Allegations of rape are not analogous to allegations of plagiarism.
In the event of rape, the victim is present at the time of the crime. The victim knows without a shadow of a doubt, that the crime occurred and the victim knows, without a shadow of a doubt who perpetrated the crime. In the event of rape or any abuse of someone’s person, we as a collective, must default to believing the victim. Anything otherwise is tantamount to gaslighting because no one can invalidate the actual lived experience of another human.
In the event of plagiarism, we can analyze the mirrored language of two texts all day long, but if there is no proof that the writer of the alleged plagiarism read the allegedly plagiarized text, we cannot assume wrongdoing, regardless of the identities of the parties involved.
To join a cause—a boycott—a smear campaign—an initiative to cancel the advocacy of another human or entity—on the basis that there is circumstantial evidence that appears to indicate wrongdoing just because the person wronged is part of a marginalized group is unethical and unjust.
To prioritize a Cause over the actual lives of individual people based on circumstantial evidence—without actual proof of wrongdoing—is immoral.
Consider the Russian Revolution. The motive driving the movement was a desire for justice for a truly oppressed collective. The oppression was real. The trauma they felt was valid. The desire for justice and equality was righteous. However, the belief that the cause was sufficient to ignore the humanity of the fellow humans within the system is what led to Stalin and all the of horrible injustice to follow.
I do not deny systemic racism. I do not deny the trauma of the marginalized collective. I affirm the feelings of shock and betrayal felt by Autistic Typing when she sees the side by side comparison of her text and that of ASAN. However, without proof that someone involved in the writing of Start Here read Autism Moon, we cannot assume a crime occurred. This is not gaslighting Autistic Typing’s experience. Autistic Typing was not present when the ASAN text was created. Autistic Typing does not know, without a doubt, that ASAN plagiarized her work. Autistic Typing assumes foul play on the basis of her identity as a member of a marginalized group. This is perfectly fine for Autistic Typing. Copyright law was created to protect the rights of all people who develop intellectual property.
I understand she is Indigenous, and I understand the construct of colonizer law has historically been biased against marginalized people, but in this case, Autistic Typing has rights under Copyright law, which she can pursue and it is for the court to decide—not any of us.
I believe that no one in our autistic community is in good faith to believe an allegation because of circumstantial evidence. I believe that all people deserve due process—innocent until proven guilty. I believe that when a victim endures a crime against their person we should believe them without question. I believe plagiarism is not a crime against one’s physical person.
My apology to Beck was because I should not have promoted the boycott of her event. I should not have joined the initiative to boycott ASAN without investigating the issue. My decision to immediately align myself with The Cause contributed to an enormous rift in our community.
Why is Beck taking the fall for organizing an event to support a group that may or may not have plagiarized an indigenous person, when none of the other creators involved were concerned about the rights of this indigenous person in the organization and preparation of this event?
I will tell you why. The boycott of ASAN had been publicly established. It was decided that Beck’s apology wasn’t sufficient and the standard by which all other creators were to be judged and condemned was set. The community decided Beck should be “held accountable” (punished) and public demands were made for apology by the other creators for participating in the event, or else they, too, would be held accountable for their crimes. This is coercion and duress. What choice had any of these young people but to align themselves with The Cause and distance themselves from Beck?!
That is why I came forward. I have no desire to further the pain of Autistic Typing (which is valid pain under the circumstances), but this fight for justice over her assumption of wrongdoing against her has unfortunately centered her claim within this controversy.
Nothing Beck has done has been sufficient for The Cause. We are all autistic. We all struggle with social communication and are frequently misunderstood. It is hypocritical to demand grace for oneself and justice for others.
The plagiarism issue is not mine to judge. The issue of extreme bullying and ganging up on a fellow autistic creator absolutely is.