The morning after prosecutors moved to drop criminal charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, pundits and columnists had all manner of opinions about the case, which the New York State Supreme Court is due to address Tuesday. It was surprising there wasn't more feminist outrage over the decision, which we know exists because of the protest that greeted the decision on Monday night. But there was some, and opinion-givers ranged from being offended at early feminist outrage to praising the justice system to offering gloomy thoughts about Strauss-Kahn's political future.
Jezebel carried this reaction from Sonia Ossario, who originally spoke with The New York Times:
Sonia Ossorio, the executive director of the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, said the case was, "mishandled by many people, including the victim's lawyer," however, "The prospect of Dominique Strauss-Kahn simply walking away scot-free is appalling." Strauss-Kahn isn't totally free, as he's still facing a civil suit filed by Diallo and allegations that he raped French writer Tristane Banon in 2003. Yet, it does seem that we'll never know what exactly happened in the Sofitel hotel room, and if a crime was committed, it will go unpunished.
The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin reminds us that, while Diallo didn't win the case, neither did Strauss-Kahn, by moral or even possibly legal standards:
But the complaints about Diallo hardly serve as an exoneration of D.S.K. As the prosecutors tell it, his behavior seems odious at best and criminal at worst. A housekeeper appeared in his hotel room, and some brief time later—maybe ten minutes, maybe a little more—she was spitting out his semen in the hallway. It is difficult to imagine a scenario that reflects anything but dishonor, if not criminal culpability, on this prominent man.
At the UK's Telegraph, Toby Young had some harsh words for the "Polly Fillers" or female lifestyle columnists of Fleet Street, who he says rushed to judgment of Strauss-Kahn. (The Australian carried a similar condemnation of feminists as a "baying brigade of zealots" who were proved wrong.) Young writes:
The willingness of Fleet Street’s female columnists to believe in Strauss-Kahn’s guilt was eye-opening. Most of these women profess to be liberals, paying lip service to the idea that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Yet the moment a man is accused of sexual harassment or worse, the presumption of innocence goes out the window.
It’s not surprising, of course (and these weren’t the only ones). Almost every Polly Filler depends for her moral authority (such that it is) on standing up for women’s rights. If a news story has some angle that enables them to shoehorn in a bit of Left-wing sexual politics, they won’t be able to resist and the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case was one such story.
At Slate, William Saletan turns the case around on prosecutors, writing, "Having exaggerated the case against Strauss-Kahn, prosecutors are now exaggerating the case against Diallo." He offers four points from Monday's motion for dismissal that he says don't add up, calling into question the prosecution's evidence surrounding Diallo's report of what happened after the alleged assault, her fabricated Guinean rape story, the apparently damning phone call with her fiance in prison, and the financial transactions in her bank account. He concludes that the motion is a "shifty, unsubstantiated, heavily spun report from the DA."