Why Morgan Spurlock’s sexual assault confession misses the mark

Popular documentarian and director of the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock, confessed to perpetrating sexual assault and misconduct on December 13th. While it’s never wrong to take responsibility for your wrongdoings, it’s definitely wrong to aggrandize and create excuses for this behavior.

In a tweet, Spurlock admitted to being accused of rape in college, to verbally assaulting an assistant in his office years later, and to his infidelity during every relationship he’s ever been in. “I’ve come to understand after months of revelations, that I am not some innocent bystander, I am also part of the problem,” he writes. All well-intentioned.

But the long list of excuses and digging for answers as to how he possibly could have done these things to these women is where this confession misses the mark.

"What caused me to act this way? Is it all ego? Or was it the sexual abuse I suffered as a boy and as a young man in my teens? Is it because my father left my mother when I was child? Or that she believed he never respected her, so that disrespect carried over into their son? Or is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years...which only served to fill the emotional hole inside me and the daily depression I coped with. Depression we can’t talk about, because it's wrong and makes you less of a person."

Here’s the thing about sexual assault: it will always and forever just be sexual assault. No amount of soul-searching or psychoanalysis will ever make those women feel safer around a man who misunderstands consent and calls them “sex pants” in the workplace. Just like Kevin Spacey, your excuses set abuse victims and addicts back years in the fight to be seen.

The confession comes full circle with its masturbatory nature. Almost every paragraph starts with the word “I” or “My.” And Spurlock never once considers the pain he put those women through — until he talks about his multiple wives and girlfriends, and how he hurt those relationships by constantly cheating. The director writes his confession as if it’s a short story for a high school creative writing class, adding drama where there should be “I’m sorry,” and “I believe we can all be better” where there should be “I am resigning my position as a powerful male in a toxic power structure.”

To top it all off, Spurlock makes sure we all feel much better about his character by writing, “I’m finally ready to listen.” Well, we’ve listened to you, and we’re not quite sure we’re ready to talk yet.

Filed Under