Transcript: What's the Deal with Creepiness? | Feb 04, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and gray plaid tie.

A caption on screen reads "What's the deal with creepiness? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says NORMS ABOUT HOW MEN
AND WOMEN INTERACT ARE IN FLUX,
PERHAPS ALWAYS, BUT CERTAINLY IN
THE LAST FEW DECADES.
HEIDI MATTHEWS IS AN ASSISTANT
PROFESSOR AT YORK UNIVERSITY'S
OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL, WHERE
SHE CO-DIRECTS THE NATHANSON
CENTRE ON TRANSNATIONAL HUMAN
RIGHTS, CRIME, AND SECURITY.
SHE'S ALSO HOST OF THE LEGAL
PODCAST, HMOD.
THAT'S HEIDI MATTHEWS ON DEMAND.
SHE'S BEEN THINKING ABOUT THE
SIGNIFICANCE OF WHAT SHE SEES AS
AN INCREASING USE OF THE
LANGUAGE OF "CREEPINESS," AND
ESPECIALLY OF THE TERM "CREEPY."
TO DESCRIBE SOME MEN.
AND HEIDI MATTHEWS JOINS US NOW
TO EXPLORE THAT.

Heidi is in her forties, with straight blond hair pulled back. She's wearing glasses, a black sweater and blue pendant earrings.

Steve continues NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

Heidi says THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

Steve says WELL, I GOT TO TELL YOU HERE,
I LOOKED INTO YOU A LITTLE BIT
HERE, AND YOUR CURRENT PROJECTS
INCLUDE A CRITICAL... OF
COUNTER-INSURGENCY POLICIES, A
RE-EVALUATION OF THE ROLE OF LAW
DURING THE COLD WAR.
YOU ARE WORKING ON THE CONCEPT
OF MILITARY NECESSITY IN
INTERNATIONAL LAW, AND YET YOU
PUBLISH AN ARTICLE CALLED "WHAT
IS TO BE DONE ABOUT THE PROBLEM
OF CREEPY MEN."
SO HOW DID THIS GET ON YOUR
RADAR EXACTLY, HEIDI?

Heidi says SO THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.
IT SEEMS INCONGRUOUS AT FIRST.

Steve says YES.

The caption changes to "Heidi Matthews. Osgoode Hall Law School."
Then, it changes again to "Of all the things to think about."

Heidi says BUT I'VE WORKING RECENTLY,
CRITICALLY IN PARTICULAR, ON THE
NEED TO MOVEMENT OR ERA, OR
WHATEVER WE WANT TO CALL IT AND
SO I'VE BEEN CONCERNED IN
PARTICULAR FOR A LONG TIME WITH
SEXUAL VIOLENCE DURING WARS, BUT
THAT'S THE LINK TO THE
INTERNATIONAL LAW PIECE.
AND THEN THE ME-TOO PIECE BRINGS
UP OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN
LANGUAGE OF DISGUST AND IN
PARTICULAR CREEPINESS, AND SO
THAT'S HOW I CAME TO THIS
PARTICULAR PROJECT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says THE USE OF THE WORD
"CREEPY" TO DESCRIBE MOSTLY MEN,
HOW RECENT IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Heidi Matthews, @Heidi__Matthews."

Heidi says SO THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.
IT TURNS OUT THAT CREEPINESS
WAS, I GUESS, COINED INITIALLY,
SCHOLARS SAY, BY CHARLES
DICKENS, SO IN THE 19TH CENTURY,
BUT IF YOU LOOK AT A SIMPLE
GOOGLE ENGRAM IN BOOKS OR
SEARCHING THE INTERNET, WHAT
YOU'LL FIND IS YOU'LL FINE A
RESURGENCE OF IT, IN PARTICULAR
SINCE THE 1970S, AND REALLY VERY
MUCH SO AGAIN SINCE THE ME-TOO
MOMENT GOT GOING ABOUT TWO AND A
HALF YEARS AGO.

Steve says ARE THERE NO CREEPY
WOMEN?

Heidi says SO INTERESTINGLY, OF COURSE
THERE ARE, RIGHT?
I... SO I SHOULD SAY, FIRST OF
ALL, THAT I'M NOT ADVOCATING FOR
CREEPINESS AS SOMETHING THAT IS
PARTICULARLY USEFUL WHEN WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT EVALUATING
PEOPLE'S BEHAVIOUR IN THE WORLD,
WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE GOOD OR
BAD, POLITICIANS, PUBLIC FIGURES
OR JUST FRIENDS.
AND SO I'M VERY SKEPTICAL OF
CREEPINESS TO START WITH, BUT
LIKE EVERYTHING, IT CAN ALSO
APPLY TO WOMEN.
IN A PIECE THAT I RECENTLY
WROTE, IT DEALS WITH A WOMAN
WHO, IN FACT, TURNED OUT TO BE A
CREEP, AND THAT WAS MARBLED AS
SORT OF REASON TO FIND AGAINST
HER IN THE CASE.
AND SO OF COURSE WOMEN CAN COME
INTO IT AS WELL.

The caption changes to "Defining it."

Steve says BUT IF YOU HAD TO DO A
RATIO, YOU'D GUESS WHAT IT...
THAT IT GOES HOW.

Heidi says SO IT'S OVERWHELMINGLY MEN
THAT ARE CALLED CREEPS.
THERE'S BEEN A TURN TO MORAL
PSYCHOLOGY FOR ABOUT THE LAST
FIVE OR SIX YEARS WHERE
RESEARCHERS HAVE ACTUALLY
STARTED TO LOOK AT WHAT WE MEAN
WHEN WE CALL PEOPLE CREEPS AND
WHO WE CALL A CREEP, AND IT
TURNS OUT THAT IT'S MOSTLY WOMEN
CALLING MEN CREEPS.
SOMETIMES MEN CALLING OTHER MEN
CREEPS, BUT THERE ARE SOME
LIMITATIONS IN THE STUDIES.
MANY OF THEM OFTEN USED
PRIMARILY POPULATIONS OF
UNDERGRADUATE WOMEN.

Steve says ARE WE TALKING 90-10,
PROBABLY? 95-5?

Heidi says SURE. IT'S MOSTLY DUDES.

Steve says I'M IN THE BALLPARK.
GOTCHA. HERE'S A DEFINITION.
LET'S BRING THIS UP, SHELDON.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "What is it?" The quote reads "Creepiness is anxiety aroused by the ambiguity of whether there is something to fear or not and/or by the ambiguity of the precise nature of the threat."
Quoted from Heidi Matthews, Aeon.com. November 15, 2019.

Steve says WHAT ARE WE TO TAKE FROM THAT
DEFINITION, IN YOUR VIEW?

Heidi says YEAH, SO THAT ALIGNS QUITE
CLOSELY WITH A 2017 STUDY BY
McANDREW AND McEARN ICKY OUT
OF... COLLEGE IN THE UNITED
STATES, AND THEY WANTED TO FIND
OUT WHAT WAS MEANT BY
CREEPINESS.
SO WHAT ARE PEOPLE ACTUALLY
REFERRING TO WHEN WE GO ON
TWITTER, WE GO ON OTHER SORTS OF
SOCIAL MEDIA AND WE SAY, GEE,
THAT GUY SEEMS LIKE A CREEP.
I'M GROSSED OUT OR CREEPED OUT
BY HIS BEHAVIOUR.
AND IT TURNS OUT THAT WHILE MOST
PEOPLE IN COMMON DISCUSSION
MIGHT SAY THEY FEEL SCARED OR
THREATENED BY SOMEONE, IN
REALITY WHAT THE LANGUAGE OF
CREEPINESS IS DOING IS
REFLECTING A CERTAIN UN'S OR
UNCERTAINTY ABOUT A NATURE OF AN
INTERACTION.
SO IT MIGHT BE A STRANGE
INTERACTION, WHICH MAKES PEOPLE
FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE, EVEN THOUGH
IT MIGHT NOT BE DANGEROUS OR
THREATENING TO THEIR WELL-BEING
IN ANY SENSE.

Steve says SO IT'S REALLY ABOUT
AN AWARENESS OR UNDERSTANDING OF
HOW SAFE YOU ARE AT ANY GIVEN
MOMENT?

Heidi says WELL, IT'S AN AWARENESS THAT
YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW SAFE
YOU ARE IN A GIVEN MOMENT IS THE
BETTER WAY OF THINKING ABOUT IT.

Steve says OKAY.
WE HAD OUR CRACK STAFF HERE, NOT
OUR STAFF ON CRACK, BUT OUR
CRACK STAFF GATHER A LIST OF
BEHAVIOURS AND-OR PHYSICAL
ATTRIBUTES THAT HAVE BEEN
POLLED, SO THIS IS PUBLIC
OPINION SURVEYING, AS WHAT
CONSTITUTE CREEPY.
SO LET'S BRING THIS GRAPHIC UP
AND I'LL READ THIS FOR THOSE
LISTENING ON PODCAST...

A slate appears on screen, with the title "What creeps you out?"

Steve reads data from the slate and says
Standing too close,
Greasy and/or unkempt hair,
Peculiar smile,
Bulging eyes,
Long fingers,
Very pale skin,
Bags under their eyes,
Dirty and/or oddly dressed,
Licking lips frequently,
Laughing unpredictably.

Steve says OKAY, HEIDI, WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE LIST?

Heidi says YEAH, SO THAT'S A BIG LIST.
IT COVERS A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT
WAYS OF BEING THAT WE MIGHT
UNDERSTAND TO BE STRANGE, AND SO
ANOTHER WAY OF THINKING ABOUT
THAT IS SIMPLY BEHAVING IN WAYS
THAT ARE NON-NORMATIVE SOCIALLY.
SO NOT ALIGNING WITH THE KIND OF
SOCIAL SCRIPT THAT WE EXPECT
FROM QUOTE UNQUOTE NORMAL
BEHAVIOUR, RIGHT?
SO THAT'S PROBLEMATIC.
BUT THE OTHER THING THAT'S
REALLY IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT
HERE IS THAT MORE IMPORTANTLY
THAN BEHAVIOUR IS ACTUALLY THE
LIST OF PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES,
RIGHT?
AND THERE ARE PHYSICAL
ATTRIBUTES THAT KIND OF RUN
OUTSIDE THE BOUNDS OF WHAT WE
CONSIDER TO BE GENERALLY
ATTRACTIVE THINGS ABOUT PEOPLE.

Steve says THIS IS WHERE IT GETS
PROBLEMATIC, BECAUSE OF COURSE
YOU CAN LEARN SOCIAL CUES... YOU
CAN LEARN NOT TO STAND TOO CLOSE
TO SOMEBODY.

Heidi says SOME PEOPLE CAN'T.
THAT'S IMPORTANT.

Steve says FAIR ENOUGH.

Heidi says SOME PEOPLE CAN'T.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says PRESUMABLY, WITH
ENOUGH TRAINING, YOU CAN LEARN
HOW NOT TO SMILE PECULIARLY, BUT
IF YOU GOT LONG FINGERS, YOU
CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.

Heidi says DID YOU SEE THE JOKER, STEVE?

Steve says I HAVEN'T SEEN IT.

Heidi says NOT TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING
YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT OR TO SPOIL
THE FILM ABOUT PEOPLE, BUT THE
JOKER IS A REALLY SORT GREAT
CURRENT POP CULTURE EXAMPLE OF A
BUNCH OF THESE THINGS LISTED,
RIGHT?
SO LAUGHING UNPREDICTABLY,
PECULIAR SMILE, PALE SKIN, ODDLY
DRESSED, ET CETERA.
SO IT'S KIND OF A FIGURE WHO,
ACCORDING TO THE FILM, HE
ACTUALLY THE ACTOR IN THIS
ITERATION OF THE JOKER ACTUALLY
SUFFERS FROM A CONDITION THAT'S
LEFT A LITTLE BIT UNSPECIFIED,
BUT HE IS NEURO DIVERGENT OR
NON-CONFORMING IN SOME SORT OF
WAY, AND SO THAT COMES IN WHEN
YOU MIGHT WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE
DRAWBACKS OF SOME OF THE USES OF
THE LANGUAGE OF CREEPINESS, BUT
IT'S IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT THAT
NOT EVERYONE CAN LEARN TO BE
SOCIALLY NORMAL.
I HATE TO SAY THAT, BUT TO BE
NORMATIVE IN THE WAY THAT WE
EXPECT OF PEOPLE.

Steve says OKAY, UNDERSTOOD.
NOW HOW ABOUT LET'S LOOK AT
HOBBIES OR PROFESSIONS.
APPARENTLY PEOPLE ARE CREEPED
OUT BY FUNERAL DIRECTORS, SEX
SHOP OWNERS, TAXIDERMISTS AND
CLOWNS.
OKAY, PEOPLE WILL PROBABLY GET
DEATH AND PORN, BUT WHY ARE
CLOWNS ON THAT LIST?

Heidi says SO IT IS AND IT ISN'T.
AGAIN, I THINK AS WE LOOK AT
WHAT CLOWNS DO HISTORICALLY AND
THEN REFLECT A LITTLE BIT ON,
AGAIN, MORE POP CULTURAL
ITERATIONS, WE SEE A COMBINATION
OF BOTH VIOLENCE AND SEX, RIGHT?
SO IF YOU COMBINE, AGAIN, THE
JOKER OR STEVEN KING'S IT WITH
JOHN WAYNE GACY, WE SEE VERY
CLEARLY HOW TOTALLY DISTURBING
AND VIOLENT ANTI-SOCIAL
BEHAVIOUR HAS BECOME TO BE
ASSOCIATED WITH THE FIGURE OF A
CLOWN.
THERE IS MORE GOING ON.
THERE'S THE SENSE THAT FLOYD
TALKED ABOUT, ABOUT A HUNDRED
YEARS AGO, ABOUT THE UNCANNY IN
HIS STATEMENT ESSAY, AND WHAT
HE'S REFERRING TO THERE IS SORT
OF THE REVELATION OF THAT WHICH
IS NORMALLY HIDDEN.
SO A SAD CLOWN, A CLOWN WEARING
SAD MAKEUP, MIGHT ACTUALLY
BEHAVE IN A JOYOUS MANNER,
RIGHT, AND SO THAT CAUSES PEOPLE
TO BECOME UNCOMFORTABLE.

Steve says GOT IT.

Heidi says TEAL CREEPED OUT.

Steve says LET'S TALK ABOUT THE
STUDY DONE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO
HERE IN CANADA WHERE FEMALE
UNDERGRAD STUDENTS WERE SHOWN
IMAGES OF CAUCASIAN FACES FROM
THREE DIFFERENT GROUPS.
CAN YOU KIND OF PEEL THE CURTAIN
BACK ABOUT THIS?

The caption changes to "Trusting your gut."

Heidi says THIS WAS PUNISHED IN 2017 BY
THREE... PUBLISHED BY THREE
WOMEN RESEARCHERS BASED ON THE
EAST COAST.
THERE WERE THREE PARTS OF THE
STUDY.
THERE WAS A QUESTIONNAIRE ASKING
THE GRADUATES WHAT DO YOU THINK
A CREEPY PERSON LOOKS LIKE AND
BEHAVES LIKE.
THE SECOND PART OF THE STUDY
COMBINED THREE SETS OF IMAGES,
45 IN TOTAL, 15 FROM A STOCK SET
OF JUDGED NEUTRAL FACES, 15 THAT
HAD BEEN DETERMINED IN A PILOT
STUDY TO BE PARTICULARLY CREEPY
OR PERCEIVED TO BE CREEPY BY
PARTICIPANTS... BY STUDY
PARTICIPANTS, AND THEN 15 FROM
AMERICA'S MOST WANTED.
AND A COUPLE OF REALLY
INTERESTING THINGS CAME OUT OF
THAT.
FIRSTLY, THE FACES OF DANGEROUS
PEOPLE, IN OTHER WORDS, PEOPLE
WHO HAD ACTUALLY BEHAVED IN
VIOLENT AND ANTI-SOCIAL WAYS, SO
THE AMERICA'S MOST WANTED
PEOPLE, THOSE FACES WEREN'T
SIGNIFICANTLY MORE CREEPY IN THE
STUDY.
AND THE OTHER THING THAT WE
FOUND, OR, HEY, THE WOMEN WHO
CARRIED OUT THE STUDY WAS THAT
THERE WAS A STRONG CORRELATION
BETWEEN FACES THAT PARTICIPANTS
CONSIDERED TRUSTWORTHY AND
ATTRACTIVE, SO THAT'S SOMETHING
WE'VE KNOWN FOR A LONG TIME,
GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE ARE THOUGHT
TO BE ATTRACTIVE.

Steve says MORE TRUSTWORTHY.

Heidi says OH, SORRY, GOOD LOOKING
PEOPLE ARE THOUGHT TO BE MORE
TRUSTWORTHY, AND THERE'S
INSTANCES IN WHICH GENERAL
ATTRACTIVENESS WAS NEGATIVELY
CORRELATED WITH CREEPINESS.
WE THINK ABOUT TED BUNDY, THIS
MAKES SENSE, RIGHT?
WE AREN'T ACTUALLY ABLE TO TELL
WHEN SOMEBODY IS DANGEROUS.
WE MIGHT PERCEIVE SOMEBODY WHO
NOW WE LOOK AT AS CREEPY AS
BEING AT THE TIME QUITE GOOD
LOOKING AND CHARMING AND AFFABLE.

Steve says WHICH HE WAS AND THEN
WENT OUT AND KILLED SEVERAL
DOZEN PEOPLE.

Heidi says CORRECT.
SO OUR INTUITIONS ARE OFTEN
WRONG.

Steve says THAT'S THE TAKEAWAY,
DON'T TRUST YOUR INITIAL
IMPRESSION?

Heidi says ABSOLUTELY.
IT'S OKAY, HUH.
ISN'T IT ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE
CASE, THOUGH, THAT WE ARE GOING
TO GO WITH OUR GUT INSTINCT OR
OUR SPIDEY SENSES, IF YOU LIKE,
ON HOW WOMEN ARE GOING TO JUDGE
MEN'S BEHAVIOUR?
THAT'S JUST KIND OF THE WAY IT
WORKS, ISN'T IT?

Heidi says WELL, IT MIGHT BE, BUT IT
SHOULDN'T BE.

Steve says SHOULDN'T BE.
THAT'S THE POINT.

Heidi says YEAH, SO WHAT ALL OF THIS
MEANS AT THE END OF THE DAY,
RIGHT, WE'RE VERY, VERY, VERY
ATTACHED TO OUR GUT INSTINCTS,
AND SO ANOTHER THING ABOUT THE
STUDIES THAT HAVE BEEN CARRIED
ABOUT, THE ONES I JUST MENTIONED
IN PARTICULAR, WAS THAT
PARTICIPANTS MADE THEIR
JUDGMENTS WITHIN SECONDS.
LIKE LITERALLY SPLIT SECOND
JUDGMENTS, AND THEN THEY
REMAINED VERY CONVINCED BY THEIR
JUDGMENTS.
RIGHT, SO PEOPLE HAVE HIGH
DEGREES OF CONFIDENCE IN THEIR
JUDGMENTS ABOUT, YOU KNOW, ALL
SORTS OF THINGS, INCLUDING
CREEPINESS WHEN IN REALITY IT
DOESN'T ACTUALLY SORT OF REFLECT
ACTUAL DANGER.
BUT FROM A POLICY PERSPECTIVE,
THAT BECOMES REALLY IMPORTANT,
ESPECIALLY FOR SOMEBODY LIKE
MYSELF, A LEGAL SCHOLAR.

Steve says SO THEY REALLY HAVE NO
BUSINESS RELYING ON THEIR GUT
INSTINCTS AS MUCH AS THEY DO.

Heidi says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says THAT IS INFORMATION
WORTH KNOWING, DON'T YOU THINK?

The caption changes to "The other side of the coin."

Heidi says NO, IT'S INFORMATION
ABSOLUTELY WORTH KNOWING, AND
THE THING IS THE DANGER IS THAT
JUDGMENTS OF CREEPINESS, BECAUSE
THEY ARE SO RELATED TO A GENERAL
UNATTRACTIVENESS IN ALL SORTS OF
DIFFERENT WAYS, AGAIN,
NON-NORMATIVE PEOPLE IN TERMS OF
NEUROLOGICAL FUNCTION, BUT ALSO
PEOPLE WHO ARE DEFORMED OR SICK
OR JUST KIND OF ACTING STRANGELY
IN SOCIETY END UP GETTING
OVER-POLICED AND OVER-SURVEILLED
BY PEOPLE WHO SIMPLY FEEL
UNCOMFORTABLE, EVEN THOUGH THEIR
FEELING OF DISCOMFORT ISN'T
REALLY WARRANTED.
AND SO IT MEANS THAT WE NEED TO
SIT BACK AND SECOND GUESS WHEN
WE GO ON TWITTER AND SAY, GEE,
JUSTIN TRUDEAU IS REALLY CREEPY
IN THE WAY THAT HE STANDS TOO
CLOSE TO PEOPLE AND HE TALKS TO,
FOR EXAMPLE.
LIKE WHAT ACTUALLY DOES THAT
JUDGMENT... WHAT PURPOSE DOES
THAT JUDGMENT SERVE FROM A
PUBLIC POLICY PERSPECTIVE, BUT
ALSO FROM SIMPLE MORALITY
PERSPECTIVE.
IT DOESN'T SEEM KUWAIT FAIR.

Steve says EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY,
DOES IT HELP EXPLAIN IT?

Heidi says IT COULD.
WE LOOK AT SOME OF THE
CHARACTERISTICS ON THE LIST THAT
YOU GAVE US, RIGHT?
BEING REALLY PALE COULD INDICATE
A WHOLE BUNCH OF THINGS.
I'M JUST... THIS IS SPECULATION,
BUT IT COULD INDICATE THAT
SOMEONE IS SICK OR CONTAGIOUS
AND THEN IT WOULD MAKE SENSE
THAT YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO ENGAGE
WITH THEM IN A WAY THAT YOU
WOULD ENGAGE WITH NORMATIVELY
PRESENTED PEOPLE.
BUT GIVEN WHAT WE KNOW FROM THE
STUDIES, SOME OF WHICH I'VE JUST
MENTIONED, IT DOESN'T MAKE
SENSE, AND IT'S NOT DEFENSIBLE
AGAIN FROM AN ETHICAL
PERSPECTIVE TO JUST THINK THAT
WE GO WITH A GUT REACTION THAT
ISN'T JUSTIFIED, DOESN'T
CORRELATE TO ANY ACTUAL THREAT
OF DANGER.

Steve says THIS IS, I WOULD
ASSUME, PARTICULARLY RELEVANT
INFORMATION IF, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU
SUFFER FROM MENTAL HEALTH
ISSUES, OR IF YOU ARE HOMELESS,
OR IF YOU ARE, YOU KNOW,
PHYSICALLY DISABLED IN SOME WAY.
THERE IS SORT OF... SOMETHING
KICKS IN TO SOME PEOPLE RIGHT
AWAY THAT SUGGESTS I'VE GOT TO
REGARD THESE FOLKS DIFFERENTLY.
THAT'S PRETTY UNFAIR, ISN'T IT?

Heidi says YES, IT'S MASSIVELY UNFAIR.
CAN I TELL YOU A VERY QUICK ANECDOTE?

Steve says PLEASE.

Heidi says THIS WILL HELP IT MAKE SENSE
IN DAILY LIFE.
RECENTLY... I WORK AT YORK
UNIVERSITY.
I WAS SITTING WAITING FOR A
DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT AT THE
ON-CAMPUS MEDICAL CLINIC AND A
GENTLEMAN WAS THERE WHO WAS
BEHAVING ERRATICALLY.
HE WAS SPEAKING LOUDLY.
IT WAS CLEAR HE WAS HAVING SOME
KIND OF MENTAL HEALTH EPISODE.
WE SEE THIS IN THE CITY OF
TORONTO ALL THE TIME.
ALL OF A SUDDEN ONE OF THE
STUDENTS I NOTICED HAD ACTUALLY
CALLED CAMPUS SECURITY AND FILED
A REPORT ABOUT THIS INDIVIDUAL'S
BEHAVIOUR DESPITE THE FACT THAT
THIS INDIVIDUAL HADN'T DONE OR
SAID ANYTHING ACTUALLY
THREATENING TO ANYBODY.

Steve says SEEKING HELP AT THE
MOMENT.

Heidi says I MEAN, ONE ASSUMES, RIGHT?
AND SO... AND I ACTUALLY... ONCE
SHE FINISHED FILING THE REPORT
ASKED HER... I INTRODUCED MYSELF
AND I SAID, YOU KNOW, WHY DID
YOU FEEL THE NEED TO CALL
SECURITY ON SOMEBODY WHO WAS
CLEARLY HAVING SOME SORT OF
EPISODE, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT'S
GOING ON, BUT HE WASN'T ACTUALLY
POSING A THREAT TO YOU, AND SHE
AND OTHERS IN THE WAITING ROOM
GANGED UP.
THEY SAID THAT THEY FELT UNSAFE,
THAT HE WAS BEHAVING STRANGELY,
AND THAT I WASN'T, QUOTE, BEING
A TEAM PLAYER BY QUESTIONING
THEIR ACTIONS.

Steve says HMM.

Heidi says SO.

Steve says NOW, HAD THAT GONE HOW
YOU THOUGHT IT SHOULD HAVE GONE,
WHAT WOULD THE BEHAVIOUR HAVE
BEEN?

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Heidi says I DON'T THINK IT'S NECESSARY
TO ALWAYS INTERVENE.
SO WHAT'S REALLY PART OF THE
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM TODAY, YOU
MIGHT CALL IT BYSTANDER TRAINING
OR BYSTANDER INTERVENTION.
WE THINK OF THAT AS A GENERALLY
PRODUCTIVE WAY OF ENGAGING IN
THE WORLD.
SO IF WE SEE SOMEBODY BEHAVING
BADLY, WE THINK THAT WE ARE
ACTUALLY HAVE A MORAL
IMPERATIVE, ESPECIALLY IN THE
ME-TOO ERA, TO INTERVENE AND DO
SOMETHING TO PREVENT SOME HARM.
BUT THERE ARE MANY CIRCUMSTANCES
WHERE THEY SEE SOMETHING OR SAY
SOMETHING APPROACH ACTUALLY CAN
HAVE UNINTENDED NEGATIVE
CONSEQUENCES, AND IT WILL HAVE
THOSE UNINTENDED NEGATIVE
CONSEQUENCES FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE
ALREADY MARGINALIZED IN SOCIETY.
PEOPLE LIKE THAT GENTLEMAN THAT
I ENCOUNTERED, PEOPLE WHO MIGHT
BE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM,
ET CETERA.

Steve says GOTCHA.
OKAY, SO YOU WROTE THIS PIECE.

Heidi says YEAH.

Steve says I CAN'T PRONOUNCE THE
NAME OF THE MAGAZINE WHERE YOU
WROTE IT.

Heidi says AEON.

Heidi says A-E-O-N, OKAY.
WHAT KIND OF REACTION DID YOU
GET TO THE PIECE WHEN YOU WROTE
ABOUT ALL OF THIS SANTA CLAUS?

Heidi says SO INTERESTING IT'S BEEN
MOSTLY POSITIVE.
SOME PEOPLE ARE UPSET WITH THE
IMPLICATIONS TOWARDS THE END OF
THE PIECE WHEN IT COMES TO
QUESTIONING THE WAY THAT WE'RE
BEHAVING IN PUBLIC IN THE MIDDLE
OF ME-TOO.
THAT'S SOMETHING I CAN SAY
SOMETHING ABOUT IF YOU'D LIKE,
BUT MORE INTERESTINGLY, FOR ME,
ANYWAY, WERE THE PERSONAL EMAILS
THAT I'VE GOTTEN FROM PEOPLE WHO
FELT THAT THEIR FEARFUL OF BEING
IN PUBLIC BECAUSE OF THE WAY
THAT THEY ARE, ACTUALLY,
OVER-POLICED BY OTHERS OR THEY
FEEL THAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY
CAUSING HARM WHEN THEY ARE NOT
INTENDING TO.
SO I'VE HAD SEVERAL PERSONAL
EMAILS FROM PEOPLE SAYING, YOU
KNOW WHAT, THIS PIECE GAVE ME
SOME HOPE THAT MAYBE NOT
EVERYBODY IS JOINING SORT OF MOB
MENTALITY, THAT WE SEE AROUND
THIS TURN TO CREEPINESS AND THE
DISCOURSE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Wodek Szemberg, @wodekszemberg."

Steve says THAT'S HEIDI MATTHEWS.
SHE'S ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT
OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL AND THE
AUTHOR OF, IN CASE YOU WANT TO
READ THE PIECE YOURSELF, "WHAT
IS TO BE DONE ABOUT THE PROBLEM
OF CREEPY MEN." THANKS, HEIDI.

Heidi says GREAT, THANK YOU, STEVE.

Watch: What's the Deal with Creepiness?