For the better part of the last five years, right-wing talk show host and filmmaker John Ziegler has harassed and stalked several now-grown men who were molested by former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky in a misguided effort to prove Sandusky was framed. Despite Ziegler’s denials that he has ever stalked anyone, there is ample proof from his own Twitter feed that he has indeed trolled, stalked, and harassed victims and their families. Even in the face of this, Ziegler has–as of this weekend–managed to retain his post as a contributing writer at Mediaite.
There is really no good answer for why anyone would stoop to such outrageous, despicable, and criminal behavior. But Ziegler tried to provide an answer earlier this week. On Thursday, one of Ziegler’s fellow Sandusky truthers launched a bizarre attack on the therapists who found that Sandusky’s victims had indeed been molested.
@JSpangs44 @VexPith @4TreeClimbers @Adlee7873 @eyeblion @Zigmanfreud @MrEPluribus @DaveMcNitt @jmuns22 @AllPSUfootball @JohnOdermatt These CSA "experts" are almost always women who don't understand that heterosexual young men don't just let old men sexually abuse them.
— Jason Butler (@SouthernILL314) April 6, 2017
Ziegler lapped it up.
@SouthernILL314 @JSpangs44 @VexPith @4TreeClimbers @Adlee7873 @eyeblion @MrEPluribus @DaveMcNitt @jmuns22 @AllPSUfootball @JohnOdermatt It's not a coincidence that the expert who in 1998 said Jerry couldn't be a pedophile was male and that all key people after that was female
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) April 6, 2017
I had to read these tweets twice to believe it. Unless I’m very wrong here, Ziegler is effectively saying that women really can’t be trusted to determine whether a boy has been molested. It is literally impossible to overstate how incredibly sexist this is. If there is any difference between this argument and the Islamist maxim that a woman’s testimony is only worth half that of a man’s testimony, I don’t see it.
Ziegler argues that the victims deliberately perjured themselves on the stand in hopes of wringing massive settlements from Penn State–essentially, the same theory that Sandusky’s lawyers peddled during Sandusky’s 2012 trial. He’s been peddling this line for some time.
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) November 14, 2013
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) November 1, 2013
In order to believe that, you’d have to believe that several teenagers and grown men who had been molested by Sandusky over a 15-year period, and had never met each other before, somehow conspired to frame an innocent man. Simply put, that is not an argument that any serious person would make–and the jury saw right through it.
I’d wondered why Ziegler had continued to peddle this conspiracy theory. Well, at least now we have something resembling an explanation. In his world, since mostly women concluded that Sandusky was a child molester, their arguments aren’t valid. Ziegler may be a chest-beating never-Trumper, but this should serve as a reminder that being a never-Trumper doesn’t automatically guarantee that one has a sense of decency or empathy.
Riddle me this, John. If men are the only ones competent to determine if a boy has been molested, how do you explain the case of Aaron Fisher, better known as Victim One? After all, the psychologist who found that Sandusky had indeed molested Aaron for four-plus years was a man, Mike Gillum. And even if you discount the testimony of the women who found Sandusky was a pedophile, the charges related to Aaron would have been enough to send Sandusky to prison for life–or at the very least, make him an old and decrepit man by the time he got out of prison.
Moreover, your current line doesn’t jibe with the sentiments you yourself expressed in 2007, when the depths of the Catholic child sex abuse scandal were still being uncovered. You said that the victims deserved nothing but sympathy and support. And you didn’t mention anything about the gender of those who found that the abuse indeed occurred then. Why now?
So now we know what it takes for someone to find it even remotely acceptable to harass and stalk victims in this way. In effect, Ziegler is saying that since the therapists who determined that Sandusky was molested aren’t competent to make such a determination, nothing they or the victims say is valid. Therefore, by Ziegler’s despicable “logic,” they deserve to be hounded and stalked in a way that, at the very least, breaches every standard of decency that is known.
This sentiment makes Ziegler’s continued relationship with Mediaite even harder to understand. Contrast this with how SB Nation dealt with the fallout from the publication of a horribly one-sided account of former college football player and police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who was sentenced to 263 years in prison for sexually assaulting dozens of women. That story focused almost entirely on Holtzclaw’s football career, and gave short shrift to the victims. It triggered a firestorm of criticism so intense that SB Nation deleted it within five hours of going live and issued an unreserved apology for what it called “a complete failure” of its editorial process. Within 24 hours of the story being published, SB Nation shuttered its longform vertical, cut ties with the story’s author, and initiated an internal review of how this story managed to get past its editorial safeguards.
In contrast, the silence from Mediaite and its owner, Dan Abrams, has been deafening. In any responsible news organization, Ziegler would have never been hired, and would have been fired as soon as this harassment came to light. This is not acceptable. It’s time to deliver that message to Ziegler loud and clear. Sign this petition telling Mediaite and Abrams to cut ties with Ziegler.
(featured image courtesy Ziegler’s Twitter)