Reports are out that Christian Bale, star of the new hit Batman movie, has been arrested in London for the alleged assault of his mother and sister. I will admit that when I saw these reports this morning, I had that brief moment of disbelief – “Him? Could he really do that?” – that is so common when apparent “good guy” actors get accused of stuff like this. As if being a great actor makes one immune to doing fucked up, ugly, or violent things; as if one could possibly know anything about stars from the little that filters through the media or their performances; as if violent, abusive acts are only committed by people who have been doing so from birth. (I’ll also admit feeling a rather base and thoroughly selfish sadness that the news could seriously taint my viewing of The Dark Knight, a movie that I’ve been anxiously awaiting and am planning on seeing very soon. Suckily frivolous and beside the point, I know.)
I guess it was my morning to be shocked by things that are sadly par for the course in our fucked up, sexist society, because I was even more shocked by some of the responses that people have had in the comments of news sites and blogs reporting the incident – many people insisting that we not prejudge Bale before the full facts come out (sure, OK, I’ll give you that) while judging his mother and sister as lying, greedy, scheming vultures in the same breath. See here, here and here, where one guy goes on the defensive before anyone even talks about Bale and complains:
I hope you’ll indulge my annoyance, but I’m getting a little tired of the “guilty until proven innocent” anytime someone accuses some dude of domestic abuse.
Oh yeah, because that’s how it usually plays out. Same with rape allegations. And especially when a celebrity is involved. Yeah, no one ever doubts, slanders, and pillories the women in question! Give me a fucking break.
Between the people so quick to absolve a man and condemn women, the ridiculously imbalanced treatment of a rich famous white dude by the London police (wonder if a poor/non-famous/non-white person would be given time to take care of business before getting hauled in?), and the allegations themselves, the whole thing is pretty sickening.
(And yeah, I hope that somehow the allegations are untrue as well, but because I hope that women weren’t assaulted. That should be the most important thing here – not people having their movie superhero’s rep go untarnished.)
cross-posted at Feministe
ETA: I changed the name of this post from “Because clearly, Batman is the true victim here” because that didn’t really get at the point I was trying to make. I don’t know if this one does, either, but it annoys me less. Sometimes I hate coming up with titles for these posts!