Free Write

Homophobia or Harassment?

The response to this video has been a fascinating one to observe. The Queer community has been in an uproar, denouncing Metcalf as homophobic due to his response to Bradford and his opposition to gay marriage. I won’t go into my deep qualms with the vocabulary of ‘homophobe’ – we don’t have enough time – but what I will point out is the fact that everyone has lost sight of the greater issue.

Daryl Metcalfe was being touched by Matt Bradford without his consent in a fashion that made him uncomfortable. In fact, Metcalfe describes a history of him repeatedly asking Bradford not to touch him, yet Bradford continued to do it anyway.

Simply because a man is gay and part of a marginalized group does not excuse him from harassment. In fact, it speaks to his white, male priveldge that he felt he COULD continue to touch Metcalfe after having been repeatedly asked to stop. What we witness on his video is Metcalfe demanding – AGAIN – (in a pretty tacky fashion, admittedly) Bradford stop touching him. The bottom line is the man felt it was harassment, and he spoke up. Isn’t that what #MeToo is about? Or are we prepared to dismiss Metcalfe’s harassment because doesn’t support gay marriage?

Regardless of what Bradford INTENDED his touches to be, intent does not equal impact. Let me say that for the people that didn’t hear me in the back: Intent does NOT equal impact. It is QUITE evident that Bradford isn’t flirting, and isn’t intending for his touch to be sexual – hence his total embarassment at being called out in such a fashion – but that’s not what Metcalf felt. He felt that his personal space was being infringed upon and that Bradford’s touch was being forced upon him, too. We shouldn’t lose sight of that because its gravely important.

Further, I’m disgusted by how his very earnest request that Bradford keep his hands to himself is brushed off and laughed at by each member of that council. And we wonder why men don’t report sexual abuse/assault/harassment.

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3 thoughts on “Homophobia or Harassment?”

  1. I think a lot of the laughter was the shocked/embarassed kind because Metcalf’s reaction is so disproportionate to the actual incident in the video. Simply calmly stating that, as he had previously noted, he would prefer Bradford not touch his arm would undoubtedly have gotten a much different reaction. Metcalf making it into an “I’m not gay” thing when the touch was not even remotely sexual made the situation very strange and made people disinclined to listen to him. I am not a fan of casual physical contact either, so I can sympathize with him not wanting a colleague to touch his arm even with no ill intent behind it, but that rant was not the way to address it.

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    1. I think what we’re seeing here is his desperation. From what I gathered from reading around, he’d asked Bradford on many occasions to no touch him – yet it still happened. I think that’s probably what caused him to explode in such a way, hoping that it might get through this guy’s head once and for all. What a mess.

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      1. Yeah, it’s definitely a mess. Bradford should have stopped when first asked. But without knowing the background, the video looks like a huge overreaction and so Metcalfe loses credibility, especially since he chose to make it into a sexual/gay thing – no reason at all to say he has a wife (and Bradford is also married!).

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