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DAME’s Newsfeed: The Fappening, an Investigation into Ferguson, + more

This week’s roundup of the good, the less good, and the totally rapey topics everyone’s talking about.

The Good

Department of Justice to Investigate Ferguson Police Department

Just days after Michael Brown’s shooting led to uproar and a militarization of Ferguson, Missouri Attorney General Eric Holder went to Ferguson to start an investigation. With the help of the FBI, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has been investigating the shooting, and on Thursday the Justice Department officially announced a broader investigation into the conduct of the Ferguson Police Department over the past several years. With Ferguson’s noted history of misconduct—there have been numerous lawsuits against police claiming excessive force over the recent years— it’s mostly a relief. According to NBC News, the justice department has launched 20 police department investigations over the past five years, which is more than twice as many as were opened in the preceding five, showing the increasing misconduct and the chance to finally do something about it. They can end with agreements to improve conduct or in federal court for a resolution. Here’s hoping it means fewer police-sanctioned homicides.


The View’s New Co-Hosts

The View is entering a new era and we’re totally down. Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace will join Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell to round out the show’s 18th season. Perez is perhaps best known as the Oscar-nominated actress with the squeaky voice and the Brooklyn accent but she is also an outspoken advocate for arts education in public schools. Wallace served as senior advisor on the McCain-Palin presidential campaign—if someone has to serve as the neocon in resident, let it be a smart one, and not an anti-vaxxer or the hassle of Hasselbeck. We may finally want to watch this show.


The Less Good

Renisha McBride’s Murderer Sentenced to 17 Years

In the middle of the night on November 2, Theodore P. Wafer, a white man, shot and killed an unarmed young black woman, Renisha McBride, as she knocked on his door for help. On August 7, Judge Dana Hathaway convicted Wafer of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and a felony weapons charge, but after the defendant’s lawyer tearfully begged for leniency (“He didn’t go out looking for this. It came to him”) Judge Hathaway laid down the minimum 17-year sentence. Yup, that’s all. Seventeen years for killing Renisha McBride. Recall that a Florida woman was recently sentenced to 20 years for firing warning shots. Justice may have been served, but in the smallest way possible.


Michael Sam Dropped by the Rams, Lands on Cowboys’ Practice Squad

It’s not all rainbows and football games for the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. After winning that title by being picked in the final round of last year’s draft by the St. Louis Rams, Michael Sam was dropped by the team despite his promising pre-season numbers (11 tackles and 3 sacks). But after a couple of tense days, the Dallas Cowboys picked him up for their practice squad. Depending on injuries and other factors, this year could mark the first time an openly gay player—one who was named the Associated Press co-defensive player of the year in the southeastern Conference, which, according to the New York Times, is widely considered the top league in college football—participates in an NFL game. With players like Ray Rice on the field, let’s hope a positive groundbreaker like Sam, one we actually want to cheer for, sees some action too. 


The Totally Rapey

Columbia Student Relentlessly Carries Mattress as Anti-Rape Public Performance Art

Emma Sulkowicz is a senior studying visual arts at Columbia University who was raped the first night of her sophomore year of college. The university, which was recently sued for mishandling sexual misconduct cases, did nothing for Sulkowicz aside from asking her how one can be anally penetrated without lube, so her attacker roams free on campus to this day. Since the start of this school year Sulkowicz has promised to carry a dorm-size mattress everywhere she goes until her attacker leaves or is kicked off of campus. “I could have taken my pillow, but I want people to see how it weighs down a person to be ignored by the school administration and harassed by police,” Sulkowicz said. The piece comes at an important time for sexual assault legislation—last week, the California senate approved an affirmative consent model requiring an active yes for consensual sex as opposed to an absent no. Yes means yes and no means get the fuck off my mattress or you’re going to jail.   


CeeLo Green Idiotically Tweets about Rape

Eight years ago CeeLo Green asked the world if he was crazy and now, thanks to his horrendous tweets about rape we can all agree upon an answer: yes. Earlier this week, Green pleaded no contest to charges stemming from a 2012 case alleging he slipped a woman ecstasy without her consent and was charged with three years probation and 45 days of community service. Instead of quietly ruminating over his tame sentence, Green took to Twitter. “If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously,” he wrote. “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!” And I’m like, “F*ck you,” and the next day, TBS was like “F*ck you, too” when they canceled his unscripted series The Good Life after one season (though the network says it was unrelated timing). Ain’t that some shit.


The Fappening

For a third story about the non-consensual mastering of a woman’s body, we have the Fappening, when a hacker released hundreds of celebrity nudes onto notorious scum-of-the-internet site 4Chan. Enough of the celebrity nude leaks already. It’s old, it’s not funny, cute, or interesting and it’s equivalent to rape. As Kate Harding said here earlier this week, feminists should not have to be the internet’s mommies. We have more important things to do. Why won’t hackers just stick to socially conscious movements like releasing information about murderer policemen like Anonymous did with Ferguson? Or do they all have to be creepy loners in their mother’s basements digging for nudies? Apparently someone is now including these photos in an art show about Google. That someone chooses to justify this invasion of privacy with wall space at a gallery is just as despicable as the act of illegally releasing the photos to the world itself. Free the female body.