Op-Ed: Steven Crowder Spanks Michael Ian Black In “Rape Culture” Debate

Steven Crowder and Michael Ian Black had a pretty heated debate on a recent episode (beginning around 20 minutes into it) of Louder With Crowder about what has been defined as “rape culture.” The face-off between the two began when an older video of Crowder’s resurfaced and Black criticized it via Twitter with a simple “holy shit.” Here are a few key takeaways from it.

The debate begins by Crowder asking “Holy shit, what? I’m always open to new ideas.” To which, Black responds with “Uh, sure. Holy shit. That video is appalling.” He then insists that Steven is “trivializing, demeaning, and making a cartoon of somebody’s experience with what they describe as a sexual assault” [emphasis mine]. To which, Crowder responds by saying

“One of the very first things I talk about is the grave concern about people like Lena Dunham falsely attributing rape–or falsely accusing rape–rather is the people who come forward who have actually been raped.”

One of the consistent themes throughout this debate is the idea that ⅕ of women in the United States being a victim of rape that Black continuously alludes to. Crowder points out that this is “verifiably untrue,” and he was correct in doing so. He also, much like this article in Time magazine, points out the rather large disparities between the numbers presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

“While the CDC estimates that nearly 2 million adult American women were raped in 2011 and nearly 6.7 million suffered some other form of sexual violence, the NCVS estimate for that year was 238,000 rapes and sexual assaults.”

Both the CDC’s and BSJ’s methodology is a survey on the basis of people who “reported experiencing rape,” but they’ve come to drastically different conclusions. One reason for this discrepancy in numbers could be their definitions of rape. BJS says that it is “forced sexual intercourse means penetration by the offender(s).” Included in this definition is both attempted and completed rapes. The CDC’s definition is very similar. However, they also include “completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated penetration of a victim” under the same umbrella. In other words, drunk/stoned sex is considered rape by their standards if the “victim” finds it regrettable.

As Steven says at one point in the debate when asked how many he thinks is too many, and he responded with “I think one rape is too many rapes.” I completely agree. The discussion here, though, is not necessarily how many rapes is too many, but what constitutes a “rape culture.”

For one, as Crowder points out, we have laws against it. We prosecute people for it when convicted. It is simply not tolerated. Two, when the BSJ numbers are 6.1 per 1,000 for students and 7.6 incidents per 1,000 for non-students between the ages of 18-24 (among the highest percentage of victims), how does that constitute a problem within our entire culture? Especially on college campuses, like we always hear about, when the number there is actually lower than their non-student counterparts?


I would advise watching this debate in full, as well as the original video that sparked it, to get the full context of the discussion. As well as looking into the sources provided. If you ask me, Crowder issued a spanking. I am in full agreement with him when he said to Black that “We’re in the modern state of comedy, and this is a sad state of comedy where comedians have to sit here and talk about what’s demeaning, what’s appalling, and is no longer acceptable.”

Debunking and joking about the myth of “rape culture” should be no exception.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above do not necessarily represent that of The Narrative Times.