Margaret Atwood, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, is facing a backlash for an op-ed she wrote in a Canadian newspaper that reiterated her concerns about the #MeToo movement.
Writing in the Globe and Mail, Atwood, 78, outlined her concerns regarding the #MeToo movement that has exposed so many prominent men as sexual predators, with the author fearing that it might overreach and override legal avenues and due process.
“#MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system. All too frequently, women and other sexual-abuse complainants couldn’t get a fair hearing through institutions — including corporate structures — so they used a new tool: the internet. Stars fell from the skies. This has been very effective, and has been seen as a massive wake-up call. But what next?” Atwood asks.
She added: “If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? Who will be the new power brokers?”
Atwood also used the op-ed to explain why she signed an open letter last year calling for due process for a University of British Columbia professor facing allegations of sexual misconduct. Atwood’s signing the letter was heavily criticized at the time.
Atwood suggested her critics had deemed her a “bad feminist” for airing such concerns.
The reaction to Atwood’s op-ed was swift, with many calling the author out of touch with the moment as well as missing the point of the #MeToo movement.
I’ve seen THE THINKPIECE.
1. Still not a fucking witch hunt.
2. Atwood hasn’t a CLUE about what dealing with assault at UBC is really like, or dealing with administration and institutional silencing even while trying to create change. Ask me how I know.
3. I’m tired.
— Dr. Lucia Lorenzi (@empathywarrior) January 13, 2018
Instead of listening to a famous author w outdated white politics I’d rather uplift the voices of Black, Indigenous & POC women who know inclusive feminism & tackling rape culture. All authors do research. But Atwood needs some basic anti-oppression training. #MeToo #notyouatwood
— Catherine Hernandez (@theloudlady) January 13, 2018
I cannot bring myself to read that Margaret Atwood shitpiece but I actually have an answer to its titular question: yes, calling rape survivors liars and trying to silence Indigenous folks on here makes one a pretty fucking bad feminist.
— Gersande La Flèche (@gersandelf) January 13, 2018
Wish Margaret Atwood would get back to writing dystopian fiction about a misogynist world instead of, y’know, ACTIVELY CREATING IT.
— Evan Munday (@idontlikemunday) January 13, 2018
Atwood did have her defenders, however, with some users on Twitter applauding the author’s belief in the notion of being innocent till proven guilty.
Genuinely upsetting to see Margaret Atwood attacked for pointing out that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is the key to a civilised society. That has to still be a thing, yes? How can that suddenly be a bad thing?
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) January 13, 2018
After relentless criticism, Atwood tweeted that she would be stepping away from social media for a while. In a tweet dripping with sarcasm, she said she was “taking a break from being Supreme Being Goddess, omniscient, omnipotent, and responsible for all ills.”
Taking a break from being Supreme Being Goddess, omniscient, omnipotent, and responsible for all ills. Sorry I have failed the world so far on gender equality. Maybe stop trying? Will be back later. (Next incarnation maybe.)
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) January 14, 2018