Yes, I’m Blaming The Victim: Ben Gravolet Is An Ethics Dunce. And A Jerk

You may have missed it, but Ellen DeGeneris, the queen of daytime talk shows whose brand has always been her niceness, has had her once impeccable  reputation sullied lately as employees of her show have complained about a “toxic environment” that the star did nothing to address. There’s an investigation now, and Ellen is rumored to be considering leaving “Ellen,” meaning that instead of toxic employment, her staff and production crew will have no employment at all.

In the midst of this crisis for DeGeneris, sensing a cheap opportunity to grab some publicity, kick her when she’s down, and apparently seek vengeance for a slight that he has obsessed about for more than 40 years, a man named Ben Gravolet has come forward to tell the world that…..what, that DiGeneres sexually molested him? That she was secretly working for Fidel Castro? No, Ben accused Ellen of being mean to him when he was 11 years old.

We should have seen this coming, for it is the dangerous slippery slope Christine Blasey-Ford’s dubious accusation against Bret Kavanaugh greased.

Gravolet says DeGeneres, when she was in her early 20s, worked for his mother’s recruitment agency. He was a fat kind, and he says  Ellen teased him about it.

“She would criticize my weight,” he said. “I would try to do homework in the office, she’d call me stupid, she’d call me fat. She would criticize my clothes. I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset. I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. I was a defenseless kid. What could I have told her back? It has an effect if somebody in a superior position to you, who’s much older, goes ‘You’re fat. You might want to lose some of that weight chunky boy.’ I was always self-conscious about my weight and it made things worse.”

I’m sure it did. That’ was mean. And he had more than forty years to contact De Generes about it if it was that traumatic, and seek an apology, or an expression of regret, or free tickets to one of her concerts or something. If teasing from an employee of his mother’s is the worst thing that’s happened to him, Ben’s led a pretty charmed life.  On the other hand, if his life has been so empty that he’s still fuming over being teased when he was 11, the guy’s got big problems.

The truth is that the Ellen DeGeneres he knew may have very little in common with 2020’s 62-year-old Ellen, and most mature, fair people understand that. Ben, however, saw that his old nemesis was weakened, and suffering. He saw the opportunity to really hurt her, so he did. What made it ideal is that Ellen’s professional crisis just happened to be occurring at a sick time in our culture when pro athletes are being forced to apologize for tweets they sent when they were teens, and colleges are withdrawing acceptances because students wrote something stupid or mean on social media that they barely thought about at the time.

The impulse to do what Gravolet did has to be banished in an ethical individual by remembering the Golden Rule. Who hasn’t behaved badly toward someone in the distant past, when one was in his or her teens or early twenties, when everyone is impulsive and callow? Who wouldn’t feel ambushed and abused if one of the victims of an ancient slight chose our moment of greatest vulnerability to reveal the ugly incident to the world?

Forty years later is too late to levy accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It is an inexcusable length of time to wait before hurling a relatively trivial accusation like Gravolet’s. If people can be “cancelled” for being insensitive and rude 40 years ago,  we’re all doomed. I don’t even want to think about what forgotten bit players from my distant past are lurking, waiting for the perfect moment when their grudge, real or imagined, can be weaponized against me.

 

5 thoughts on “Yes, I’m Blaming The Victim: Ben Gravolet Is An Ethics Dunce. And A Jerk

  1. This guy is a vulture. Whether or not DeGeneres picked on him as a boy, he’s coming out with this now to cash in since DeGeneres has a rotten reputation which staffers have brought to light.

  2. This is what the left is creating.

    These situations reveal the heart of the movement.

    It’s unforgiveness.
    It’s the victim mentality.
    I still bitterness.
    It’s real HATE. That is a true “hate crime.”

    I’m seeing more and more, people who are on the left have this fake nice thing they do on one hand and this condescending other thing they do.

    .nice as can be if you worship them. If you flatter them, they will tolerate you. But if you speak up… they will slam you AND, because they are true cowards… they will hit you when you’re down.

    What he did was FAR, far, worse than what Ellen did to him. (If it is even true, someone of that character, I’d say grossly exaggerated what she did.

    And EVERY ONE OF US has done shitty things in the past. Immature things.

    I made fun of a boy who was “retarded” (that’s what we were told his condition was) he went to a special class at our school.

    He would say hi at lunch loudly and one day I mockingly said hi back the same way.

    Gosh, writing this now I’m taken back to that time. What I was thinking at the time… where I was at as a person.

    When I did it, I was keenly aware of who was around. They were popular. They made fun of him too. They didn’t know who I was. I wanted to be noticed by the popular kids.

    So I did that. Made fun of a sweet soul to maybe get attention from some kids who were not that kind and who would have made crappy friends.

    I’m not that girl inside anymore. In thankful he didn’t know I was making fun of him which I am thankful about.

    I remember beer feeling so bad after. During I felt cool and like I was “one of them.” I actually felt accepted. Til it was over and they went on their way.

    My own friends I was with didn’t think it was very cool, but no one said anything. I wish they would have. But they weren’t very cool people either. Later in the year thankfully I found my tribe!

    All that to say… who knows what Ellen really said and where she at in her life.

    She makes a difference. She’s not a saint.

    This guys actions are inexcusable. And his Behavior is what I see the left cheering on… unless it’s one of their special cases.

    I’m thankful he did it though because I’ve not remembered my actions till now and this is an opportunity to make amends to “Denny.”

    If he was reading this I would say,

    Im so sorry Denny I disregarded your beautiful humanity and joyful face and personality. I remember seeing you every day wishing I could be as happy as you seemed to be. I’m so sorry for my words and actions. Please forgive me.

    Thank you Jack for this blog. It changes lives. ❤️

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