Ben Stein on Strauss-Kahn: Economists don’t rape, maids are “complete lunatics”

by Loretta Kemsley

If he was so intimidating, why did she immediately feel un-intimidated enough to alert the authorities as to her story?

Ben Stein’s question in The American Spectator  is stunning — and terrifying. Misogynists have long complained women don’t immediately report rape right away, inferring this proves they are lying and trying to frame an innocent man. Now Stein is arguing the exact opposite: because she reported the rape right away, she’s lying and trying to frame an innocent man.

Blue Nude, c.1902 by Pablo Picasso

Blue Nude, c.1902 by Pablo Picasso


How did Stein arrive at this depraved version of rape victims as vicious offenders? The answer is clear: our culture gave him permission. Fifty years after the second wave of feminists began working to change the national outlook on rape, our society still teems with rape apologists who will do and say anything to discredit the victim and protect the criminal.

Have we finally hit the nauseating, repulsive bottom, or can the cruel spite of misogynists be mined for even deeper malevolence? Will rape victims have to face this new line of condemnation in the courtroom? It is possible. Once an excuse for rape is tossed out into public, it can become fodder for attorneys trying to convince juries the rape victim is evil.

But that isn’t the worst of Stein’s argument.

This is a man with a lifetime of public service, on a distinguished level, to put it mildly. Was Riker’s Island really the place to put him on the allegations of one human being?

One human being is obviously code for “one lying woman.” Given that most rapists don’t commit their crimes in front of witnesses, just how many women would he have to rape in order for him to deserve to go to jail?

Stein’s argument is right out of the Old Testament where women were automatically considered liars and couldn’t report a rape or testify in court unless there were witnesses.

Wonder if he’d make the same argument if he was assaulted and there were no witnesses to back him up? Or if any man suffered any crime and was the sole person who reported it.

Part of his rant is laughable:

People who commit crimes tend to be criminals, for example. Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes? Can anyone tell me of any heads of nonprofit international economic entities who have ever been charged and convicted of violent sexual crimes? Is it likely that just by chance this hotel maid found the only one in this category? Maybe Mr. Strauss-Kahn is guilty but if so, he is one of a kind, and criminals are not usually one of a kind.

Umm, yeah. There have been several as a matter of fact. Jon Stewart did a marvelous job listing them, but let’s pretend for a moment no other economist has ever met Stein’s definition. Would that really mean Strauss-Kahn could not have committed rape? If so, why not? Are all economists castrated? Even eunuchs can rape. Are all economists genitally deformed? Even impotent men can rape. One has to wonder at the senility behind such an obtuse question.

Stein’s other arguments are more alarming

The prosecutors say that Mr. Strauss-Kahn “forced” the complainant to have oral and other sex with him. How? Did he have a gun? Did he have a knife? He’s a short fat old man.

When will we be free of inaccurate myths about rape and rapists? Is he really arguing that short men never rape? Or fat men? In the age of Viagra, what has old got to do with the ability to rape? Or does Stein pretend all old men are weaklings, unable even to defend themselves, let alone be a predator preying upon women?

A CNN reporter said French political candidates are not penalized for womanizing because the French want proof their candidates are virile. Setting aside that bizarre electoral requirement for another day, let’s consider Strauss-Kahn from their point of view. Since Strauss-Kahn was the leading contender to be president of France, Stein’s assessment of him as impotent and helpless is offset by the millions who wanted to elect him based on their view of his virility.

Many rapists never use a weapon and many rape victims don’t fight back lest they provoke the predator into killing them, so how are these questions relevant to the crime?

 I have had hotel maids that were complete lunatics, stealing airline tickets from me, stealing money from me, throwing away important papers, stealing medications from me. How do we know that this woman’s word was good enough to put Mr. Strauss-Kahn straight into a horrific jail?

This woman, who happens to be black, from Africa, a Muslim (Stein and Strauss-Kahn are both Jews), a single mother and a lowly peon fit only to serve the rich obviously should not be allowed to accuse anyone, let alone a member of the ruling class. This is made even more obvious when Stein asserts this is class warfare:

In what possible way is the price of the hotel room relevant except in every way: this is a case about the hatred of the have-nots for the haves, and that’s what it’s all about.

He’s right. His entire argument is about class warfare, with his elitist snobbery leaking from every pore in this tacky whine about the unfairness heaped upon this lord of finance:

He’s being treated shamefully…Did he really have to be put in Riker’s Island? Couldn’t he have been given home detention with a guard? This is a man with a lifetime of public service, on a distinguished level, to put it mildly…Hadn’t he earned slightly better treatment than that?

But Stein accomplished a spectacular feat. He used every obnoxious, bigoted argument the sex offender defenders use to demean and degrade in their quest to inflict the maximum humiliation on rape victims. However, I’m not sure the misogynists will be pleased with his performance. His arguments are so blatant it is hard to imagine how even the most ardent of the champions and admirers of sexual predators can dare endorse them.

Yes, it is hard to imagine — but they will. Because our society openly and with great gusto supports the violator of women rather than his victims.

25 Responses to “Ben Stein on Strauss-Kahn: Economists don’t rape, maids are “complete lunatics””

  1. Not surprisingly, Ben Stein is anti-choice. These kinds of things always seem to go together, don’t they…

    Hmm, I think I get it know…I guess it’s pro-life to attempt to forcibly impregnate random women nowadays?

    Good god.

  2. He says, ” I have had hotel maids that were complete lunatics, stealing airline tickets from me, stealing money from me, throwing away important papers, stealing medications from me.”

    Oh, my, my, my 😮 Did he report these “violations” right away, or did he wait? Why did he leave money in his room? Perhaps the quarter he said was stolen rolled under the bed. Did he look? He was probably just provoking the maid, enticing her to theft. It’s really his fault. You’d think that if money had been stolen from him, he would have been more careful and not left his medications lying promiscuously about in the room. Next airline tickets? When will the guy learn from his mistakes? Anyone knows that you should lock your valuables in the hotel safe. I suppose he had “valuable” papers sitting around on the floor, crumpled up, next to the wastebasket. Why does he not stay in better hotels? Or stay in his room and guard his belongings? Why not take these things with him instead of leaving them behind? His story does not hold together. No one could have ALL these things happen to him. No one is this careless. He must be some kind of an attention seeker and liar. But wait, how did he know it was the maid? Did he catch her at it? Ok, I think it was some other guy who robs rooms. You know, a professional robber. Did Stein make claims to his insurance company for the lost items? Uh Huh. I thought so. This guy is not to be believed. He sounds like a complete lunatic. (seriously, I do think he sounds like a lunatic when he claims this stuff).

    But mainly, I find his implication, equating the loss of his belongings to rape highly offensive.

  3. Since the beginning of time, men have used force against…Anyone? Anyone? Anyone, but mostly women, to assert their dominance as a…Class? Class? Class.
    I say we make a something d-o-o doll of Stein.
    (This bullshit reminds of all the Assange apologists who – without any proof – defended him, because of course if he shares their politics he couldn’t possibly have assaulted those stupid loudmouth bitches. And also that second wave feminism arose from disgust at left-wing men sucking each other’s dicks and keeping women down.)

  4. This story makes me want to spit bullets. I am enraged and appalled that anyone would say such things about a rape victim and her rapist but especially a celebrity doing so speaks to the depth of his unapologetic misogyny. Equally enraging is why a violent criminal is allowed to move into a luxury apartment instead of remaining under lock and key like all the other violent criminals. Class privilege is in full glory here. I really do hate the world we live in. It’s just too much sometimes, you know?

  5. this is an excellent takedown of ben steins comments loretta. i hadnt seen this, and you are right: this is so over the top its difficult to believe he will be supported in this. but at the same time, we all know he will be. i have to say, i am fascinated now, to see the lenghts that the MRAs and rapist apologists will go to to defend his every word, and to defend these rape myths. thanks for the heads up!

  6. Regretably the misogynisitic women-blaming Ben Stein is engaging will be widely accepted as ‘truth’ by Joe and Josephine Public because Stein’s lies are not new but have been circulating for centuries.

    Never, ever must white powerful men be held to account for their crimes against women and particularly white men’s crimes against women of colour.

    But we also need to remember a prominent white powerful male who was once President of Israel was successfully prosecuted, convicted and sentenced for committing serial rape against women and also subjecting innumerable women to sexual assault and/or sexual harassment. However, this white male rapist was not charged soon enough because his public political position protected him and it was his ‘public respectability’ rather than his sexual predatory behaviour to women which enabled him to abuse his position of power. This white male whose name is Moshe Katsan believed his maleness and political power made him above the law and for once a powerful white male was brought to justice. But most powerful white men are never charged, let alone convicted of their crimes against women and that is why Stein is doing his utmost to discredit the woman who has been subjected to male sexual violence.

    Stein’s opinion piece is dangerous because the woman herself is not allowed to refute his lies and instead doubtless we will be bombarded with similar women-hating pseudo journalism written by white male supremacists – because men always rush to protect their white brothers when these men are charged with crimes against women.

    Stein is rape apologist and a white male supremacist. But that statement alone does not negate the fact Stein’s misogynistic and hysterical article has been published in a circulation which has a wide readership.

    As regards claims made by Stein that Strauss-Khahn is a man incapable of committing rape is so nonsensical but it will be believed. Missing is the fact any man because he is male is entitled to sexually assault women if he chooses and age has nothing to do with those men who make the choice to prey on women and girls. Men aged 80 years have been convicted of raping women but Stein conveniently suffers temporary amnesia on that fact.

  7. Katie, love your role reversal. It sure fits. It’s funny. I’ve never had such problems with maids. I suppose all of those things could happen, but why so often to him? I’m guessing there’s a bit of lying in that sentence in order to try to discredit her simply for being one of the “complete lunatic” class, rather like all women being “hysterics.”

    Love everyone else’s comments too. I could not believe my eyes as I read his hate screed. Just had to share it.

  8. This is a great counter-point by counter-point, Loretta. I just love the idea that dudes in charge of global institutions that make it their goal to cheat non-western nations at every turn would *never* sexually assault someone. Like… first of all, it’s an odd thing to link to together, but if you do want to link it together, it seems that causing a whole bunch of worldwide racist violence probably doesn’t make you too kind towards individuals either (let alone black women, as in this case).

    And Ben Stein is an ass.

  9. the “only criminals commit crimes” was really priceless. the fact that this sexual predator is committing crimes, and that therefore he is a criminal, doesnt seem to register at all. or, its not supposed to. this was a very skillful manipulation on steins part, i am sure. as an attorney and political speech writer, he is trained in the “art of persuasion” and is a professional liar, but not everyone who listens to him knows that, or is smart enough to figure it out (and it helps that they already believe the rape myths and toe the misogynist party-line too).

  10. Great truths, FCM and Lishra.

    The man is a liar. There is no doubt. His entire essay is a lie designed to blame the victim and free the criminal.

    And yes, the IMF is ruthless in taking over countries. Its male employees are ruthless in hunting women too. Here’s a NYT article on the subject:

    At I.M.F., Men on Prowl and Women on Guard
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/business/20fund.html

  11. Katie, that comment alone deserve a post of it’s own. I nearly snorted my tea all over my keyboard. It really is a double standard that he can accuse because he is a “have” and she can’t because she is a “have-not”. And geez I wonder if “have’s” like him made people like her the “have-nots”.

    Sex with consent is not rape, so let him proof he had consent. The burden of proof is on the claimant, logically speaking.

  12. Hannah, loved your play on words. How perfect. Wish I had that kind of wit.

  13. Stein says, “Can anyone tell me any economists who have been convicted of violent sex crimes? Can anyone tell me of any heads of nonprofit international economic entities who have ever been charged and convicted of violent sexual crimes? Is it likely that just by chance this hotel maid found the only one in this category?”

    I answer:
    Mr. Stein, being someone who presumably understands math and statistics, having long commented on the area of economics for mainstream media and who has provided investment information to individuals, you do have a unique way of applying fundamental statistical concepts like outliers. You assume both Mr. Strauss-Kahn and “the hotel maid” (who you do not name) were outliers. Given that Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s propensity toward rape was finally brought to light, it is highly likely that you need to apply more mainstream statistical concepts. According to the current Time magazine, Mr. Strauss-Kahn, has been raping for decades. A long line of women and men have come forward with information about this. Given the likely numbers of women who report the same pattern he repeated with the woman he raped, it was statistically probable that his “untoward, womanizing” behavior would come to light eventually. That seems a more apt way to apply statistics, or to deal with probabilities. You did mention in point 2 that “no one had come forward in France” to accuse him. I believe that this is where you made your mistake in choosing to think of this as a case of outliers. You did not research your subject well enough before deciding which statistical concept to apply. Before stating that no one had come forward, you should have done your homework. Tsk, tsk. However, given that you believe in Creationism, I suspect that you reason in ways obscure to the average person, and you may not need homework to come to conclusions involving math and science.

    h ttp://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2072209,00.html (I disabled the link to the Time story, not knowing what the policy is for posting them here).

    So, here’s another statistical problem for you. I came to a conclusion myself, but you may have a different way of reasoning:
    1. Given: A significant number of males who rise to high levels of power are sociopaths or narcissists, or have those tendencies. (Based on work of Dr. Robert Hare, one of the world’s foremost experts in these personality disorders, see Snakes in Suits).
    2. Male sociopaths and narcissists are frequently violent in their abuse of their victims and have many victims, most of them women, and the abuse is usually rape in the case of women.
    3 Generally these s/n males choose women who will not be believed, threaten the women so they will be afraid to come forward, or choose women who will remain silent for some other reason (for example, so as not to hurt the chances of a political party, for example, the socialist party in France).
    4. These levels of power involve money and whole economic systems, hence a certain number of these males will be economists.
    5. How many women will have to be raped before we have an “outlier” who comes forward and makes the accusation of rape?
    6. Statistically speaking, how many women, on average, will have to have been raped before one comes forward with an accusation.

    For an additional challenge, you might try to estimate the following:
    Using information provided in the previous problem, how many female economists working for international nonprofit entities are likely to be “coerced into affairs” and “sexual harrassment” by their boss? Would the male’s career remain unscathed? Would the female economist be “made redundant”? What are the probabilities that this would happen? (Hint: Google “Piroska Nagy” to help solve this problem). If it seems unlikely, given that there are so few male economists working for international nonprofit entities, and even rarer to find female economists working for international nonprofit entities, how would you statistically account for this occurring?

  14. Thank you Loretta for this excellent post. Katie, well said.

  15. I think we should refer Stein to Susan Brownmillers work, for starters.
    As Rad-fems we start with the proposition that ‘All Men are Rapists’…….and then we embed the belief that , All men benefit from the existence of rape’. And all men apparently fantasise about rape.

    All men know that 99% of the time they can rape and get away with it……re-inforced by porn and deep misogynist paradigms enshrined in religion , state and law.

    I have huge empathy for the womon involved in the Kahn case, she will be tried by the media and all kinds of shite will be thrown at her…..I hope rad fems in USA will rally support and make their presence known on this……..

  16. Thankfully the hotel maid was in a union and reported the incident straight away. They helped her in making her complaint to the police and will hopefully help her with the aftermath. The police only charged Strauss Kahn after it assessed all the evidence. But of course patriarchs like ben stein will never admit to the truth, opting only to peddle myths to stoke up the hatred.

  17. Yay, ybawife, those are the accurate premises for such reasoning! . . Susan Brownmiller would be a good start.

    I’m glad she had the union. In reading the Time piece, it was clear that many, many women who were more privileged than she was did not complain, or put other considerations first (such as the good of the Socialist Party in France). I am not faulting them, since I think a woman has to think long and hard before subjecting herself to the shite that follows reporting something like this. At all levels, we are dealing with patriarchy. Unions are a mixed bag, but they do mean the woman does not have to face it by herself, or at least that’s the assumption. In the second wave feminist movement, the UAW provided meeting space for early feminists, and NOW got started there with resources provided by the UAW. Not radfems, but a voice anyway. Not funfems, either. There is a reason that the right wing is going after unions, I think. The philosophy underlying unions is anthetical to the “individualist” argument that the patriarchy is currently using. That individualist stance is core to the funfems(tm) brand. It makes me think about what radfems are saying about separatism and how separatism is not individualism. I don’t mean anyone said that, but in my mind there was a hazy connection for some reason (probably cultural conditioning).

  18. Loretta, I’m so glad you’re here! 🙂

  19. i second that UP!

    seeing actual journalistic-style reporting from a feminist perspective on the news is quite a shock isnt it? as i told loretta in private, her style here is similar enough to a mainstream style that its recognizable as experienced journalism, and the “read” and the flow is the same as “real” news. but what she says, and the subject matter she is tackling and the feminist background and perspective is a fucking SHOCK if you arent used to it. its really fascinating to see, and has been a real eye-opener for me. this is what i hope will be thought of as the “real” news someday, by everyone, not just feminists, and not just in feminist spaces. its just excellent. thank you loretta!

  20. Thanks for the compliments. Women’s news is real news; it’s just not treated that way in mainstream media. Even the women’s sites don’t want to get deep into the issues most of the time. They’re mostly fluff. It’s discouraging to see places like wowowow, founded by women, focus on the tradtional “you’ll be socially acceptable if you buy our advertiser’s products” or “ten million ways to be sure he gets his rocks off while ignoring your clit.”

    It’s even more discouraging that most of the women today want that kind of claptrap. Have we made any progress at all? Sigh. Doesn’t seem so when it comes to women being willing to spend their last nickel in order to prance around as a sex object.

    How much better off they would be if they saved that money for their old age. Barbara Boxer was talking about the GOP intent to trash Medicare. Under the Paul Ryan plan that passed the house, each of us would have to pay $12,000 a year to have Medicare. The average woman over the age of 65 has a yearly income of $14,000 and little savings because they’ve either not earned enough to save or have spent their earnings on hubbie and kids.

    We’re living in a mean, mean era. These elitists wants us to die early so we won’t be a bother to anyone once we’re no longer useful for sex and pregnancy.

  21. All of the above excellent! Nothing to add. Thanks!!!!!

  22. Another rich, powerful, male banker has sexually assaulted a maid in a Manhattan hotel. His name is Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, and he’s a former chairman of one of Egypt’s major banks, the Bank of Alexandria, He also held her against her will. He has been arrested. (May 31st, I think)

    My guess is that one maid complaining has given others the courage to come forward. I hope there continues to be an outcry and women continue to come forward.

  23. We might be reaching critical mass, and women need to support women in service jobs now. Maids are attempting to unionize in major hotels like Marriotte, and the working conditions— we are learning maids are being raped and attacked by powerful men. So every one of these crimes needs to be reported, because if powerful men can be put behind bars for doing this, it will be a step forward. Good finding this story!

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