Bill Frezza won’t be keeping his gig as a Forbes contributor after he wrote a controversial article entitled “Drunk Female Guests Are the Gravest Threat to Fraternities” that didn’t sit well with readers. The piece was quickly taken down — although a cached version is still available — and a spokesperson for Forbes confirmed to the New York Daily News that Frezza will no longer contribute to the site.
Frezza currently serves as the president of the alumni house corporation for MIT’s Chi Phi chapter and has written regular opinion columns for Forbes. In his now-deleted article, he argued that fraternities are being endangered not by frat brothers’ actions, but by the “female guests” who may get too drunk at their parties.
“We have very little control over women who walk in the door carrying enough pre-gaming booze in their bellies to render them unconscious before the night is through,” he wrote. “In our age of sexual equality, why drunk female students are almost never characterized as irresponsible jerks is a question I leave to the feminists.”
The article also bemoaned false rape accusations that may emerge “months after the fact triggered by regrets over a drunken hook-up, or anger over a failed relationship.” Frezza noted that “it doesn’t take much for a campus kangaroo court to get you expelled, ruining your life while saddling your fraternity with a reputation for harboring rapists.”
In an email exchange with the New York Daily News, Frezza said that the accompanying photo was in “poor taste.” But he has continued to stand by his article even after its removal from Forbes’ site. He told the Huffington Post that he “expected it to provoke a conversation” and urged people to “read the whole thing and not just the gawker ‘blame the victim’ spin on it.”
Frezza is just the latest example in a long line of writers who have used their media platforms to suggest that college women are getting too drunk and falsely accusing men of rape. Particularly as issues of college sexual assault have gained national prominence, critics have argued that female students can solve the problem by simply drinking less. Slate contributor Emily Yoffe frequently writes about college women’s responsibility in this area. Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto argued that rape victims and their rapists are equally responsible for the crime if they were both drunk. And syndicated columnist George Will provoked widespread outrage when he wrote a column suggesting that rape victims enjoy a “coveted status” on campus and are lying about being assaulted to raise their profiles.
But as an occasional contributor, Frezza is somewhat more expendable than Yoffee, Taranto, and Will, all of whom have kept their jobs despite similar outrage about their work. While the St. Louis Post-Dispatch stopped carrying Will’s syndicated column after the recent controversy over his approach to sexual assault, he continues to be employed at the Washington Post despite repeated calls on the paper to fire him.
Regardless of whether or not drunk women pose a “threat” to them, national fraternities have recently become more involved in efforts to combat sexual violence on campus. Just this week, eight prominent frats announced they will work together to develop training programs for their members on binge drinking and sexual assault.
Frezza’s article may be offline, but the conversation about it continues. On Thursday, hosts of the Fox News show Outnumbered defended his arguments, saying, “I don’t know why this writer is taking so much heat because this is actually a problem that goes on.” Hosts Andrea Tantaros and Kirsten Powers agreed that fraternities need more policies to protect against drunk women, and perhaps just shouldn’t let them in the door in the first place. Watch it, via Raw Story: