“And this is a reality that has won its right in the world, because women, smashed by fear and threats, are the primary victims in our world.”
A Mexican rockstar accused of sexually assaulting a young woman when she was 13-years-old killed himself Monday, leaving a suicide note emphasizing his support of women’s rights and the #MeToomovement, but claimed that the accusation left him feeling like he had no other option but to take his own life and that he wanted to protect his son’s reputation by making a “radical declaration of innocence.”
Armando Vega Gil was the 64-year-old bassist for Mexico’s Botellita de Jerez. His accuser, via messages on Twitter that featured a #MeToo hashtag, claimed Gil harassed and abused her when she was 13, Reuters reported.
“I will say this categorically, this accusation is false,” Gil said in a Twitter message responding to the allegations. “Let me make it clear that my death is not a confession of guilt, on the contrary it is a radical declaration of my innocence. I just want to clear the path my son will walk in the future.”
— Armando Vega Gil (@ArmandoVegaGil) April 1, 2019
Gil affirmed his commitment to women’s rights, hinted at his support for the #MeToo movement and used feminist-tinged terminology in the note.
“The only way out I see before me suicide, so I’m deciding toward that,” he wrote. “I want to apologize to women who feel troubled by my words and attitudes, and the women who see my ways as misogynistic.”
“The accusation that was made by way of #MeTooMusicosMexicanos is anonymous and whoever put it on the web has every right to do so, but this threatens my entire career,” Gil wrote. He said he would have supported a meeting with the alleged victim to discuss the matter, where she could be accompanied by #MeTooMusicosMexicanos representatives to ensure there were no “threats” or “reprisals” on his part.
“It’s correct that women raise their voices so that our world changes,” he added. “Women have an inalienable right to accuse, especially women from this country and from the entire world. Femicide, kidnappings, pornography are all evils that march forward dramatically, and it looks like no one is stopping them.”
Gil claimed he had no way to defend himself online and that everything he said “would be used against” him.
“And this is a reality that has won its right in the world, because women, smashed by fear and threats, are the primary victims in our world,” he wrote, adding that the last thing he wanted was for his son to be affected by the false accusations against his father.
The musician cited his work with humanitarian organizations that aid child victims of natural disasters as evidence of his stance against the “exploitation, mistreatment, and physical and psychological abuse” of children.
A commenter on Gil’s Facebook page blasted the #MeToo movement Tuesday morning, calling its adherents a “group of misandrists, and a few men without dignity that dedicate themselves to extortion and harassment.”
Gil’s Botellita de Jerez bandmates expressed their grief through an announcement of his death shared to the band’s Twitter account. “We are processing this news and doing the corresponding procedures. Rest in peace, little brother,” the announcement said.
Es una burla usar un tema tan delicado para jugar el papel de víctima ante el público en lugar de afrontar los hechos. No fue solo un testigo. Hicimos una averiguación pertinente. Qué falta de respeto a las víctimas, a su voz, al público y a los 17 suicidios diarios en México.
— MeTooMúsicosMexicanos (@metoomusicamx) April 1, 2019
The #MeTooMusicosMexicanos Twitter account replied to Gil’s message, accusing the deceased Mexican musician of playing the victim. “It is a joke to use such a delicate subject to play the role of victim before the public instead of confronting the facts,” #MeTooMusicosMexicanos’ tweet read. “It was not just a witness. We made a pertinent inquiry. What lack of respect for the victims, their voice, the public and the 17 daily suicides in Mexico.”
Feminists claim that such a norm is necessary in order to fight against years of our patriarchal society’s fostering of a rape culture that is, by default, skeptical of women who claim to be victimized by men.
Critics have pushed back, arguing that such a maxim has obvious limitations. Writing in The New York Times in Nov. 2017, Bari Weiss aruged that the #MeToo movement had moved from “uncovering accusations of criminal behavior” to “criminalizing behavior that we previously regarded as presumptuous and boorish.”
“In a climate in which sexual mores are transforming so rapidly, many men are asking: If I were wrongly accused, who would believe me?” she wrote. Weiss questioned whether the “believe all women” vision of feminism actually benefits women, arguing that it “unintentionally fetishizes” them.
“Women are no longer human and flawed. They are Truth personified. They are above reproach,” she wrote.
“I believe that it’s condescending to think that women and their claims can’t stand up to interrogation and can’t handle skepticism,” Weiss added. “I believe that facts serve feminists far better than faith. That due process is better than mob rule.”