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...
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:
@bjbernstein Oh wow I didn't know that! I like him even more now!!— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) June 9, 2012
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:
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
@soledad_obrien Really happy that you're covering tomorrow. Please focus on the victim.She is a brave girl.— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) March 18, 2013
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?
Any reporting on this story that doesn't focus on the JUSTICE for the victim instead of end of football careers is doing it wrong.— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) March 17, 2013
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.
This CNN reporting is a perpetuation of rape culture. rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/17/…— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) March 17, 2013
But so is your commentary on Genarlow Wilson- what's the difference?
@jamilsmith I feel like the defense attorneys want an award for worst people on earth— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) March 16, 2013
If this is the case, then you would be in contention for that award as well, no?
@bjbernstein :)— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) March 16, 2013
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.
- Lessons from the Ebony 4 Debacle: The End of Plausible Deniability for "Journalists" Who Cover Genarlow Wilson
- This Rape Culture Propaganda Was Brought to You By Clear Ultra Shea and Unilever
- UPDATE:Ebony.com's Editors Renew Their Support of Genarlow Wilson- Issue "Official Statement" of Apology
"A group of teenagers rented adjacent rooms at a motel and held a raucous, unsupervised New Year's Eve party. Among the participants were 17-year-old Genarlow Wilson, 17-year-old L.M., and 15-year-old T.C. The next morning, L.M. reported to her mother that she had been raped. Police were notified, and the motel rooms were searched. During the search, a videocamera and videocassette tape were found. The tape showed Wilson having sexual intercourse with an apparently semiconscious L.M. and T.C. performing oral sex on Wilson."
"Here, L.M. was a witness who appeared at trial and might have provided personal authentication of the videotape by testifying that it accurately portrayed what took place at the time of the occurrence of the events in question.18. She could not, however, provide such testimony because she had lost consciousness as a result of drug and alcohol use. Although L.M. did regain consciousness during some of the events and did recall Wilson attempting to have sexual intercourse with her and trying to force her to give him oral sex, she did not have any independent recollection of the events depicted on the videotape. L.M. was, therefore, an unavailable witness under OCGA § 24-4-48, as she testified “to a lack of memory of the subject matter of the authentication.” 19"