The accusations against Carlson are reminiscent of those against writer Junot Diaz. Like Carlson, Diaz was not accused of any sexual offenses but still was caught up in the Me Too whirlwind for being generally terrible to women. Diaz had told his own story, of being molested as a child, but that didn’t inoculate him from scorn when allegations of his bad behavior broke. But that’s been the problem with the Me Too movement from the start. It set up a stark contrast of good (women) versus evil (men) and leaves no room for middle ground. No one could live up to those caricatures. With every new accusation came a chorus of shock that our favorite actors, writers, broadcasters could behave in such a vile way.
“Not him!” people exclaimed. This was immediately followed by the suggestion that “everyone,” meaning men, was capable of being a harasser. But the idea that there is only one type of person that is capable of sexual harassment or assault is ludicrous. Similarly, the idea that all men, and only men, are capable of bad behavior, even specifically bad sexual behavior, is also absurd. Some men would never behave like Junot Diaz much less Harvey Weinstein, yet men were tarred with a wide brush when the accusations were rolling in while women were spared from scrutiny.
The charges against these women have nothing to do with what happened to them. But what happened to them also can’t be used as an excuse for their bad actions. These allegations expose something that Me Too had previously obscured. There are no perfect people.