John Pilger won’t shut up in expressing rape-excusing views

John Pilger is a renowned lefty journo, described by the organisers of Marxism2013 thusly:

John Pilger is a world-renowned journalist, author and documentary filmmaker, who began his career in 1958 in his homeland, Australia, before moving to London in the 1960s.

He regards eye-witness as the essence of good journalism. He has been a foreign correspondent and a front-line war reporter, beginning with the Vietnam war in 1967. He is an impassioned critic of foreign military and economic adventures by Western governments.

This glowing reference also says:

Noam Chomsky wrote: “John Pilger’s work has been a beacon of light in often dark times. The realities he has brought to light have been a revelation, over and over again, and his courage and insight a constant inspiration.”

Harold Pinter wrote: “John Pilger unearths, with steely attention, the facts, the filthy truth, and tells it as it is.”

Many of us feminist lefties feel very betrayed by the very different ‘light’ he is bringing to rape culture.

For years now, he has been endorsing rape myths in service of his ‘defence’ of Julian Assange.

What Pilger has done in most of his articles on Assange that reference the Swedish sexual assault allegations* against him is claim that they would not constitute a crime in Britain even if true.

An influential lefty who continually repeats rape myths, with his considerable audience, has a big impact in strengthening rape culture and undermining support for feminism.

Now, ‘rape culture’ is rape AND the ideas that support rape, because rape’s causes are socio-political not biological. Myths about rape, that excuse the rapist and blame the victim, strengthen rape culture. Myths that trivialise consent and trivialise the harms of rape strengthen rape culture.

This post compiles excerpts from many of these articles, and it will be updated as more such articles emerge.


*’Allegations’ refers to the complaints made in the police reports by Anna Ardin and Sophia Wilen about Assange. There are no charges as yet, since Swedish law requires charges to be laid against someone while they are in the country, and Assange was not charged while he was last in Sweden.

These allegations are commonly known and referenced by Assange’s lawyers and major Assange support groups, so claiming that they would not constitute a crime is therefore a clear assertion that several forms of sexual assault and rape are neither.
Dec 15, 2010: ‘Protect Assange, don’t abuse him’

Also printed as:

Dec 16, 2010: ‘Protect Assange, don’t abuse him’

The Australian barrister James Catlin, who acted for Assange in October, says that both women in the case told prosecutors that they consented to have sex with Assange. Following the “crime”, one of the women threw a party in honour of Assange. When Borgström was asked why he was representing the women, as both denied rape, he said: “Yes, but they are not lawyers.”

~ Repeats the myth that once women have had consensual sex or agreed to sex, everything done to them thereafter is consensual.
~ Endorses the myth that women always immediately understand that they have been raped or sexually assaulted. Denies that women sometimes deal with rape by trying to convince themselves and others that nothing is wrong.
~ Denies that rape and sexual assault need to be assessed via the facts of what happened rather than by the labels the victims apply to the situation.


Oct 6, 2011: ‘The smearing of a revolution’

Also printed as:

Oct 11, 2011: ‘John Pilger: ‘Getting’ Assange and the smearing a revolution’

Sweden’s chief prosecutor had dismissed the original arrest warrant, saying there was no case for Assange to answer. Both the women involved said they had consented to have sex. On the facts alleged, no crime would have been committed in Britain.

~ Endorses the myth that the state is politically- and gender-neutral and that an initial dismissal of such a case must therefore mean it is baseless.
~ Endorses the myth that initial consent to sex makes subsequent consent to particular activities unnecessary.
~ Makes the untrue claim that the allegations, if true, would not constitute a crime in Britain. (They would, in Britain and many other places.)
~ Endorses the myth that these kinds of rape being legal would be an adequate defence of them.


Feb 2, 2012: ‘The Assange case means we are all suspects now’

Also printed as:

Feb 5, 2012: ‘John Pilger: Threat to Assange is a threat to us all’

This is Assange’s final appeal against his extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual misconduct that were originally dismissed by the chief prosecutor in Stockholm and constitute no crime in Britain.

~ Repeats myths/ lies, as before.


May 5, 2012: ‘John Pilger: We are all suspects now’

Should this final appeal fail, the facilitator of truth-telling on an epic scale, who is charged with no crime, faces solitary confinement and interrogation on ludicrous sex allegations.

~ Repeats myths/ lies, as before.


Aug 22, 2012: ‘The pursuit of Julian Assange is an assault on freedom and a mockery of journalism’

Swedish case documents, including the text messages of the women involved, demonstrate to any fair-minded person the absurdity of the sex allegations – allegations almost entirely promptly dismissed by the senior prosecutor in Stockholm, Eva Finne, before the intervention of a politician, Claes Borgström.

~ Repeats myths/ lies, as before.

Feb 14, 2013: ‘WikiLeaks is a rare truth-teller. Smearing Julian Assange is shameful.’

Also printed as:

Also printed as:

Feb 18, 2013: ‘John Pilger: Khan is wrong, WikiLeaks a rare truth-teller’

the tissue of falsehoods demonstrated in the evidence in this case

~ Denigrates and vilifies (two women whom he knows have already been harassed and threatened because of the case being publicised and because they have been treated as the villains) without reasoning or proof and does not bother to clarify whether the state or complainants are alleged to have lied.

both women had consensual sex with Assange, and neither claimed otherwise; and the Stockholm prosecutor, Eva Finne, all but dismissed the case. As Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote in the Guardian last August, “The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction…”

~ Repeats the rape myth that women who participate in consensual sexual activity cannot also be raped or assaulted by their sex partners.
~ Repeats the rape myth that if any representative of the state dismisses accusations of rape or assault against women then they must be baseless.
~ Repeats the myth that any less-than-feminist motivations of any state in pursuing rape/assault allegations must mean said allegations are baseless.


Feminists know, and all radicals need to know, how to report rape allegations responsibly. Regardless of the facts in each case, repeating rape myths endorses rape generally.

Including general points about rape in our culture when we discuss rape allegations, such as the rarity of our legal-judical system leading to a conviction for accused men, and the rarity of false rape claims, is not unfair to any accused man under discussion. Rather, it is taking responsibility for not contributing to the culture in which the victim is so often blamed, making it harder for her to press charges.

The consequences of Pilger endorsing these rape myths in a culture of low feminist activism are bad.



  1. Is it true that Sweden cannot charge people outside their country? I think this is an important piece of information to get right. And I’m not sure it;s true. Please inform me if I am wrong in this. I think the piece is excellent

  2. John Pilger was a speaker at a “Think” festival in India organized by a left-wing organization, which turned out to be a “rape fest” of sorts, with the head, Tejpal, raping one of his employees during the event! I suppose John Pilger has another liberal rapist to support? See this

    1. Thanks Rita, we have just covered this on our Facebook page:

      Thank you for your important article.

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