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Catching Up on the Feminist Twitter Flamewar with Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore recently found themselves at the center of a controversy over statements made about the sexual assault charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Last week on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Moore dismissed the sexual assault charges against Assange as “a bunch of hooey” and suggested Assange was the victim of a politically motivated smear campaign. Moore said, inaccurately, that the charge against Assange was that “his condom broke during consensual sex.”

The charges are a bit more serious than that, as you can read here. That respected media professionals would perpetuate misinformation and dismiss rape allegations got under some people’s skin. And so, a Twitter activist campaign was born. Using the hashtag #MooreandMe, twitterers expressed their frustration with Moore and Olbermann.

While Moore is a frequent Tweeter, he has not acknowledged the controversy. Olbermann, however, uses his Twitter account to communicate with the public, so naturally he responded to detractors. He used Twitter to apologize to anyone who felt he had not addressed the issue of rape “without full sensitivity.” He defended retweeting a link to an article that contained the names of the accusers, thereby potentially putting them in danger. He acknowledged that Assange could in fact be guilty of sexual assault, and expressed his support for a legitimate investigation of the allegations.

By Thursday the #MooreandMe tweets reached such a frenzy that Olbermann quit Twitter in frustration. He couldn’t stay silent for long, and returned to microblogging on Monday. And he released this statement, addressing some of the more abusive and ridiculous tweets. He did not, however, address the inaccurate statements Moore made on his show, or issue a correction of any kind.

There’s still time, Olbermann!

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