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OurView: Momoa incident indicative of misdirected internet rage

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Each week, the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not necessarily reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week’s editorial board is composed of Viewpoints Editors Lauren Sanchez and Kenny Phipps.

As avid users of the internet, we all know it is a plane that remains throughout  time.  Recently, actor Jason Momoa has received criticism for a joke he made back in 2011 at Comicon. When asked about what he enjoyed about working on the hit tv show, “Game of Thrones,” he joked about being able to “rape beautiful women.”

This comment? Horrifying. Rape is never something to joke about; it is the dehumanization and humiliation of a human being, and making light of it is inexcusable. But Momoa made the joke six years ago, and he apologized for it once the video resurfaced earlier this month.

We need to understand that part of the human experience is growing and learning from your mistakes. Humans’ aren’t born perfect, and in this society we learn a lot of problematic things as children. We learn to be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. However, it is our responsibility to learn to do better, and do our best to right our wrongs.

In the six years since Momoa made that joke, he has learned why what he said was so wrong, and the sincerity of his apology is proof of that. He doesn’t say “I’m sorry IF I offended anyone” or make any excuses for himself. Momoa’s case is special in this regard; normally, the apologies offered by those called out for similar comments range anywhere from silence to “that was just locker room talk.

There also needs to be a clear difference in how our culture uses the internet to attack those who are actively trying to better themselves and are repentant, as Momoa is, and how it can be used to punish and shame people that commit actual crimes and show no remorse. Every day since the report was released by the New York Times detailing his sexual harassment and assault of actresses and staff, more and more women have come forward to accuse famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and corroborate these reports.

The criminal and dehumanizing acts of Harvey Weinstein came back to bite him, in no small part thanks to the enormous power of social media. Bringing scumbags to justice, at least in part is certainly a positive benefit of the ubiquity of the internet.

Momoa may be repentant for his insensitive comments, but he is only a byproduct of this system we have created. Rape jokes are neither funny nor appropriate in any circumstances, however, it worth noting that many of the people calling Momoa out for insensitivity are probably also avid fans of his show, one that features rape and female degradation regularly.

The internet, if used to its full potential, can be society’s magnifying glass; allowing us to root out predatory behavior and announce to the world that these things, whether they be sexual assault or jokes about rape, are not OK. Let’s just hope there can still be room for repentance and a way to judge the severity of each person’s actions.

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OurView: Momoa incident indicative of misdirected internet rage