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2019 U. Chi. Legal F. 123 (2019)
Witch Hunts: Free Speech, #MeToo, and the Fear of Women's Words

handle is hein.journals/uchclf2019 and id is 127 raw text is: 








Witch Hunts: Free Speech, #MeToo, and the Fear
                     of Women's Words

                        Mary Anne Frankst




    What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.

    - Muriel Rukeyser, Kdthe Kollwitz (1968)

                          INTRODUCTION

    Perhaps the most seductive truism of free speech jurisprudence is
that the First Amendment protects, in Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes's
words, the thought we hate.1 The sentiment dominates both the for-
mal doctrine and informal public understanding of free speech. The con-
cept of offensive speech in the United States was associated for some
time with marginalized speakers, such as Communists, civil rights ac-
tivists, and union workers. However, it has over the last few decades
become increasingly identified with speakers more closely tied to power
and privilege, such as white supremacists, corporations, and members
of mainstream religions. Public discourse on free speech has been dom-
inated in the last few years by far-right figures such as Milo Yiannopou-
los and Richard Spencer, whose speech tend to denigrate women, racial
minorities, and the LGBTQ community.2 Some of the fiercest defenders
of this speech are self-identified civil libertarians, who claim to hate
what such speakers are saying but who will defend to the death their
right to say it.3 These defenders do not dismiss the idea that such
speech causes harm but maintain that it is this very characteristic that
compels its protection.



   t Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law; President and Legislative & Tech
Policy Director, Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.
   ' United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644, 655 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting).
   2 Talib Kwali Greene, Free Speech or Die?, MEDIUM (Feb. 26, 2018), https://medium.com/s/sto
ry/free-speech-or-die-53a206027143 [https://perma.cc/4YMH-2DSL].
   A clich6 frequently but erroneously attributed to Voltaire.

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