- Censorship laws were used to keep Margaret Sanger from distributing information about contraception, Strossen said, and, ironically, to keep Andrea Dworkin books out of Canada. With this in mind, at what point do we stop censoring people with whom we disagree? Melinda Tankard Reist has identified herself as a “pro-life feminist,” a position I personally don’t hold. Nor do I agree with some of Collective Shout’s targeting and methods, though I wholly share their announced goal of eradicating the rape culture and ending violence against women. In this disagreement, I have the right to counter-speak—same as Collective Shout uses its voice to speak up against the speech of Tyler and other musicians.
And when do we choose to forgive an artist—or a person, for that matter—for past transgressions, as they get older, evolve, hopefully mature? The Beastie Boys’ first album, License to Ill, was notoriously sexist, and was originally almost titled Don’t Be a Faggot. It included the cut “Rhymin’ and Stealin’,” which made reference to “rapin’ and robbin’.” As a group, though, they were able to publicly evolve into human rights activists and feminists (recall Ad-Rock’s famous VMAs anti-rape speech, from a person who at one point told the NME that he “hates faggots”). And plenty of other artists who have a history of actual violence against women are allowed to travel freely—Sean Penn, for example, or Dr. Dre.