Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Warren Farrell "Incest" Hoax

At the University of Toronto at the end of last year, radical feminist protestors attempted to shut down Dr Warren Farrell's talk on 'Transforming The Boy Crisis" by claiming it was "hate-speech"(?) & that Farrell was an "incest apologer"(!).

Crazy stuff, obviously, if you've ever read anything by Dr Farrell or seen him talk: the man's whole life's work has been to speak out for equality of both sexes, love & fairness for all & to facilitate communication between men & women. I could start to try reel off the man's long list of achievements but it may well be simpler to just watch the presentation the protestors were trying to shut down for yourself, & see if you don't agree with me that they would have done better protesting the hate speech of someone more violent & extremist. Such as, say, the Dalai Lama:

The "incest apology" nonsense originates with an interview Farrell did with Penthouse magazine way back in the 1970s (while still a feminist spokesperson, by the way) for an issue they put together titled "Incest: The Last Taboo". I spent a little time today trying to track down both the original piece & the origins of the smear campaign, which appears to have begun with a feminist website called The Liz Library in 1998. The line that caused all the kerfuffle was a misprint of Farrell's saying to the interviewer:

"millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and generally caressing their children, when that is really part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves." 

In Penthouse this (possibly intentionally) became:

"millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children"

And so a whopping great internet fib was born. Even in the context of the rest of the article, the misquote ceases to make a great deal of sense, but within the context of everything else the man has ever said & done his entire 40 year career, it seems absolutely incomprehensible, as well as preposterous, & the people believing such hogwash, pond-dwelling imbeciles.

For the record, Dr Farrell's public statement upon this matter was made almost 13 years ago, & the full text is as follows: 
 Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 16:11:46 -0700
To: Scott Garman <
Subject: Re: Response from Warren....
Dear Scott,
Thanks for writing to me directly about Liz Kates' accusations. I appreciate the opportunity to separate the truth from the fiction.
A few years ago I informed Liz Kates that the 1977 article in Penthouse about incest had misquoted me - that the word "generally" had been mistranscribed as "genitally." Nevertheless, Kates and a woman named Trish Wilson continue to publicize the misquote. I am seeking legal action. They have been making similar accusations of many other men's issues; their most pointed attacks are on men working on fathers' issues ("they all just want to molest their children").
If you'd like more detail, I'll start with some highlights.
I have never been pro-incest. (Obviously.)  I did do a study about incest. I conducted it in the '70s after Random House published my first book, The Liberated Man, a pro-feminist book based on my years on the Board of N.O.W. in New York City. I never published the findings on incest despite having a contract with Bantam books to do so in book form. As a result, the topic of incest is not the subject of any of my writing. All five of my books -- as well as my experiential workshops -- are attempts to get both sexes to understand the other. (The bad news is that this is not likely to be achieved in my lifetime. The good news is I guess I'll always be fully employed!) Their tables of contents are all available on Incest is not a topic in any of them.
Now, some more detail...
I refrained from publishing the incest findings because I feared that what I found would be distorted and misused. (It's a bit ironic that it still is, even though I did not publish it!) I allowed myself the one interview with Penthouse to get a sense of whether the message would be distorted in print, or after print, or both. When I saw that the answer was both, I gave up a multi-year research effort. Obviously this cost me considerably.
You may wish to know my motivation for undertaking the incest study. It evolved from reading in Ms. and other sources in the early '70s that incest was like terminal cancer. This attitude seemed to me to hold out no hope for a cure. I wondered whether therapists, by seeing the most difficult cases, were creating this conclusion in the same way we had about homosexuality being a disease by looking largely at a patient population that was unhappy. I felt that if a non-patient population had a larger variety of experiences, we might have information to better help people who were traumatized.

So I put ads in papers soliciting anonymous over-the-phone intensive interviews from people experiencing any form of incest, from cousin-cousin and brother-sister to father-daughter and mother-son, asking them to rank their experience as positive, negative or mixed. I created  lie detector tests that I built into the interviews. Some of the ads I placed solicited experiences perceived either as positive or negative; other ads solicited only positive (since the negative ones were obviously more easily attainable), until I attained enough people who perceived their relationship as positive to have numbers large enough to make comparisons to the negative.The focus of the book was broadening the base of therapeutic options for interventions that could reverse trauma. The Kinsey Institute ranked it as the best and most responsible study ever done on the subject. However, in the process of always being asked about the positive experiences, the deeper purpose of the study often got lost. I saw this happen in the Penthouse interview, and sometimes I contributed to the process by not being media savvy enough. Bottom line, I felt that publishing the material might do more harm than good, so I did not publish it.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call, fax, or email me any time.  I am at (H/O) 760-753-5000; (Fax) 760-753-2436; and
Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

A scan of the original Penthouse article can be found here & a transcript which is easier to read is here.

A more in-depth analysis of all the kerfuffle can be found at, & I recommend giving that a look.

A well-written overview of the Toronto protests can be found here.


  1. I've read Warren Farrell he advocates spousal rape being legal, calls date rape buyers remorse and uses inaccurate data. To say he advocates "equality of both sexes, love & fairness for all & to facilitate communication between men & women" is not true.

  2. I've read Warren Farrell too, & you seem to be talking almost complete poo poo. Maybe you're thinking of some OTHER Warren Farrell? The one on the OTHER side of the street? You know, the one who eats babies each morning for breakfast & rapes a dozen virgins around lunchtime just so his white male privilege doesn't get rusty. Is that about right? Am I close?

    Aaanyway, if you feel like sending me the actual quotes - from those books that you've really really read - (with page numbers & stuff) I'd appreciate it so I too can look up the original sources & figure out where such bedwettingly hysterical feminazi twaddle actually originated. That would be most helpful & constructive of you & you would also have the pride that comes with contributing to humanity's ageless pursuit of truth & justice, which will put a spring in your step & a proud wiggle in your rump.

    Plus it will most likely make a fresh (& in all probability very funny) post in itself.