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Beware of Sex in the Social Media Age (Because the Internet Is Forever)

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Jason Lee Weight is a young British writer/director who recently began producing an animation series called Sam Sweetmilk and, according to a Tumblr blogger named Rosie, Jason Lee Weight is a rapist:

This may be triggering so *TRIGGERWARNING*. It was typed in one sitting, so might be a bit all over the place.

For a while I’ve wanted to write truthfully about an assault that took place close to 2 years ago. I want others to be aware of the perpetrator and what they have done, for my sake and others. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m shaking as I type, it’s bloody hard to do this.

Early on the 28th June 2014 I was raped by Jason Lee Weight who is the director/writer of Sam Sweetmilk. . . .

Her 1,000-word account of this incident is either (a) libel or (b) every young man’s worst nightmare in the age of social media.

Let us step back from the (alleged) details of of what (allegedly) transpired between Rosie and Jason on that June night in 2014. Because I am a professional journalist, I understand the risk of repeating what people write on their blogs without including the word “allegedly” and giving the accused party a fair chance to respond.

Jason Lee Weight’s Twitter account is currently locked and we haven’t heard his side of the story. For all we know, he’s got an alibi for the evening of June 28, 2014. Jason Lee Weight might claim he did not attend that party and never met Rosie, who explains in her Tumblr account that on the night in question she was (a) experiencing “withdrawal from my meds” for depression and anxiety, and (b) suffering from vaginismus, which made “penetrative sex” extremely painful for her.

Allegedly, I hasten to add.

As a professional journalist, I am aware of the risk of repeating what people write on their blogs, even what they write about themselves. Young people think they can use the Internet to publish all kinds of weird personal stuff — their herpes infections, for example — and that these strange revelations should never have negative consequences. (It’s“harassment” and “stalking” if you make fun of Ella Dawson’s crusade to “destigmatize” herpes.) Many young people have a Special Snowflake™ mentality, expecting the world to be treat them with deference and kindness, and then claim to be emotionally traumatized when they discover that the world actually doesn’t give a damn about them.

The Special Snowflake™  believes the world is supposed to be a “safe space,” and that social media is like a support group or a therapy session. A young woman can reveal her most intimate secrets on Tumblr or Twitter or  Facebook, and what could possibly go wrong?

 

So here we have Rosie, telling the world that she lives in North East Bedfordshire, where she is suffering from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder and — oh, by the way — she has vaginismus and was (allegedly) raped by Jason Lee Weight in June 2014.

Yeah, let’s just put that on the Internet, and also publish photos of yourself topless, Rosie. Because what could possibly go wrong?

Here’s a word parents need to teach their kids: “Crazy.”

What part of “crazy” do I need to explain here? The Internet is forever, boys and girls. Go ask former Rep. Anthony Weiner what he was thinking before he started sending photos of his penis to women. My old buddyAndrew Breitbart turned that into the biggest political story of 2011, and you might have thought former Rep. Anthony Weiner would have learned his lesson, but no, he got caught again in 2013 having some kind ofperverted Internet fling with a sleazy admirer named Sydney Leathers.

My teenage sons got an earful of warnings after that. While I was reporting the breaking developments in the second WeinerGate scandal, it dawned on me that kids (and obviously, too many adults who should know better) are simply not thinking before they hit the “send” button on their text messages and emails. They are not thinking about the possible consequences of clicking the “publish” button on their social media accounts. Nor are people thinking about what they are doing in the real world in an age where everybody’s cellphone has a video camera, where anything a guy does in his dating relationships may become the subject of an online rant by an angry ex-girlfriend, where a guy meets a girl at a party and has what seems to him a consensual hookup only to discover, nearly two years later, that she’s telling the world that he’s a rapist.

Rosie’s account of that night is a classic “he-said/she-said” situation. Her story of that (allegedly) “horrific” June 2014 encounter seems entirely plausible, and Jason Lee Weight’s (alleged) behavior is indefensible. Rosie says she filed a report with police “a long time after” this encounter, but a lack of evidence made prosecution impossible. Because I am not a prosecutor or a detective or any sort of “activist,” however, the question of Jason Lee Weight’s guilt or innocence is not actually relevant to my point. Discussing this allegation in terms of “rape culture” is above my pay grade. What I am trying to do here, as a professional journalist, is to convey the reality of what sex means in the social media age. And what I am also trying to do, as a father of six, the youngest three of whom are teenagers, is to explain to parents, teachers and other responsible adults why young people must be warned very strongly about these dangers.

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