As you might have heard, this happened:
So Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”
I did it because, even though being “disruptive” is against my nature, I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman. I don’t sit there while someone tells me how I should feel about something as profound and damaging as rape.
After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”
The woman and her friend left immediately after the remark, obviously terrified. This post pretty much immediately went viral, leading to a trending Twitter campaign of outrage against Tosh. His response?
This resulted in more criticism for this obvious fauxpology, but also a ton of Tosh defenders making more terrible rape jokes, and calling the woman a “dumb bitch“ and “cunt,” requesting her Twitter handle.The rest of the tweets in defense are regurgitations of the usual argument that “it’s just a joke” and #getoverit, Tosh’s job is to stir things up.
Yes, many comedians take life’s tragedies and make fun of them; they use humor as a way of coping with the awful things that happen to people. It’s actually similar to my own defense that bringing the funny into feminism and social justice makes it all the more accessible and fun, and can be a way for us to collectively laugh at the injustice that we have to deal with on a daily basis.
What Tosh did was not that.
Tosh threatened an audience member with rape. This should not be a conversation about where to draw the line (as much of the media is asking around this). There is a very, very clear line here. (Read Shakes take.) This conversation should be about holding public figures accountable for the impact they have on larger culture. As we know, rape is already seriously integrated into our culture, and Tosh’s rape threats or transphobic jokes don’t make the world better (or funnier, for that matter), but is simply damaging and dangerous to the millions of people he influences.
P.S. Why, Louis CK?