If you’re defending Ed Westwick amid rape allegations, we need to talk

Jessica Wang
If you’re defending Ed Westwick amid rape allegations, we need to talk

To whom it may concern,

I’m writing to address the heartbreaking defenses you’ve been employing in regard to rape allegations leveled against Gossip Girl actor Ed Westwick. The pattern that appears to be unmasking is a hideous, Demogorgon-esque form of feminism — one that picks and chooses certain narratives that abide by individual levels of comfort and are rooted in delusion.

Last month, the New Yorker and the New York Times published explosive exposés that led to the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. What followed was a poetic disintegration of an abuse-infected institution of powerful men, leading to the collapse of once-invincible names such as Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, and until recently, Louis C.K. That’s not even half of them. A growing list of abusers can be found here.

Response to accusations seemed to illustrate a powerful shift. Were you disgusted by anecdotes of Weinstein and Louis C.K. whipping out their wrinkly balls? Did you get heartburn after discovering Spacey preyed on vulnerable boys? Did you empower victims of abuse when the #MeToo social media campaign began? Did you retweet, re-share, re-whatever victim testimonials? What exactly are you doing now in regard to Ed Westwick, a celebrity you’re under the delusion that you know, when you say things like “I just know he didn’t do this”?

Was it easier to support victims when it involved crusty old men detached from a long-held teenage crush and some vapid show about privileged New York trust-fund children? What were you thinking when you wrote things like “these accusers are just seeking attention”?

Here’s the thing: When it comes to empowering victims of abuse, you cannot simply pick and choose when advocacy is convenient for you. It doesn’t work like that. There are no grey areas. When empowering victims of abuse, you are either all in or you are all out. Whether the accused is someone you can easily detach from or one of your favorites, they need to be held accountable.

And I can’t believe I still have to say this, but I, along with other victim advocates, will say it until our voices are hoarse: victims have absolutely nothing to gain in coming forward — fame included. They stand in the public court of opinion, knowing full well that negative backlash will fall on them. Hell, Asia Argento fled her own country due to the disgusting onslaught of victim-shaming.

Believe victims. Believe victims. Believe victims.

XOXO,

Disgruntled Woman