The real reasons why Michael Che's feminism joke pissed people off
A woman walked through New York City for 10 hours to document the harassment that takes place on a daily basis, but some apparently think the more than 100 men who "catcalled" her in that time were perfectly right in harassing and stalking the woman.
The video was posted by the organization, Hollaback, and less than two days after being posted, has received more than 16 million views and more than 40,000 comments — many negative toward the actress in the video. Many of those responding think following a woman around is perfectly acceptable and obviously have no idea what a woman goes through on a daily basis. Some of the critics are saying some sick things online — including rape and death threats.
Some Fox News anchors even got in on the action. Eric Bolling said the men's comments were "complimentary" — saying he didn't think what happened in the video constituted "verbal harassment." Bob Beckel added, "She got 100 catcalls, let me add 101. Damn, babe, you're a piece of woman."
Even though Michael Che, the new anchor for Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, decided to go in a different direction — his comments weren't any more appropriate. According to Deadline, he took to Facebook to talk about how he faces the same kind of treatment every day — now that he is famous. He even said women should feel complimented by the men.
Che posted his comments on Facebook (which have since been deleted):
"I wanna apologize to all the women that ive harassed with statements like 'hi' or 'have a nice day' or 'youre beautiful'. i cant imagine what that must feel like. the closest thing I've experienced is maybe when a girl recognizes me from tv and they say things like 'AHHHH!! OH MY GOD!! SNL SNL SNL!! TAKE A PICTURE!! TAKE A PICTURE!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! WHATS YOUR NAME AGAIN?! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! WAIT SAY SOMETHING FUNNY!!' but even that is nothing like the harassment of having a complete stranger tell me to 'smile.'"
But the treatment faced by women is nothing like the treatment anyone else feels — no matter how famous. Che's comments are incredibly dangerous, because he is letting men think that catcalling, harassment or stalking are OK. A few of the men in the video literally followed the woman for minutes and didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with it. How could anyone think that is a compliment — and not terrifying?
Social media responded to Che with outrage (rightfully) and he responded to the backlash over his comments, but he only said he forgets how many people read his comments now that he is in the public eye.
Anderson Cooper also weighed in on the video, but seemed a little more logical about how inappropriate and dangerous the behavior is. He said, "The subtext of some of these conversations on the street is that some of these guys are, 'I can look at you up and down, I'm going to look at you up and down, and I'm going to tell you what I think of you, in specific detail — I'm going to follow you for however long I want to, saying things under my breath and out loud, and nobody's going to do anything about it.'"