Gavin McInnes fired for having an dissenting opinion

Adweek reported yesterday that Gavin McInnes was forced to take an indefinite leave of absence from his CCO role at New York shop, Rooster, following an essay written on Thought Catalog called "Transphobia is Perfectly Normal." Lovely bit of linkbait wouldn't you say? I wonder how many people actually read it.
The essay (which is still available to read) was flagged by the "community," for violating standards. In other words, rather than discussing the article's points, asking if there was any relevance to it, or even asking whether it was satirical comment on society in general, the pitchfork wielders and knuckle draggers put on their Fahrenheit 451 hats and screamed HATE SPEECH, before anyone had a chance to discuss it,

SPOILER ALERT: Dear pitchfork-wielders and knuckle draggers: This article has nothing to do with the content of Gavin McInnes' essay. It has to do with your response to it.

If you were living in Czechoslovakia in 1972, an expressed a dissenting opinion, or refused to comply, you were interrogated, intimidated and imprisoned. If you were a member of the intelligentsia they punished you by making you work in manual labor, where your job would not be to think, but to do. The totalitarian communists who ran that Soviet country did everything in their power to ensure you were silenced.
Today's America is looking at lot like Soviet Czechoslovakia. We no longer espouse Voltaire's philosophy of "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Now, it's "Shut the fuck up."
Today's America doesn't see any value in contrarian thinkers like Christopher Hitchens or Ralph Nader or satirists like Jonathan Swift for that matter. We drown them out and make them go and hide as quickly as possible. Because we can't deal with opinions and mistake them for something they are not. These days satire is followed by demands to Cancel Colbert as the twitter activist generation sincerely believes that satire should "punch up" not down, confusing satire with comedy and thereby missing the point.

We have lost the ability to discuss, and debate respectfully, too. Whether it's the topic of man-made global warming, fracking, space travel, or the Middle East crisis, we no longer want to debate. Now, we want to end the debate. How many times have you recently heard the phrase "The debate has been settled?" At the first sign that someone disagrees with our perfectly constructed bubble, we do everything in our power to dismiss, discredit, have the fired, or boycott their company. So by implication, we ask the business to maintain thought control, or else.
Or else what? Doesn't anyone remember that the boycott of Chick-fil-A had the inverse effect of what was intended?
More importantly, is any of this going to change Gavin McInnes' mind in any way? The man who trailblazed offensive as cool with Vice, and his outrageous books. Does any of that behavior encourage healthy discussions, debates or communication? Of course not. Then again, no one wants to change Gavin McInnes' mind. They want him to go away. There is no reasoning with America any more.

This is indicative of the hive mind's true intent on suppressing the one thing we share, regardless of race, creed, orientation or socio-economic status. And no, I'm not going to say "free speech." That's a given. What I'm talking about is much worse. The hive mind is intent on destroying the ability for us to communicate with one another, and attempt to reach some kind of middle ground.
I've got some big news for you: it's a fallacy to think we are always going to get along or share the same way of thinking. We have never gotten along without effort. Since we first invented the wheel it's been a complete struggle. Wars have not helped. Communism didn't help. The only thing that attempts to bring us closer together as a community or a world is communication.

Before the 1970's in America, Gays and Lesbians were told to shut the fuck up, keep quiet, stay in the closest, hide who they are, what they think, and what they believe. Exactly the same thing that is happening to Gavin McInnes. Ironic, no? To see an example of this in the most extreme, one doesn't need to go back in history. It's happening right now in present day Iraq, where, Christians are being forced to convert to Islam, or face death. Here in good old America, we just put you "on leave of absence" for having an opinion. We're not quite at threat-of-death extremism. Not yet, anyway. That's not hyperbole. Again-- look at Iraq, and now look at America. If an untold group of people here, who don't even know you, can have you fired for saying something they don't agree with, why should any of us assume they'll stop there?

I don't know whether McInnes' article was meant to be sincere, satirical or both. I don't care, either. What I know is, Gavin McInnes is a master at getting lots of eyeballs on his content. From his days co-founding Vice to this Converse ad from 2005, to his latest project at Rooster for Meowington Headphones, the guy's one of the few people in advertising who are still good at it. Rooster sure benefitted from them, and I'm sure they'll take all the publicity they can get, too. But the idea that Rooster (and by extension all of advertising) is kowtowing to those who don't believe in having a contrarian opinion rather than saying "It's his opinion and one that isn't connected with us" is unsettling.

David Ogilvy once said "There are very few men of genius in advertising agencies. But we need all we can find. Almost without exception they are disagreeable. Don't destroy them. They lay golden eggs.”

I'm not saying Gavin McInnes is a genius, mind you. I just find it interesting that Ogilvy's quote reflected a different kind of America. Back then, despite our intolerances, we were also tolerant. Now, we've gone from Ogilvy, to the people who run Rooster who say "Go take an indefinite leave of absence." I.E., shut the fuck up.

Congratulations, America.

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ReasonedDissent's picture

Social justice, ain't it grand?

Let's start by offering unequivocal support for kidsleepy's post. That's a good place. Then let's take a look at what's really going on around us.

Democracy. Freedom. Rights. Sure thing.

Democracy - Properly understood, democracy is tantamount to a functional system wherein 51% can subjugate, by means of law, 49%. Spout representative democracy all you want, come back to me when you can answer for Dunbar's number and biologically limited fields of vision, oh wait, you can't.

Freedom - Ahhh, sweet Murica. While you're in the process of telling me all about Freedom, stop and define it one time for me. The funny thing about "freedom" is that everybody seems to know what the fuck it really is, with zero common consensus. The belief that common consensus was ever achieved, aimed at, or wanted in America's history belies nothing but simple ignorance.

Rights - Now we're to the crux of the matter. Everyone's got rights. Everyone's rights are superior to the next guy. Remember the last time you got fired from a job because you opened your mouth and said something unpopular? Ever gotten beaten up because you didn't look, speak, or act like other people. Same fucking boat people. The fact that your pet issue is your pet issue and not somebody else's just means you have different core interests, which, surprise, pretty much all people do.

This leads into some pretty deep social philosophy. The refusal to tolerate others is the same intolerance visited upon you, and kidsleepy is dead on to make the point that regardless of the situation, censoring and punishing people for opinions is simply counterproductive. This isn't supposed to be a hive mind, and I got news for you, people who don't know anything about you are perfectly capable of hating you just fucking because, it's the world we live in, step out of the delusion and accept it, because it's not going to change.

While you're busy applauding the firing of this or that "bigot" ask yourself about their family. The threats they get, the selfsame ones many profess to abhor. The fact of being the victim of intolerance is not, contrary to popular behavior, carte blanche to engage in close minded bigoted behavior yourself. When people aren't free to open their mouth without reprisal, people stop opening their mouth. The lack of recognition of this, and the sociopolitical effects it has on our society is astounding. While social crusaders cling to any topic available and close to their personal experience, from gun control to abortion to LGBTQ rights, forgotten in the mix of self righteous fervor is the fact that the people you're pointing that vitriol at are in almost every case, the wrong target. When I have to drive past Planned Parenthood and explain pictures of aborted fetuses to my 4 year old, there's a fucking problem people. They have a right to be upset, and lobby, they do not have the right to visit the effects of that on everyone in society for their personal satisfaction, that's not guaranteed anywhere.

As personally gratifying as it may be in ANY situation to "get one back" after you've been shit on, it's an illusory victory that moves nobody anywhere toward a happier world or better solution. As with any situation, bigotry and intent are in the eye of the beholder, common belief has never, nor will it ever, make a thing true, and that's a fact of logic that's indisputable. Just like people were and are wrong to be intolerant to others based on political, sexual, racial or other factors, so are those minorities wrong when they take the social pendulum in hand and use a warped sense of social justice to transform the the thin blue line to hang anyone they don't feel particularly tolerant toward. It's a slippery slope, and while a physical beating and a lay off may be different things, any person who stands there and tells you they can judge what it feels like to be in one or the other's shoes and can make a quantifiable value judgement about it is not only delusional, they simply don't get how all this works.

MadArchivist's picture

I hate SJWs and Tumblerinas as much as the next guy but Holy Shit! What a flaming piece of shit that McInnes guy is! You would never have guessed watching his cute baby videos. Glad to know he got fired.

kidsleepy's picture

If you're familiar with his career, this is the guy who started Vice magazine. Their incredibly mean-spirited Do's and Don'ts 'column,' should have been a tip off that the guy is known for being offensive. It's just, no one seemed to care until now...

Danny's picture

That's some nice false equivalency with a former Soviet Eastern Block country, except Gavin McInnes is a free man, still free to publish what he wants. The US government isn't censoring him or imprisoning him for his opinions. Has social policing gone too far, yeah. He shouldn't have people screaming for him to have his livelihood taken away because they don't like a dissenting opinion of something they hold close, but a private business also has the freedom to terminate associations that affect business, as they please. How about you blame the cowardice of management in the business place for not sticking up for their own and serving him to the wolves?

kidsleepy's picture

They are doing more than screaming for his livelihood to be taken away. They are sending him death threats. So yeah, that's actually not false equivalency. That is quite apt.

No one is arguing the fact a business can do as it pleases. I'm sure of it because I wrote the article and never mentioned that. At all.

I am neither condoning nor condemning the content of Gavin's article. i was merely pointing out that the response would be as vitriolic, mean-spirited and bigoted as the presumed tone of Gavin's article. And judging by the extreme hate mail I received for for merely making that point, I wasn't off at all. I was right as right can be.

By the way, I could have chosen another analogy instead of communist Czechoslovakia, like McCarthyism, but it would have led to the same place. People on soapboxes don't want to hear that they are bigoted, or mean-spirited, or aren't in the right when they call for the head of someone. But that's on their conscience, not mine.

But i was told to go to hell for this, and the owner of Adland was taken to task by some twat who doesn't realize this has always been an open forum for all kinds of opinions for the past fifteen years. I don't wish to convince that person of the efficacy, nor do I wish to defend my opinion.

As for your last point, you'll see that I did blame the cowardice of management in the business place. It's even more of a joke since Gavin works for an agency he started, but again that's everyone's prerogative. I never said they couldn't put him on leave, or whatever.

The entire point of this article had nothing to do with what he wrote, but with how I assumed people would respond to what I wrote. With the same hatred and anger they assumed was behind Gavin's article, because that's what people do these days.

I wasn't wrong at all. Because I didn't call for his head, I am somehow complicit. Well guess what-- I'm not.

I also find it hilarious the guy made a living off of Vice and its mean-spirited critique of mankind but no one said a word until now. I guess morality is a moving target. Make fun of people all you want until you get to a certain group, then it's verboten.

I believe they call that situation ethics.

ReasonedDissent's picture

Back in the old days. We had this thing we used to do, you know, when a fork was sticking out of something..

"The entire point of this article had nothing to do with what he wrote, but with how I assumed people would respond to what I wrote. With the same hatred and anger they assumed was behind Gavin's article, because that's what people do these days.

I wasn't wrong at all. Because I didn't call for his head, I am somehow complicit. Well guess what-- I'm not."


Dabitch's picture

I'm not sure This article has nothing to do with the content of Gavin McInnes' essay. It has to do with your response to it. was clear enough. Maybe we should bring back the blink tag?

As an aside, I did actually read Gavin McInnes' article, and I'll just note that there are many, many red flags in it that indicate it's a giant troll, but I'm not going to debate that here since the topic is how trolled people are. The troll, is now a media. Goodness, if we troll right, we can sell it.

Gavin McInnes used to make Vice the Do's and Don'ts that were homophobic and mean, and well generally sucky to all of mankind but especially women because most of the time we critique what women wear. Whatever. So I didn't like Vice, didn't read it, didn't care and suddenly Vice has become this really trusted documentary maker with long form journalism that we all trust and generation whatever watches with baited breath. The brand travel there is pretty interesting and we should write about that sometime, because I still can't shake the sleeze from someone photographing a girl asleep at a party in NYC with her clothes torn off, labelling as "don't", and then selling that shit for money. Maybe I'm weird that way. OMG integrity, it's the worst amirite?

But yeah, so then that guy says something that (surprise!!!) is pushing every possible button, right now to offend. and offended people were. Like schools of fish people swum up to compete in the offended olympics, and SWJ sharpened their blogs to write back.

This used to be exactly his job though, rile people up, make them swim here, there, anywhere.

So when you point out that the reaction is probably what is wanted.
And so he did, but the tide turned against him because he was surfing the wrong wave right now, and so he'll get fired for it.

I'm sorry, but that's sort of faboo. It's like watching a digital wipeout...

In the end, as I understand, I now suck because I have now let my " your platform be used to police the response to transphobic drivel, and further support a violently oppressive status quo whose bodycount continues to grow across the world. How you try to make this about respectability politics and to police the anger of people denied dignity, careers, and even their lives absolutely disgusts me.". Similarly, tumblr allows their platform to be used to publish "fuck you's" like that.

Ok. Me and my ovaries will go shut the fuck up. My bad.

Chris's picture

He is not being arrested or fined, so the government does not limit his free speech. It's not his right to be immune to negative reaction from others to the content of the article, no? Content that you don't address. Maybe you should address it to get a better sense of why people are angry. If you did your rant would be more substantial.

kidsleepy's picture

This article has nothing to do with the content of Gavin McInnes' essay. It has to do with your response to it.

Dabitch's picture

-Jason? What do you make of this?
- "I.. I don't know, I just was informed by the young woman that I actually don't have.. the right or the occasion to actually say anything on this matter, so I suppose I will decline".

TIL: Thought Catalog is "a white supremacist publication". Gawker says so. Silly me, I thought that title was reserved for the likes of Stormfront forums.Clearly I need to update my lists. Oh, wait, is that hyperbole? Because people are not good with that on these topics... (Yes, I know it's a term used in modern sociology to not mean men dressed in white sheets participating in lynching partes.)

Jason Fox's picture

I grow weary of the argument that just because the government didn't do the censoring it's somehow okay. It's okay to say you disagree. It's okay to write a point-by-point counter piece. It's okay say the guy's a giant jackwagon. And while calling for his firing, etc. is within your rights, it is not okay because it makes society worse. It silences speech. It emboldens those who believe in liberty for some (those who agree) instead of all. None of which may be illegal, but I prefer a society that doesn't equate legality with morality. And no, I didn't read McInnes's essay -- knowing he founded Vice was enough for me to bypass it. But I still prefer a society where people are free to be asshats to the current State of the Perpetually Indignant in which we now live.

Dabitch's picture

This "boycott" idea, that consumers should choose wisely to spend their money where it doesn't hurt other people has morphed into a strange creature these days. Remember when South African goods were boycotted? Then the 90s rolled around and lists were being made of goods to boycott because they had shady practices, used child labour, polluted groundwater, killed Orangutans and so on.. I was really into this for a while, I will shop items I need from companies that are ethical, produce locally, and so on. But now I have to keep track of which CEO likes to hunt wild game, who donated a bit of his paycheck to a pac, and which ones are run by Christians because they seem to be boycotted all the time. But heeeey, high tech gear produced in factories where suicides are rampant, that's A-OK. Buy more of that. I guess what I'm saying is, it's starting to get a little warped.

Justine Tunney, who has an awesome-looking pixel portrait of themselves on their page, has also posted their opinion on this web mob here: "In Defense of Gavin McInnes"

It's rational, levelheaded, timelines the events for a fuller picture and uses the brilliant word "clicktivists" ... oh and here's the thing... Justine is trans. Is Justine allowed to defend Gavin then? I wonder if their twitter timeline was as agitated when that came out, and if anyone is tumblering that post with a "Fuck YOU" on it. The Progressive Mob Mentality Justine writes about is like digital riots, it can quickly get out of hand. As a prior example, Justine brings up Brendan Eich. Remember Pax Dickingson?

Justine already has some experience with this type of mob, so I hope people take the time to READ what they says proper before getting the tar and feathers out. Justine has many good points, brings up the invariable fight between memeplexes to explain why this particular topic keeps flaring up in this manner, and here's just one:

"This paternalistic sanctimonious nonsense has got to go! As a trans woman, I don’t want the media white-knighting on my behalf. I refuse to accept the notion that being trans and female makes me weak. I like to think of myself as a smart courageous woman who’s perfectly capable of defending herself. So I’m sure you can understand how unhappy it makes me to see cisgender activists acting all indignant in my name, because some random dude said something politically incorrect about trans people."

Sing it.

TheWorldisMad's picture

No matter what people have said, Gavin McInnes was fired and not just taking a leave of absence. Whether Gavin is a hipster asshole or not is beside the point. Ten years ago a Professor of Psychiatry stated: "We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it." Today we can't even discuss it.

So while Gavin is fired for being as abrasive as he always is, Laverne Cox is on the cover of TIME magazine and walking the red carpet at all the award shows. There's a petition out hoping to get her fired : Remove Laverne Cox from the cast of Orange is the new black, because she supports the rights of child-killers and women murderers to surgically become women and be moved to women's prisons.

Gavin was fired in an instant, Laverne is untouchable.

StJohn's picture

Ebony Nicole Williams would like her voice to be heard and her dreams to matter. That Laverne Cox decides to lend her celebrity to the cause of getting incarcerated individuals who are doing time for rape and murder their sex-change operations and being moved to women's prisons is disgusting.

A Bronx mother yesterday berated two members of the Latin Kings gang for smirking while standing trial for torturing and killing her 13-year-old daughter. Yvonne Hill then nodded approvingly when the men were sentenced to life in prison for murdering Ebony Williams. "Ever since the trial was going on, all I see is Luis Morales grinning and Carlos Franco, too," Hill said. "You ain't smiling today. I hope you both rot in hell.

She has a right to have that disturbing opinion though, so I won't sign a petition to have her fired for it. I will just mentally note that she's a disgusting individual, driven to promote her cause alone at the expense of children, women and people of color. A narcissist to the core. I won't be watching whatever show she is on anytime soon.

EbonyDeservesBetter's picture

I can't imagine being Ebony Nicole Williams mother and having to listen to some guy who claims he is a woman, put the needs of her daughters killer above her daughters right to life. That Laverne Cox did that says so much about the trans movement at large today. Real women and children don't count. Real women's rights take a back seat to trans women's rights.

Redrum Two's picture

The fact that you guys at Adland saw this coming in 2014, and took lots of shit for it, gives me new respect for you. I have no idea that this article was written and that the Editor Dabitch's real name was dragged through the mud for it. Fuck some people who can't handle the written word and opinion.