Bisexual British crooner Morrissey and Italian fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) both have something in common: They’ve both recently said stupid, incendiary and tone-deaf things about the wave of sexual misconduct allegations currently rocking America. But the Morrissey sexual harassment comments are far worse than Stefano Gabbana’s recent comments because they accuse sexual assault victims of being naive and manipulative.
The Morrissey sexual harassment comments
Last week, Stefano Gabbana said that sexual harassment is just a business-as-usual form of flirting and not a form of violence, a comment which reveals his lack of understanding about how workplace sexual harassment actually works.
This week, Morrissey went a step further by calling openly gay actor Anthony Rapp’s sexual assault allegations against American actor Kevin Spacey “not … very credible.” Like Gabbana, he equated sexual misconduct with mere flirting. He then blamed the victims of sexual misconduct for naiveté, accusing them of being manipulative and “disappointed” when sexual advances fail to further their careers.
If you recall, Rapp said that in 1986, when he was 14-years-old and Spacey was around age 26, Spacey invited him over to his New York City apartment for a party. At the end of the party, while hanging out in Spacey’s bedroom, Rapp says Spacey carried him into his bed and climbed on top of him to sexually engage him.
In a recent interview with German news outlet Spiegel Online, Morrissey said:
As far as I know, [Spacey] was in a bedroom with a 14-year-old. Kevin Spacey was 26 and boy 14 was wondering where the boy’s parents were. One wonders if the boy did not know what could happen. I do not know about you, but I’ve never been in situations like this in my youth. Never. I always knew what could happen. When you are in somebody’s bedroom, you have to be aware of where that can lead to. That’s why it does not sound very credible to me. It seems to me Spacey has been unnecessarily attacked.
Rapp has explained that people would understandably criticize his now-deceased mother’s decision to let him hang out with New York City adults at such a young age. Either way, Morrissey disregards the fact that seven other men have accused of Spacey of similar conduct during their teenage years.
Regarding the recent spat of sexual misconduct allegations happening in the entertainment industry, Morrissey said:
People know exactly what happens. And they play along. Afterward, they feel embarrassed, or they do not like it. And then they turn it around and say: “I was attacked, I was surprised, I was dragged into the room.” But if everything had gone well and had it given them a great career, they would not talk about it. I hate rape. I hate attacks. I hate sexual situations that are forced on someone. But in many cases, one looks at the circumstances and thinks that the person referred to as a victim is merely disappointed. Throughout the history of music and rock ‘n’ roll there have been musicians who have slept with their groupies. If you go through history, almost everyone is guilty of sleeping with minors.
All at once everyone is guilty. Anyone who has ever said to someone else, “I like you,” is suddenly being charged with sexual harassment. You have to put these things in the right relations. If I can not tell anyone that I like him, how should he ever know? Of course, there are extreme cases, rape is disgusting, every physical attack is repulsive. But we have to see it in relative terms. Otherwise, every person on this planet is guilty. We can not permanently decide from above what we are allowed to do and what we can not do. Because then we are all trapped. Some people are very awkward when it comes to romance anyway. They do not know what to do and then their behavior is aggressive.
Why the Morrissey sexual harassment comments are bullshit
No one is getting charged with sexual harassment for saying “I like you.” All of the allegations have involved men groping, molesting and assaulting others or exposing themselves and masturbating in front of subordinates. Furthermore, in most cases no one has been legally “charged” at all, they’re just being called out in public. So the idea that people in the industry can’t flirt without consequences is a mischaracterization and obfuscation of what’s actually going on.
Furthermore, work supervisors shouldn’t be flirting with or sexually engaging their workmates to begin with — it lacks of professionalism and sets the groundwork for potential abuses of power.
Then again, we really shouldn’t be surprised by anything Morrissey says. In the past he has made racially insensitive statements stating that immigration destroys British identity and “Chinese people are a subspecies” when discussing animal cruelty in China.
In July 2016, Morrissey claimed that he had been sexually harassed and groped by Transportation Security Administration agents before flying to London. In light of the recent Morrissey sexual harassment comments, one wonders if he thinks that he should have expected it and is merely disappointed that it didn’t advance his career.