Oh jeezuz, why are people sooo … so … sooo … I don’t have words for so much stupidity. But let’s read the story. It all started with an email by Richard Stallman to an MIT mailserver:
The announcement of the Friday event does an injustice to Marvin Minsky:
“deceased AI ‘pioneer’ Marvin Minsky (who is accused of assaulting
one of Epstein’s victims )”
The injustice is in the word “assaulting”. The term “sexual assault” is so vague and slippery that it facilitates accusation inflation: taking claims that someone did X and leading people to think of it as Y, which is much worse than X.
The accusation quoted is a clear example of inflation. The reference reports the claim that Minsky had sex with one of Epstein’s harem. (See https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/9/20798900/marvin-minsky-jeffrey-epstein-sex-trafficking-island-court-records-unsealed.)
Let’s presume that was true (I see no reason to disbelieve it).
The word “assaulting” presumes that he applied force or violence, in some unspecified way, but the article itself says no such thing.
Only that they had sex.
We can imagine many scenarios, but the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing. Assuming she was being coerced by Epstein, he would have had every reason to tell her to conceal that from most of his associates.
I’ve concluded from various examples of accusation inflation that it is absolutely wrong to use the term “sexual assault” in an accusation.
Whatever conduct you want to criticize, you should describe it with a specific term that avoids moral vagueness about the nature of the criticism.
That’s all he said/posted. Just a clarification of terms but in the new millenium staying rigidly on topic and using correct language doesn’t do you any good. :/So what logically followed was overreaction and a shitstorm:
A robotics engineer received this forwarded email from her friend and started a campaign to remove Stallman. She didn’t want a clarification or apology. All she wanted was to remove Stallman even if it means ‘burning MIT to the ground’.
Well … the result is as unsatisfactory as it is political and hysterical. Anyhoo, don’t you automatically imply that “forced to resign” by all accounts means nothing else but “You’re Fired!”?