Comedy and the #MeToo Movement - We Can All Speak Out, But When Should We?

May 29, 2018

I've struggled with this post. This is such a serious subject and (sadly), it was inevitable stories about comics would being to transpire.

 

I will being by prefacing with this: If you are an aggressor; if you are a predator; ifde you think it's OK to behave in a purposefully intimidating, offensive or threatening manner, you deserve to be called out and you deserve what comes. Your fellow comedians all have their own fans, supporters and instant access to their own platforms. 

 

If you have behaved in this way, but feel you may get away with it because it was so long ago, or "pre-social media"; shame on you. It's very possible your behaviour may have intimidated someone who is now empowered to come forward, so be afraid.

 

Like most things in life, however, there is always another aspect to be mindful of, and I write this post today because I saw it twice in 24 hours this past weekend:

 

Twice, in a somewhat vague "warning" post, inappropriate actions of male comics were brought to light. It takes courage to talk about these incidents. Neither author named names and I will gladly offer the benefit of the doubt by assuming they have the necessary evidence to back up their claims. The prominent issue came in the comments sections:

 

On one post, a commenter stated they were certain of the identity of the perpetrator. On the other, one speculated they knew who it was as "it sounded like .......". In both cases, they named names. In both cases, they were wrong.

 

One of the aforementioned posts was in a closed group and the suspected (though incorrectly named) aggressor will likely never see it. The other was on a very public Facebook page and seen by club owners, producers and bookers across the country. Not only was the wrong person publicly called out, but the commenter (who I am sure thought they were doing a service by "outing" a bad actor) is now exposed to litigation. In this particular case, lawyers have already been contacted.

 

There are certain burdens to be met in order to win a defamation case, time will tell in this instance. Regardless, THE WRONG PERSON WAS CALLED OUT. Words matter. A quick response to an emotionally-charged Facebook post has the power to ruin lives.

 

What is the point of this post? It is NOT to discourage people to speak up. It is to plead with you  to PLEASE BE CAREFUL what you say online! It is there forever, even if you delete, delete, delete.

 

If you are a victim, you have the power to speak out and I know you have the support of this community. If in doubt, however, get off social media and seek professional guidance. If you feel threatened, if someone acts inappropriately, call the police. I know women particularly shy away from complaining to the club they're working, but you can speak up. Many venues have been going through sensitivity training so their management is better equipped to deal with these issues.

 

Social media is still relatively new, but the law is catching up. For your own protection, please, PLEASE be careful what you say online.

 

If you need to see a therapist, I can put you in touch with someone who specializes in this industry.

 

Contact a lawyer. Contact a crisis manager. Contact a publicist/media expert - contact me! (claire@comediainc.com). If you don't want to work with me, I will refer you on in complete confidence

 

Times Up! It IS time to eradicate shitty people and shitty behaviour, but please don't go down with the ship for an ill-informed, albeit well-meaning social media post.

 

P.S: if you need any proof that what you say on social media has consequences, between starting this post and uploading it, ROSEANNE was cancelled because of a Tweet.

 

 

 

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