SMH reporter Asher Moses calls woman “slutty groupy”: twitter explodes

Last night, SMH reporter Asher Moses was twittering about the Johns/rugby ‘gang bang’ business.

Moses twitters under his own name, with “Technology Reporter, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age” in his bio. He wrote to the world:

“So Matthew Johns’ career is over because a slutty groupy had consensual group sex with him and his teammates 7 yrs ago and now regrets it?”

Because Asher Moses’ remarks have been deleted from his twitter timeline by him, but are still there (perhaps temporarily) on a twitter search, here’s a screenshot. (Read from bottom to top.)

[For those not familiar with the medium, the first name on the line is the author; any name preceded by @ is a reply to the person of that name.]


Immediate responses varied, but included:

JeanBurgess: @Mosesmoses are you serious?

plasmaegg: @Mosesmoses not sure whose worse – John’s who people like you who think its ok

babycakesjase: @Mosesmoses So how much agency does a single19 year old girl have surrounded by a bunch of footy players?

Jen_Bennett: @Mosesmoses I think you might be about to get your derrier kicked on twitter.

Moses furiously tried to defend his remarks before deleting them:

Mosesmoses: @plasmaegg @jeanburgess According to Johns (and I guess the cops who cleared), the woman raised no objections and was actually instigating..

But wasn’t getting far:

trackta: fuck off Mosesmoses

glittertrash: @Mosesmoses: Fuck, dude, could you please not refer to a woman at the centre of a story of arguable/blurred consent as a ‘slutty groupy’?

Then there were those who supported him:

StuartLivesey: @Mosesmoses watch it mate – the bloodhounds are out there baying for blood and they don’t care about the truth

He tried again:

Mosesmoses: Maybe i’m being overly sympathetic to Johns after watching him on ACA. But still, he didn’t do anything illegal. Immoral? Opinions vary..

But still wasn’t getting far:

_gnosis: SMH need to train their technology reporter in how to use social media

(note that that url now leads to a chirpy “This page doesn’t exist!” error message)

plasmaegg: @Mosesmoses of course they are going to say that… WTF did you expect them to say – yeah we gang banged her against her will?

Moses tried a bit of PPQ:

Mosesmoses: @glittertrash How is it blurred?

Blokes stepped in to be the Balanced Voices of Reason and/or Denial:

bigyahu: @Mosesmoses his career’s not over. He’s been sacked by a network that cares about what its female middle class audience thinks.

bengrubb: @Mosesmoses The issue remains as to whether it was consensual. I didn’t watch ACA, so don’t know whether he said otherwise.

purserj: @Mosesmoses: It’s ACA, has as much to do with journalism as Today Tonight

JoelyRighteous: @Mosesmoses I have minimal exposure to this debate but if it WAS concensual why is it an issue at all? If people want to gangbang go for it.

Scar68: @Mosesmoses It was very well stage managed but I agree. Also why is he the only one being keel hauled.

Another bloke threw in a pointed question:

benmckelvey: @Mosesmoses So, is this the official SMH line?

Moses kept trying to engage:

Mosesmoses: @glittertrash People make their own decisions and have to live with them…if the cops charged Johns with rape I wouldn’t have this opinion

But the crowd were having nothing of it:

glittertrash: @Mosesmoses: Cops haven’t laid charges, so she’s a ‘slutty groupy’? Nice.

JeanBurgess: RT @glittertrash @Mosesmoses: Why is the terminology ‘slutty groupy’ NOT a fucking juvenile attack on an already distraught woman?

johnkung: @Mosesmoses One can only hope that your career, such as it is, will be over with that comment.

Moses shrugged:

Mosesmoses: I just think Johns is being crucified when cops haven’t charged him with anything. Morally, I think he was in the wrong..

Flying monkeys flapped around:

PeakingLegoman: @Mosesmoses tks for saying that. I watched ACA and Johns was not lying. Absolutely was not lying. fucnk bitch needs to own her own mistakes

glittertrash and Jen_Bennett pointed out his double standard way more politely than I would have:

glittertrash: @Mosesmoses: morally in the wrong vs ‘slutty groupy’. Perhaps a moment of self-examination of your own double standards, please?

Jen_Bennett: @Mosesmoses you might want to reconsider your use of “slutty groupie” since it suggests all blame on her.

Moses claimed it was just a problem of terminology, and again decided he knew perfectly well what went on that night, and it was all 100% consensual, or something vaguely along those lines anyhow (perhaps she was a big Slutty McSlutterson and deserved to get gang raped as a consequence of her “decisions”?):

Mosesmoses: @glittertrash @Jon_Bennett @christianmccrea Ok, shouldn’t have put it in those terms. But I think both made their own decisions..

And made the point that he does draw the line somewhere, women don’t actually deserve to be attacked with a broken glass (only with a penis, which they secretly all love dontcha know?):

Mosesmoses: @newsbee I completely agree. Greg Bird glassing his girlfriend? That is disgusting. I’m definitely not defending that kind of behaviour.

Then, marykozlovski noticed that Moses had deleted his “slutty groupy” tweet:

marykozlovski: @Mosesmoses Why tweet this ( (expand) ) then delete it?

And Moses again claimed it was all about his simple lack of mad dictionary skillz:

Mosesmoses: @marykozlovski regretted the choice of words but I still think johns is being unfairly treated..

Pressed on the issue:

marykozlovski: @Mosesmoses Why should you be able to retract comments, when you wouldn’t allow people the similar privilege in SMH?

Moses’s only response?

Mosesmoses: @marykozlovski @jeanburgess Twitter isn’t SMH.

Screenshot of that last exchange, in case it doesn’t last online:


Follow further developments here at a search for ashermoses on Twitter.

Categories: gender & feminism, media, social justice, violence


23 replies

  1. Nice work documenting this!

  2. Why should you be able to retract comments, when you wouldn’t allow people the similar privilege in SMH?


  3. Epic fail Asher Moses.

  4. Good on Twitterdom for calling him on it, and excellent documenting, Lauredhel.

  5. Nice catch! Don’t suppose Moses will be joining Johns in saying “Sorreh”, as in “Sorreh I’m guilty of absolute stupidity”.

  6. Asher Moses eh? There’s another name for the shitlist. Great to have a record of this.

  7. Re Crikey: In which yet another large media source strips out author attributions when they mine stuff from the internet. They attribute all of the ashermoses tweets, but strip out attributions for all the others quoted. Why?

  8. Sorry, just saw your tweet about it. Weird.
    Asher tweeted earlier in the week (and I have a screenshot):
    “Governor General just toured the newsroom. Seems like a bit of a wank to me.”
    The appears to have been deleted last night as well (maybe before though, someone only brought the deletion to my attention this morning.) Terribly juvenile is the best you can say about the content (whether he means the GG or the tour is a “wank”), but I thought then how on earth you be clueless enough (as a tech writer!) to attach that to your own professional persona.

  9. you may wish to round up a posse and head over to Patti Chong’s blog on WAToday, who is saying similar things about this issue.
    Patti says:
    “Johns is innocent. The law gives him the presumption of innocence. He is only guilty in the court of morals. But it takes two to tango and I am not fussed about what consenting adults do behind closed doors. He is only answerable to his wife and family and not to the media.
    The fact that no charges were laid goes to show the Police were satisfied that there was no lack of consent.”

  10. The fact that no charges were laid shows that the police weren’t confident that they could get a conviction. I’m so sick of no charges = no crime. Worse: no charges = no harm.

  11. Good catching Lauredhel.

  12. I am too, Orlando. People keep raising the whole ‘the police didn’t find anything’ thing… I still remember when I was doing criminal law at uni, I spoke to a friend-of-a-friend who had become a police officer only a couple of years ago. I said something about the problem with getting the rape of sex workers even recorded at police stations, and he said ‘Well, yeah, because it’s not… I mean… they can’t… I mean… it gets really complicated with them, because you can’t really tell if…’ It was clear that if a sex worker had come in and reported a rape, it was extremely unlikely he would have done any of the paper work, let alone investigated.
    In amongst thinking about the way the law works, and courts and judges and suchlike, which are all really important sites to address in battling low rape convictions, let’s not forget that police officers play a role here too, and often their attitudes about what counts as a crime reflect some pretty conservative, heteronormative and misogynist values. No charges can mean an enormous variety of things. I’d also be interested to know what rape law in NZ was like at the time (given that it’s a fairly recent change in NSW law that puts the onus of proof on the defendant (i.e., he has to prove consent) and no longer suggests that ‘if he thought she was consenting, there’s no crime’). It wouldn’t surprise me if part of the reason no charges were laid was because of problems with the law…

  13. I don’t know if it was this site, or over at LP, but there’s a shocking statistic that no footballer from any code has actually been convicted of rape in 29 years.
    If it’s true, I really wish it were reported more. It would shut a lot of people up in the “no charge = no crime” quarter.

  14. That *is* fucking infuriating Orlando and WP. I wish I had my Crim Law text to hand, the stats on the number of rape complaints that get dismissed in the first instance by police is staggering.

  15. Andrew Crook’s Crikey article cheeses me off more every time I look at it.
    Apart from the characterisation of a few really quite politely worded responses to Moses’ misogyny as “the Ten Plagues”, and calling this a “group sex storm”- it’s the passive construction of what’s gone on in this particular incident that’s getting to me. The headline claims that Asher Moses was just “snagged” in it. Oops! What bad luck for him, eh?
    It’s up there with “Oh, well, that was unfortunate wording.”
    Dudes, don’t shove your balls in my face, then turn around and tell me it was the scrotum fairies.

  16. @ Lauredhel:

    Dudes, don’t shove your balls in my face, then turn around and tell me it was the scrotum fairies.

    That sound? A thousand clicks as that sentence is cut ‘n’ pasted into quote files.

  17. *falls over laughing at the scrotum fairies*
    I liked one a friend used a while ago, “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining,” but I think yours is a keeper.
    Thanks, I needed that.
    Jet’s last blog post..Stop it. Just stop it.

  18. Nice job getting this – for all the crap journalists on this issue there has been some good ones that have stood up – snaps to Rebbecca Wilson, Caroline Wilson (The Age), Sarah Ferguson (4 Corners) and Jacquelin Magnay (SMH?) and yay to Tracy Grimshaw for finally being a journalist!

  19. Turns out there’s a google hit for people who think “Scrotum Fairies” would be a great band name. And there I thought it was original.

  20. *blanch*
    That foul Margie McDonald article from Fox Sports has also been published in The Australian. The one that equates going to a hotel room with a footballer with robbery, and rape by footballers with correctional police action. The one that says we should be teaching young girls at home and at school that if they enter a private space with a footballer, whatever happens next is their own damn fault, and that anything that’s done to them after that is not a crime.
    Pure Poison has an excellent response.

  21. You’d think that the last thing footballers would want would be for all the women to suddenly go “sorry, can’t shag you because I don’t fancy the whole team”.

  22. I haven’t come accross Pure Poison before. Thanks for the pointer, it’s great.

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