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119. The Curious #MeToo Case of Yascha Mounk
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119. The Curious #MeToo Case of Yascha Mounk

Criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield joins Nancy and Sarah to talk about a journalism scandal, the sex police, and the taboo of questioning an accuser's story. Warning: This is a thorny one.
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On Jan 2, a writer named Celeste Marcus published an essay entitled, “After Rape: A Guide for the Tormented” in the free-speech literary journal Liberties, where Celeste is managing editor. She wrote about an incident in 2021 with a close male friend as they slept beside each other in bed. She called it rape; he did not. The man remained unnamed until February 4, when Celeste posted an email exchange to Twitter with Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg. In one email, Marcus had written, “The rapist was Yascha Mounk. You have a rapist on the staff of your illustrious publication.”

Mounk is an Atlantic contributor who specializes in free-speech issues. He’s the founder of the journal Persuasion and host of The Good Fight podcast. On Sunday, the Atlantic announced they’d cut ties with Mounk, who has mostly stayed silent.

We brought on criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield to discuss this thorny situation. Greenfield is a straight-shooter who wrote about the case in a recent blog post called “The Atlantic Caves to #MeToo.” To question a victim’s story has become taboo, but to interrogate every story has been a necessary tradition of justice, journalism, and rational discourse. Greenfield is not a fan of what he calls “the sex police.”

Can we ever be sure what happens in other people’s bedrooms? And why has it become so popular, even noble, to try? Gird your loins for a conversation about #MeToo and its aftermath that is frank, illuminating, and challenging — possibly to listeners, definitely to the narrative. Notable talking points:

  • “Am I allowed to say, ‘I call bullshit’ on this pod?”

  • When did people go from being the heroes of their own stories to the victims of their own stories?

  • Why drinking matters in sexual assault cases

  • “A lot of the campus policies under Title IX are unlawful.”

  • The clear bright line of “no means no”

  • Plot twist! Leon Wieseltier, #MeToo casualty, is the editor of Liberties journal

  • How feminist activists bypassed the dead-lock of “he said/she said”

  • “You can’t call a woman crazy. But what if they are crazy?”

  • Felicia Sonmez, remembered

  • How do Atlantic writers feel about Goldberg kicking a contributor to the curb?

  • What should Yascha Mounk do now?

  • Let’s built tolerance for ambiguity!

  • The bravery of journalist Emily Yoffe

  • The sadness of “compare and despair”

  • Can we ever walk this back?

  • Advice to parents!

  • “Hot box???”

Plus, the palace intrigue behind Liberties publishing that Marcus essay, the absence of other allegations against Mounk, what Scott does in his 30-year old Stan Smiths, and more!

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Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em Podcast
Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em Podcast
Journalistas Nancy Rommelmann and Sarah Hepola on what's burning through the culture right now. Flirtatious banter for serious times.