What I Do When It’s “Just Rumors”
Hank Green

When a prolific creator is publicly ousted for taking advantage of their platform to abuse people, not out of malice, but out of ignorance, is there a point in time when their sentence is served? I’m not saying we necessarily forgive anyone, but I’m curious to your thoughts on whether there comes a time when we acknowledge that some of these people were just young and stupid? That they made terrible mistakes, and that they were terrible people at that time, but are still capable of change?

I’ve been on the bandwagon of writing these people off indefinitely for their behaviour. It’s just that I feel the core problem is not in them, but the culture in which these people were raised. This subversively pro-rape culture and lack of proper education around these matters.

If they didn’t know better or weren’t of healthy mind at the time, does that make them a bad person? Or the systems around them?

Some of the people involved in the aforementioned scandals have clearly failed to learn or acknowledge how they were in the wrong. But the ones that may have learned are the ones that have (rightfully(?)) disappeared. In their wake, all that’s left of them is the atrocities they committed years ago. They’ve allowed themselves to be permabanned from the internet. Their names have been (rightfully(?)) tarnished, and they are no longer allowed in this realm as who they are, because of who they were.

I guess, at the core, my question is this: How do we expect to improve this situation if we uphold the belief that these people can’t change for the better?

If they can’t change, why should we try and fix it, if it can’t be fixed? I’m obviously against victim blaming, but if we hold the notion that these abusers can’t learn or change for the better, aren’t we insinuating that the fault lies with the victims’ and their lack of education on the matter?

And if the abusers can change for the better, when is that allowed to be accepted? We suffer from an education system that’s failing in this realm, and that’s partially to blame for these mistakes. Obviously it still takes a certain kind of malice to do what some of these people did, but someone sentenced to prison does their time, and is then released. They get that opportunity to learn and return to life. These kids and young adults have the world watching when they are making their terrible choices and actions. Yes, they earn what they’re subjected to when ousted. Yes, they’ll never look as good in our eyes, but when are they allowed to continue with their lives if they learn from their mistakes?

Some behaved too heinously to be forgiven. A lot have shirked the blame and responsibility, and they’re welcome to the ongoing antagonism. But should we continue to vilify those that accept their fault, and are willing to learn and to change?

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