Ed Driscoll

Rape-Accuser Who Carries Mattress Around Campus Suddenly Begs for Privacy

“Accused Columbia rapist fights back,” Jazz Shaw writes at Hot Air:

I assume that most of you recall Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who gained national fame for carrying around a mattress to symbolize her burden and struggle after she claimed to have been raped by a fellow student who was later cleared of the charges. Like many such cases, the fact that the accused rapist – Paul Nungesser – was not found to be guilty didn’t make it into the news very much. Having already lost his reputation in the media feeding frenzy, Paul had been laying low for a while. But apparently seeing his accuser turned into a nationally celebrated figure was a bit too much for him and he has released a wealth of information regarding the case to The Daily Beast.

The young woman told every media outlet that would listen that she was left stunned and shattered by the incident and thereafter suffered in silence because she was too ashamed to talk about it. But that silence apparently didn’t include Paul. In the days following the alleged “rape” incident, his “victim” was acting pretty much like anything but a victim. In fact, Paul had saved most of the social media interactions between the two and they paint a very different picture than the horrific one told by Sulkowicz.

Read the whole thing, which concludes with Jazz noting that the Daily Beast “seems to have done their due diligence and contacted Sulkowicz about the social media exchanges. She responded saying that she “confirmed that these records were authentic and not redacted in any way.” She also claimed that she would be sending them ‘annotations’ explaining the context but then decided not to do so.” Additionally, as New York magazine noted yesterday, Sulkowicz pouted that it’s like totally unfair of the Daily Beast to interview both sides of the story, and send someone like Cathy Young (who’s also a frequent contributor to libertarian-themed Reason magazine) who’s like not totally super-serial about radical feminism and stuff:

“Normally I don’t respond to people who use my rapist as collateral in order to make me talk to them,” she told Mic. Then, last Tuesday night, Young emailed again, this time saying she had about six pages of Facebook conversations between Sulkowicz and Nungesser and wanted to confirm their accuracy before publishing.

“It’s an awful feeling where this reporter is digging through my personal life. At this point I didn’t realize that she’s extremely anti-feminist and would do this in order to shame me,” Sulkowicz said, noting that she feels Young has “written other articles supporting the rapists and making survivors look unreliable.”

As Jim Treacher quips, “Why are reporters digging into my personal life? Can’t they see I’m carrying a MATTRESS?”

Heh. Actually, Sulkowicz’s whine seems very reminiscent of the young protestors last month who blocked a major Boston thoroughfare, disrupting traffic and potential endangering lives, and were then suddenly angry and screamed invasion of privacy when a reporter shows up at their doorstep:

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At Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds links to a response from blogger and journalist Kathleen McWilliams:

Sulkowicz says “Normally I don’t respond to people who use my rapist as collateral in order to make me talk to them…It’s an awful feeling where this reporter is digging through my personal life. At this point I didn’t realize that she’s extremely anti-feminist and would do this in order to shame me.”

In my opinion, Daily Beast reporter Cathy Young did the right thing by contacting Sulkowicz and giving her the opportunity to refute Nungesser’s claims.

In any case, Sulkowicz is absolutely wrong to be upset with Young. Young is a reporter tasked with a difficult story and in today’s journalistic climate one cannot afford to make mistakes, let alone on the subject of sexual assault. As Rolling Stone’s in-depth article on UVA’s alleged sexual assault culture proves, when you report on campus assaults you need to cover every base, check every fact and get every account of what happened. Young was not holding Sulkowicz’s rapist collateral, nor was she shaming Sulkowicz. If Sulkowicz felt ashamed and uncomfortable with the situation she should have simply told Young as much instead of attacking the character of a journalist who approached her for her side of the story.

Young was journalistically responsible and other reporters should follow her lead. Just because sexual assault is difficult to talk about, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. More importantly, just because stories about sexual assault can be painful for victims, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t report responsibly on the subject.

“Yeah, some responsible reporting would be nice,” Glenn Reynolds adds:

 It would also be nice if New York’s Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hadn’t joined the lynch mob, embracing Sulkowicz and calling Nungesser a “rapist” even after he was cleared by two different proceedings (one of which required only a preponderance of the evidence to convict).

Last month at the Federalist, Robert Tracinski asked if America has reached “Peak leftism.” Stories such as the above appear to answer that query in the affirmative.

Related: “Former Columbia newspaper editor admits biased reporting on rape due to fear of backlash,” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner:

“Critical coverage isn’t only for the benefit of the accused, but for the public and the survivors themselves. Thorough and impartial reporting can only serve to validate a survivor’s claims, while biased or incomplete reporting can only serve to fuel doubt and mistrust,” [Daniel  Garisto, a former opinion editor for Columbia University’s student newspaper] wrote. “The media helps no one by remaining lax in its coverage.”

Garisto did try to alleviate some of the backlash he will receive by claiming he thinks Nungesser is “probably guilty” — breaking the media ethics he spent so much time addressing. But his overall point remains valid, it is not the media’s responsibility to provide only one side of the issue — that makes real reform that protects the accuser and the accused impossible.

Attention Rolling Stone — your next ace journalist has sent up a flare. Hire him ASAP!

More:UNC-Chapel Hill Admin Only Wants to Discuss Diversity with Students Who Share Its Liberal Biases.

Hey, you can’t reach Peak Leftism without simultaneously hitting peak Orwell.