Author Topic: The accused  (Read 2135 times)


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The accused
« on: November 14, 2017, 09:30:44 AM »
Here in the UK we recently had a liberal politician commit suicide after allegations.

It's brought up some interesting discussions. The most interesting being that if an accusation is made, the alleged perpetrator has his name formally withheld from the public until he is found guilty - in criminal or civil court.

I have to say, I'm entirely on board with this. The state of the media nowadays, even if someone is found non guilty, the stigma of an accused assault will be stuck to them. The press often prejudges. That accusation against George Takei, it was decades ago with no corroborating evidence. Yet his name had been smeared through the mud.


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Re: The accused
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 11:23:11 AM »
Hmmm... there is a difference between a court mandating that information concerning an alleged perpetrator (or even victim) be withheld as part of court proceedings, and the idea that people should be constrained from mentioning allegations in general.

You fall very quickly into a morass of conflicting speech freedom arguments, and those arguments will also differ greatly between countries.

I can't see any way that the release of the allegations concerning Takei or Moore could have been preemptively censored.

The current, albeit flawed solution, is to make people responsible for the damage that their false allegations have on an unfairly accused person.  Absent a time machine, I'm not sure how else to control the release of this type of information.


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Re: The accused
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 11:37:58 AM »
Well, the accusations against Weinstein were effectively censored for years.

If you want people accused perpetrators to have their day in court instead of a media feeding frenzy, you need to create an environment where victims feel like they have a chance at a day in court as well. Otherwise, things will sit and ferment until they bubble over in an uncontainable media spectacle.


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Re: The accused
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 11:48:54 AM »
Part of the difficulty here goes beyond the free speech vs. false accusation situation. In a society where we feel that many bad actions go unpunished and entire corrupt systems go unhindered while the perpetrators laugh about it, there is a general desire for punitive attitudes and to 'get the bastards already.' It ceases almost to matter who it is, so long as 'they' are finally exposed. And I, too, feel this way, so I speak for myself in all this as well. When I think of political corruption the thought of 'them' being taken down is exciting enough that I will tend to hope the accusations are true rather than made up. And this is a systemic problem that stems back to the existence of entire groups of people who are more or less above the ability to hold them to account and who do things harmful to America. In the case of sexual predators, it's harmful to individuals more so than to the system, but in the case of Hollywood when it becomes prevalent enough it ends up being systemic as well.

The problem of us wanting to expose the bad guys is that we already know there are many bad guys to expose, even if we don't know who they are. That's a problem of its own: power structures in America - political or social - have been difficult or impossible to breach from down here on the ground. Other powerful people can take each other on, but the 'little people' can do nothing about it. Until that situation begins to be resolved by transparency in both political and social milieus, the public rancor towards 'bad guys' will continue to incentivize accusation rather than keeping a balanced perspective on what's actually been proven.


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Re: The accused
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2017, 12:39:42 PM »
Hadn't read about Sargeant, but it doesn't feel much like a false accusation. Once again, we have a number of incidents and allegations.

I suspect Jones probably had more information than is currently public to take his action. But we don't know, because in fact his accusations don't look public. They became public after he was suspended, but with no details. So I don't think this much falls into your original category. The other thing is, we need to understand these things are happening especially with respect to politicians, even if they manage to wangle a not guilty verdict. OJ got a not guilty verdict, but it is probably a good thing that people are generally aware that getting into a relationship with him may not be such a good idea.

In fact his supporters are calling for more information to be available, not less.

It is indeed tragic if it turns out that these multiple accusers are all completely fabricated, but somehow I doubt it.

The thing about accusations is that there is usually some level of impropriety. A common defense is that the accuser had a consensual relationship or encounter.

Another linked story lists the following about another Englishman:

According to The Sun, when Sir Michael and Ms Leadsom were on committee together, she once complained of cold hands to which Sir Michael is said to have replied: “I know where you can put them to warm them up.”

Leader of the House Ms Leadsom passed a dossier of claims to No 10 after Sir Michael was allowed to escape censure for an incident in which he put his hands on a female journalist’s knee.

Absent public pressure, these folks are going to continue to make lewd comments (not illegal), grope on people (in a legal way, most likely), and generally get away with boorish behaviour highly detrimental to their office, position, party, and most importantly to the people forced to interact with them.