Like “Advice Goddess” blogger Amy Alkon, when I heard that Dr. Thomas Frieden, Obama’s former head of the CDC, had been arrested for sexual assault, I just assumed that he was one more prominent serial predator who has used his power to abuse women in the workplace, and a pretty serious one, if he ended up in cuffs. After all, nobody has arrested Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose.
Then I read the whole story, and my head exploded. But not because of what Frieden had allegedly done.
A 55-year-old woman, so far unidentified in the media (I want that woman’s name) came forward to the police in July and said that Dr. Frieden squeezed her buttocks without her permission nine months earlier, on October 20, 2017. She told investigators the incident occurred as she was leaving a gathering at Dr. Frieden’s residence in Brooklyn Heights. She said Dr. Frieden groped her while their spouses weren’t looking, and he later apologized, citing personal problems.. Dr. Frieden says the woman is a long-time friend and acquaintance of more than thirty years.
Got that? Almost a year earlier, at a party, a male friend squeezed her butt. He apologized. She waited all this time, and then humiliated him professionally and publicly by having him arrested.
How can this conduct possibly be excused, and I mean hers. His conduct was wrong—I have never groped a woman’s ass or any other part of her body without clear consent in my life, indeed I have heard complaints that I don’t grope enough— and it was technically civil battery, but far, far from criminal. Having the man arrested is nothing less than a hateful, cruel, vindictive abuse of him, his family and the justice system.
We are told that this women—I want her name!—is a New York artist who has been a vocal #MeToo activist since the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck started rolling and squishing, and has been creating artwork related to the movement. She also wrote an article in an online publication describing that single grope, from a friend, at a party, as the moment she was transformed from activist to victim. Ah! Then treating an old friend this way is completely justified!
No, it’s not. She’s not just an ethics dunce, she’s an asshole. Alkon–who gets the Ethics Alarms Pointer for this one— calls the grope, which is not sexual harassment, not occurring in the workplace or between superior and inferior, and not creating a hostile work environment,
…just one of those shitty things people do, like throwing up on your rug after drinking too much. It’s something an adult, male or female, should be able to quickly handle — on their own — and be done with. ..Women today, in our country, are more free and more powerful than at any other time and place in history, yet there’s this weirdly regressive victim’y behavior. I’ve said it before: I see these grabs for the mantle of victimhood as a way to have unearned power over men.
And to use a lynch-mob environment targeting men to hurt someone, badly, just because a woman can. Christina Hoff Summers tweeted,
What? Former Head of C.D.C. arrested for allegedly grabbing behind of longtime female friend at family party—a year ago. Isn’t proper response to tell him to buzz off. Call cops—a year later? And he gets arrested? …Looks to me like good man is being publicly shamed because a longtime female friend of his ALLEGES he grabbed her ass at a party —nearly a year ago. Even if he did, proper response is to tell him to buzz off. Not to call cops & ruin his life. Do you disagree?
No, and I also don’t understand why the police arrested the man. I don’t have any reason to assume the doctor is a “good man” or not, except that I don’t think good men who are married grope married female friends at parties or anywhere else. The gropee, however, is not a good woman, or a good person, or a good friend…and I want her name.