Rape Accusations Against a UCB Performer Have Sparked an Ugly But Important Debate in the Comedy Community
Last weekend, Facebook filled up with posts by various comedians and writers in New York after news broke that both UCB theaters in the city decided to ban a male comedian after multiple women came forward with rape allegations against him. Over the next few days, a dialogue opened up online about how to handle rape and sexual assault accusations in comedy, and while the women who came forward received a lot of support online, the alleged rapist also had his fair share of defenders. One of those defenders was Kurt Metzger, a standup and writer for Inside Amy Schumer with a bit of a history of harassing women online who made the below Facebook post on Sunday:
Guys I have just heard some disturbing news, this guy Jiff Dilfyberg is a rapist! I know because women said it and that’s all I need! Never you mind who they are. They are women! ALL women are as reliable as my bible! A book that, much like a women, is incapable of lying!
You think I would dare ask my God, Lord Jesus Christ the Nazarene to provide any “details” or “evidence” of any kind before I believe in him? Or a woman? No, because that be that would be like hammering the nails into Jesus My Lord’s feet! Or re-raping the victim’s good hole!!! Or asking for proof in a murder trial!
Anyway Jiff Dilfyberg is dangerous! So fucking dangerous that we can’t go to the police to report his many rapes! That would just be tooooo rapey, and the women are too brave for that. If we ask them to even merely also post a vague account of what happened before asking us to believe that would like re-raping their rape! These women are as BRAVE as they are sore!
Now for the good news! That motherfucker is now banned from the Times Square Art Center And Halloween Adventure! Yeah let’s see you try and rape anyone without specifically being at The Times Square Art Center and Halloween Adventure, now, you fucking rapist! BAM! Lady Ghostbusters! Little girl looks up at us! Tear. “I WILL go to college after all!” Don’t mention it, little girl. Just knowing I got to be part of an unthinking herd of mewling progressive cattle is reward enough!”
And here’s another post he made a day later:
Don’t fucking complain about the police not helping if you didn’t bother going to the police at all. “Why aren’t the rape kits being tested??” Because instead of actually educating women with useful information on what to do if they are victimized, you blather nonsense about “culture” and then tell them being weak is being strong. There should be 24 hour pressure every day on cops to investigate every rape. Btw, in NYC, the real svu takes that shit real seriously. If you think they don’t you don’t know wtf you are talking about.
Since the initial post, Metzger has made over 20 Facebook posts about the allegations. Whether you think he’s a rape apologist who doesn’t understand the complications of going to the police as a rape victim or a valiant fighter against the online “lynch mob” mentality, one thing’s for sure: He’s unfortunately made an important discussion about how rape and sexual assault accusations are handled at comedy theaters into a debate about himself. This has prompted numerous comedians to speak out against him on Twitter, Reductress to devote its entire website to rape culture-related articles today (some headlines: “We Built This Robot to Explain Rape Culture to Men” and “This Brave Man Hates Social Media Witch Hunts So He Decided to Start His Own”), and his boss Amy Schumer to comment on Twitter:
I am so saddened and disappointed in Kurt Metzger. He is my friend and a great writer and I couldn’t be more against his recent actions.
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) August 17, 2016
Kurt does not work for me. He is not a writer on my show. Please stop asking me about it. His words are not mine.
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) August 17, 2016
Not long after Schumer’s tweet, Metzger posted a lengthy apology on Facebook, which you can read in full below:
None of my venom is for any victims of anything. I wouldn’t blame a victim for ANYTHING. Hell if you are FRIENDS with a victim I don’t blame you for spreading around that this guy is a rapist.
I was talking to the perennial social media mob who, without knowing victim or accused, GLEEFULLY want to be part of social mob justice. Some of whom are my friends. And I apologize for using the term “lynch mob.” Lynch mobs sometimes actually hang a rapist. This one merely got a rapist banned from a monthly UCB show and then patted themselves on the head. I am always on the side of the VICTIMS, and I felt that this does them a great disservice.
I admit to deliberately being as inflammatory as possible with my language to deliberately anger the mob of people who say, “You are with us or you keep your mouth shut.” I was aware they would twist what I said to try and blackball me from whatever they could. I don’t want to cater to these bullies. Again, I am not talking about ANY victims. Again, I don’t even know who they are or how many there are.
My point, which I could have made more tactfully, was this: Why did the story of what actually happened come out AFTER this guy is declared a rapist? I will listen to ANY victim’s account. All that was given initially is “psssst Aaron’s a rapist pass it on.” My point was that no one seems disturbed by this. No one sees that down the road, next time we might get it wrong.
I did not “yell at victims to go to police.” They are VICTIMS. I am yelling at the people who said, “Women CAN’T go to the police! They have to work outside the system!” I think that’s utter bullshit and leads to rapists walking free. It hurts the victims of sexual assault. I hear this and it enrages me. I believe that any accusation of sexual assault is a serious charge that should be taken seriously, and that UCB should have notified the police or at least encourage the victims to go to police before attempting to handle it themselves with an “internal investigation”.
If my disjointed swatting at biplanes like King Kong confused and hurt reasonable people who agree with me, I apologize. It was never my intent to antagonize victims or their supporters. My defensiveness came from feeling deliberately misunderstood. I am not a “rape apologist.” My position has always been in defense of the victims of assault. I realize that when emotions are running high, it might not be the time to aggressively philosophize on a sensitive topic. I stand by the points I made, but I sincerely apologize for using inflammatory language to make them.
Metzger is credited as an Inside Amy Schumer writer for all 39 episodes of the series, so it’s unclear whether Schumer’s tweet means she’s decided to fire Metzger or if she’s referring to the fact that they’re not in production right now. Comedy Central has not yet confirmed that Metzger is no longer a writer on the show, which should be interesting considering it’s nominated for Outstanding Writing at the Emmys set to air next month. We’ll update this post if Comedy Central makes an official comment.
In the meantime, below are some encouraging words on the situation from standup Cameron Esposito, and if you’re looking for a different perspective, Barry Crimmins shared some very balanced thoughts on the victims as well as Metzger’s posts today that are well worth the read. And definitely pay Reductress a visit today, if for nothing else than to read the perfectly executed “I Anonymously Reported My Rape for the Anonymous Attention.”
To female comics in New York & everywhere. Re: Kurt. pic.twitter.com/IRlwODEjpk
— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) August 17, 2016