The Atlantic Caves To #MeToo

You thought we were past the worst of me too, the sex inquisition where any accusation by a woman was all that was needed for punishment to be exacted? Sit down. I have something to tell you about Yascha Mounk and it’s going to make you sad.

A woman with issues claims that she was raped about two and a half years ago. What happened is unclear despite thousands of words murdered in furtherance of her catharsis, except to the extent she says this:

I mean, it wasn’t violent like that. I didn’t bleed. I was in and out of sleep when he penetrated me and was jolted wide awake when he started moving fast inside me.”

Presumably, there was a romantic/sexual relationship, and it wasn’t that some man broke into her home, got into bed with a sleeping woman and then raped her. But that didn’t seem to matter much when she decided to not only name her rapist, but to demand punishment.

Exactly four weeks ago I sent @JeffreyGoldberg & @AdrienneLaF the email below telling them my rapist works at @TheAtlantic. Mr. Goldberg replied that the allegation was taken extremely seriously. I have not gotten a single update since.

I will not be raped with impunity. pic.twitter.com/OnfNxlBxud

— Celeste Marcus (@Celestemarcus3) February 4, 2024

For those unaware, Yascha Mounk is a writer and political scientist who has challenged woke dogma and cancel culture. Ironic? Maybe. For his part, Mounk denies that the accusation.

I am aware of the horrendous allegation against me. It is categorically untrue.

Given what little substantive information is available, there is little to go on beyond “she said/he said,” The accuser, Celeste Marcus, never went to the police.* The accuser hasn’t sued Mounk. It’s not that the statute of limitations has lapsed. She could do so tomorrow if she wanted to. She doesn’t. She wants Goldberg to exact punishment on her behalf. She expects Goldberg to do so because she said so. What more could be needed?

In her essay, Marcus wrote she didn’t report the rape to law enforcement “because I was broken and could barely function at the time. … In all likelihood it would have yielded only more pain, and only for me.”

And while Goldberg hasn’t publicly castrated Mounk, or issued a statement condemning him, Goldberg has suspended him. The Atlantic hasn’t published anything from Mounk since the accusation was made. Goldberg says he’s taking the accusation “extremely seriously.” What that means is anybody’s guess. Does it mean he’s throwing Mounk under the bus rather than risk being the next casualty of #MeToo, the magazine that publishes rapists because it doesn’t believe women? Is The Atlantic supposed to try Mounk in absentia and reach a verdict where no jury ever will?

Yet, Marcus is not even remotely satisfied that she’s gotten her pound of flesh yet. Not that she has any responsibility to employ the mechanisms by which our society determines such matters as crimes and torts, for the usual litany of excuses, but she shrieked “j’accuse” and that should be damn good enough for the likes of Goldberg.

And as Marcus grieved Goldberg’s lack of transparency, Mounk’s side hustle at Johns Hopkins got into the act.

A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins University, where Mounk serves as a professor, said they learned of the allegation on Sunday.

“Pursuant to our obligations under Title IX, the university has an established and rigorous processes for addressing allegations of misconduct and has referred the information to our Office of Institutional Equity for careful review,” the spokesperson told Mediaite.

You may wonder what this could possibly have to do with Title IX, given that it would only apply if the accused conduct denied Marcus educational benefits. She is not a student at Johns Hopkins or elsewhere. But Marcus appears focused on The Atlantic, where she can get the most victim face time by blaming Goldberg atop blaming Mounk for not demonstrating sufficient outrage and exacting sufficient pain.

In a statement to The Post on Monday, Marcus described the essay as, “in no small part about the wreckage wrought by being treated as if my rape was an insignificant trauma.” She said Goldberg’s decision to “withhold transparency about action taken — if any was indeed taken — after my allegation was made” was unexpectedly painful.

“I had prepared myself for the pain an investigation would surely yield, pain which would be mollified by the fact that I would have opportunity to submit evidence and make my case. I had not prepared myself to be ignored,” she said.

While the “daemons” in her head were dissatisfied with the misery she wreaked, Goldberg’s reaction was about as cowardly as it gets. He could well have responded that he is not the sex police and if she has an accusation, she should employ the systems society provides to address it. But he, as the managing editor of The Atlantic, has no place determining whether her accusation of rape is true or false, and will not cancel its contributor because, two and a half years after the alleged rape, she has decided to go public.

Granted, Goldberg didn’t hire Mounk to deal with Marcus’ baggage, and wasn’t seeking to court controversy by doing anything beyond getting The Atlantic out of the middle of this nastiness. Of course, that didn’t work, as anyone who has paid attention to these matter could have told him. Instead, Marcus’ accusation not only sought to punish Mounk without being put to her proof, but created a situation where Goldberg would have to pick sides, placing him and the magazine in the crosshairs either way.

Given that there was no way to slip-slide his way out of the middle, Goldberg managed to both fail to pacify Marcus while doing harm to Mounk for his unproven offense. How does Goldberg think this ends? Is he waiting for Marcus to disappear in the ether so he can bring Mounk back? Is he waiting for Mounk to disappear in the ether so he no longer has to deal with the problem, even if Marcus won’t let it go? Are The Atlantic’s lawyers preparing a statement as if that will deflect attention? Or he can refuse to play the #MeToo game. Or capitulate?

While many have come to realize that the litany of excuses rationalizing the failures of accusers to use the mechanisms available to address their claims are myths and empty excuses, we have yet to shed the stigma of #MeToo, even though we know that false accusations happen and the deprivation of due process reduces accusations to a sham. Maybe Mounk will write about this someday. Will Goldberg publish it or will he be too busy taking Marcus’ accusation “extremely seriously”?

*From the Washington Post: “In her essay, Marcus wrote she didn’t report the rape to law enforcement “because I was broken and could barely function at the time. … In all likelihood it would have yielded only more pain, and only for me.” Convenient rationalizations aside, she can function now, obviously.

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