Content Warning: sexism, rape.
The USU has decided to disallow the use of USU funds or resources for the recently advertised screening of the documentary The Red Pill. This event was advertised to take place in the International Student Lounge on 4th May by the Conservative Club, Students for Liberty and BroSoc, a society not currently registered in the Clubs and Societies Program. This decision means that no screening of The Red Pill may take place in a USU-managed space on campus, and that any such screening will not receive USU funding, or support via any other mechanism.
The USU has received a number of complaints regarding the film screening, and after investigation we have come to the conclusion that a screening of The Red Pill would breach regulation 10.j.xii of the Clubs and Societies regulations. The regulation proscribes that:
xii. Club funds may not be used for any activities that discriminate or harass on the basis of sex, race, age, marital status, sexuality, religion, or disability; or defame, coerce, intimidate or physically threaten an individual or group;
We believe that there is the distinct possibility that the planned screening of this documentary would be discriminatory against women, and has the capacity to intimidate and physically threaten women on campus.
The Red Pill is purported to be a film which highlights issues specific to men in our society. The USU is obviously supportive of efforts to bring awareness to, and to combat, issues such as the higher suicide rate for men than women.
The reality of The Red Pill, however, is much more sinister. This documentary is decidedly anti-feminist and anti-woman, focussing not on the ways in which the systemic issues of patriarchy may also adversely affect men, but instead placing the blame on women and feminism specifically for men’s issues. The Red Pill is rooted in an ideology which ultimately dehumanises women, seeing them merely as sex objects who exist primarily to purposefully negatively impact the lives of men.
Most dangerously, the film features commentary from Men’s Rights Activist Paul Elam, who has claimed that young women “[have] the equivalent of a I'M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH — PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads” and that if he were to serve on a jury in a case related to sexual assault, he would find a male defendant not guilty even in the face of contrary evidence. The film also perpetuates the myth of rampant false allegations of sexual assault, when multiple, reputable studies have shown that the false reporting of sexual violence is, in reality, rare.
For these reasons we believe that The Red Pill is discriminatory towards women and implies the endorsement of threats of sexual assault which have the capacity to intimidate and physically threaten women.
Through withdrawing material support for the planned The Red Pill screening, the USU is not intending to undermine the right of alternative viewpoints to be heard on campus or in the community. However, the USU is a member-based organisation, funded in significant part directly through the fees of members and students. We are under obligation to use these funds in a way that conforms with our regulations. We believe that The Red Pill significantly breaches these regulations in a way that is unacceptable to our organisation. As such the USU will not be providing funds or resources to the Conservative Club, Students for Liberty, BroSoc, or any other organisation, in support of a screening of The Red Pill documentary.