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Zerlina Maxwell and Ebony Magazine's Hypocrisy on Steubenville Rape Case- Will Tom Joyner Give Steubenville Rapist Ma'Lik Richmond a Free Morehouse Education?

This post could have easily have been called- What Happens When Genarlow Wilson Supporters Change their Tune on "Consent."  Because I've been arguing with these people for YEARS that an unconscious girl can't consent and an underage girls can't consent if the law says she cant. Now all of a sudden folks are becoming the poster children for the Steubenville rape victim and I think their previous statements regarding Genarlow Wilson and consent are relevant.

So, this post is about consistency and hypocrisy. It is about the courage to speak out when it's unpopular (Genarlow Wilson) and the cowardice to remain silent and then change your view when it is professionally beneficial to do so (Steubenville).  In this case we have a group of Black women who previously have made it quite clear that they do not respect the legal or moral concept of "consent" in sexual assault cases, but have now become spokeswomen on behalf of sexual assault victims... because it's popular and beneficial to them to do so...NOW.

The verdict in the Steubenville rape case came out Sunday morning and the Black Pontifrocracy swung into gear with ton's of tweets about rape culture, and "consent," well color me shocked because for YEARS this same group of Black people have been champions of Genarlow Wilson, a convicted rapist who had sex with one child who could not consent and gang raped another young woman who was unconscious. I was quite frankly shocked at how vocal these Black pundits were.



It was truly a KNEE GROW PLEASE moment. I couldn't believe what I was reading- this group had pushed the exact opposite message on consent with Genarlow Wilson and they thought they were going to get away with it?

One pundit that stuck out because she was RTed by the EbonyMag twitter account was Zerlina Maxwell. Again, I don't know this woman - I just know she's writing about sexual assault on Ebony.com which means something in the milk ain't clean because  Ebony.com is definitely pro-rapist and the Ebony 4  who run it share the same views on consent as the defense attorneys in the Steubenville case. 

Here's Ms. Maxwell on MSNBC...

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Now  replace Trent and Ma'lik with Genarlow.

The facts in the Genarlow Wilson case are very similar except back then, mainstream media took the side of Mr. Wilson and not his victims.  Here's a refresher on what Genarlow Wilson and his friends did from a lawyer who was in the courtroom during the trial. HE actually saw the videotape Genarlow Wilson MADE of his actions that evening:

The videotape was "Exhibit A" because it depicts a horrific crime: a gang rape of a semi-conscious, 17-year-old girl, followed by a bizarre display of sexual precociousness by a 15-year-old girl. That's the truth recorded by Genarlow and his friends that fateful night. I suspect that is also why Ms. Bernstein hated it whenever McDade used it to rebut her version of Genarlow's crime.

No matter how much (two glasses of Cognac) the 17-year-old may have had to drink, no matter how much she may have flirted with those boys, she did not consent to having sex with all of them, one right after the other. Yet it never occurred to the "smart" and "spiritual" Genarlow to say, "Stop it. We should not be doing this." No. Genarlow watched, waited and gladly took his turn. When they were through raping her, Genarlow helped his friends drag the comatose victim to the bathroom. They opened the door, pushed her in, watched as she fell to the floor and closed the door. I guess she wasn't much fun anymore.

For his sins, Mr. Wilson received a 10-year sentence which was later reduced. Mind you, his conviction was not overturned, Mr. Wilson's attorney wisely didn't even bother because he was guilty of the crime for which he was convicted. She took issue with the length of his sentence. That's a legal argument. That's what lawyers do.

Mr. Wilson's layperson supporters, however,  took things to a whole new level - they went well beyond a legal argument repeatedly saying that  his gang rape of an unconscious girl was "normal" teenage behavior and it could not be rape since no weapon was used and the young woman was not screaming NO at the top of her lungs. Black journalists and columnists ACTIVELY participated in promoting this pro-rape culture mentality... because it was convenient to do so. 

I've been castigated repeatedly for YEARS by Black people for pointing out the common sense, moral and legal view that unconscious people cannot consent to be raped and the fact that she may have consumed alcohol was not a license for Mr. Wilson and his friends to rape her.

And once Mr. Wilson was released from prison, his supporters spit in the faces of his victims by throwing him parades, giving him awards. I could understand the constitutional argument, but why the need for accolades for being a predator?

Radio host Tom Joyner gave Mr. Wilson a 4-year full scholarship to Morehouse College. However, Mr. Wilson couldn't be bothered to actually attend school and failed to graduate, failed to tell his family and friends he wasn't going to graduate, and then whined about it to EBONY magazine.  

Which led Ebony magazine to print an OUTRAGEOUS and ridiculously sympathetic interview with Mr. Wilson with a title that declared "Genarlow Wilson is no Rapist and Never Was!." They couldn't write about his triumphant graduation from Morehouse... because Genarlow didn't graduate so they decided to write PURE FICTION.

When What About Our Daughters readers pointed out the not-so-minor-fact that Mr. Wilson is in fact a CONVICTED Rapist, the editors of Ebony.com, four Black women, responded with pro-rape culture propaganda that basically says, any woman who consumes alcohol in the presence of men consents to be raped, statutory rape laws should not apply to young Black women, and the only "no" that can count is one screamed at knifepoint in a dark alley. They said in their opinion, there was no rape. Because their opinion and not laws or morals should be definitive. 

WAOD readers were not persuaded and we finally had to take our legitimate outrage to the sponsors of Ebony.com. A few short hours after we brought Ebony.com's rape culture propaganda and lies to the attention of their sponsors, all versions of the Genarlow Wilson article were removed and Amy Barnett, one of the grown ups who runs Ebony magazine, promised a four-part series on rape and sexual assault. Almost 6 months later, she, to my knowledge, has not fulfilled that promise.

Which brings me back to the hypocrisy of Ebony and their contributor Zerlina Maxwell. Ms. Maxwell carries many hats online and writes for many online periodicals, including Feministing and Ebony, and she was tweeting up a storm about #steubenville.

 She's writing up a storm about "consent" and sports culture. She's pledging solidarity with Jane Doe, the victim in the Steubenville case. Which would be all well and good if Ms. Maxwell was not a Genarlow Wilson apologist:




For those unacquainted with the case, Zerlina is going back and forth with Genarlow Wilson's defense attorney BJ Bernstein. Zerlina is saying she supports Howard Dean more because he was a Genarlow Wilson apologist. Well maybe that tweet was misinterpreted...no, sorry, she's written about Genarlow Wilson and has echoed the immoral "consent" beliefs of the editors of Ebony.com. ( The Ebony 4)

So let's review, this is what Zerlina Maxwell is writing about "consent" in the Steubenville case:

1. Teach young men about legal consent:  Legal consent tops my list for a reason. Without it, sexual contact with someone is rape...whether you intended to rape or not.  A woman who is drunk, unconscious or sleeping cannot give legal consent.  And it’s not about a woman simply saying “no,” it’s really about making certain she’s saying yes

Read more at EBONY http://www.ebony.com/news-views/5-ways-we-can-teach-men-not-to-rape-456#ixzz2NpWNr26L 

This is what Zerlina Maxwell wrote about "consent" in the Genarlow Wilson case:

In 2005, at the age of 17, Genarlow Wilson was convicted of aggravated child molestation for receiving oral sex from a consenting classmate who was 15 years old at the time. The Grio

First, the girl the girl could not legally "consent," and  Ms. Maxwell conveniently leaves out the facts about the 17 year old girl who Mr. Wilson and his friends gang raped while the girl was unconscious.

For those of you who want to look at a graphic, compare what Ms. Maxwell and Ebony.com are tweeting about Steubenville vs. Their Genarlow Wilson Tweets. 

So which is it Zerlina Maxwell? Is consent is anything but screaming NO at the top of your lungs, but when it might get you some national media attention, all of a sudden consent becomes anything but yes. I'm not sure what this woman believes, but I sure would love to know which is it. There are more



So the obvious question is does Ms. Maxwell think the two victims in the Genarlow Wilson case were brave? Why didn't your description of the Genarlow Wilson case focus on HIS victims? 



But why did Ms. Maxwell when she wrote about Mr. Wilson for The Grio leave one of the girls in the case completely out of the story and then characterized the other as consenting, when she could not consent. 


But so is your commentary on Genarlow Wilson- what's the difference?



If this is the case, then you would be in contention for that award as well, no?




So how are the attorneys in the Steubenville case the "worst" but Genarlow Wilson's attorney is your Twitter BFF?

So here's the deal Genarlow Wilson apologists, you get to enjoy the freedom of supporting rape culture, and I'll keep reminding you of your decision- but you don't get to straddle both sides of the fence when it is convenient for you. 

-Zerlina Maxwell needs to have 5 seats- when it's politically expedient to be anti-rape culture, you are- when it's not- you're not. You participated in the Black journalist/commentator pro-Genarlow Wilson cover-up you need to claim it and apologize or shut up. 

-Amy Barnett needs to keep the promises she made to publish a 4-part series on sexual assault and  tell the @ebonyMag account to shut the heck up on Twitter until she does. 

- the Black Pontifrocracy needs to at least TRY to be morally consistent on the issues of rape and sexual assault. 

You can't  write 5 Ways We Can Teach men Not To Rape while coddling a rapist and saying that unconscious girls can consent to their own gang rape and kee-keeing it up on Twitter with the gang rapist's defense attorney. 

 You can read up on Ebony.com's defense of Genarlow Wilson under our Ebony and Misogyny Tag.  If you don't like my BIASED opinion, read what a journalism ThinkTank had to say about Ebony.com's horrific coverage of the Genarlow Wilson case. What Ebony story can teach journalists about covering sexual assault.

Now over on Facebook, Zerlina Maxwell's defenders have been quick to try to throw the victims in the Genarlow Wilson case under the bus, telling us to move on, but the problem is Zerlina's post for the Grio was not 7 years ago, it was last year. A simple way to get me to shut up is to ask Ms. Maxwell and Ebony.com's editors whether they continue to believe that the unconscious girl and the  underage girl in the Genarlow Wilson case "consented." If they say "yes" then they are hypocrites. If they say "no" then that is inconsistent with their prior statements. 

The irony is that even Genarlow Wilson isn't defending his actions as zealously as his supporters. He apparently has found a clue or two. 





Reader Comments (21)

There are significant differences between the Genarlow case and this one as it relates to Ma'lik Richmond. Richmond will serve a minimum of 1 year in juvenile while Wilson was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in an adult prison and would have had to register as a sex offender when released. Wilson's sentence was based on an antiquated sodomy law that has been since taken off the books. Wilson's other charge was moot since he was acquitted of it after the jury viewed the video of the sex act. So there was no conviction there for anyone to react to.

I agree that Wilson should not have gotten any scholarships nor any positive media, but if Wilson would have gotten the 1 to 3 year misdemeanor conviction that he would have gotten if he had had only intercourse with the underage girl, there would not have been an outcry nor would there have been scholarships, etc. (the other boys didn't receive any such things).

Blogmother comment - and absolutely NOTHING you have said addresses the point of the post which is that these women have publicly stated that drunk and underage girls can consent. I conceded the argument long ago regarding the length of Wilson's sentence- if the people of Georgia want him walking around free, that's their choice, but Georgia didn't reverse his conviction. Nice try- but the consent issues in both cases are basically identical

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGood

This was the best post I have read over the last 24 hours. Blogmother, do THAT! Your voice is so effin' powerful. Thank you.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBigDAWNN

Ms. Maxwell presents herself as a rape victim. Is that even true? Her stance on the Genarlow Wilson case is very difficult to understand if she was a victim of rape.

Blogmother comment- Ms. Maxwell's desperate and unethical supporters have glommed on to this comment to imply that I said she was lying about being a rape survivor. I don't think her status as a rape survivor is relevant to whether she is a hypocrite on the issue of consent, but they know they've lost on substance, so now they've headed over into the realm of fiction.So to be clear, if Ms. Maxwell has said that she is a rape survivor, I believe her. So what else do y'all have to explain Zerlina's hypocrisy.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonnadara

Well there is one glaring difference between these two cases:

Genranlow Wilson was found not guilty of rape by a jury of his peers.

A jury looked at the same video and decided it wasn't rape. You may disagree with that, but that's what happened. Which is why the Wilson case is MUCH different from this one.

The oral sex is what got him in trouble NOT the sex with the passed out girl. Had he had sex with the 15 year old (and not oral sex) then he would have been charged with the teen sex laws Georgia had on the books. A misdemeanor.

The law he was tried under was meant for child molesters so they couldn't get away with saying "oh we just had oral sex" It was that discrepancy - oral versus vaginal sex with teens - is where the "outrage" was felt.

A judge here decided that attempting sex with a passed out girl WAS a sexual assault and they were found guilty.

If you're going to compare the cases be honest about where the differences lie.

Now it's good to see a judge decide sex with a passed out girl is rape. I suspect had this been a jury trial there verdict would have been very similar to Wilson's as people have a tendency to victim blame when it comes to women/girls:.

"Oh what did she expect...she shouldn't been drinking...she shouldn't have kissed them earlier...she shouldn't have got in the car with them...etc."

Maybe, just maybe it will be a lesson to other young men/athletes in Stuebenville.
blogmother comment and again. you ignore the point of the post which is THESE WOMEN's public comments about what constitutes consent. And all of their commentary about the Stubenville case PRECEDED the verdict. So your whole jury verdict theory blows up. Juries and judges don't form individual beliefs about "consent" You are also lying because one of the things that the Ebony editors said last fall was despite the jury's conviction, they independently decided that no rape had occurred in the Wilson case. So again, neither they nor I are interested in jury verdicts. So try again to derail the conversation.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

And this post is why I keep coming back to this website ... These people are such opportunists. Thank you for pointing out this hypocrisy.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMrsGlam

Has it been established the race of the female victim in the Wilson case? I've seen pictures of the victim in this current case. I am afraid these Ebony women opinions may be based on who is a victim. Like, perhaps, black girls cannot be victims. It sounds very self-hating, and sad.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKGW

Wow! I've been watching Zerlina on MSNBC over the weekend and was really impressed with her stance that we need to teach men not to rape. Would have never thought she was straddling the fence on rape. So sad! Opportunism at its best. I guess folks believe those tweets disappear after there tweeted,

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMargery

You may as well bang your gavel because with this post, court is adjourned.

Thank you for defending our daughters. Keep up the good work.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

The black bloggers and so called intelligentsia on Twitter are completely silent on this. They are too busy on writing feminist dissertations on Beyonce and Love & Hip Hop.

I see why some of them get so angry when White feminist don't acknowledge black feminists, its seems more about wanting to be in white feminist circles for economic opportunity

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterblkchik

I think that in the case of the Genarlow Wilson trial and aftermath so many people jumped on the bandwagon to defend Wilson under the guise of "Lets all Defend the Black Man who is Being Corralled by the Criminal Justice System" that few people stopped to investigate the details of the case. And many people who continue to defend Wilson still haven't stopped to find out what really happened--I'm guessing Zerlina Maxwell is one of those people.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamila

Blogmother, when I heard about the Steubenville case, my first thought was of Genarlow Wilson. True to form, instead of considering the issue of consent, supporters of the defendants chose to concentrate on the character of the victim: she consented and then regretted it or she's a liar. The fact of the matter is that she could not consent if she was unconscious. Full stop.

According to the members of the black chattering class the sexual assault of black women and girls only merits outrage if one of the perpetrators is white. Black men and boys should be protected under all circumstances. Considering that fact, are we really surprised by Maxwell's response?

I think about the individuals like Maxwell and Jamill Smith and realize that the next generation of black people are screwed. Look who we have as "thought leaders".

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Oh yes, hypocrisy and fraudulence in it's finest form. Two faced individuals, these people are so full of themselves it's disgusting. I took my time reading this post (pure excellence)...thanks for your diligence @Blogmother.

March 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheri

I see why some of them get so angry when White feminist don't acknowledge black feminists, its seems more about wanting to be in white feminist circles for economic opportunity

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertaruhan bola online

Wow. Great post. All I can say is that you certainly know how to tell the truth and shame the devil.

I guess with all the hoopla over the Steubenville case, there was no way that Ms. Maxwell could say anything remotely pro-rapist. She should just admit that she was WRONG as hell about Genarlow and apologize for her narrowmindedness in that case. She doesn't wear hypocrisy well.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLorna Jerome

In my best Nelson from the Simpsons voice Haha! They must have thought folk would forget.smh

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTruth P.

Excellent piece. The Wilson case keeps on exposing people for the frauds that they are.

Now over on Facebook, Zerlina Maxwell's defenders have been quick to try to throw the victims in the Genarlow Wilson case under the bus, telling us to move on

Wow. Those victims will never get any real support. Interesting that they all talk of the life sentence and harassments Jane Doe has got, but apparently these victims and what they have suffered at the hands of Gernalow AND the likes of Zerlina/Ebony 4 is inconsequential. As long as they have a nice black female journalist, singing the right song for their cause...

I guess it's a shame for Ma'Lik & co that they didn't rape a black girl.

The sad reality is that although there is much rape culture at play within the Steubenville case, the opposition is vastly more than what exists within the black community and for black women. So it makes sense to a bunch of opportunistic, morally bankrupt, black male identified "journalist", like Zerlina, to inflict rape culture onto other black women.

That is the party line after all. Most of the black establishment are only concerned with defending black men at any cost, so turning Wilson into a political prisoner is par for the course. Only if all the perpetrators are white, would a black girl get any public support from the black elite. Because only then would she be seen as a useful tool in the ongoing patriarchal war. The fight to acquire white patriarchal privilege for black men, not uplift and support the black community like they claim.

The hypocrisy in those tweets from Zerlina is indicative of the way a lot of the black media operate. The black cultural space is a pissing bowl to them - say anything, do anything, just get paid. How does she think the victims of Wilson felt when she and her friends at Ebony were running their stories, presenting Wilson as the victim and denying that they were raped?

This two-faced vulture can do this damage within the black community, and towards black women, and then switch up her game in the mainstream/white media when it's beneficial to her! She's disgusting. She and the Ebony 4 are too stupid to see how they've contributed to their own devaluation, like many of the black established, they think they're immune.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUnison

Blogmother comment- the following comment is from a current and future reader who thinks I care that she, a grown woman would choose to read the blogs of her choice. I find it incredibly manipulative and narcissistic for blog readers to declare THEY will never read the blog again- First, it's a lie, they will keep reading to see how I respond and second, when you start paying the bills both tangible and intangible to run this blog, then you can tell me what to write about. Until then, keep it moving. There will be someone else to take your place.

I've only recently started reading your blog, and I suspect I may end up stopping soon. Maybe I'm just too polite a person, but it makes me really uncomfortable when a blogger calls a commenter a liar (or says the commenter is lying). 1 - its really just sort of rude (which, admittedly, so is telling someone they're rude, as I'm doing now), and 2 - it pre-supposes that the blogger knows what's in the commenter's mind and is certain that the commenter is deliberately being misleading.

While I'm still here:

I do think there's a disconnect between what is being discussed as legally true and what is morally true. Legal truth: in many states, a 15-year old cannot consent to sex. Moral truth (in my opinion): a 15-year old who is sober and not mentally handicapped who agrees to have sex (or any type) with a peer has not been raped. She's probably made a decision I would not encourage her to make. But should that other child be charged with rape? I don't think so.

Legal truth: Genarlow Wilson was convicted of aggravated child molestation. Fact: he had oral sex with a girl who was arguably his peer and received what many have deemed an excessive sentence because of what many deemed a poorly written law. Legal fact: Genarlow Wilson was not guilty of rape of the 17-year old intoxicated girl. Moral fact: Depending on whose version of events you believe (I haven't seen the tape, I don't want to see the tape, I don't know or have any particular reason to either trust or distrust the lawyer you mentioned above), he raped a peer who was incapable of consent. If one believes the legal outcome of Genarlow's rape case, as well as the moral truth as I personally see it - that the girl he was convicted of molesting did consent/should have been allowed to consent - then you can also see why people would feel sorry for him.

As for me personally, would I want Genarlow hanging out with my kid? No way. Do I think he got lucky on the rape acquittal? I'm not sure (like I said, I haven't seen the tape). Do I think he's a child molester? Nope.

Also, for what its worth, the Genarlow apologists are really "molester apologists," not rape apologists, if you go by what he was legally convicted of.

Now, as for the women at Ebony: I certainly agree that it is suspect of them to claim in one case that a drunk girl can consent to sex and in another case that she can't. I also think its awkward phrasing to discuss whether or not a person (man or woman) in any situation can consent to be gang-raped. The entire definition of rape is that it is non-consensual. You cannot consent to have something forced upon you.

March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMH

@donnadara I'm in transit, but when I get access to a desktop, I'll add this to your comment.
Ms Maxwell's cowardly and dishonest supporters are saying I said she was lying about being a rape survivor. I never said or implied such a thing and they know it. My argument is rock solid I don't need to do that. More importantly her status as a survivor does not immunize her from being a hypocrite.

March 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

But how they ignored 2000 plus words I actually wrote to run with something someone else wrote and try to attribute it to me I will never know.

March 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother


Zerlina's behavior doesn't shock me. After all, during a panel discussion, she once said that a woman should talk her attacker out raping her instead of drawing a gun on him.


Thus, if a Black woman defends herself from a would-be rapist, then she would be the villain in Zerlina's eyes.

So, Zerlina Maxwell is very wishy washy when comes to condemning rape.

March 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFred

The media is hard to trust these days. I remember seeing several stories on this case in print and on television. I believed this case was about a 17 year old young man who was in a relationship with a 15 year old young woman and they had sex. I did not feel he should have been charged with rape under those circumstances. I did not know that this was a drunken act with someone he was not in a relationship with. I did not know that he had also participated in a group attack on another young lady. If these facts are true, this dude is a rapist and he should have done the 10 years.

May 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIFV

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