Home / General / “When you’re a star, they should let you do anything”

“When you’re a star, they should let you do anything”


Via commenter B.T., Heather Mac Donald has an apologia for powerful men credibly accused of sexual misconduct that is reprehensible even for a Mac Donald column, which is an amazing thing to type. I don’t know enough enough about the Domingo case to comment about it specifically, but this captures the feudalist bullshit that is the central premise of her argument:

It is a grotesque inversion of the proper hierarchy between public accomplishment and private sexual behavior to sacrifice an artist of Domingo’s stature for the sake of 20 disgruntled bit players, laboriously harvested from thousands of professional interactions characterized by graciousness and consideration. Put simply, the discomfort of these belated accusers decades ago is not worth Domingo’s head. 

It doesn’t sound better put this way than when Donald Trump said it on the Access Hollywood tape.

I do know something about another case she mentions, however, and this is just vile:

Federal appellate judge Alex Kozinski was destroyed by a handful of former female clerks, including Slate columnist Dahlia Lithwick, for his juvenile sense of sexual humor. He is now a pariah throughout the legal world. “It’s a tragedy,” his fellow Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Judge Stephen Reinhardt (for whom I clerked) told me shortly before he died. “Alex was so smart, so decent.” Reinhardt was a crusading left-winger but he regarded the libertarian Kozinski as “one of the best judges we had.”

  • “Juvenile sense of sexual humor” is a remarkably dishonest characterization of what Kozinski is credibly accused by many people of doing — i.e. frequent verbal and physical harassment of subordinates.
  • “Destroyed” is an…interesting way of describing “getting paid north of 200 grand a year for the rest of your life not to work while facing no formal investigation of sanction.”
  • He wasn’t blackballed from the profession. Indeed, he had a job available to him — Judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the life-tenured position he held. He resigned to preempt further investigation, which should in itself answer the question of whether the investigation would have revealed that he was guilty of nothing more than telling a few off-color jokes to which his clerks overreacted as Mac Donald claims.
  • As there have been no formal sanctions, if Kozinski has become a “pariah” this is because people have heard about his misconduct and come to a different conclusion about it than Mac Donald did, as anyone capable of feeling for empathy for someone who isn’t a powerful white man accused of sexual misconduct would. That’s how life works. You’re not entitled to keep the same reputation irrespective of how you behave.
  • Kozinski’s reputation, like that of so many superficially clever conservatives with a libertarian streak considerably more sporadic than his admirers claim, strikes me as vastly overblown. But that’s beside the point here. Even if he was as great a judge as Mac Donald thinks, the idea that his life is more valuable than that of Lithwick and Heidi Bond and the many other highly intelligent and capable employees he horribly mistreated is…fuuuuuuck youuuuuuuuu.
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