The trial in the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion exposes the hate

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Megan Thee Stallion is a three-time Grammy winner and hip-hop superstar, but her success wasn’t enough to protect the 27-year-old from the power of widespread misinformation and social media vitriol leveled at her after the shooting. on it in 2020.

The Houston-born rapper, whose legal name is Megan Pete, was shot multiple times in both feet after leaving a Hollywood Hills party in 2020 with rapper Tory Lanez and former assistant Kelsey Harris. Megan needed surgery to remove bullet fragments from her feet.

Megan charged Lenz from using the gun. The ensuing wave of criticism came to a head this month during Lenz’s assault trial. Experts say it stems from misogyny, a specific type of misogyny black women experience.

Tia Tyree, a professor at Howard University, described the hate as “contempt, hatred” or abuse of black women.

Tyree, whose research focuses on the representation of black women in media, social media, and hip-hop culture, emphasized that misogyny has been part of the experience of black women in the United States for centuries, dating back to the beginnings of American slavery.

“A lot of people see the term, and they’re fascinated by it. They think, ‘Wow, what is this new thing happening to black women?’” she said. And that is the most frustrating part of the narrative about misogyny. There is nothing new about the mistreatment of black women and the lack respected in the United States.”

She named Megan Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, as the shooter In an Instagram Live video three months after filming. She said she did not tell the LAPD to respond to the scene because she feared for her safety.

The shooting occurred on July 12, 2020, less than two months after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Fear of police violence could have played a role in her reluctance to share details with officers, Terry said, adding that black women are expected to protect black men in the community.

The cycle of silence prevents many black women from sharing their experiences, explained Melvin L. Williams, a professor at Pace University who studies feminism in hip-hop, black male rappers and hip-hop culture.

“They face diminished industry and fewer career opportunities when they speak out,” said Williams.

Megan alleged Lenz and his team spread misinformation about the shooting. Social media users claimed that Lanez never shot her and posted her sexual history to discredit her.

Lenz, charged with three felonies, has maintained his innocence. In closing arguments this week, His lawyers argued that Harris was the shooter and that Meghan had tried to create a more sympathetic narrative by placing the blame on Lanes.

Harris’ attorney declined to comment on her involvement.

Megan testified last week: “Tori went out and told many different lies – about not shooting me, about not being the shooter and making it all about a sex scandal.”

When the jury began deliberating Thursday, misinformation claiming Lenz had already been acquitted abounded. Social media platforms have also hosted intense scrutiny of Meghan’s story – specifically her credibility.

Rappers Drake and 21 Savage mentioned her on their joint album with specific lyrics that attempted to discredit her claims. 50 Cent posted memes mocking her interview with Gayle King, too.

Terry said that Megan “sneaks into hyper-masculine space”, referring to hip-hop culture. “And like any other hypermasculine space, there are bro codes out there, and it’s at this point that you bump into it, and you see the response to that.”

She’s part of a group of Black women – including #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and US Representative Maxine Waters – who have spoken out about violence against women. Burke Waters signed an open letter supporting Meghan.

The attacks on social media against Meghan have drawn comparisons to 1990s television coverage of Anita Hill’s congressional testimony and, more recently, to online racial hatred targeting Meghan Markle. Another recent example is Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard, which was leveled Many social media posts spreading misinformation Hurd’s credibility is questioned.

Deborah Turkheimer, a Northwestern University law professor and author of Credibility: Why We Question Accusers and Protect Abusers, notes that these trials came five years after the #MeToo movement sparked a global social reckoning, followed by a backlash.

“We can look at this flow of stories as really important and meaningful, which it is, but until we can figure out how to judge credibility fairly, how to hold perpetrators accountable in a meaningful way, I think there’s just a lot of work left to do,” Turkheimer said. with it”.

Race is one of the main differences in the treatment of the defendants, said Izzi Grasso, a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington who has studied misinformation about the Deep Heard trial.

Grasso’s research has found that people with marginalized identities are disproportionately targeted for harassment, online misinformation campaigns, and discriminatory content moderation. The online world, Grasso said, mirrors “the systems of power and domination we see in the real world.”

Moya Bailey, the Northwestern University professor who coined the term misogynoir, has found that social media platforms like TikTok and Twitter perpetuate harmful stereotypes about black women because they are profitable.

Algorithms normalize the dehumanization and objectification of black women for the pleasure or duplicity of others, said Raven Maragh Lloyd, a Washington University professor in St. Louis.

Lenz claimed that Harris and Meghan were fighting over him. People are more likely to see content about Meghan’s sexual history as “some kind of excuse” for not believing her – or blaming her for her shooting, Mara Lloyd said.

It’s about what sells — and that hate provides fuel, she said: “To perpetuate misinformation about black women’s bodies or black women’s desires, you’re going to attract clicks and eyeballs.”


Hayley reported from New York.

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