Saturday, May 12, 2007

There are worse people in the world than those who club seals.

Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo), an actress who regularly wears fur, has recently received a series of mailed death threats from someone (or perhaps a group of people) who claims to be a member of PETA (the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). PETA responded by saying that they consider all violence to be wrong. And I will say that it is nearly impossible for any organization to police every single member. At the same time their refusal to explicitly condemn the threats is troubling in itself.

What really stands out to me though is that when such threats are made against celebrities (Lopez is not the first one to receive them), it is invariably against female celebrities. Certainly, you'd think that PETA would have more problems with men (some of whom actually enjoy killing the animals themselves, such as by trophy hunting) but when death threats are made they are much more likely to be directed at female celebrities like Lopez than they are at male celebrities.

What this causes me to believe is that there may well be a sexual predator, some wannabe Ted Bundy or BTK killer, who is using PETA as a cover to indulge his deranged and misogynist sexual fanatasies of terrorizing and eventually murdering women.

As I said, this sort of thing is virtually never directed at men, so if it is in fact a case of some psychotic killer hiding in the ranks of PETA then I hope both the organization and the police will cooperate to track this sicko down.


Anonymous said...

I think you're seriously overreacting by jumping to a "sexual predator" conclusion. A more simple - and realistic - explanation is that the threats are made against women because women are easier to intimidate than men. There have been a number of recent articles documenting the harassmment of female bloggers by males which follow a distinctly similar pattern to these anti-fur death threats. Some female bloggers have received death threats, had personal information published about them (e.g. real names and addresses), or had threats made against their children, etc.

There's a lot of reasonable speculation as to why these males are bullying - really, going well beyonf bullying when death threats are made - but "sexual predator" is a pretty extreme conclusion to leap to. Simple misogyny is probably the most realistic answer. I suspect the perpetrators are hiding behind the anonymity of the internet (or post office boxes) because they'd never have the courage to speak their vile words to any woman - let alone a man - gace to face.

Eli Blake said...

The problem, Indy, is that men who become psychotic killers have a number of previous behaviors they exhibit, and extreme misogyny is one of those. As a recent case in point, Cho had a well-documented history (certainly it is by now) of harrassing, threatening and otherwise intimidating women.

I don't think that every man who hates or feels the need to terrorize women is in fact planning to commit murder, but statistically it is certainly a strong indicator that he might be.

Further, let's even say there is no evidence he is serious about carrying out his threat (a dangerous assumption, to be sure, but assume it is true.) Even just exhibiting this level of misogyny is unacceptable behavior, and if he did it at work, he would certainly be fired for sexual harrassment.

What is more troubling to me is that PETA hasn't condemned or distanced themselves from whoever is sending this letter. The suggestion is therefore that they condone this kind of behavior. I know they are focused on something else, but at the very least, you'd think they'd disavow him and say he isn't speaking for the organization.

Anonymous said...

Eli, we're in basic agreement on the larger picture. I simply take issue with your jumping to the conclusion that the threats against J. Lo. are from a "sexual predator".

I'm not at all surprised that PETA refuses to condemn the acts, btw. Their organization uses fear - exploits it, really - to further their own aims just like many right-leaning groups. It's still terror tactics whether you're threatening to destroy someone's fur or to end someone's life - the only difference is the degree of terror employed. And if women stop wearing fur because they fear they might get murdered then PETA's goals are being met. As long as PETA can credibly claim no direct connection to these death threats they get to have their cake and eat it too - or at least think they can. Keep putting heat on them for not condemning the threat and maybe they'll realize how wrong their non-condemnation looks.