June 05, 2018

Demi Lovato and her prank: Why sexual harassment is a bad punchline

We should all know by now that sexual harassment isn’t okay in any context. If you grab someone without consent, it’s considered as such—this goes across all genders.

Just yesterday, Demi Lovato drew flak for admitting to a terrible prank she did to her bodyguard Max Lea. “I hired a lady of the night in Vegas and sent her to Max’s hotel room to surprise him. She walked into his room without permission and grabbed him in his ‘area’ and he freaked the f*ck out,” she answered a fan in a now-deleted tweet.

Screengrabbed by BBC News

Demi later addressed the critics in a sarcastic tweet, saying that everyone will get offended over the smallest of things. (Not the point, Demi.) She also told netizens, “Of all people I know about sexual abuse. You don’t have to educate me.”

After a while, Demi aplogized “if anyone was offended” by the tweet. Not necessarily for her questionable actions towards her bodyguard.

While following this controversy, I saw fans who defended Demi’s actions, claiming that Max didn’t think anything bad about the prank. News flash: It doesn’t make what happened more acceptable. You may be laughing at it, but it was still harassment. This also proves that there’s a disparity with how people view stories of male victims. They’re always expected to suck it up and move on.

Now we’re not invalidating Demi’s experience of sexual abuse. Still, she shouldn’t use that as an excuse for her actions. You can’t fight against one cause while doing something similar to another person—especially someone you closely know.

Sexual misconduct in general isn’t a laughing matter, nor should it be used to entertain yourself and other people. One recent example is Pres. Rodrigo Duterte kissing a married woman for the sake of gimmickry. When people continue to laugh, cheer, or cover up these actions, they become normalized and minimized to a punchline rather than a serious problem.

And many still wonder why rape culture exists. Wake up, people!


Art by Marian Hukom

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Related stories:
Sexual misconduct is never a laughing matter, but is it always a joke?
Talking about men who were sexually harassed doesn’t make you sexist
How rape culture starts with simple words
Why “boy talk” is the worst excuse for sexual harassment

Filed Under:

bodyguard, celebrities, culture, Demi Lovato, Prank, rape culture, sexual harassment, Sexual Misconduct

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