The XX Factor

You’re Entitled to Criticize Amy Schumer All You Want—But You’re Not Entitled to a Response

Amy Schumer speaks at a press conference calling for tighter gun laws on August 3, 2015 in New York City. 

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Have you been seeing tweets from people who are mad at Amy Schumer when you log into Twitter? Are you too lazy to try to figure out why? Allow me to attempt to explain as briefly as possible. Schumer has a history of collaborating with a comedian named Kurt Metzger, who has written for and acted on her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer. Metzger wrote a Facebook post on Sunday in which he essentially argued that people should not believe women who claim that they have been raped. (Metzger was responding to reports that a male comedian had been banned from several New York comedy clubs after multiple women accused him of raping them.) On Monday, Metzger followed up with a second post in which he told rape victims, “Don’t fucking complain about the police not helping if you didn’t bother going to the police at all.” Metzger also has a history of harassing women who think that many rape jokes are not funny.

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In short, Metzger is—at the very best—ignorant about how the police treat rape victims and insensitive to the trauma of being raped. Understandably, many bystanders found Metzger’s speech incompatible with the feminist ethos of Inside Amy Schumer, and asked Schumer why she continues to work with him. (Revelist points out that Metzger is credited as a writer on 39 episodes of Inside Amy Schumer, the most recent of which aired in June.) Schumer responded this afternoon:

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Neither Comedy Central nor Schumer has clarified whether Metzger was fired from the show—but you might imagine that Schumer’s statements would mollify her critics, right? Wrong! People are still mad at Schumer because she has apparently been blocking people on Twitter who have questioned or criticized her about Metzger.

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The writer and comedian Liz Arcury told the Daily Dot, “She had made her name for herself by being a champion of women, and by ignoring us—and literally ‘blocking’ us—she is abandoning what she made such a point to tell everyone that she stands for.” According to Revelist, Schumer’s “tweet condemning Metzger’s words still doesn’t explain why she thought it appropriate to block women on Twitter.”

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This line of criticism is weak. People are entitled to ask Schumer why she has worked with Metzger in the past and whether she will continue to do so in the future—but they are not entitled to a personalized response. Schumer is entitled to block anyone she wants on Twitter. No one is owed access to anyone else on any online forum, and people are allowed to curate their Twitter mentions however they want. Blocking is not an aggressive act, and the only person who gets to decide which accounts are “appropriate” for Amy Schumer to block on Twitter is Amy Schumer.

Most feminists don’t think it’s cool for men to demand responses from women on the internet, nor do they think it’s cool to hold women responsible for men’s transgressions. The same general principles apply here. Criticize Schumer all you want, but don’t say that she’s failed women because of the way she chooses to manage her experience of Twitter.

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