Documentarian Morgan Spurlock — best known for “Super Size Me” — shocked the internet with a tweet confessing to sexual misconduct and mistreatment of women.
Spurlock shared a longwinded post in which he recounted cringe-worthy details from the night he “hooked up” with a woman who later accused him of rape.
He said in the post that he felt compelled to admit to being “part of the problem” upon watching “hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions.”
He added: “I don’t sit by and wonder 'who will be next?' I wonder, 'when will they come for me?'”
An excerpt from the post elaborates on how he believed the night with the woman from college went.
“’That’s not what happened!’ I told her. This wasn’t how I remembered it at all. In my mind, we’d been drinking all night and went back to my room. We began fooling around, she pushed me off, then we laid in the bed and talked and laughed some more, and then began fooling around again. We took off our clothes. She said she didn’t want to have sex, so we laid together, and talked, and kissed, and laughed, and then we started having sex. ‘Light Bright,’ she said. ‘What?’ ‘Light bright. That kids toy, that’s all I can see and think about,’ she said … and then she started to cry. I didn’t know what to do. We stopped having sex and I rolled beside her. I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better. I thought I was doing ok, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped.”
He also described a sexual harassment situation, from about eight years ago, in which he felt the need to clarify that his actions weren’t “gropy feely harassment." He admitted to calling his female assistant at the time “hot pants” and “sex pants” when he would summon her from the opposite side of the office.
He wrote that the assistant eventually quit and demanded money in exchange for her silence about the harassment, which he said he paid.
In addition to being a sexual harasser, Spurlock admitted to being a womanizer.
“I have been unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had,” he said. “Over the years, I would look each of them in the eye and proclaim my love and then have sex with other people behind their backs.”
There have been mixed reactions on social media about Spurlock’s confession. However, there are many people who are praising him, throwing out words like “brave” to describe his moment of honesty.
While self-reflection is key to changing rape culture in our society, and men should be holding themselves accountable for their inappropriate behavior, Spurlock’s way of doing so is quite problematic.
For one thing, wrapped up in his confession are a bunch of excuses. In the post, he begins to explore the “why” behind his ways by mentioning he was sexually abused as a child, he’s the product of a broken home, he was allegedly mistreated by his mother, and he has purportedly been abusing alcohol since he was 13 years old.
“I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years,” he said.
Those circumstances are very unfortunate, but save it for the therapist.
By listing those excuses in his confession, he was very clearly fishing for compassion from the public. The caveat comes across as a justification for his unacceptable behavior toward women, and that alone makes the piece lose credibility.
The second issue with his confession is that the timing is entirely too convenient. He wrote in his post that he’s been wondering “when will they come for me?” How did he expect the public to read that and believe that his sudden come-to-Jesus moment, so to speak, wasn't just a ploy to cover his tracks before any of his victims had a chance to come forward?
As the #MeToo movement thrives and new sexual assault stories unfold each day, Spurlock was aware that he could be next on the chopping block and likely wanted to jump in front of the story and paint the picture he wanted the public to see. It was not about making amends with the people he hurt, but about saving his image — an attempt to come out looking like a hero instead of a villain.
“Brave” does not describe Spurlock; cowardly is more accurate. He hijacked an important moment for sexual assault survivors all over the world to gain sympathy for treating women horribly.
In addition to his laundry list of excuses, there is no apology to any of the women he has hurt, nor is there a clear commitment to how he will empower or support women’s causes going forward.
The only real vows he makes are to himself. He wrote that he “will do better” and “will be better” but offered no examples of how.
Perhaps Spurlock’s open letter would have been more convincing if he simply explained the things he had done — without the excuses — and if he had included an apology. It also might have helped if he had expressed any intention of supporting initiatives that champion women’s voices.
Alas, all he did was perpetuate the constant silencing of women and invalidation of their experiences.
Sorry, Spurlock, but we see right through this. Your self-serving moment of truth fooled no one. You were, and still are, part of the problem.