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NCFM Chicago Chapter President, Tim Goldich, Male Vulnerability to Accusation

April 22, 2021
By

Speech at NCFM Washington D.C. rally April 10, 2021

“Male Vulnerability to Accusation”

An accusation need not be demonstrably false (false to fact), to be petty and unjust. Men’s vulnerability to false accusations is clear, but we must also consider men’s outsized vulnerability to dubious accusations.

Granted, the vast majority of women are far too sensible to damage a man over trifles. But then there’s the particular woman Jerold Mackenzie ran into.

On the morning of March 19, 1993, [Jerold] Mackenzie was talking to coworker Patricia Best, the distributor services manager, about a Seinfeld episode that aired the night before. Mackenzie asked her if she saw it; she did not. He told Best that Seinfeld’s date had a name that rhymed with a part of a woman’s anatomy and asked her to guess what rhymed with Delores. Best could not. Mackenzie apparently did not want to use the term “clitoris,” so he copied the page from the dictionary with the definition and showed it to Best.[i]

Best was offended. As a result, Jerold J. Mackenzie was fired from his $95,000-a-year job with Miller Brewing Co. for “poor managerial judgment” triggered by allegations that he had sexually harassed coworker Patricia Best. After two years and 71 attempts to find a new job, Mackenzie concluded that his colleague’s charges had rendered him unemployable.[ii] A jury awarded him $26 million, but then “The higher courts threw the entire award out.”[iii] Mackenzie went bankrupt—the cost to his reputation, his family, his life . . . devastating.

Points to make here:

1) The accusation was not “false;” (Best got the facts right) but the accusation need not be false to be petty and vindictive and unjust.

2) Best’s subjective experience of being “offended” and “harassed” existed only in her mind.

3) If she’s an adult, has she no responsibility for her own emotional responses?

4) Must we be under the tyranny of the most hypersensitive people?

5) Is it a special, female-only, legal right to feel comfortable all the time in every circumstance?

Consider the case of Al Franken. Only three weeks after Leeann Tweeden accused him of having forced an unwanted kiss on her during a 2006 U.S.O. tour, then senator Al Franken resigned, disgraced, outcast, ruined. “He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” Tweeden wrote. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.” And yes, there’s a picture of Franken grabbing at her breasts and mugging for the camera. Comedians are often bawdy. Was Franken being a jerk? Yes. Is being a jerk a criminal offense? No, I don’t think so. It’s good that women’s accusations of sexual discrimination and harassment are finally being taken seriously, but must the pendulum swing all the way to the other extreme? Who knows what really happened between them. Maybe she just hated him. Maybe they both felt humiliated by the other. Tweeden received Franken’s public apology, and she was entitled to it. But was she entitled to a “pound of flesh”? “Believe Women” has become a credo of the #MeToo movement—so much so that some see it as offensive to subject accusers to scrutiny.

He and she go to a bar. He drinks to get the courage to ask for sex; she drinks to get the courage to say “yes.” In the morning, she wakes next to he and thinks, “I would never have sex with him. He ‘got me drunk.’ He ‘raped’ me!” Well, just because he’s obligated to pay for the drinks doesn’t mean “he got her drunk.” She lifted those glasses of wine to her mouth all by herself. And she may think, “How could I ever have wound up in bed with this guy?” But regret is not rape. The accusation isn’t false; he did have sex with her while they were both drunk. But, does that really make him a “rapist”? When he’s sent off to prison, his status as a “rapist” will likely get him raped for real. Does having sex while drunk truly make him a monster to be destroyed?

And it gets worse. There are so many heartbreaking stories coming from divorce courts. To guarantee that she gets full custody of her children, women may be sorely tempted to use false accusations. Too often, women are advised to use false accusations. And sometimes, the accusation need not be false to be damning.

While going through an acrimonious divorce, a friend of mine was accused of “sexually molesting” his daughter. With tears in his eyes, he recounted to me how his soon to be ex-wife testified, “I caught him spreading oil on our 14-year-old daughter’s naked chest.” The courtroom gasped. “Is this true?” intones the prosecuting attorney. “Well, yes,” admitted the soon to be ex-husband and ex-father. The courtroom gasped again. When he was finally able to get a word in, he explained: “My daughter has bronchitis; I was applying Vicks VapoRub on her chest.”

But you see it was too late, the image this grown man spreading an oily substance upon a 14-year-old girl’s naked chest, convicted him in the eyes of the court. Obviously, a mother who applied VapoRub to her 14-year-old son’s “naked” chest would raise no eyebrows. But the prejudice men face, including the demonizing of male sexuality, makes men cruelly vulnerable to accusation. It is cruel to inflict such hateful assumptions upon anyone. And, as a consequence, a man lost his daughter and a daughter lost her father.

 

[i]        “Mackenzie v. Miller Brewing Co.,” http://www.courttv.com/archive/casefiles/verdicts/mackenzie.html, July 1997.

[ii]       Parloff, Roger, “Sued If You Do, Sued If You Don’t,” Manhattan Institute For Policy Research, 09/1997.  http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/_amerlawyer-sued_if_you_do.htm

[iii]       Spivak, Cary and Bice, Dan, truthinjustice.org, JS Online, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 06/07/03.

national coalition for men

NCFM Chicago Chapter President, Tim Goldich, Male Vulnerability to Accusation

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