A relatively new commenter, Alison, has a skeptical view of the prosecution of Keith Raniere. She is not defending Raniere’s conduct but maintains a view that is different from most readers: That the prosecution might have overreached.
That doesn’t mean Raniere is a good guy. It is possible Raniere is a criminal and the prosecution still violated his due process rights.
Because of her contrarian view, some readers have assumed she might be Nicki Clyne. Of course, Alison should be able to express different thoughts without being accused of being in on the effort to get Raniere a new trial.
I do not think Alison is Nicki, since I have communicated with Alison by email. I have also spoken to Nicki, who says she has never commented on Frank Report. I believe that is true.
Before we get to Alison’s view, I note that some people have said that Eduardo’s article, Justice Demands a New Trial for Raniere! is misogynistic. Of particular offense was his use of the words “sensitive plants.”
He comment was:
The [Raniere] defense arguments… that all witnesses were adult women who consented to everything they did – were shut down again and again by the judge…. The truth is these were adult women who made adult decisions and then, at the prosecution’s urging, they reverted to childhood and cried “we are weak, little, sensitive plants.”
“This whole thing needs sunlight.
“I have said this again and again: Switch the genders. If this were a group of men who chose to get branded and give collateral, this would never have gone to trial.”
When I asked Eduardo about the comment, he said, “When it comes to law and the media I treat women to the same standard as men, until they tell me they want to be treated as babies. Then, they are always babies. But what I won’t agree to is that they are equal to men when it benefits them and then babies when it benefits them. Same with men. I would call men ‘sensitive plants’ if they behaved the same way.”
Let’s hear Alison’s view on the Asunsolo article. She begins by giving an alternate view of collateral:
I think Eduardo has made some very good points here.
If someone pulls a gun on me and asks for my money, I may consent to give it to them. What if you gave the gun to someone you completely trusted and said, “Please threaten to shoot me with this if I don’t finish filing my taxes/completing some other tedious chore today.”
Well, okay, you could still get them arrested for making threats with a deadly weapon if they followed through with the threat. (For the record, I don’t recommend using a loaded weapon as a motivational tool except for in a few special circumstances.)
But it’s my understanding that was the general rationale for the collateral; well, that and it was meant to help ensure secrecy, but guess what, they make men in groups like the Masons swear to secrecy with threats of painful repercussions if they break their oath.
Of course, the whole collateral thing had so much potential to go very wrong if someone joined who didn’t quite get it and actually became afraid to say “No” to anything. But I guess that’s why they reportedly had written contracts for members of DOS. But some people didn’t get around to signing them?
Other Points to Debate
OK, here goes. I’m going to imagine we’re having this discussion in the deliberation room of a mock jury for this case. Here is what I’d have to say to some of the other comments. Yeah, I’d probably be the juror everyone hates.
—Mocking the victims and calling them “weak, little sensitive plants” literally reduces them to not human.
My take is that Eduardo is saying that Judge Nicholas Garaufis is the person who seemed to be regarding the women as “weak, little sensitive plants” and insisted they are treated that way and not as the mature adult human beings that they are.
— It shows hate towards women overall.
Why? Because he doesn’t think they need to be treated like children in a courtroom when a man’s life is in the balance?
—Nicki exhibited similar strange, childish behavior when talking about Sarah Edmondson in the online interview.
I think she was trying (perhaps inelegantly) to get across the same thing as NYT writer Barry Meier when he wrote, “Several defectors in [The Vow] are Hollywood types comfortable around a camera and seem at times to be playing to it.”
—In Keith’s text to Camila, he says: “I think it would be good for you to own a fuck toy sex slave for me, that you could groom and use as a tool to pleasure me.
Ok, it’s been a few weeks since I read those texts so I’m a bit hazy… but that exchange seemed to be a jealousy-fueled one where Keith was saying hurtful things to try to make Cami feel similarly jealous by making her think he wanted to get some other women to be with 24/7 (implying he’d then have zero time to fit her in. So there!). I think it was an angry, petty argument between two people in a likely dysfunctional relationship, not a true demand for slave procurement.
—How Eduardo does not see this as Sex Trafficking is beyond me…
I thought I read in a transcript text somewhere that the woman involved, Nicole, had shared with others beforehand that she had a fantasy about that precise scenario. Is it outside the realm of possibility that Keith was trying to go above-and-beyond to make her dream a reality? I don’t know her identity, but from all I’ve heard, she is really pretty and naturally thin, just Keith’s type. It’s possible he wanted to wow her to get her more engaged in the lifestyle, not traffic and traumatize her. Of course, it apparently backfired.
—The more extreme the crimes, the more likely a victim is to break down or be distraught while recounting those events, I would think.
Right. It’s to be expected. So why stop the cross-examination in its tracks because of it?
I don’t see that there is anything hateful toward women in Eduardo’s essay, and I think he makes good points about a potential lack of fairness from the judge. I have more to say about it, but out of time for now.
I’ll be back if I don’t get run out of here by torches and pitchforks before then.