As allegations mount against serial sexual harassers and abusers across industries, a former freelance writer who wrote the ironic column “The Male Feminists Guide To…” for Broadly, Vice’s feminist vertical, faces allegations of violent assault from several women. Three women who alleged “Male Feminist...” writer Michael Hafford abused them found each other on social media where they shared their stories after Vice Media’s former social media editor Helen Donahue posted disturbing photos of the bruises to her upper body and neck she said Hafford gave her.
sux men in media hate women yet write abt feminism n masquerade as allies but its sadder this happens. 2015 i screamed @ my own reflection pic.twitter.com/RGERURFwnb
— helena (@helenadonahue) October 6, 2017
Before long, another woman, Deirdre Coyle, responded to Donahue in a quoted tweet, writing, “These bruises came from the same guy who physically forced me to do cocaine during sex," according to Jezebel.
Finally, a woman whose goes by Dilaria on Twitter responded to the two of them, writing, “This is the same guy who choked me at the foot of his stairs until I passed out and then repeatedly punched me in the face,” before the women confirmed in private messages that they were all talking about Hafford, a freelance writer who’s contributed to Rolling Stone, and Refinery 29 in addition to penning the transparently antifeminist “how-to” column for male feminists.
The allegations against Hafford aren’t the only troubling issues around its feminist vertical. Donahue came out about the abuse at the hands of Hafford when the news broke that another self-professed “male feminist,” out gay writer Mitchell Sunderland, a senior staff writer at Broadly, was in bed with alt-right button-pusher Milo Yiannopoulos, tipping him off to stories on the Vice vertical to help Yiannopoulos further terrorize women.
Responding to the barrage of tweets from women alleging Hafford physically abused them, Vice’s human resources department confirmed that he has been banned from contributing to any of the company’s properties.
“Vice does not tolerate assault of any kind, or behavior that is disrespectful or offensive to any group or demonstrates bias or bigotry, and we took action as soon as we learned what happened. We continue to review the matter,” a spokesperson for Vice wrote to Jezebel.
The women who spoke out about Hafford shared stories that range from his doing cocaine off of one woman’s vagina, choking another, attempting anal sex without consent with another, and rape with still another, according to interviews the women gave to Jezebel.
“We are horrified by the allegations against Michael Hafford. Broadly does not tolerate violence against women of any kind, and we’ve worked hard to report on injustices against women and marginalized communities,” Ciel Hunter, global head of content for Vice, wrote in a statement to Jezebel. “The Broadly team is comprised of women who are committed to amplifying the voices of survivors, and we will continue to do the work, both internally and in the field, to challenge the systems and people oppressing women today.”
The columns Hafford contributed to Broadly, which were written over a three-month period in 2015, just a few months after the period of time during which his accusers say he assaulted them, include “The Male Feminist’s Guide to Menstruation,” which, when reads like a “how-to” on how to pretend to be a sensitive guy in order to get laid, as does another "feminist" column he wrote titled "The Male Feminist's Guide to Getting a Girlfriend for Winter."
"Lots of men find periods gross. We don't, because we're Male Feminists, but you should allow your girlfriend to let you know how she feels. If she wants to have sex, great; Male Feminists are some of the most sex-positive people on earth. If she wants you to go down on her, even better; Male Feminists love achievements, and this one is called 'earning your red wings,'” Hafford wrote in a space on Broadly that could have been better used by a real male feminist concerned with women's equality and not by one who peddling tips to help men lure women into the sack with a column cloaked in hipster irony that was in fact deadly serious.
The final paragraph of that Broadly column begins, “These tips should help you catch a totally tubular crimson wave,” an admission that all that came before was intended to help men get women into bed. While more is certain to come to light regarding the allegations against Hafford, it appears Broadly had a wolf in sheep’s clothing on its site the entire time.