WSJ Columnist Under Fire for Controversial Rape Comments

WSJ Columnist Under Fire for Controversial Rape Comments

Sexual assault advocates are calling for columnist James Taranto's dismissal after a column he wrote about rape

Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto found himself in hot water on Monday with calls for his dismissal from the newspaper by sexual assault advocates after he wrote an editorial arguing that drunk female victims of sexual assault were just as guilty as drunk male perpetuators.

“If two drunk drivers are in a collision, one doesn't determine fault on the basis of demographic details such as each driver's sex,” Taranto wrote. “But when two drunken college students ‘collide,’ the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault. His diminished capacity owing to alcohol is not a mitigating factor, but her diminished capacity is an aggravating factor for him.”

Outrage from the column spread throughout social media. A petition asking the Wall Street Journal to fire Taranto was started by SurvJustice, a national non-profit dedicated to helping victims of sexual violence receive justice. Following the outcry, the petition has garnered hundreds of signatures on

“It is not journalism to demean the experiences of rape victims,” the petition states. “Your editor, James Taranto, is contributing to rape culture by demeaning victims of a violent and horrific crime. Our society is done being rape apologists and action is being taken at the highest level to start taking sexual violence seriously. Stop supporting rape and start supporting rape victims. Fire James Taranto and stop supporting opinions that are merely offensive.”

TheWrap is awaiting for comment from Taranto and The Wall Street Journal.

  • asdas

    I guess this isn't America anymore where people can say what they want (not saying he is right).

    • Alex

      I agree with your sentiment in general, but this is different. This is trying to directly influence prosecution of rape/assault, a very serious and common crime that is hard enough to prosecute without some dope trying to make a name for himself stirring up cr*p with remarks calculated to create controversy. Every time I consider joining the Republican party, they pull some creep stunt like this with their fixation on women's sexuality and sex crimes on women. So I will just stay Independent.

  • Jimmy

    Well, I guess I'm wondering if he doesn't have some point. How can we say the drunk girl can't be held responsible while the drunk man can? I know this will probably garner some heated comments, and that's OK, but is it right to say of two people who are equally dismissed in their capacities one should be held accountable but the other shouldn't? It's quite another situation when one person takes advantage of another who is drunk or in some other way diminished.

    • Derp

      So you think raping another who is drunk is wrong UNLESS the rapist had a drink too and then he can “blame it on the alcohol”.

      Yes we can hold the one doing the attacking responsible.

      By your logic, we should not hold drunk drivers responsible for killing people. In fact, by your logic, we should fault the killed person because they weren't drunk.

  • Not a fan

    A number of years ago I subscribed to Taranto's blog. Most of it was generally dumb, frequently offensive, and once in a while amusing. After one particularly offensive post I e-mailed him to say so. This earned me an insulting, nasty, abusive reply and getting blocked from access to his blog. My life has been much more pleasant ever since.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    It is called “personal
    responsibility”. We know liberals hate those two words when they are together
    because they do not want to take responsibility for their actions. It is not
    rich people’s fault you or your kids dropped out of high school. It is not rich
    people’s fault that they decided to study in high school and had the guts to
    start their own business and work at it until they had a winning product and/or
    service. It is not rich people’s fault that you chose to have a child out of wedlock
    and not listen to good advice when it was being handed to you. Most rich people
    were not born rich, they worked hard and did not spend all their spare time
    watching MTV or waiting for something to happen. They made it happen and they
    employ millions of Americans in jobs that matter. Your government job does not
    matter, most likely. And union members kill jobs but that is another story. It
    is about personal responsibility which liberals do not want to acknowledge
    because then they would have to realize their failure and stagnant professional
    is their fault and on one else’s.

    • frank cannon


  • Benjamin Roussey

    Romney created more jobs in his lifetime than Obama ever has
    and ever will. Creating federal jobs, that are useless, and soak up more money
    from the private sector does not count. Any president can create federal jobs.
    How about private sector jobs that count? That is what matters. Romney at Bane
    Capital did more for America than Obama ever has and ever will in the private
    sector job count. It is not Obama’s fault though that he does not understand
    business, he was raised by a socialist mother who was obviously clueless

    • frank cannon

      Lmao, wtf are you talking about? Get a life… This is not about politics. Romney? Lmao for gods sakes man what is wrong with you?? Lol

      • Benjamin Roussey

        I woke up this morning
        and realized 10,000,000 black people are unemployed, 7,000,000 Mexicans, and
        4,000,000 young people out of college who mainly supported Obama and this is
        largely because of Obama's tax and spend agenda, Sarbanes Oxley, Dodd/Frank (do
        you even know what this is?), EPA, job killing regulations (see jobs migrate
        from California to Texas), high taxes, lack of tort reform which inflates
        medical costs, and so on – I laughed for about 2 minutes. Keep on being suckers
        people, the Democrats take your vote for granted. Hey, but at least gays can
        marry each other and woman can murder their own babies. Hooray, hooray….

        • Benjamin Roussey

          Do you know why jobs
          continue to leave liberal states for conservative ones? Because conservatives
          and conservative states are business friendly. As long as black people continue to complain about life
          (just like Arabs continue to complain about America) they will continue to
          suffer, leave their families, drop out of school, not accomplish much, and not
          focus on being successful.

          • Benjamin Roussey

            Facts:Obama Admin request airspace approval from Libya to help our guys.Security
            Team is delayed at airport, they had to fly into an airport and try to find a
            ride to the embassy/CIA. Backup teams in place and ready to react.Nothing
            happens, our guys get slaughtered.

            Obama dispatches propagandists for 2 weeks on morning shows to cover this up
            and blame on video – because he knows this would not be acceptable to the
            American people.My Conclusion: Libya did not grant airspace approval, we
            did not want to offend Libyans or cause possible civilian casualties so we
            sacrificed the lives of our guys. We also did not provide adequate protection
            when we knew or should have known it was not enough to begin with. And we have
            not done anything about it until this date.

          • Benjamin Roussey

            – WTC Bombing – 50,000 people would have died because of no escape from the
            stairwell (18 people actually died) ; 2 African embassy bombings around 96/97 –
            many people died, mainly Africans ; USS Cole attack in 2000 – Clinton did
            nothing about any of this accept fire tomahawks from 800 miles out (that is all
            he would ever do) – several sailors dead. Al Queda was emboldened because of
            Clinton’s weak responses – this led to 9-11 and Bush hammered them unlike Al
            Gore would have ever done.

  • Benjamin Roussey

    Do you know why jobs
    continue to leave liberal states for conservative ones? Because conservatives
    and conservative states are business friendly. As long as black people continue to complain about life
    (just like Arabs continue to complain about America) they will continue to
    suffer, leave their families, drop out of school, not accomplish much, and not
    focus on being successful.

  • bmmg39

    I'm amazed that so many people can read Mr. Taranto's column and
    completely misconstrue (or willfully distort) what he is saying.

    Taranto is NOT talking about a drunk man forcing himself onto a drunk
    woman who's either saying no or is passed out (which would be rape,
    whether it's a man doing it to a woman or a woman doing it to a man).

    IS talking about two drunk people consenting to sex — and then later
    someone decides that a woman cannot consent to sex when she's drunk —
    except that HE is drunk too and that technically HE cannot consent to
    sex, either. So, technically, they have committed rape or sexual assault
    against each other. That was obvious to me the first time I read it.
    How could so many others not get it?