The collective accusation paradox - Politics | PoFo

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This is a paradox where the more people there are accusing someone of doing something, the less likely we should be to believe them.

This paradox is inspired by the #MeToo movement, where at its height, several rich and powerful men were facing rape and sexual assault accusations from dozens of women at the same time. Harvey Weinstein, for example, had 87 different women accusing him of rape.
(No, that is not a misprint, that's eighty-seven women suddenly all coming forward at the same time and accusing him of past sexual assaults)

In what type of situation is there that 10, or even 20 witnesses, could say that someone committed a crime, and for us to not be sure if it actually happened?

Well, that sort of situation is exactly what I'm going to be discussing here.

In recent years we've seen the rise of a new phenomena where multiple women have come forward at the same time accusing celebrity men of rape, with many of the alleged rapes having taken place years ago in the past.

Obviously, with so many women accusing the same man of rape, the women have to be telling the truth, correct?

Well, unfortunately there are ulterior motives. If a man is convicted in criminal court, it makes it very likely thereafter that he would also be found at fault in civil court. For that reason, with celebrity rape accusations, there are often some very large financial payouts.
A woman has potentially millions of dollars to gain by falsely accusing a wealthy celebrity of rape. Very often there is an undisclosed settlement paid to the alleged victim to stop the lawsuit, with the amount paid not being made public.

Once a celebrity is accused of rape and it is seen on the news, it doesn't take long for scores of other women to start coming forward claiming they were raped by this celebrity.
They may do it for different reasons; the potential of receiving a financial settlement, temporary fame and attention, getting interviews and appearing on the news. Sometimes they feel that by accusing the man they are helping to make sure women are believed, by supporting the original accuser, and making sure a man whom they believe is a rapist goes to prison. After all, who is going to doubt that a man is a rapist if three or four women are saying the man raped them?

But this phenomena sometimes rises to ridiculous levels.
Harvey Weinstein had 87 women accusing him. Is that even believable? Surely the majority of these women must have been lying.
Bill Cosby had 60 accusers. With so many women, why didn't more of these women come forward years earlier, if they were all actually raped?
Oh, I'm not saying all these women are lying, but surely with 60 women, most of them have to be false accusers.

(sources: ... 804663001/ ... 555144002/ )

It's not just celebrities, powerful men can also be accused for political reasons.
Brett Kavanaugh, while he was being nominated to the Supreme Court, had numerous accusers, besides the three primary ones. In some of the cases it was obvious that the women's stories were not credible, and one of the women ended up retracting her allegations.

Some resentful feminist women may view this as a strategy just to drag down rich powerful men. Others may hold the opinion that all women should be automatically believed when they claim rape, and be frustrated that a woman who is accusing a rich and famous man is not believed. In other cases, this phenomena may be a case of mass hysteria, where scores of women across the country seeing the news decide to jump aboard to rape accuser boat, feeling like they're becoming part of some greater movement and supporting fellow women.

The phenomena of copycat crimes has been well studied in criminology. A terrible crime is covered in the news, and then shortly afterwards there are multiple similar copycat crimes committed by other individuals who saw the original story in the news.

At the height of the #MeToo movement, 425 rich and powerful men had been accused of rape or serious sexual misconduct within a year.
(source: ... niversary/ )

And that raises the question. In a case where there are 20 different women accusing a man, and we know probably a large number of these women are lying, couldn't it easily be possible they are all lying? If it's so easy for there to be 5 false accusers, why not 10? Why not most of the accusers? If most of them are lying, couldn't it be just as well possible they're all lying?

There is no way 20 women have all been raped and they are just now all coming forward to tell the truth. That's too implausible.
No, there is another explanation. Millions of women from across the country were watching the coverage from the news and a very small percentage of them - in many cases perhaps just a bit mentally ill or with serious emotional issues - decided to jump aboard the gravy train for stardom and easy money. The more accusers there are accusing a celebrity, the easier it is for more false accusers to jump onboard. Especially if these women watching the news coverage have the remotest past connection to that celebrity. For example, maybe 10 years ago they attended a party where that celebrity was at. Well that could make their accusation all the more believable.

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