A new German commercial takes man hating to the next level
As Mother’s Day approaches, I am reminded yet again of my wisdom, when my children were quite young, in banning its celebration from my personal calendar. I was never comfortable being honoured by generic rituals for a generic role in which my children were harnessed, via cards and gifts, into the equivalent of “compelled speech.” It was always my opinion that if my children loved me and appreciated what I did for them, they would let me know in their own way and in their own time. It would be me they were honouring, not a Hallmark “day” in which flowers-and-brunch correctness governed their actions.
But at least, back in the day, when one did receive a card from one’s child, it merely said innocent stuff like, “I love you” or “You are the best mother” or “Thank you for all the nice things you do for me.” It did not occur to children to use Mother’s Day as an opportunity to mock and deride their fathers.
In No Nut November, the question “To fap or not to fap?” has become fraught with legal danger. This whimsical internet challenge has grown in popularity over the years alongside the scientific battle over whether or not pornography can become addictive.
By mid-November, those would-be abstainers who don’t take the challenge seriously likely already failed to remain the “masters of their domain” but the academic war will continue long after the end of the month.
Neuroscientist and sexual psychophysiologist Dr. Nicole Prause is currently facing two defamation lawsuits filed in US courts as a result of this battle. On Twitter, Prause has declared herself to be the victim of multiple SLAPP suits (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) after years of ongoing harassment. Prause has also claimed that her anti-porn adversaries have stalked her, threatened to rape her, and engaged in general misogyny including falsely accusing her of being paid by the porn industry.
The defamation suits accuse Prause of lying about being stalked, threatened, or harassed by them in any way. The statements of claim say that these are false accusations by Prause and that her public accusations are the only actual harassment taking place. In affidavits attached to the lawsuits, ten different people, including four women, claim to be personal victims of Dr. Prause.
This is not just a Twitter war.
Most people think anti-porn activists to be radical feminists like Catharine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, who sought to censor pornography as a civil rights violation and form of human trafficking.
In a strange twist of events, over the last decade, it has been a growing number of young men who have turned against the near limitless fap machine of internet pornography. This quickly increasing demographic has flooded websites like NoFap.com, seeking help for what they have self-described as an addiction to porn.
For some experts, like Prause, the claim that people can become addicted to porn is not only scientifically unsound but, she says, potentially dangerous. Those who oppose porn are often painted as religious science deniers, causing damage to people by morally shaming natural human sexuality. But other experts disagree.
The question of whether or not excessive pornography use can lead to addiction, actually causing physical changes to the brain, has yet to be decided. In the meantime, thousands of mostly young men seeking help online are being demonized as misogynistic for identifying pornography as a cause of their distress.
The complaints from these men include, but are not limited to, erectile dysfunction in the presence of a real-life partner, difficulty achieving orgasm during intercourse, social anxiety and escalation in their viewing habits which causes them to seek out more and more extreme forms of pornography in order to maintain their physical and psychological arousal.
The variety of pornography available online certainly ranges into extremely concerning areas, like rectal prolapse, and most people clicking from one video to the next are bound to quickly come across something this shocking.
In an email exchange with The Post Millennial, Dr. Prause commented “We know it is a low-desire behaviour, people do not actually engage in rosebudding play very much at all. I wonder to what extent some videos on “porn” websites really are just clickbait not expecting a sexual response. That is, all the pornographers want is clicks. It’s how they make money. If you see ‘anus actually falls out’ I would be really horrified…and really curious.”
For those who are struggling with a pornography consumption habit they feel has taken over their enjoyment of life, their curiosity has led many of them to believe they have an addiction.
But, how did this academic dispute escalate into civil lawsuits? It depends on who you ask.
The battle between Nicole Prause and her adversaries seems to have kicked off in March 2013 when an article by Dr. David Ley, titled “Your Brain On Porn: It’s Not Addictive,” was published in Psychology Today promoting a Prause study that had not yet been published. After a critical blog response was published, both posts were removed pending the publication of the research. The author of the response blog, Gary Wilson, also happened to be the owner of a website called “Your Brain On Porn” which was mentioned by name in the original article.
Wilson has chronicled the six-year dispute on his website and, when put on a timeline, which includes Prause’s complaints to licensing boards and attempts to have people fired for sexual harassment or academic fraud, most of the events appear to be initiated by Prause herself.
For example, on January 29, 2019, Prause attempted to take trademark ownership of the website name and domain “Your Brain On Porn.” Gary Wilson, who has regularly been accused of stalking Prause, took this move as another attack upon his work.
When asked about this event, Wilson told The Post Millennial that he received an anonymous tip that Prause had filed an application for his domain, which he then opposed. Without this tip, he may have lost his website and body of research. Prause finally withdrew her application on October 18, 2019.
Meanwhile, in April 2019 a website called “Real Your Brain On Porn” and a matching Twitter account were created which were ultimately found to be connected to Nicole Prause, though registered under the name of someone else. Prause provided The Post Millennial with the final report from the intellectual property investigation by WIPO and confirmed that this is one of the actions against her which Prause is calling a “SLAPP suit.”
Prause explained her motivation to acquire Wilson’s website as an effort to eliminate what she believes are defamatory accusations about her and which she considers to be evidence of a cyber-stalking behaviour. The website currently hosts a lengthy compilation of events and documentation in which Wilson presents Prause as the harasser.
The first defamation suit was filed against Dr. Prause and her business, Liberos LLC, in May 2019 but it was not Gary Wilson who took this legal action. It was filed by neurosurgeon Dr. Donald Hilton Jr after Prause contacted the university where he teaches as an adjunct professor and made a complaint alleging, among other things, that Hilton had engaged in sexual harassment.
Hilton’s own research on behavioural addiction stands in stark contrast to Prause’s conclusions and they have frequently clashed over the pros and cons of pornography use. Hilton was one of the first to criticize Prause’s EEG study released in 2013.
In his lawsuit, Hilton vehemently denies having harassed Prause and claims that her accusations were designed to cause maximum damage to his reputation. Prause’s motion to dismiss appears to admit to the contents of the emails she sent but claims freedom of speech and “the right to petition” as her defence.
Hilton’s lawyer, Dan Packard, told The Post Millennial that “no person can falsely accuse an academic rival of sexual harassment in a deliberate attempt to silence that rival and then successfully hide behind the First Amendment. ‘Free speech’ can never be used as a sword to silence academic discussion and debate.”
An article published in Reason heavily questions the way Prause framed her claims of sexual harassment. Interviewed for that article, “UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment specialist, questions Prause’s ‘novel and pretty dangerous’ definition of sexual harassment.” In the context of her complaint, it reads as if all criticism of her scientific work has been reconstructed as an attack on her as “a female scientist.”
But the second lawsuit moves well beyond an academic dispute.
The founder of NoFap.com, Alexander Rhodes, states in his lawsuit that he was caught in the crosshairs after he was featured in a July 6, 2016, New York Times article called “Internet Porn Nearly Ruined His Life. Now He Wants To Help.” Two days after publication, Prause and a colleague, Dr. David Ley, appear to ridicule Rhodes on Twitter and, in a now-deleted tweet, Prause described Rhodes as a “neckbeard.”
Rhodes’ statement of claim says the harassment escalated two years after this event when he alleges Prause began publicly accusing him of stalking and threatening her – an allegation which he denies. In an affidavit Rhodes states “I would never willingly subject myself to unnecessary communication with Dr. Prause.”
Prause has also publicly alleged that she filed FBI complaints against both Rhodes and Gary Wilson but in both cases, an FOI filed by the accused failed to produce any evidence of the reports. On the other hand, Wilson has posted evidence on his website that he filed a complaint against Prause after speaking with an FBI agent in December 2018.
The legal system is still struggling to determine where free speech crosses the line into actionable defamation in online disputes. The question of who “started it” can lead to an endless rabbit hole in which all involved are accused of “sock puppetry” (creating multiple fake usernames) and online mobbing. Most certainly, things have gone too far when employers are being contacted, lawsuits are being filed in court, and it starts to involve the FBI.
Dr. Prause recently tweeted that she reported a fundraiser aimed at helping Rhodes raise money for his legal bills. Prause alleges, despite the existence of the lawsuit, that this fundraiser is fraudulent.
While Rhodes’ personal Twitter account has been set to private, the NoFap account tweeted their astonishment over these events saying “This is like the alcohol industry trying to take down Alcoholics Anonymous.”
Rhodes’ lawyer Andrew Stebbins provided The Post Millennial with the following statement:
“Mr. Rhodes is and always has been an eager and willing participant in the provocative debate surrounding pornography addiction, and is openly receptive of honest and fair criticism of his work, views, and opinions. He will not, however, tolerate malicious personal attacks from those who seek to discredit, disparage and otherwise injure him through false statements designed to assassinate his character and reputation. This case is brought solely in response, and properly limited in scope, to such attacks.”
In a recent Vice article, Prause is quoted saying “”Alexander Rhodes and NoFap’s lawsuit has no merit nor do his libelous and unfounded assertions regarding me, my character, or my business,” adding that Rhodes is “entitled to his opinions, however he is not entitled to spread complete falsehoods about me to profit himself and silence speech.”
The author of the same Vice article then goes on to call NoFap’s principles “slippery,” and attempts to link Rhodes to white supremacists by citing an April 2016 interview with Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, despite that group being founded many months later. Ironically, McInnes was a co-founder of Vice and thus has a much stronger connection to their own publication than to Alexander Rhodes or NoFap.
And, in a way, that leads us back to the original question: To fap or not to fap?
For the thousands of people, both men and women, who are asking themselves that very question, it is doubtful that mockery and insults from pornography supportive researchers will stop them from visiting the websites, like NoFap and Your Brain On Porn, who take their concerns more seriously.
The academic battle over whether or not their problem is technically an addiction is less important to them then getting help to change a habit they feel is destroying their lives.
#MeToo had rules. At least we thought so. Culturally, societally, politically, we all tried to learn them, to internalize them, to understand just what types of incidents could get a person ejected from their life, tossed out of their social group, ostracized from friends, unemployable, unpersoned. The rules seemed almost clear—until suddenly those who seem to be in charge of them don’t even follow their own logic anymore.
Katie Hill had an affair with a junior staffer, another woman, who feels that she was victimized. By the rules of #MeToo, that would dictate that Hill loses it all, right? Only somehow, it’s being spun the other way, by the same publications that brought us diatribes against Al Franken. Hill, it turns out, can also claim victim status at the hands of her ex, who was the one who released the information about the affair. In her resignation speech, Hill echoed Franken’s sentiments, that it seems absurd that she should be resigning when a guy like Trump is in the White House.
To recap: the wronged party is not the spouse, not the junior staffer, but the powerful person at the center of it. While it is true that Hill was the victim of revenge porn, and that is not acceptable, the same principle did not apply to Anthony Weiner or Joe Barton. It does not immunize her from her own wrongdoing.
“The squad” of freshmen congresswomen supported her during her recent tribulation. Nancy Pelosi, and other senior members of Congress, apparently wished that “Hill had been more careful in transmitting her private photos.”
Hill was given far more leeway in terms of the vocal and press lashing that other members of Congress who have found themselves exposed for sexual misconduct have faced. It turns out that she is being supported, not harassed and harangued. A staffer for Rep Sylvia Garcia (D-TX 29th), said, “A lot of the show of support was done intimately and privately with Hill, out of respect for her. … People didn’t want to be adding to the noise. We didn’t want to make press out of the pain and suffering she’s been through. She had private images published without her consent that have caused incredible pain.” Weiner did too, but no one had any sympathy for him at all.
The thing is, and yeah, we hate to be those people, but we can so easily imagine the reverse scenario. Here it is: a dashing young first-term congressman has an affair with a staffer years younger. He takes drugs, advertises his sexual availability on dating apps, and drags his wife into a threesome with the junior staffer. When the marriage breaks up—perhaps as a result of this kind of rampant infidelity, after all, they weren’t openly poly or ethically non-monogamous—the wife releases the dirt on the congressman to the world. She wants people to know just what kind of guy this is, how he is a liar and a cheater, a womanizer, and abuser, unfit to be in Congress. What then? Why she’s a hero, of course, and he’s a villainous letch.
Haven’t we heard this story before? Why is it so different now? Is Hill really a victim of her own sexual dalliances? Are we to believe that a woman who is strong enough to run and win a congressional campaign is so easy to bully? Perhaps we’re looking at it all wrong, readers, perhaps we don’t truly understand the nature of abuse or something, but what we do understand, what is perfectly clear, is that we’re supposed to believe all women, even when she is the abuser. We’re supposed to imagine that there is some substantive difference in how the rules are to be applied to men and women in the same deleterious circumstances.
Now, we’re the first to admit that the rules are stupid. That this game of pointing fingers and shaming people is nonsensical and barbaric is not something we doubt. But if there are going to be rules that we are all expected to play by, ought they not be, well, adhered to?
If #MeToo is meant to be the new standard that we all must bow down to, and it’s a given that men and women are equal, then we must apply the rules fairly, and everyone who has a complicated sexual relationship that leads to grievances must be punished. Or, maybe, just maybe, we could do away with this nonsense and start to see the human beings for what they are: flawed, complicated, and capable of cruelty and kindness.
#MeToo may have been an effective corrective in some situations, but it should never have risen to the level of an era. As it stands now, we are living through a “cultural context where common vengeance writes the law,” and the hypocrisy is destroying us. If the rules don’t apply the same way for everyone, perhaps the rules are the problem.
An antifa activist with a history of violence and threatening behaviour across the Pacific Northwest has been arrested on a felony hate crime charge in Seattle for alleged anti-Semitic attacks.
Jamal Oscar Williams, 44, is accused by state prosecutors in Washington state of hate crimes and criminal harassment against Schmuel Levitin, a rabbi, and Ephriam Block. According to court documents, Williams “maliciously and intentionally” followed, threatened to kill and assaulted the men in multiple attacks in October because of their perceived religion.
Levitin and Block were operating a permitted religious booth for the Sukkot Jewish holiday in downtown Seattle on October 11 when Williams allegedly approached them and shouted: “Jews, Jews, Jews … give me your money!” He then said he had a gun and was going to kill them. Both Levitin and Block have beards and payots, or sideburns, and were wearing yarmulkes. Levitin is a rabbi at the Chabad of Downtown Seattle.
Three days later, Williams returned and made similar threats and demands for money. On October 15, the next day, Williams allegedly followed the men into the lobby of their apartment building. After making more demands for money, he allegedly hurled candy from the concierge’s desk at the men. Police later found and arrested Williams in a nearby-area. He was unarmed at the time.
Jamal Williams is known in the Pacific Northwest for his involvement in various antifa protests and his outspoken views on black nationalism. In August 2018, he was arrested in Seattle during a counter-protest against right-wing group Patriot Prayer. Last November, he threatened this journalist with death outside Seattle City Hall at a counter-demonstration against a conservative group.
More recently, Williams was in Portland, Oregon on August 17 where he was recorded accosting people aggressively during an antifa protest-turned-riot against the Proud Boys. He was also part of a group of people who surrounded and threatened to hurt a reporter with the Washington Examiner.
“He threatened me multiple times,” Julio Rosas said. “It spoke volumes when Portland Police pulled me away and said I was provoking Williams and others, when it was Williams who was acting in a very aggressive manner.”
Williams was later arrested by Portland Police for disorderly conduct. He did not show up to his court hearing in September and there is a bench warrant for his arrest.
In addition to Williams’ radical political activism with antifa, he has a long history of criminal and harassing behaviour. In Washington state, he was convicted in 2015 for felony harassment and domestic violence. He has multiple other convictions for assault and domestic violence going back years. He also has a long violent criminal record in Alaska, where he used to live.
Williams is currently incarcerated on a $100,000 bond in King County, Washington for the hate crime charge.
'They treat my autistic son like a caged animal': student takes college to court over Title IX ruling
Marcus Knight—a student with autism and cerebral palsy—will come face to face with the Title IX officer who found him guilty of two Title IX sexual misconduct violations later this month as he takes his college to court in an attempt to clear his name.
Knight first came to my attention in 2018 after his attempts to make friends landed him in the school’s Title IX office, not just once but twice. According to the lawsuit, Marcus Knight asked one female student for a fist-bump, and another for a selfie.
While these may seem trivial, two female students at Saddleback College were so uncomfortable with Knight’s attempts to make friends that they reported him to the Title IX office, with one student claiming Knight made her “uncomfortable.”
But what’s caused two years of “absolute heartbreak,” according to Knight’s mother, is how the Title IX officer handled the accusations.
Considering Knight’s disability, both students decided not to follow-through with any charges. After one female thought Knight was stalking her and was uncomfortable with fist-bumps, the school reported:
“She understands this is part of his disability and [that Marcus Knight] only wants to make friends and that no harm is intended.” In due course, her complaint was resolved by mediation between Knight, his mother, and the school’s Title IX office.
Later, student Naomi Bueno Rojo reported Knight for “following her around campus,” “[invading her] personal space,” and that he tried to “put her hand on [his] thigh.” It’s unclear why Rojo felt the need to involve the Title IX office.
She reportedly felt “no fear” from Knight, and did not request disciplinary action.
Student Melissa Gold also took Knight to the Title IX office.
Gold claimed Marcus took more than 300 photos with her. According to Aurora Knight, his mother, Marcus has a tic that caused him to press the camera button multiple times with burst mode on.
Later, Gold left Saddleback College. When the Title IX officer reacher her for comment, Gold said “This is irrelevant to my life right now. I don’t care what happens officially at this point.”
Again, this was another instance of Marcus Knight, who has autism, cerebral palsy, and multiple learning disabilities, simply trying to have some sort of semblance of friendship among his peers at college by taking selfies and trying to talk to people.
At the time, 2018, Juan Avalos was the school’s Title IX counsellor. Though Avalos does not seem to have formal as a Title IX law training, Avalos nonetheless investigated and adjudicated Knight’s case.
Despite that no students formally testified against Knight, he was still found guilty.
The Post Millennial asked the college, Juan Avalos, and the California Community College system if Avalos had training in adjudicating Title IX matters. We also asked if he had any training to deal with students with disabilities. No response.
According to the lawsuit, Knight was never offered a fair hearing, an opportunity to respond to the evidence, and Knight did not have enough time to gather information to defend himself.
Further, the school’s “single-investigator model,” during which Avalos collected evidence, interviewed students and subsequently disciplined Knight is unlawful under California code, according to the lawsuit.
In fact, it’s unsure why Avalos was even appointed to deal with Title IX cases. According to his online resume, he has no relevant experience in dealing with victims of sexual assault, Title IX training certifications, or any training to deal with students with disabilities.
He is simply the Vice President of Student Services. That department encompasses everything from financial aid to diversity programs.
While it’s understandable that admins of small colleges may wear multiple hats, it goes without saying that each person should be trained for their role, especially when they have the power to suspend and expel.
Going forward, Marcus and Aurora Knight have been “left in the dark.” by Saddleback. Knight will eventually apply to transfer to a four-year school, but it’s unclear how and if his record of sexual misconduct will follow him.
For now, Knight can only visit campus when supervised. This semester, Knight takes four classes, and will need to pass about six more to complete his associates degree. Despite his limited language abilities, Knight loves music and sings in his local church and school choir. His goal is a BA in Musical Theater.
The student’s mother says she’s “confused and frustrated.”
“I asked for papers from Saddleback multiple times asking if anything is removed [from his record] and I haven’t heard anything back yet,” Aurora Knight told The Post Millennial by phone.
“Why won’t they just be honest? They are treating my son like a caged animal. But he is utterly harmless.”
“He had no issues prior to college, at all,” his mother said.
Marcus Knight is represented by Mark Hathaway, a Title IX lawyer who has helped over 100 students fight for justice. The hearing is set for November 18, 2019.
“We believe that Saddleback College failed to comply with the law and their own policy in improperly disciplining Marcus Knight and no sanctions should ever have been imposed against him,” Hathaway told The Post Millennial.
Aurora—a single mother and immigrant from Italy—has created a GoFundMe to help cover her son’s legal expenses.
“My family has been robbed of two first years in college, my son’s dreams have crashed, his confidence is destroyed… Marcus has no idea who he can trust and who he must fear… he doesn’t know who is a friend or even how to make friends.”
“Marcus wants to face Juan Avalos in court. He wants the opportunity to state the facts and clear his name.”
The Post Millennial called Knight and asked what he thinks. He gave us three words: “I am innocent.”
This is an ongoing story. All parties named in the story were given multiple opportunities to provide comment but did not respond.
Toni Airaksinen is a Columnist at PJ Media, The Post Millennial, and a social media strategist for kosher restaurants in Brooklyn, NYC. She graduated from Barnard College in 2018. She has also been a contributor to USA TODAY College, Quillette Magazine, The Daily Caller and the NY Daily News. Follow her on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.