Rape Jokes and the Backlash

Rape Jokes and the Backlash

The definition of the word rape is;

“The unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.”

Now I don’t condone rape on any human being or somebody who likes to commit this unlawful and hideous crime. It’s something that affects many people over the course of a year and can really change a person’s life and scar them. Recently, a current UFC fighter decided to tweet a joke out with the word rape and was met with serious push back.

With Forrest Griffin he has a dry sense of humor and isn’t afraid to joke about things in order to either lighten up the mood, or gave himself and his followers a laugh. The tweet he put out said this:

“Rape is the new missionary”

Now right after that tweet was put out, there was backlash from a lot of people on his timeline that he was insensitive to the topic, and that he was dead wrong for even making fun of what rape is all about. After a few tweets, including one from a woman who was raped Griffin apologized and deleted the tweets that had any correlation to the word. He then decided to donate to a local center in Las Vegas that helps rape victims. But that wasn’t enough for a local group of residents in Las Vegas.

Over the weekend when UFC was putting together the final touches on their FOX debut, a group of residents decided to protest on UFC property saying that the athletes should be held accountable for their tweets. Yes the NHL, NBA, NFL, and even MLB all have Code of Conduct for their social media excursions and are told to watch what they tweet in order to send the right message. But with the UFC they don’t have that and this is the first major “battle” that has been fought over social media.

Now I question the groups’ real motive on what they are trying to get done. Sure the story they want out there is they want a code of conduct and more respectful tweets from fighters and others associated with the company. Like Loretta Hunt echoed on a local radio show in Las Vegas; Forrest isn’t somebody that believes rape is a new sex position. He has been very respectful in not only interviews I’ve done, but also he is a family man who recently had a new baby. But with these groups of individuals they are infuriated with Griffin, seems they have more against MMA than just a single tweet.

With the UFC and MMA in general growing faster than anybody could have ever imagined, there has been a lot of backlash from numerous people and groups because Dana White flies off the handle, and or their fighters tweet or say something rude or disrespectful. With the group that protested at the UFC headquarters over the weekend was supposedly there for Griffin's outburst. But,  I think the growth of MMA is something that these parents with or without young children, don’t appreciate.

10 years ago there was no Twitter no Facebook nothing that can be looked at as a big social media dominance. Fast forward to 2012 and there are a lot of celebrities out there including sports athletes who jump into the social media to interact with other players, as well as their fans. But with every Tweet there are things that are spoken, that are caught on camera and put on YouTube.

Yes, there is a fine line professional athlete’s walk everyday conducting themselves as public figures, yet there are others who like to expand that line a little more. With Griffin’s tweet sure it may have been of bad taste, but there are others who either tweet the same context, or even comedians who use it in their standup act. Where is the backlash there? How come none of these groups are going after these individuals for using rape or other choice words in their dialogue?

To take it one step further Dana White explained to TheScore.com and Mauro Ranallo about what Griffin thought he was saying to his Twitter followers when he put out the message.

"Forrest is a mess now about this whole thing and believe me, take it from a guy who's been in this situation, what happened was Forrest Griffin said he woke up that morning and turned on his television and the whole thing..what's going on over there at Penn State, he said he literally switched the channel to another channel and they were talking about a woman who had been raped."

"The third channel he went to was a story about rape; every channel he went to. His thing was rape is the new missionary, likes its vanilla, like it's absolutely normal. When you change the channel it's on every freaking channel."

Now a lot of people have been offended the way he put out the rape statement and or joke but many also got the hint that Griffin was trying to be funny and knew that from seeing his previous tweets. But again I think a group of people came to jump quickly on Forrest Griffin and the UFC because they take the easy road on terms of policing tweets and social media conduct. Now maybe the UFC needs to a policy regarding Tweets and how to present themselves on these outlets but with Griffin’s tweet it was blown way out of proportion.

There can be a lot of things either protested today from anybody that tweets out, such as Ashton Kutcher supposedly not knowing about the Joe Paterno issue. The whole phrase “tit for tat” can be used on a daily basis, and attacking UFC as a whole, goes deeper than just a fighter tweeting something out.

Whatever the case, personally the world today takes things very sensitive at times and people are looking for the first mistake from someone with “star” status. With MMA and the UFC finally getting the limelight it was prey that was going to be taken on because of possibly the sport not being their cup of tea or thinks it’s utterly distasteful.

I don’t think Griffin was wrong with his tweet but with the status UFC is becoming, he might have to tone it down in terms of what some think as “rude” tweets. People want to do what is right for the world and the children but at times it's not their main focus and are looking for their own spotlight and let their ego set in. That's the problem, and with this whole issue arising, the group found an outlet to attack the entire company and sport.

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  • "Rape is the new missionary."

    ^^This doesn't make any sense and neither does the explanation given by Dana White.

  • In reply to gwill:

    How doesn't it?

  • In reply to Ted Gruber:

    Is missionary really that prevalent anymore? Only seniors do straight missionary. He should have said something like, "rape is the new spacewheel."

  • And here I'm going to put in my 2 cents (as a woman, as a rape survivor) and say that "rape is not funny." it is many things - it is life changing, traumatic, an abuse of trust, it is THEFT. It is not funny.

    And as long as 'humor' like this exists, women are going to be too afraid to go to the authorities since so very few cases make it to court and earn convictions - MANY of them die in police office the first time the officer asks "so what where you wearing anyways". More of them die over the indignity of the rape kit at the hospital (and some states have a backlog of untested rape kits going back FIVE YEARS).. And the ones that get tested AND their kits processed, get respectful and informed police officers, have the perp found, then get to be harrassed and insuated about by defense attorneys.

  • In reply to catmcroy:

    catmcroy, the issue is not whether this is humorous speech, the issue is whether this is protected speech.

  • Whether or not you believe that he wasn't being offensive, a lot of celebs and sports people (and people in general for that matter) aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer and don't get how powerful Twitter is. The risk you take with Twitter, and the written word, is that it often doesn't translate "humor' or irony. For this reason, if nothing else, anyone who has a public reputation to consider, should probably stay away from social networking.

  • I agree on that but many people know who Forrest is and he has a dry humor. Whatever the case I think the groups going after the UFC and MMA has other issues with the sport and they are using this to piggyback into those that they have.

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