Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Debra Katz was interviewed and quoted in a pair of NPR stories on the increased politicization of the #MeToo movement. The campaign to fight sexual harassment and assault is being challenged by those who believe that the movement has gone “too far” – whether that be too much weight given to unproven allegations, a rush to judgement, or a bandwagon effect.
Polls conducted by NPR and IPSOS show that on questions of whether #MeToo has “gone too far” and what actually constitutes sexual harassment, the gap between what Democrats and Republicans believe is significantly larger than between men and women.
This divide has been further driven by the President’s comments in the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings that it is “a very scary time for young men in America.”
The assertion that women make false allegations to intentionally ruin men’s lives is a bad faith argument according to Ms. Katz. “Those talking points are being used to discredit women and to weaponize this issue just simply for partisan gain,” she explains. “The President [is] deliberately muddying the facts to confuse people about what sexual harassment and sexual assault are by blaming victims, and in that way giving people a pass for engaging in the behavior.”
The anti-#MeToo arguments have been well received by conservatives, including conservative women. This isn’t surprising to social psychologists who find that party identification often trumps other identifying groups, such as gender, especially among those with a strong right-wing ideology.
But despite the current backlash, Ms. Katz is confident that #MeToo will persevere. “The younger generation definitely understands this issue in a war that my generation did not. They are energized. They will vote. And there’s no going back.”