CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): We see a little bit further muddying of it coming from one of your own, Alex Marlow. Alex Marlow says, “you know, rape, what is it, man? You know, like, we used to know, it used to be clear. Now it seems to be any sex that the woman ends up regretting that she had.” Do you believe that? Do you believe that you’re not really sure when something’s rape, Joel?
JOEL POLLAK: You know I knew you were going to bring this quote on, it’s the Media Matters pull quote, and I guess it’s gone around the talking points —
CUOMO: Yeah, yeah. Answer the question. What do you think about that, Joel?
POLLAK: I’m going to get there, people need to know where the quote comes from. The quote’s out of context, and Media Matters and every other outlet that reported that quote left out what Alex said at the beginning. He was talking about campus culture and the situation where young men are being accused on campus. There are famous cases, such as the mattress girl at Columbia University, who claimed that she had been raped, when it turned out there was consensual sex between her and another young man, and his life was ruined at Columbia because of this accusation. She became a national celebrity, a symbol of victims’ rights with her mattress, but it was consensual sex, and he actually turned around and sued the university, and they had to come out and apologize. So what Alex is talking about is true, there are situations where this happens. And there are debates what constitutes consent and what doesn’t, you’ve to include that context and not just read from the Media Matters smear piece.
CUOMO: Listen, you can keep saying, “Media Matters,” it’s not a dog whistle here. You can say it as much as you want, I don’t care where else you’ve seen it. We pulled it from him.
POLLAK: But that’s where the quote comes from. Have you listened to the interview?
CUOMO: No, I have the quote that starts, “rape used to have a narrow definition” —
POLLAK: Who gave you the quote?
CUOMO: It’s from Alex Marlow, he said it.
POLLAK: Who gave you — did you — did you — no — you took the quote — Chris, you took the quote from a partisan activist organization called Media Matters, and you’re not going to be able to deny it because that’s where it’s from —
CUOMO: But who cares? he said it. Look, I get what you’re doing. There’s no need to go into it. He either said it or he didn’t.
POLLAK: Do you think that context matters? Do you think that he said it in the context of campus rape allegations?
CUOMO: You can’t come up with a context where it is not dangerous to ignore what’s rape and what isn’t rape.
What we’re dealing with in our culture right now, Joel, is we’re trying to figure out how you treat women and how you don’t treat women. And when you say something like, “who knows what rape is anymore,” and when you say, “well the guy denies it and that’s good enough for me,” it sends a message. Are you concerned about that message at all, or do the politics of having a seat in Senate just overpower it?