Lars Ulrich Comments on Allegations Against Harvey Weinstein
Men in power everywhere are quaking in their boots in the wake of the allegations of sexual assault, abuse and rape against disgraced former film executive Harvey Weinstein. No longer can men act unchecked in their treatment of women in the work place, and that’s got a whole lot of men really, really scared. If you don’t act like a total dickface, of course, you have nothing to worry about.
One man who definitely holds a whole lot of power: Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who shared his thoughts on the allegations against Weinstein — and the industry-wide fallout that has ensued since — during an interview at the 92nd Street Y this past weekend.
For the most part, Ulrich says the right things. He stated that the “reckoning” is “long overdue,” and applauds women everywhere for having the courage to stand up and be vocal:
“Everywhere is gonna have a reckoning. And I think the great thing is that we’re in the first inning of this, and, obviously, it’s long overdue. And I think that it’s a great, great thing that everybody is standing up and that everybody, no matter what gender they are, feels safe in talking about their experiences and that, as a victim in any kind of situation, that you don’t feel that you have to carry it yourself, that you have a platform and that you can feel safe in there. So that’s the good part.”
Ulrich’s next comments are a bit questionable, though. In using language that represents the “witch hunt” mentality the right wing is currently trying to push (although I know that CERTAINLY isn’t Ulrich’s intent), he undermines his previous points:
“The part that becomes questionable, I think, at some point is when it becomes a sort of like — and I’ve gotta choose my words carefully so I don’t get in trouble — but when it becomes a trial in the court of public opinion.
“At some point — which obviously hasn’t happened yet — but at some point, a month from now, a year from now, five years from now, somebody is gonna accuse somebody else of doing something that may not be exactly truthful. And when that happens, you’re gonna get into… Basically, what’s happening is you go straight to execution. When somebody gets accused of something, then it goes straight… and then your life will change forever. And there will be a point somewhere down the line where somebody’s life is gonna get changed because of potentially false accusation. And when that happens, I hope that we can find ways to, sort of, navigate as a society, media just through that, and hopefully that we make the best choices. Because that is in front of us at some point.”
Look: Ulrich is not wrong. There most certainly can be — and probably will be — false allegations, and the idea of trial by public jury is indeed scary.
But by bringing up that issue here he’s casting a shadow on his previous words, seriously undermining all the women he praised for being so courageous by bringing the spectre of doubt to their claims (even if he’s careful to couch his words to indicate how small of a doubt that is). For now it’d be much more productive to keep the focus on these women who have suffered silently for so long and what we can do as a society to move forward and eradicate this kind of abuse from our culture for good.
Again, I don’t think Ulrich is the bad guy here… but he should consider his words a bit more carefully to make sure men aren’t able to use them as justification for shitty actions. He’s a man with a whole lot of power, and people listen to him.