Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Margaret Atwood Takes to Twitter to Defend Herself after #MeToo Op-Ed

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Margaret Atwood Takes to Twitter to Defend Herself after #MeToo Op-Ed

Article excerpt

Atwood takes to Twitter to defend herself

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Margaret Atwood has taken to Twitter to defend herself after writing a controversial op-ed in which she wondered if she was a "bad feminist" for questioning the tactics of the #MeToo movement.

In a piece published Saturday in The Globe and Mail, Atwood called #MeToo "a symptom of a broken legal system".

The op-ed drew sharp criticism from some observers, who were angered by what they saw as a betrayal of feminist values by an author who has long been interested in examining and questioning power structures that subjugate women.

She wrote in the piece that women are increasingly using online channels to make accusations of sexual misconduct because the legal system is often ineffective.

But she expressed misgivings about the movement going too far, writing of the dangers of "vigilante justice" which she said can turn into "a culturally solidified lynch-mob habit."

The 78-year-old author of "The Handmaid's Tale", who is famously active on Twitter, sent out more than 30 tweets on Sunday morning defending the positions she made in the piece.

She also tweeted links to two other pieces that questioned #MeToo.

One of them, "It's Time to Resist the Excesses of #MeToo" by Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine, compares an anonymous crowd-sourced list started by a woman working in media to warn other women about potentially dangerous men to the destructive, career-ending paranoia of the McCarthy era.

Some of Atwood's fans said they were upset by her characterization of #MeToo as a dangerous "witch hunt", which her piece connects to movements that arose to deal with issues that weren't being addressed by the legal system and evolved into politically-sanctioned violence, like the early days of the Cosa Nostra mafia and the beheadings during the French Revolution.

Many fans were particularly rankled by her linking to the New York article, but Atwood insisted it was an attempt to understand opposing points of view and not an endorsement. …

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