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Politics & Policy

Alyssa Milano Ties Herself Up in Knots

Actor Alyssa Milano stands with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) after the conclusion of a testimony in the Kavanaugh Senate case in Washington, September 27, 2018. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Earlier this month, I wrote an article about actress-cum-progressive-activist Alyssa Milano, who has been a celebrity champion of the #MeToo movement. In 2018, her advocacy took the form of joining the aggressive campaign against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh on the grounds that we must “believe all women,” and several had accused him of misconduct.

These days, Milano’s brand of #MeToo activism more closely resembles playing Twister, as she works to justify her continued support for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, despite the fact that he has been accused of sexual assault (more credibly, we should note, than was Kavanaugh, given that we know Biden and his accuser, Tara Reade, have actually met).

In an early April interview, Milano said the following of her decision to back Biden in the face of Reade’s accusation:

We really have to sort of societally change [our] mindset to believing women. But that does not mean at the expense of giving men their due process and investigating situations, and it’s got to be fair in both directions. . . . I did my work and I spoke to [anti–sexual harassment group] Time’s Up, and I just don’t feel comfortable throwing away a decent man that I’ve known for 15 years in this time of complete chaos without there being a thorough investigation.

Yesterday, Milano expanded on this reasoning — which entirely contradicts her behavior during the Kavanaugh debacle, as I noted in my initial article on this subject — in an op-ed for Deadline, bearing the rather ambiguous headline, “Living in the Gray as a Woman.”

“The Gray,” it turns out, is a reference to “the gray area,” which is where the allegations against Biden supposedly lie. “As an activist, it can be very easy to develop a black and white view of the world: things are clearly wrong or clearly right,” Milano writes. “Harvey Weinstein’s decades of rape were clearly wrong. Donald Trump’s alleged sexual assaults were clearly wrong. Brett Kavanaugh’s actions, told consistently over decades by his victim (and supported by her polygraph results), were clearly wrong.”

Not much new here. But she continues:

Except it’s not always so easy, and living in the gray areas is something we’re trying to figure out in the world of social media. But here’s something social media doesn’t afford us–nuance.

The world is gray. And as uncomfortable as that makes people, gray is where the real change happens. Black and white is easy. Gray is the place women can come together out of the glare of the election and speak our truths, our doubts, our hopes, our convictions and test them against the light and the dark.

It turns out that this notion of “the gray area” is the pseudo-philosophy Milano has concocted to justify having raked Kavanaugh over the coals — and having positioned herself as a leader of the #MeToo movement — while staunchly dismissing the allegations against Biden:

I still support Joe Biden because I believe that’s the best choice for that future, and again it is not up to women to absolve perpetrators. . . . As far as his accuser, I want every survivor to have space to tell their story. But I also don’t want her to be fodder for the machine. And I honestly don’t know what’s next. Believing women was never about “Believe all women no matter what they say,” it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default.

Her description of Biden as “the best choice for the future” sounds quite a bit like the excuses offered by anti-sexual-assault activists interviewed in a recent Mother Jones piece, explaining their support for Biden’s campaign with reasons such as “the importance of federal judicial appointments; the experience of Biden’s staff on sexual violence policy; and their eagerness to replace Trump’s cabinet, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose overhaul of campus sexual-assault policy has prompted outcry from survivors.”

Is #MeToo really about pursuing the truth wherever it leads and achieving justice for victims, or does the need for justice vanish when the accused man promises to appoint judges who will bolster Roe v. Wade?

When Milano used her platform to lobby against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, despite the lack of corroboration for his accusers’ stories, she revealed that her support for the #MeToo movement wasn’t about justice; it was a way to use women’s assault allegations as a weapon against men whose politics she disliked. Her determination to support Biden’s campaign in the face of Reade’s story, no matter what twisted logic it takes, makes her political motivations even clearer.


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