.

            • An Ardent Skeptic

              Yes, you’re to blame. You claim to be a skeptic – that means providing the evidence for your opinions such that the reader can make a determination about whether YOUR opinion is based on evidence. You have to prove to the reader that YOU have thoroughly researched the topic about which you are writing, rather than leaving it to the reader to do the research and just hope you did the same research before writing the post.

              You failed to give the reader the ability to know on what you were basing your opinion so the reader could have no confidence that your opinion was based on the facts. Because you failed, this post appears to the reader to be nothing more than “click bait”.

            • I wasn’t building a case against Jamie Kilstein. That should have been obvious from both the content and length of the post. I was using him as an example to make a larger point.

              If I was building a case against him, it would have been my job to provide the evidence against him. But since I wasn’t, I had no interest in writing a detailed analysis of his situation. That would have been besides the point.

              It’s your job to get your facts straight if you want argue that point. We both had the same information (Allison’s post). The difference is I took the time to look for more information. You, on the other hand, came in half-cocked and cried foul when I called you on it.

              By the way, Damion and I are debating the same point. He certainly didn’t base his argument on the content of my post. I know he’s listened to the most recent Citizens Radio show (at the very least).

              Stop blaming others for your own failings.

            • An Ardent Skeptic

              In your response to Damion’s statement, “I’ve yet to hear him admit anything more than mental illness and being a bit of a dick.”, you have given reasons why you believe Kilstein is guilty despite the fact that you are now insisting that you weren’t trying to build a case about Kilstein’s guilt.

              The reasons you stated as possible evidence of his guilt include:

              1) He hasn’t denied it.
              2) He left the show.
              3) He deleted all of his social media accounts.
              4) Other people had advanced knowledge of the allegations.

              All of which say nothing concrete about his guilt.

              My initial response was directed at your comment about why you likely consider Kilstein guilty. The overall point of your post may not have been about Kilstein’s guilt or innocence but since you decided to move the discussion to why you think Kilstein is likely guilty, it’s your job to provide concrete evidence of his guilt rather than just engaging in idle speculation based on Kilstein’s actions and the fact that rumors had been flying before the announcement. My response to your idle speculation was to point out that without evidence it’s just idle speculation. That you are now claiming that it was my job to do the research, to see if your idle speculations about Kilstein’s guilt have merit, is nonsense. You made the claims, therefore, it’s your job to ‘show your work’.

              Perhaps, in future, you should be more cautious on the direction YOU move the discussion, if you don’t want to bother providing proof that you’ve done the necessary research to justify your opinions.

              Since you seem incapable of admitting that you had any part in where this discussion has lead, despite it having started with your response to Damion which included reasons why you think people should judge Kilstein guilty, I see no reason to continue this discussion other than to say, introspection is an important quality for a skeptic to have. You should consider getting some.

            • My post wasn’t about proving Kilstein’s guilt. The discussion in the comments was about his guilt. Do you follow? I’ll try and spell it out. My post was about one thing. The discussion in the comments was about something else.

              You’re arguing that my post should have included evidence for a discussion that would later take place in the comments section. Do you think I’m psychic? Because that would be unusual for a skeptic.

              I’m not going to include evidence in the main post for a discussion that *might* come up in the comments section. Do you expect me to anticipate every response? You’re grasping at straws.

              Your entire argument was based on the accusations being anonymous. When I pointed out that the accusations are not anonymous, you proceeded to whine about my post not containing evidence to support a separate discussion in the comments section.

              Moreover, I didn’t move the discussion in any direction. I responded to a comment that already pointed in that direction. Now, if you’re done with the gymnastics routine, feel free to leave. I’m a little tired of indulging your efforts to save face.

            • An Ardent Skeptic

              Ah, yes! The “All I said was, “Guys don’t do that.” defense. I only said “X”. How dare someone comment on the other things I’ve said.

              So James MacDonald is incapable of saying, “This post is not about Kilstein’s guilt or innocence. Sorry, Damion, but I don’t want to discuss what Kilstein is or is not admitting as it would likely sidetrack the discussion.”

              Instead, James MacDonald responds to Damion’s comment by engaging in idle speculation. Then when it’s pointed out that he’s engaging in idle speculation and nothing in his blogpost or the comment in which he’s doing the speculating supports that idle speculation, he uses the “But all I said was, “Guy’s don’t do that.” defense. Apparently, James MacDonald is not only incapable of responding to comments in a way which keeps the focus on the intent of his blogpost, he’s also incapable of including links in his comments which support the claims he’s making in his comments (unless pushed to do so) because he doesn’t have to bother proving anything he says except what he said in the blogpost. After all, he’s not psychic and couldn’t possible anticipate skeptics asking for evidence of any and all claims he chooses to make.

              James MacDonald – Waving his hands saying, “It’s not my fault. Nothing is ever my fault.”

            • You can comment on anything you like. Just don’t expect my post to contain all the evidence relevant to a separate discussion.

              Take the L, dude. And next time, do some research before barging in like a bull in a china shop.

    • Let me ask another question, if I may. Suppose that it turns out this guy is guilty as (rather vaguely) charged. How does this help establish a pattern? I’m only aware of a small handful of vocal male feminists who have been outed as abusers. Schwyzer, Carrier, Kilstein. Who else?

      • Devin Faraci and Hannibalthevictor13.

        I think “pattern” may have been the wrong word, to be fair. That obviously isn’t something I could prove based on the actions of a few prominent male feminists. In fact, the number of male feminist abusers might by the same as the general male population.

        I find it alarming that prominent male feminists have been caught with their pants down so often in the last few years. But yes, “pattern” was the wrong word. There are too few to call it that.

        • Wow, I had never seen the story of Hannibal. Don’t follow YouTube drama much.