Let’s get one thing clear right from the start. The comments made today (Tuesday) about corrective rape disgusted me to my core. I found it objectionable and offensive.
But here’s the thing – whether we always agree with it or not, our Constitution guarantees us freedom of speech. Whether what we say is disgusting, objectionable, offensive, or not.
OK, now let’s take one step back.
In case you missed the events of Tuesday: FHM Editor Brendan Cooper announced that two staffers were suspended for comments they made on their social media platforms about correctional rape.
In a online conversation, Max Barashenkov wrote that he, “propose(s) correctional rape and sterilization for any white person who twerks”. Montle Moorosi joined the chat later, writing that “I think rape can be quite fun if executed in a romantic manner. Like saying “I love you” before you slip a roofie in her earl grey tea”.
In its response, FHM wrote:
“FHM was horrified to learn of the incredibly offensive comments made by two of our staff members on their private Facebook pages. These comments in no way reflect FHM’s values. The opinions expressed are hurtful and deeply offensive and entirely unacceptable to FHM’s management.”
There are a couple of questions to ask now. Should they be fired? Can some form of legal action be taken against them?
And, is the public outcry justified?
Should they be fired or suspended? That is a private matter between employer and employee. Cooper has already distanced his publication from their comments, and I don’t suspect that the disciplinary hearing against Barashenkov and Moorosi will end well for either of them.
Legal action? I am not so sure. Yes the comments were disgusting, but that’s the tricky thing about freedom of speech. We all have the right to say horrible things about each other – with the obvious exception of incitement to commit violence, or anything that borders on defamation.
Is the public outcry justified? Oh yes, absolutely. And that dear reader, is how we should respond to comments such as these. We should see that comments about rape are not socially acceptable.
We should see people who make these types of “jokes” become shunned and ostracised for making these utterances.
It’s just not right to make these types of comments. It’s just not right.