Germaine Greer is facing a backlash over recent comments she made about the #MeToo movement, which saw her accuse female stars of “spreading” their legs for Harvey Weinstein and then “whingeing” about it.
Feminist icon Greer was named Australian of the Year in Britain during a gala event at Australia House in London on Saturday night (January 20).
In an interview before the event, Greer said: “I want, I’ve always wanted, to see women react immediately. In the old days, there were movies – the Carry On comedies, for example – which always had a man leering after women. And the women always outwitted him – he was a fool. We weren’t afraid of him and we weren’t afraid to slap him down.”
She then added: “What makes it different is when the man has economic power, as Harvey Weinstein has. But if you spread your legs because he said ‘be nice to me and I’ll give you a job in a movie’ then I’m afraid that’s tantamount to consent, and it’s too late now to start whingeing about that.”
“I want women to react here and now,” Greer continued. “I want the woman on a train who feels a man’s hand where it shouldn’t be… to be able to say quite clearly, ‘Stop.’ It’s the same old, same old. What is there about ‘no’ that you don’t understand?”
Addressing the recent backlash against Woody Allen over historic allegations of sexual assault by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow (which he denies), Greer said: “It was 20 years ago, so you want him to stop making movies now? It might be a good idea because he’s probably no good any more.”
Following the interview, Greer has been criticised on social media for her comments, with some accusing the writer of “insensitivity” and being “hideously disappointing and unkind to victims of sexual violence”.
One Twitter user wrote: “I would like to thank Germaine for notifying us that listening to her is largely pointless from now on”.
Wow. I didn’t think Germaine Greer could get worse pic.twitter.com/C5GWryh2B3
— Sophia Banks (@sophiaphotos) January 22, 2018
The Germaine Greer thing is hideously disappointing & unkind to victims of sexual violence, its also factually incorrect "She then added that "in the old days" women would "slap down" men who were assaulting or harassing them." Nope.
— Jingle Pops (@PoppyCocktails) January 23, 2018
It's too early to be this cranky and I only just read former hero Germaine Greer's most recent missive telling Dylan Farrow to "get over" being *sexually abused by her father* as a child. TBH, I'd no platform her for that kind of attitude alone.
— STEMLORD with Delusions of Grandeur (@upulie) January 21, 2018
Germaine Greer is entitled to an opinion, as are we all. In my quest to be a better person, I would like to thank Germaine for notifying us that listening to her is largely pointless from now on. KW. https://t.co/NF9TceBM4j
— Guilty Feminist (@GuiltFemPod) January 23, 2018
Oh how wrong they were to think we care what Germaine Greer has to say
— Samhita Mukhopadhyay (@TheSamhita) January 23, 2018
Greer has not yet responded to the backlash.