A couple of readers have emailed me this story:
The fuss started when Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London, and Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College, ended up in the same crowded elevator during a conference at a Hilton in San Francisco last month.
She said she offered to press the floor buttons for people in the elevator, whom she described as mostly conference attendees and all, except one other woman, white middle-aged men. Instead of saying a floor, Lebow smiled and asked for the women’s lingerie department “and all his buddies laughed,” Sharoni wrote in a complaint, the details of which he disputed, to the association later that day.
“After they walked out, the woman standing next to me turned to me and said, ‘I wonder if we should have told them that it is no longer acceptable to make these jokes!” she said in her complaint.
What does she mean by these jokes?
Sharoni, who wrote in her complaint that she has experienced sexual harassment in academe in the past
The mere mention of ladies’ lingerie is sexual harassment, is it?
and was shaken by the incident,
Sharoni calls herself a “feminist and activist” yet here she is behaving like a pearl-clutching Victorian spinster who’s spotted an uncovered piano leg.
said it took her a while to figure out that Lebow thought it was funny “to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference.
I suspect the time was actually spent figuring out how to make an incident of this.
After glancing at Lebow’s name tag, Sharoni says she went back to her hotel room to check out the association’s code of conduct. She then wrote to Mark A. Boyer, the association’s executive director. He forwarded the complaint to the group’s Committee on Professional Rights and Responsibilities, which determined that Lebow had violated the conduct code.
A committee decided an individual violated a code of conduct without specifying how and why. How very modern. I’ve just had a look at it, and I can’t see how Lebow’s remarks were in breach without ascribing to them a malicious intent for which there is no evidence.
Lebow insists it never should have gotten to that point because he tried to resolve the problem informally, as the association’s conduct code recommends.
I venture to suggest trying to solve a problem which exists only in somebody else’s head is a mistake. But he learned fast:
Lebow was told to write an “unequivocal apology” to Sharoni and submit a written copy by May 15 to the association’s executive committee. The apology should focus on Lebow’s actions, rather than Sharoni’s perceptions of them, it said, adding that if he failed to comply, the executive committee would consider appropriate sanctions.
Good for him. The absolute standard response to any complaints from deranged social justice warriors should be silence or mockery and derision. Under absolutely no circumstances should you apologise because to the insincere that is merely an admission of guilt. Even doubling down would be better than apologising.
He also sent an email to colleagues calling his treatment “a horrifying and chilling example of political correctness” that “encourages others to censor their remarks for fear of retribution.” In an email to The Chronicle on Sunday, Lebow said he made the joke “to relieve the slight claustrophobia I felt in such a crowded lift.”
He shouldn’t even have done that. He should have said he has no idea what anyone is on about and if the slanderous allegations don’t cease he will be seeking legal advice. In fact, he should have hired a lawyer the minute he heard a complaint had been made.
He said it was a man, not a woman, who asked for the floors and that the other men in the elevator were not his “buddies” as she had described them.
Of course not, she’s using misleading language. I suspect this is normal for her.
He wasn’t smiling, he said, and she wouldn’t have known if he was because he was standing in the back and she was in front of him.
So she’s also a liar. Colour me surprised.
Sharoni told The Chronicle that the real chilling effect will be against people who experience and report sexual harassment.
Indeed it will: if people like Sharoni invent stories of sexual harrassment where there is none, others will find themselves disbelieved. Sharoni is actually making women less safe, but then that’s modern feminism for you.
As someone who has dedicated her life to confronting sexism (and other forms of discrimination and oppression) in academic spaces, I cannot and will not remain silent when misogyny is at play.”
What’s misogynistic about mentioning ladies’ lingerie? He wasn’t talking about yours, he was referring to lingerie as it exists in any normal department store. But the way these kangaroo courts work is the complainant doesn’t have to explain how and why they were offended, merely that they say they are is sufficient.
“For decades, women and other marginalized groups in the academy had to put up with white men who decided what counts as a violation and what is ‘frivolous,’” she wrote in an email. “
White men? Yes, because skin colour is absolutely relevant in this case, and white men are so much more misogynistic than any others. Since this story went viral on Twitter, Sharoni has decided to beclown herself further:
Ms Sharoni says: “The issue is not the intent of the comment nor the content or historical/cultural context of the ‘joke’.
“What we should be talking about is systemic sexism (and racism and other isms), the persistence of misogyny in the workplace, and the violent response of men when they are being held accountable! All he was asked to do was to apologise.”
So not bowing to demands to apologise over a fabricated incident is a “violent response”, is it? Beats me why people think feminists are batshit insane.
She says Mr Lebow is “portraying himself as the victim”
Oh the irony.
after he approached the media and that she has been subject to “hate speech, character assassination, and violent threats”.
That’s often what happens when you try to destroy somebody’s career and your vile character is exposed to the public at large. A sentence I quoted earlier hints at the long term solution to this sort of thing:
She said she offered to press the floor buttons for people in the elevator, whom she described as mostly conference attendees and all, except one other woman, white middle-aged men.
If white, middle-aged men are the problem then perhaps white, middle-aged women should stay well away from them. Instead, they’ve spent their entire lives demanding access to their circles and once admitted immediately set about complaining. The irony, as I’ve pointed out before, is that much of the opposition to letting women into men’s professions was based on the notion they lacked the mental fortitude to handle such an environment. If women such as Sharoni are shaking with fear over an offhand remark about a lingerie department, perhaps they had a point. At any rate, any man who interacts with this woman professionally or otherwise after this incident needs their head read. As Jordan Peterson pointed out in an interview, perhaps men and women can’t actually work together. That certainly seems to be the case if you’re a lemon-sucking harridan specialising in women’s and gender studies.