So here’s the thing.
Salmon farmers are used to questions about our business. We’ve taken a few good knocks about the head over these questions. Sometimes those questions are presented with attitude, with anger or in some other highly disruptive way.
People in the industry are pretty good at swallowing their first reaction to the more aggressive of these questions and responding with their second, calmer thought.
But there is a line – and anti-salmon farming activist Don Staniford’s latest comments about Mary Ellen Walling and Leanne Brunt on social media sites steps right over it. When he used references to rock band Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls” song he showed signs of some really ugly personality traits: vindictive, petty, inflammatory, misogynistic and – well – dim.
We don’t know what’s scarier. The fact that Staniford can actually write stuff like this and feel it advances his cause – or that for some, it seems to actually work. Other women – apparently following the ‘she deserved it’ mindset that so sadly circulates among some – actually posted in defense of this blatant abuse. Really ladies? How would you feel if your mother was treated like that? Or your friend? Or you? We’re not talking about being criticized through questions about their jobs – we’re talking about direct personal attacks on appearance that have nothing to do with whether or not you support their profession. We may disagree about salmon farming but can’t we all agree that a woman’s appearance should have nothing to do with this?
After being sternly warned by Madame Justice Elaine Adair (Staniford is in court, again, trying to defend his defamatory claims), even Mr. Staniford seemed to be doing some backtracking. A Youtube video has him doing the backwards shuffle about how the Queen song praises big-bottomed women, saying he thought the reference “was a compliment.” (Not kidding). Really? You dropped that in to compliment these women, in the middle of a toxic slew of misinformation and manipulated cartoons that make people look like monsters?