Content/Trigger Warning for misogynist and ableist language.
In the aftermath of the blog that I co-authored over the weekend criticising statements made by Glasgow rapper Loki in his recent STV article on domestic abuse, Loki shared our blog and suggested that he will aim to constructively respond to what we had to say.
This conciliatory approach was not shared by Loki’s collaborator and friend Andrew MacKenzie, who directed the video for his recent single ‘Gaslight‘, aimed as an insight into domestic abuse told from the perspective of a perpetrator. ‘Gaslight’ has been viewed 20,000 times to date and has drawn praise from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who called it “one of the most powerful videos you’ll ever see on domestic violence”.
MacKenzie took to our Facebook page to let us know that our “neo-progressive politics make him sick”. He also approvingly compared Loki’s arguments to that of Erin Pizzey, an anti-feminist cause célèbre beloved of Mens Rights Activists (MRAs) – the far-right activists who inhabit the deepest recesses of the internet including subreddits r/MensRights and r/TheRedPill, whose mission statement is to “discuss men’s identity, sexual strategy, and options in the context of our current global culture for the benefit of men” because they believe the world has been taken over by evil man-hating feminists. Pizzey is known for her anti-survivor rhetoric including controversial views that domestic abuse is almost always reciprocal, which flies in the face of what survivors organisations and all reliable statistics will tell you about the gendered nature of domestic abuse and the conditions of terror the abused partner lives under.
Pizzey has called feminists “mental patients”, “rape fantasists” and said “Personally, I would like to see the feminist movement described as a hate movement, so that we can then ban them from the government, from university faculties, from anywhere where they can destroy the minds of young women and men”. Give Pizzey a quick google and a litany of pretty scary stuff pops up, including interviews for MRA websites.
A scroll down MacKenzie’s publicly available Facebook posts shows that he is a regular supporter of Pizzey’s views. This post, shared days after the release of ‘Gaslight’, contains particularly harmful views on domestic abuse:
A man sharing such dodgy views on supposedly “false allegations” of domestic abuse and “gender feminists” “persecution” of men leading to high suicide rates is abhorrent and undeniably misogynist. So it’s especially worrying that this man was allowed to direct a video that is supposed to be spreading an anti-misogynist message. Further posts from MacKenzie target Muslims, Black Lives Matter and LGBTI activists dealing with grief in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre. This post is already screenshot-heavy, but they can be provided on request.
Yesterday I tweeted Loki to draw his attention to the screenshot of MacKenzie’s Facebook post sharing Erin Pizzey’s views from 10 September, and I have to say I’ve been very disappointed with his response, which I share screenshots of here – click to see in full:
*screenshots deleted due to nazis trying to doxx us lol*
I find it particularly frustrating that when Loki’s STV article initially began drawing criticism, he stated that he believed it was the duty of men to challenge men’s violence against women, but when I asked him if he would challenge his friend whose misogyny directly reflects on his work on ‘Gaslight’, he believed that it wasn’t his responsibility to challenge MacKenzie and told me to do it myself. I am also concerned that he believes that holding and sharing such views is not harmful but is rather just “an opinion”.
Given the views of the director about women who report domestic abuse, I believe a spotlight must be shone on the theme of ‘partial culpability’ of survivors of abuse repeated throughout ‘Gaslight’, Loki’s STV article and this video posted by Loki in response to criticism of his article – the idea that abuse could be prevented if women didn’t ‘allow’ their partners to suspect that they are cheating. In the video he gives an example of an early relationship of his where his partner was cheating on him and he engaged in what he terms “semi abusive behaviour” such as invading her privacy. He says “That’s just an example of a grey area. If that had progressed to me then becoming a domestic abuser, are you saying that the scenario previous has no impact whatsoever on what actually happens?” The suggestion that the choice to abuse and exert control has foundations in the earlier behaviour (even if hurtful) of the abused partner says to abusers that it wasn’t truly a choice they made. Words still have meaning and send messages – to both perpetrators and survivors – even if you say something contradictory later. What may have seemed clumsy or badly worded before MacKenzie’s views came to light now merits further examination in my opinion.
From Loki’s initial response, it seems as though a commitment to ending violence against women doesn’t apply when it’s a bit awkward or difficult. This morning, Loki has responded further that he is happy to discuss my concerns but doesn’t wish to continue to do so on Twitter, so I hold hope that he will make some form of statement and start to take this seriously by taking steps to distance himself and his work from MacKenzie going forward.
UPDATE: Loki has issued a 14 minute video response to this article, in which he states that he does not believe MRA views to be harmful and calls Andrew MacKenzie a “thoughtful, sensitive, provocative, brave, courageous artist” who he refuses to challenge for his misogyny. It’s appalling. I’ll let it speak for itself:
MacKenzie himself has chosen to go down the route of calling me a “whiny, meddlesome bitch”, a “cunt”, etc etc…
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