The #MeToo movement is at a dangerous tipping point

Both sets of readers are right. Americans desperately need to examine our sexual culture beyond the condemnation of criminally violent acts. And the #MeToo conversation can only expand in an effective way if it is conducted carefully and strategically. Being clear about what behavior is criminal, what behavior is legal but intolerable in a workplace, and what private intimate behavior is worthy of condemnation helps focus where the work of a movement has to take place.

There’s an obvious difference between a serial rapist and harasser, such as Weinstein, and someone who has consensual sex with a large number of women. But the distinction between behavior that is illegal and actions that are legal isn’t the only dividing line worth drawing here. There’s also a contrast between someone who sleeps with a lot of people on terms that are clear and acceptable to everyone involved, and someone who conducts themselves in such a way that their partners end up feeling misled or disappointed about the nature of their encounters. That distinction is between conduct that is ethical and that which ranges from morally dubious to outright unethical (but does not rise to the level of criminal).

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