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Public letter to Emma Howland-Bolton, teacher at Detroit public schools, regarding threats of violence and death by protesters under her organization

Addressed to the following:

Emma Howland-Bolton, protest organizer and administrator:  emma.howlandbolton@gmail.com

 

To Emma Howland-Bolton:

My name is Jonathan Taylor. I am the founder and publisher of A Voice for Male Students, the leading Men’s Human Rights website for men and boys in education. I note – as is widely available on public record – that you are a teacher in Detroit. From one teacher to another, greetings.

I am writing to call upon you to take an opportunity to enhance the credibility of your protest. In summary, you have been heavily invested in organizing a protest that has included threats of violence and death against organizers, attendees and hosts of the upcoming conference at the Double Tree hotel in Detroit. Indeed, these threats of violence and death have become so pervasive and severe that the hotel is now requiring an entire squadron of police to station themselves at the premises for 24 hour-a-day security for three days straight so that people cannot be killed for simply listening to academics and advocates speak at a conference.

The official letter by Double Tree to conference organizers can be found here.

I am calling on you to immediately remove from the Facebook group of which you are the administrator the posts and users which advocate violence and other forms of criminal conduct (examples here and here). In addition, I am calling on you to make an immediate public announcement on that Facebook group and any other social media channels you use to organize your event in which you denounce all exercise and suggestion of criminal conduct for both the current and all future protests. I am calling on you to do all of these things – not pick and choose those you prefer.

As you well know, the upcoming First International Conference on Men’s Issues unites academics and advocates from diverse backgrounds and across the political spectrum. The roster of speakers includes Dr. Warren Farrell (three-time board member of the National Organization for Women-New York), Senator Anne Cools (the first black female senator to be elected to Canada’s upper house), Erin Pizzey (the founder of the first battered women’s shelter), Dr. Paul Nathanson (a gay academic who has written numerous books on gender issues), and many more.

While your protest is ostensibly predicated (as you erroneously claim) on the notion that this group of academics and advocates are responsible for violence against women (including the likes of Elliot Rodger, who – it would be apropos to note – murdered twice as many men as women), you have provided no evidence of a direct link to support these accusations. Furthermore, no one has ever been able to directly link Rodger to any Men’s Human Rights website, social media channel, or organization. My own website – the leading Men’s Human Rights website for men and boys in education – published an article sternly criticizing his actions.

Simultaneously, as an event organizer and facilitator you have failed to exercise discretion in taking any stance whatsoever against protesters who make threats and suggestions of violence and other forms of criminality among your own rank and file as today, 5-31-14 at 12:51 PM. These threats and suggestions of violence and criminality have remained on your group for at least three solid days while countless posts by men’s advocates asking for nothing more than a calm, civil discussion were deleted left and right.

You were far, far too slow in addressing this. And you know it.

Your prior history of facilitating and organizing protests also includes other events that have escalated into criminal conduct, demonstrating a cavalier “it’s ok for us, but not for them” stance toward criminal behavior. This includes the group with the disconcerting title “By Any Means Necessary,” of which “any means” includes illegally trespassing into and occupying a closed public building to “protest” its closing down well after its final hours, resisting arrest, and obstruction of justice (related: video).

Given your history, it reasonable to both call to this to public attention. Given that these disconcerting double standards are predicated upon ideological worldviews (which often have a “totalizing” effect on the people who adopt them), I think it also reasonable to be concerned in what capacity you – as an educator – enforce double standards toward your own students on the basis of sex, both in methods of instruction and discipline.

castrateAs I noted in a recent article, threats of violence are common among those who oppose the human rights of men and boys. During the 2006 Duke lacrosse false rape case, students paraded around a banner reading “castrate,” an open call for violence against the three young men who were falsely accused of rape. In a staggering example of inverted moral reasoning, they rationalized their call to violence by saying they were opposing an incident of violence which, as it turned out, never happened.

Last year those protesting men’s advocates who were sponsored by the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) to speak at the University of Toronto called for violence if their demand that the university close down the event were not met. In pursuit of a sexual misconduct policy which defined rape so broadly beyond its legal definition that it essentially eviscerated due process, the Feminist group “Radical Womyn of Antioch” threatened Antioch College with violence  if they failed to adopt their policy [1].

Given that there is historical continuity and precedent among those who oppose the human rights of men and boys with threats of violence, it is imperative that we challenge it. You may be wondering why I am addressing you specifically. As follows.

While it is true that you are listed as but one of several administrators of the Facebook group protesting the upcoming conference, a thorough review of the posting history reveals that you are one of the most active – if not the most active – administrator on the page, posting new links and content on a regular basis.

You have acted as the primary networking administrator of your group, networking and bringing in protesters from Take Back the Night groups, shelter workers, women’s advocacy groups and bloggers, hotel workers, public officials, and more. You have also engaged with users on a comment-by-comment basis far more consistently than any other administrator. Given your disproportionate investment and profile relative to other administrators, you have effectively established yourself as the “go-to” point of contact for the protest.

In other words, you have leadership. And with leadership comes responsibility. It’s not just a party.

There is one more reason why I am singling you out other than your clear prominence in organizing and facilitating these protests: you are an educator. That in and of itself should come with its own class of standards, as those upon whom we confer such public faith should be individuals who exhibit a standard of behavior, professionalism, and due diligence that is nothing short of exemplary. Doubly so when those in their charge are impressionable children.

Leading men’s advocates have had no problem denouncing violence in the past. In a “heads up” for an academic speaking event last year at the University of Toronto the staff at A Voice for Men – in strong and clear language – threatened to automatically sever ties with any men’s advocate who engages in violence (attacking or defending) and hand them over to the police. Indeed, they have told men’s advocates to not even defend themselves if under attack, but rather to either retreat or – if they cannot – to curl up on the ground in a fetal position while others filmed and contacted police.

A Voice for Men and their affiliates have also partnered with men’s advocates at the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), offering a reward of $4,000 for a Feminist student who was allegedly (but not confirmed to have been) assaulted. When they encouraged Feminists to match it they were met with silence.

And Voice for Male Students has always maintained a policy of nonviolence. Indeed, it is one of its nine founding values.

In an ideal world there would be no need to explain to you why a policy of nonviolence is essential to any human rights endeavor. I belabor this because it is unfortunately not so apparent to our opponents. Violence can be compared to George Washington’s characterization of government: a “dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Violence does not breed peace, but only more violence, and it inevitably harms those who initiate it.

I’m not asking you to agree with the issues presented at the conference. Issues which, I remind, will be represented by academics from diverse backgrounds and across the political spectrum. But I do strongly disagree with is the widespread permissiveness among our opponents for threats and suggestions of violence, death, and other forms of criminal behavior that have no place in a free and enlightened society. Indeed, slander, libel, misrepresentation, and censorship – historically the bread and butter of our opponents – while remaining pervasive, have now become the least of our concerns.

It doesn’t take a lot to openly denounce violence. A Voice for Men has done it. A Voice for Male Students has done it. We can do it easily. We’re still waiting on you to do it.

I look forward to your substantial and more evenhanded public reaffirmation to nonviolence by the end of tomorrow, 6-1-14.

 

Regards,

Jonathan Taylor

Founder and Publisher, A Voice for Male Students

A Voice for Male Students aims to create a community of writers on men’s and boys’ education issues. If you would like to submit a guest post to be published here, please read the submission guidelines.

Notes:

[1] The excerpt is from page seven of the book Rape on Campus, a collection of academic essays regarding rape.

About Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

JT/TCM is an advocate of educational equity for men and boys who believes that the world is in desperate need of more good-natured mischief. He is a former college instructor of composition and argumentation and the founder of avoiceformalestudents.com.
  • Jorick

    I’m from Spain and, recently, there has been a wave of death threats and incitement of violence on Twitter, with the triggering events being the murder in cold of a corrupt politician, a couple of riots and a bullfighting event that ended with all bullfighters in the hospital (some of them are still in the ICU).

    Just try to picture people from almost any part of the political spectrum wishing politicians, that have lost the trust of the people they represent, to die or be raped and their families to suffer gravely for it, regardless of their gender; wishing brutal beatings, where they either maim or kill, on cops whose only job is to stop the riot and prevent others from being harmed and the destruction of public property; wanting to make a bull a national hero for singlehandedly sending all available bullfighters in the event to a hospital.

    Those twitter threats may have been jokes or serious stuff, but the thing is that the police have begun arresting the people who made them. Of course, the legislation is different in the US (I don’t even know how far can free speech go before it truly hurts others) but, surely the FBI or Homeland Security can do something to prevent those threats from coming to fruition?

    • http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

      The degree of complacency between Spain and the US is as different as night and day. While almost no one trusts politicians here, the vast majority of people cannot even be encouraged to use nonviolent action to demand change.

  • Jay B

    These gender ideologues and misandrists have caused the conference a massive security requirement, and yet the mainstream media does not even comment or write on the story. These people are the real terrorists, however that does not fit in with the current gender ideology which permeates our society, so no one questions them. This gender ideology is our modern day medieval religion, and anyone who dares question it is threatened with violence. A well written letter Jonathan.

  • https://plus.google.com/107227493802290796324 A Renaissance-Man

    Here is a serious question. Should she be reported to legal authorities?

    • http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

      Don’t think so at this point. It’s more the problem that she turns a blind eye to violent threats rather than encourages it. While of course falsely accusing us of being violent.

      • Incubus

        She definitely encourages it. What do you call all those screenshots on JB’s page of her saying she needed actors for a super fun activity that was too good to be true and could be done from anywhere, right around the same time the hotel started receiving those death threats? She’s the main organizer/instigator of this, and she should definitely be reported to the authorities.

    • Malcolm James

      Is it appropriate to copy in whoever is in charge of Detroit public schools? Whatever else, her attitudes give concerns on what she is passing on to her male pupils.

      • http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

        Maybe, although to clarify for the other readers I don’t think she has done anything worth being fired for (yet).

  • http://notsoequal.com Greg Canning

    Bravo Jonathan! I would not hold your breath waiting for a response. These people are not satisfied with exercising their right to free speech in the form of non violent protest, but intent on trampling on others rights by violence and intimidation. One can only wonder what the hell there so afraid of?

    • http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

      Thanks, Greg! It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out.

  • Jay

    Excellent letter, AVFM and the Conference organizers should send her a free pass to the conference.

  • https://www.facebook.com/janet.wilkinson.9047 Janet Wilkinson

    I just wrote a massive post and it lost it. Any chance of using Discus on your comment section Jon ?

    It speaks volumes on why our young boys are failing if school teachers are like her. God knows what kind of things she does to boys if she won’t let men talk about their issues.

    • Malcolm James

      Best to copy and paste reply into Word as a back-up beforehand, or write it in Word to begin with and copy and paste. If only I always followed my own advice!

    • http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

      Hmm, I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  • fidelbogen

    I will be keeping a close watch on all of this drama as it unfolds. I even plan to discuss it a bit on the radio tomorrow…

    • http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

      Excellent!

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  • http://douglasmilnes.wordpress.com douglasuk

    In context of this letter, antimisandry.com has also repeated its denouncement of abuse and violence. The men’s rights movement is about the rights of men, not about abusing people and never about being violent towards those who oppose men having rights.

  • pabarge

    Once again, a man is beseeching a woman. Classic.

    • http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

      To be fair, I wasn’t really asking. Nothing wrong with a man asking a woman for something, in the general sense. But of course, we should not be dependent on asking people to take a stand in support nonviolent activism, regardless of sex. It should just be a given.

  • Malcolm James

    I have just posted the following petition on petitions.whitehouse.gov. please sign in your droves!

    ‘Emma Howlett-Barton has been instrumental in organizing protests against the First international Conference on Men’s Issues, which have involved threats against the organizers, attendees and staff at the hotel where the conference is to be held. We believe that the promotion of violence against men for wishing to peacefully gather and discuss issues relating to them is incompatible with her position as a teacher in Detroit public schools and that she is likely to express attitudes to boys in her charge which conflict with her duty to treat all children equally and impartially. We therefore ask the Detroit public schools administration to investigate whether Emma Howlett-Barton is expressing views in the course of her work which are likely to undermine the confidence and self-worth of boys.’

  • http://eyeofwoden.wordpress.com eyeofwoden

    I couldn’t find their facebook page when I looked.

    • http://www.avoiceformalestudents.com Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

      I believe the publication/circulation of this article has effectively driven the group “underground,” so to speak, in that it still exists, but as a hidden group that can be accessed by invitation only.

  • richard40

    Great article. Unfortunately your appeal for non violence and civility will be ignored, because radical leftism is based on violence and intimidation.

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