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…
Loki’s views on domestic abuse are dangerous – and not “taboo” at all
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“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?”
Based on the above, I am kind of baffled as to why we aren’t just coming out and calling Loki himself an outright victim blaming abuse apologist who has just admitted to abuse. There is no grey area – control and invasion of boundaries are abuse. The girlfriend’s behaviour (which we only have his word on) does not justify what he did nor would it have justified escalating to physical violence. THERE IS NO GREY AREA. I really feel like this whole thing from the STV article onwards has been one big exercise in Loki trying to twist himself into a pretzel to excuse himself from abusive behaviour he has carried out in the past. I feel rather disturbed for the ex-girlfriend he is referring to – is she aware of all of this public “processing” of what happened to her, with no right of reply or ability to tell her side? In doing all this so publicly, he has inflicted a whole world of harm, then doubled down by refusing to genuinely listen to criticism and reflect (instead he has made genuflections in the vague direction of apology without ever confronting what is really going on within his own life). I wish he would just go into therapy or something and let us know how that went, oh, 10 years from now.
You guys are cute.
I know others may capitulate to the endless proselytizing of your far-left views but not me. You are a gaggle of nasty little bullies who want to nit-pick the words of others and assume their intentions so you can create fake outrage to write about in your pathetic little blog. You’re like tabloid journalists but you don’t even get paid for it.
Bunch of soulless wenches
Wind yer neck in ya wee rat. You and Loki are totally wack, weak ass man boys pretending to give a shit about this stuff, but actually showing zero intelligence, sensitivity or understanding. Quit while you’re behind, both of ye. Both your reps are trashed already.
I have no rep to tarnish. Do your worst, you people can’t intimidate me
Na mate, a tabloid version of this would read Shocker: Scum Man is Scum.
or, “Shocker: MRA defends reputation with ‘wench’ slur”
Have known this director personally and your impressions from just his FB are bang on the money, he’s a massive misogynist in theory…and practice.
Interesting. Man directs controversial video about violence against women that is part of an exercise in “opening up dialogue” about the subject. When dialogue is opened up, director posts misogynist graphics as part of his “thoughtful” response, and suggests he will encourage men from a forum to attack the women who dared to voice their opinion on social media – “unleash the trolls” or whatever.
Both the director and rapper then claim to be victims – see comment about framing women commenters as “bullies” and comment suggesting people are attempting to “intimidate” director, also rapper posts video claiming dialogue (which he opened up) is “aggressive”.
Now go back to the STV article, and the video they made together, and examine the theory they present about how abusers never see themselves as perpetrators but as victims.
Art imitates life?
Personally I was willing to see all points of view, right up until both men started playing the victim, and the threat to troll any woman who spoke out was made.
Shame STV won’t give a platform to that part of the story as an example of every day misogyny.
I really find this idea of ‘well contextualising the abuse means that…” is pretty victim blamey and unhelpful.
In all cases of domestic abuse the abuse is wrong, end of. The idea that it can be excused, even partially is harmful in so many ways, including one that should concern so-called ‘MRA’s.
In (the rarer) cases of DV against male victims, there is the cultural assumption that the man’s behavior was some kind of instigation, or the other partner was acting in ‘self-defence’ (often these are used to attack female victims, but the trope is more pervasive against male victims), attitudes that we need to think about ‘context’ or whatever make it more difficult for these victims to come forward or be taken seriously.
BUT OF COURSE “MRA”s are more interested in defending the divine right of man to assault women.
Congratulations on making a stir in the national.
I don’t even know why we refer to them as “MRAs”- they are the abusers lobby, pure and simple, and this whole debacle is proof of that.
They have cleverly co opted the language of survivors and activists, particularly in reference to the complex nature of domestic violence…and instigated a reversal of these concepts to paint themselves as the victims. That’s about the only thing Loki gets right. Abusive men know what is and isn’t a acceptable, as Sarah points out, and his video and writings, along with those of his director, are just ways to put feelers out into wider society about how far they can go with this.
Again, the reversal of wrong doing is clear here- women who are feminists are “bullies” and are “nit-picking” and “harassing” these poor guys who are just trying to reinforce the patriarchal idea that women’s bodies and sexualities are not theirs to own and control, but belong to men who must enforce ownership and control over them with regrettable violence ( if only we’d just do as we’re told!) and are then forced to face some vague rumblings of mild criticism from “the system”. Occasionally they’re might even be some kind of legal repercussions!
The whole idea of women’s rampant infidelity being a cause of men’s violence is similar to the idea that Jewish “control” of financial institutions, etc, ( sorry for the reduction), justified the Nazis.
Sarah is absolutely right to stand firm in the face of this hateful and dangerous idealogy. It’s a huge step back, not some edgy “new” approach to the issue.