Varsity 'abuse claims'
On Sunday May 5 2019, Cambridge University's oldest newspaper Varsity published an opinion piece by their arts and lifestyle corespondent Connie de Pelet calling for the University to cancel a talk by J4MB discussing men's rights and critiquing feminism which was scheduled to take place on the 24th June.
This followed a report by Varsisty that over 200 students and staff had signed a petition calling for the group to be de-platformed due to a credible threat of violence if it went ahead.
She claimed to have experienced a flood of online harassment after leaving a comment on the Varsity facebook page asking for a link to the petition so that she could sign it.
I read their manifesto, and then commented on the Facebook post, ‘Where can I sign the open letter?’, spurring a flood of harassment from the group’s followers. My friends’ defensive witticisms and a host of misogynist absurdities in response could colour the exchange as the kind of faceless internet debate so common on social media. But it represents more than anonymous trolling; more than the virtual clash of the liberal Gen Z and the meninist. It represents the prioritisation of a men’s rights group that questions woman’s right to abortion, the legitimacy of their accounts of sexual abuse, and the value of feminism, over the right of women’s safe existence.Theirs is a particular brand of misogyny only thinly concealed by the guise of a fight for free speech, and soon to be endorsed by the reputation of the University of Cambridge
The aggression they have exhibited online represents a very real risk to students’ welfare. In allowing their presence on campus, the University fails to support its female identifying student body. This endorsement of misogyny in exchange for this brand of free speech is a price too steep to pay
While researching for an episode of the The Glass Blind Spot documenting intimidating incidents that occurred before, during and after the J4MB, I reviewed Connie de Pelet's claim and too screen shots of all replies to her request (posted as Connie Aurea).
I have included them in the post so that you can make your own assessment regarding whether any of them could reasonably be perceived as offensive and whether you believe it is accurate to describe the replies as a flood of online harassment.