In March 2010, gossip site TMZ reported that an ex-girlfriend of Michael Fassbender’s (Sunawin/ Leasi Andrews) had filed a petition for a restraining order against the star, after she alleged that he had assaulted her on two separate occasions in 2009. Andrews claimed that Fassbender broke her nose in a drunken rage and dragged her alongside a car, which left her with a twisted ankle, damaged kneecap, and ruptured ovarian cyst. A month later, Andrews dropped the claims.
I’ll be straight; I didn’t much want to write about this, for various reasons that I don’t think are necessary to go into. However, I was reading an article this morning that I believe deserves a response. Michael Fassbender’s name has appeared more than once on this blog (and I can say with utmost certainty, will continue to do so), and therefore I think that it’s only right that I address the domestic assault rumours.
It was intended as a postscript to my review of Shame.
The particular writer that I referred to earlier is someone who I greatly admire. She is an articulate, intelligent and inspiring feminist blogger; an individual who consistently writes her posts with humour and verve, but never forgets that her words serve a greater purpose than mere entertainment. However, this morning I took issue with something she had written with regard to Michael Fassbender.
Umm, you do know he’s a wifebeater, right ladies?
I will never be okay with violence. Between a man and a woman, between two women, or between two men. In the ‘privacy’ of one’s own home, or out of it. Violence will never be acceptable.
However, it is equally not acceptable to make accusations of this magnitude when we cannot be certain of what went on behind closed doors. I would never be as vile and obnoxious as some commenters have been (the vitriolic TMZ seems to attract these kind of unpleasant people), and dare to call foul on Ms. Andrews’ claims. Not because I think her accusations are true or false, but because I cannot know the truth. I may cogitate to no end (“classic victim behaviour” or the Cult of Celebrity?), but would still reach no definitive conclusion as to what went on and what motivates people to act how they do. How and why this story stayed out of the media spotlight is yet another issue to take into consideration, but the result is still the same:
I will not base a judgement of an individual on rumour, gossip, and speculation.
This is harmful and dangerous. Not just to ourselves, or to the individual we attack, but to victims of abuse. Two years on, and this story is still irresistible bait to the legions of internet trolls. For every person who condemns Fassbender for his alleged actions, there will be half a dozen creeps waiting in the wings to attack Andrews for hers. It’s a never-ending cycle. No conclusion.
Maybe Michael Fassbender is a violent, abusive individual who does not deserve our patronage. Maybe Sunawin Andrews is an opportunistic liar.
I do not know, and I do not believe that the rest of the internet know either.