I think lot a lot of people, I’m just thinking, pondering, wondering – with a little bit of spinning – about the accusations of sexual assault surrounding George Takei.
I mean George Takei?
Champion of the AAPI, LGBTQ, and Japanese American community?
Star Trek George Takei?
Allegiance George Takei?
This isn’t crap ass Harvey Weinstein – who apparently everyone knew about. This isn’t USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar – who’s now been sued by over 125 women and girls alleging abuse. Or Kevin Spacey – who’s pretty much DOA and damn – wow those stories…
It’s George Takei.
If you’ve even done a smidgen of work/volunteering/community organizing – I mean pretty anything in the AAPI community – you have to know someone, or that someone knows someone, or maybe even you yourself is that someone – whose known, worked with, talked with, got advice from – or just casually met George Takei.
He’s a part of the community and it’s probably even less than six degrees of separation.
Think about all the projects he’s been involved with – I mean the Japanese American National Museum just this summer opened New Frontiers: The Many Worlds of George Takei which “explores the life and career of the pioneering actor, activist, and social media icon. The exhibition begins with Takei’s incarceration at the Rohwer and Tule Lake concentration camps as a child during World War II and moves through his career as a Japanese American actor in Hollywood, his public service appointments, his coming out as a gay man, his activism on behalf of both the Japanese American and LGBTQ communities, and his wild popularity as a social media figure.”
Think about all the people and organizations associated with that project and then who they know or are affiliated with.
What do you do?
What do you say?
And it’s not fair that decisions have to be made. Absolutely – and it’s not like I’m trying to put anyone or any organizations into guilt by association – but it speaks to the point about how embedded Takei has been in our community.
I mean the first showing of Allegiance was sold out when I had wanted to see it – but I felt lucky – and I still do – that I got to see it the second time around.
I blogged about it.
I would have been happy to interview Takei on Allegiance if I would have had the chance.
What do you say if you’ve been quick to talk about other people who’ve been brought up in other sexual assault/harassment news?
Do we give him slack?
Am I already giving him slack?
Some of me thinks I am if only for the fact that when I heard about it, I thought to myself – well – let’s take everything on a case by case basis. If there’s more to this story, if it’s a pattern – we’ll hear about it.
And I do believe that – I think if there’s a pattern we’ll hear about it.
But once is enough too right?
If you drugged someone to get them to pass out so you could get into their pants and they wake up with you in their pants – that’s sexual assault.
That’s not consensual.
There’s not a lot of gray there and that’s what was insinuated by Scott Brunton, a former model.
But Do I Believe? And How Come I Don’t Question It About Other People?
When I’ve heard about the other cases – all of the data together – the allegations, the testimony (even if just “in the press” – because that’s a part of the job), the sheer numbers (which doesn’t mean one isn’t true, but you just can’t hide from that many accusations because it’s just a lot of fire), and their responses or what they did afterwards – they all just make me believe.
But George Takei?
Even after reading different articles and listening to his interview – there’s something in me that just asks questions and says to myself – I don’t know. I want to hear more, or I want to see how it plays out.
Because people can lie. They do it all the time. It doesn’t mean that they are – and that’s what makes this all so complicated – but people can in some instances.
While I’m groomed to believe the majority of accusers and know that people usually don’t lie about rape and sexual assault – and I understand at least a little how we do live in a world where accusers don’t get believed and swept under the rug – I understand that I’m still more on the defensive versus offensive. I’m asking myself questions or making statements to myself as I process it all like:
1. Just because the guy is big doesn’t mean he’s a drinker. Two drinks could take him out. He specifically noted that though to allege that Takei put something in his drink.
2. Wouldn’t Takei have been farther along? I mean if you’re drugging someone to take advantage of them, while I’m no expert or even a beginner (aka I’ve never done that) – I feel like he would have been farther along and maybe more cloudy when he awoke (but who knows what was in the drink if indeed there was something in there).
3. He just wants an apology? Fuck that. I’d want more than an apology.
But guess what?
I didn’t do any of that with Weinstein, Nassar, Spacey, Ratner, or Roy Moore.
I didn’t have a dialogue.
I didn’t question.
Is it because of race and politics?
I think some of that unequivocally plays a part in it and that’s something I have to think about.
On That Jezebel Article With The Headline “George Takei Very Recently Described Groping Men Who Are ‘Afraid'” And Others Of That Ilk
I listened to the Stern interview and I do think the title of the article makes it seem like Takei groped scared timid guys in a corner who were “afraid” – and I think it’s taken out of context. When you listen to the interview – not the words on a white screen with no tone – I didn’t take it that way.
Listen – I’m a shy guy (well…sometimes). When I first met my wife and we had our first hookup date – she kinda made the first moves and helped take things to a new level. I hadn’t had sex in a while and honestly – I was a little scared (see afraid). Would I do okay? Or would I just be a fumbling idiot. When it comes to sex and dating, someone has to make the first move – and an encouraging touch by my wife – well – that was okay.
And that’s how I took his wording (but judge for yourself and listen to the clip from the Howard Stern show).
I think it’s irresponsible to have a site like Jezebel taint that headline in that way at this time…to be fair though – I never would have accused K-Wife of drugging and groping me…
But as the dialogue goes in my head – is it because I’m too defensive for George Takei because of the symbol he’s represented in the AAPI community?
Would I be okay with it if it was someone else?
But We Have To Call It Out And We Have To Tell It Like It Is. We Have To Take Everything Seriously. Even For George Takei
At the end of the day though – if I step outside of myself – I also have to realize this:
1. Takei was a known and famous man at that time (and still is).
2. Regardless of whether or not at work – being that famous – like others who have been accused – that power can still be used.
3. Typically people DO NOT make accusations like that. There may be room for interpretation and gray areas in some cases (see dating and sex), but typically in those situations no ones making accusations – it’s just a bad date (“I had too much to drink and I kissed X but when they kissed me back I was freaked out and decided I didn’t want to do it and left. Awkward but we’re cool.”).
4. People in power do deny. They don’t always tell the truth.
So Where Am I On This?
I’m going to think about my own bias. My own perches of power and perception that lead me to wonder.
If I feel like he is guilty, either from this accusation, or any more if they come (and it’s not fair to say if more – but we have to) – or anything else that points to him lying – I mean – what else can I do?
Gotta call him out.
Tell it like it is.
Which I hope I’ve done here btw – telling it like it is – because I think it’s important on all levels.
I Will Say This Final Word On AAPI Community Members We Look Up To Or Have Done Great Things
Regardless of guilt or not, it’s important to make sure we have AAPI role models and community members we can look up to – and where we foster that across all industries because I think some of us – myself included – are hesitant/will be/could be – to convict Takei – even though we may have been swift with others – simply because of his stature in the AAPI community – and we can’t do that.
We can’t have that.
We have to truly realize that there are so many great AAPI’s in our community that we can’t be afraid to hold one person accountable for actions they may have done regardless of who they are. No matter what degree of separation they have from us.
One person doesn’t make us as a community.No tags for this post.