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Olbermann Returns To Twitter Fueling The Fire In Assange Rape Controversy

Callie Schweitzer |
December 20, 2010 | 2:21 p.m. PST


After a brief self-imposed hiatus, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann is back and actively tweeting again.

The "Countdown" host returned to Twitter Monday morning after suspending his account the previous week amid virtual attacks for his discussion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's rape charges.

Olbermann "sparked controversy when he and film director Michael Moore, who recently offered $20,000 of his own money to bail out Assange, expressed a 'dismissive' attitude over the rape allegations against Assange."

Tigerbeatdown.com launched an online campaign to get an apology from Moore for his "rape apologism," and shame both he and Olbermann for their actions.

But many are defending Moore, saying his comments were taken out of context.

Olbermann is also being criticized for retweeting a tweet from Assange supporter Bianca Jagger, downplaying the charges against Assange and "possibly reveal[ing] the identities of Assange's accuser."

Olbermann spent much of Monday responding to his critics both individually and en masse.

He took to TwitLonger to explain himself in more than 140 characters:

I endorse, sympathize with, and empathize with, the rape consciousness goals of #mooreandme, and have already apologized accordingly. But I cannot defend and will not accept their tactics which mirror so many of the attitudes and threats they fight. I do not know of what Julian Assange is guilty, if anything, and neither does anybody else. But given the extraordinary efforts by Sweden to extradite him, to say he is benefiting from some form of rape apologism is not fact-based. It is also unfair to condemn as anti-feminist those who merely address the juxtaposition of this prosecution to the fact that Assange threatens the secret and nefarious activities of dozens of governments. And I will not engage those who suggest that those who do not prioritize one issue to the exclusion of all others should succumb to forced financial contributions, or should ‘kill themselves’ (examples of each will be retweeted shortly, along with my previous apology). The #mooreandme attacks do not help those who fight against rape, they hurt them. And indeed they feature something larger than anti-feminist. This is, to use a clunky phrase, anti-personism.

When Olbermann left Twitter Thursday he tweeted, "I've discovered that I am accused of being a rape apologist in part because I didn't remove the quotes from the word rape in a retweet." He immediately followed up with, "I'll thus unblock all blocks, wish you all a Merry Christmas and I'll suspend this account until/if this frenzy is stopped."

When he returned Monday with a new avatar of himself in 1971 at Yankees Stadium--he had removed his profile photo Thursday when he announced his suspension--he was ready to take on his critics, noting, "FYI there will be a tweet (and some retweets) later today about the #mooreandme spectacle."

But it turned out to be more than just "a tweet (and some retweets)."

Below are some of his tweets:

  • I endorse, sympathize with, and empathize with, the rape consciousness goals of #mooreandme, and have already (cont) http://tl.gd/7js6rr
  • 'Kill yourself' RT @anarchofeminist @KeithOlbermann Because we're all white Christian men now, right? Seriously, kill yourself. #mooreandme
  • Buying off w/$ RT @PittCWO @MMFlint @KeithOlbermann Apologize, and preferably donate 20k to RAINN. We will NOT STOP BUGGING YOU. #Mooreandme
  • And to clarify my absence from Twitter, it was so I could calm down and write in the kind of reasonable fashion #mooreandme has abandoned
  • @sihayadesigns I have no responsibility for reactions to people who write columns boasting about how they chased somebody from Twitter.
  • @HelenWayte I did not use that term. Your attributing it to me proves my point. Thanks.
  • @doxokopia again, putting words into my mouth proves my point. Thanks.
  • LOL RT @stableford @KeithOlbermann in 1971 bears striking resemblance to Julian Assange in 2010: http://bit.ly/ebLILh Coincidence?!?!
  • Seriously, if anybody is suggesting anybody in this stupidfest called #mooreandme kill themselves or anybody else, STOP
  • @ameliajwells Are you out there attacking Bianca Jagger, too?
  • @dudestein1958 Welcome to the center of unfocused fact-free anger!
  • @emlux That's why I took my time out & why I replied as I did. Feminism has no greater male supporter in tv news than me.
  • Thanks for proving my point RT @bananamojos No one's even talking about Assange. Were talking about Moore, & to a lesser extent, you.
  • OK, taking a break now. Feel free to continue flaming, just remember, nobody's reading, and blocks are infinite.



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