A site called Refinery 29 has a piece up about a small group of very unhappy progressives. These individuals became employees of a company called Feminist Apparel which produced woke t-shirt popular with the Women’s March set. But their dreams of changing the world through snappy slogans came crashing down when they discovered the company’s founder, CEO Alan Martofel, was a self-described former abuser:
On June 21, Feminist Apparel was tagged in a Facebook post accusing Martofel of rape. The employees investigated and found a Facebook post that Martofel wrote in 2013 that describes his own sexual abuse of women, how he came to learn about rape culture, and that he was starting a company called Feminist Apparel as his “humble attempt” to “solve it.”
“We’ve all either faced this firsthand, seen it, heard a firsthand account of it, or are guilty of it ourselves,” Martofel wrote in the the post. “I’m someone who’s guilty of it. I’ve grinded up on women on buses and at concerts without their consent. I’ve made out with ‘the drunk chick’ at a party because it was easier. I’ve put a woman’s hand on my d**k while she was sleeping.”…
“This was a place that claimed to be ethical and feminist,” says Ryker Fry, the company’s now-former office and HR manager, told Refinery29. “It was so hard to hear that Alan had done those things and hidden them from us, because that meant that we had been working for an abuser who was taking money from abuse victims.” The day after the June 21 post, members of the Feminist Apparel team confronted Martofel.
So the employees banded together and demanded that Martofel resign as CEO. He agreed and at first everyone thought the company would roll on without him. But a few days later the company credit card stopped working. Then each of the 9 members of the staff received notice by email that they were fired. One former staff members told Refinery 29, “This is the patriarchy and toxic masculinity at its f***ing finest.”
Serious question: What exactly is the appropriate way for an unwoke man to repent for past sins and become a feminist ally? I don’t mean to make light of this because real abuse isn’t a joke. The Refinery 29 article mentions in passing that Martofel was accused of rape but never returns to that. Was the accusation credible? Not credible? We’re not given any information on which to form a judgment. But it seems the reaction to Martofel wasn’t based on that accusation per se but on the things he admitted doing before he became a male feminist. Here’s how he described it in a note defending himself last week:
My story, however, is not one of oppression, but rather, it’s one of privilege and coming to grips with the ways in which society had conditioned me to be the oppressor. As a privileged man entering this space, I felt it necessary at the time to do a very honest audit of my own past behaviors and to put it out publicly. This was not a private message someone dug up. This was something I went out of my way to share with my community at the time as a means to spark dialogue around the negative impact of toxic masculinity. I acknowledged my wrongdoing and committed myself to work within this movement. Spreading the message of consent culture and feminism has been my life’s work since that note was written. While I continue to regret my past behaviors, my ongoing reflection and conversations regarding them have helped to shape me into who I am and have given me the tools to build an organization that has always strived to be a safe and welcoming space for all.
In a religious setting, you’d call this a conversion narrative. But in such a setting, you’d also expect people to show grace toward the repentant sinner. Perhaps there are more serious accusations out there which aren’t really being discussed. But the Refinery 29 article frames this as if the big turning point was the discovery of the post written by Martofel himself. Apparently, everything he’d done since then to show his sincerity in pursuing a new direction counted for nothing. His own staff immediately demanded he quit. Late last month, Martofel put up a post on the company’s Facebook page which reads:
After much deliberation, we have decided to make some necessary changes behind the scenes of Feminist Apparel and, in doing so, are now actively seeking new management to help guide FA into the next chapter of it’s life, which we are extremely excited about. As always, thank you for your support!
Responses to this message are not kind: “Everybody needs to unsubscribe from the emails, unfollow this page, and never buy here again. I’ll be doing this right now.”
Live by the woke, die by the woke. That’s fair, right? I mean, this guy wasn’t just selling t-shirts, he was creating a brand about displaying your feminist convictions. Unfortunately for him, it seems there’s no equivalent to grace in the intersectional religion. If you ever did something wrong, even if you admit it and repent of it, you’re still going to feminist hell.