Not long ago, I read a post from a girl who had grabbed Tom Hiddleston’s ass. When I and a few others pointed out that this was sexual harassment and not okay, she insisted that HE was okay with it, so we should shut it, and others came to her defense. Obviously we got nowhere with her or her defenders, but I’m reading an interview right now that reminded me of that, so I’m bringing it up again in the hopes of getting even one person to think twice before they grab someone’s ass in a photo op (or any other time). First, a quote from the interview (http://www.sequentialtart.com/article.php?id=2639) with con organiser “Emily Expo”, aka Lindsay Thomas:
"… Just because somebody is dressed up as a character on TV who is perhaps very sexual, does not give anybody licence to treat that person like they would that character. We have to understand that fact is different from fiction. It is. I’ll use an example here. There’s a media guest that we’ve worked with on a number of occasions [who] played a character on TV who I would say was regarded as a sex symbol. In photo ops, we would often have to have a chair or a stool available because women would come in and grab his butt during the photo op and then leave. That’s blatant sexual assault … it’s a very good example of how people confuse fact with fiction. He isn’t that person. He’s playing a character, but that’s not who he is as a human being, and [fans] have to understand the difference.
For me personally, I don’t care if you’re male or female, bi, gay, straight, transgender: sexual harassment is wrong on all accounts. So if it’s a woman doing to a man, a man doing it to a woman, gay person doing it to a gay person — I don’t care what the combination is. If you’re doing it, it’s still wrong.”
Now, as to the assertion that Hiddleston had no problem with the ass-grab, there’s two problems with that.
The first is that him not being bothered by it AFTER THE FACT is not the same as consent. I may not care if someone stole 50 cents from my pocket when I wasn’t looking, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a crime, when I also didn’t say the person taking it could actually have it. The girl who grabbed Hiddleston could not know for certain without asking if he would be okay with it, and she didn’t ask. Touching someone in a sexual fashion without consent is the very definition of sexual harassment, or even sexual assault. Touching someone’s ass is potentially sexual contact, depending on the context; in that particular context, since she considered him attractive and that was why she was touching him, it would be considered sexual. She’s certainly not his lover or doctor or guardian, or even a close friend with whom he has an understanding; she’s not someone who might have legitimate, non-sexual reasons for touching his posterior, or prior permission for sexual contact.
The second problem is that just because he purportedly *seemed* okay with it doesn’t mean he actually was. People can smile and laugh when they are uncomfortable, especially if they want ti avoid a confrontation. If that was the case here, then him deciding he didn’t want a confrontation is NOT the same as him actually saying it’s okay. He shouldn’t have had to be In a situation where he would have to decide that in the first place.
But let’s say he did like it. Does my enjoying peanut butter mean it’s okay for everyone to be *forcefed* it? It may not do anything to hurt me, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt someone else. Everyone is different, and just because an action doesn’t seem like a big deal to you doesn’t mean no one else should be bothered by it if you tried to do it to them without asking. Maybe they’ve been sexually assaulted before, and you could trigger a PTSD flashback.
What happened there WASN’T just between her and Tom. If you were sexually harassed, would you like it if everyone just turned a blind eye and said it was none of their concern? Should the NFL turn a blind eye to Rice beating his wife just because she insists it was okay and no one else’s business? We have to share our world with each other, and when one of us assaults someone else, violating laws we have voted and agreed upon as a society, we have not just a right, but a duty to say, “That’s not an acceptable way to behave.”
The next person whose ass this girl grabs might not be so welcoming, and it shouldn’t take them crying assault for her to finally listen — they shouldn’t have to put up with that contact in the *first* place. (I hope if she tries again, next time she gets a celeb who reacts like James Martsers, who I’ve personally witnessed give fans a firm talking to about respect and boundaries on two separate occasions. Or better yet, someone who *presses charges*!) And then let’s hope that the celeb in question doesn’t decide to stop interacting with the fans because they’re sick of being treated as a piece of meat some fans act entitled to ….