Column

#MeToo Killed the Myth of Male Genius

Mark Halperin’s failed comeback attempt shows that no one misses the men ousted for abuse

Jessica Valenti
GEN
Published in
3 min readSep 10, 2019

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Credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

MMark Halperin wants his career back. The political pundit and author, fired in 2017 after a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct, has been busy working on a new book, launching his blog, and conducting radio interviews. He even wants to get back on television — but on that front, he was stymied by his ex-boss, MSNBC network chief Phil Griffin.

Despite Halperin’s attempted push back into the public eye, said public hasn’t shown much interest. The strategists who lent their names to his book have now expressed regret, and the backlash against his media appearances and blog continue unabated.

Perhaps no one is eager to see Halperin back in politics because of the severity and number of accusations against him: The Game Change author was accused of pressing his erect penis against multiple women, grabbing a woman’s breasts, masturbating in front of a colleague, throwing a woman against a window and, when rejected, calling a woman to tell her she’d never work in media again.

Or maybe it’s because Halperin isn’t — and never was — that amazing at his job. In the two years since he’s been out of sight, no one has bemoaned the lack of his voice or work. There’s been no great gaping hole of political analysis in his absence.

The country went on without him, and we’re just fine.

There is genius and talent around every corner — plenty of it nonwhite and nonmale, even!

The same could be said for most of the men outed as abusers these last few years. Despite fears that the exits of people like Charlie Rose or Matt Lauer would create some broader cultural loss, these supposed vanguards have barely been missed.

It seems we’re seeing an unintended benefit of the #MeToo movement: a debunking of the irreplaceable male genius myth.

As #MeToo gained steam, and abusers started to be shunned or fired, some men argued that the world would be the worse for it. In Harper’s, for example, Lionel Shriver wrote that “the party that really…

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Jessica Valenti
GEN
Writer for

Feminist author & columnist. Native NYer, pasta enthusiast.