I’m not fit to touch the hem of your garment… but Greg Barns is still worse

Think what you like about his Republican viewsas infantile as they are — is there anybody with a basic command of reason who supports his views regarding Kristy Fraser-Kirk?

Long story short: Kristy Fraser-Kirk was allegedly sexually harassed by Mark McInnes, the then CEO of David Jones.  She’s suing both Mark McInnes and David Jones.  The curious part of the story is that she’s seeking punitive damages (which are more commonly granted in the US to serve a ‘lesson’ to other would-be miscreants).

She is seeking punitive damages of 5 per cent of the profit generated by David Jones from 2003 to 2010 and 5 per cent of Mr McInnes’s salary.  — Source.

Not unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination.  Claims based on a percentage make a lot of sense: if you’re suing a wealthy party, the amount they’re going to understand as punitive is going to be proportional to their income.  Fining me $1,000 is a pain in the arse but loose change for Croesus.  Given the size of David Jones and the salary of Mark McInnes, the total of the two amounts is $37 million.

Notice how each part of that follows naturally from the part before it?  Wealthy defendant → percentage of earnings → total equal to $37 million.

In Greg Barns world, this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

So how is it then that lawyers for a young woman who alleges sexual harassment against the boss of the company that employs her, argue that she should receive a payout of $37 million?  — Barnes.

Actually, I’m being unfair.  The natural reasoning probably does make sense to Barns but Barns is probably unaware of the details.  In fairness, he’s probably skimmed the details and is outraged that a woman who was sexually harassed could possibly be awarded compensation for it.

It’s hard not to read misogyny in his article.  It stinks of the whining of men who claim sexual harassment is a victimless crime and of men who perceive a bias in the justice system towards women.  This perception isn’t helped by his abandonment of logic:

[I]t seems philosophically unsound for a justice system to accord such a gargantuan difference in monetary worth in cases involving what might be termed ‘invasions of personal dignity.’  — Ibid.

Nope.  It’s not sexual harassment in Barns’ world.  It’s ‘invasion of personal dignity’.  Further, instead of arguing that rape and assault victims (the latter, by the way, includes Fraser-Kirk if her claims are accurate: unwanted touching, &c.) should receive greater compensation, Barns argues that Fraser-Kirk should receive less.  It’s only fair, apparently.

The comments to his post are odious and I recommend you avoid them.

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Author: Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher is a Canberra-based blogger and policy wonk who writes about conservatism, atheism, and popular culture. Read his blog at OnlyTheSangfroid. He tweets at @ClothedVillainy

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