In a statement released on November 5, the Eric County District Attorney’s office have announced that Patrick Kane will not be charged with rape. New York prosecutors say that the claims were “rife with reasonable doubt” and “significant material inconsistencies”. This is a breath of fresh air for fans of Patrick Kane, and I’m sure it’s quite relieving to Patrick Kane himself.
Along the way, reporting on this story has become a battleground. For many, this story was a reminder of the “rape culture” that permeates so much of modern society; others saw it as a media trial fueled by overzealous feminists too eager to judge Kane in the court of public opinion.
Quite quickly, the internet outrage machines found their way into familiar territory. Blog posts were filled with terms like “rape apologist”, “feminist agenda” and “victim blaming”. Across the web we were once again discussing the merits of separating art from artist and writing about hockey with shades of Dylan Farrow.
For those who followed the media circus, there will be little closure outside of that which they ascribe themselves. Little will change, but those who espoused Kane’s innocence will surely feel vindicated and those who raged against rape culture will find that it has not disappeared from the world.
The case is closed, but the comment sections are still deteriorating into diatribes and misogyny. The reason for this is simple: for many of the people writing about this case, it was never really about Patrick Kane. Some people were worried about feminism and others were worried about hockey, but very few were concerned for the two individuals whose lives would be forever altered by this case. Instead, as is often the case, this story became megaphone for the angry and disenfranchised because the only time they feel their voices get heard is when a celebrity’s name is attached.
The Patrick Kane rape case might be over, but the real story is far from finished. It may be in a year, it may be tomorrow, but the familiar words and patterns of conversation will come back again, because these pieces are not really about the celebrities – they’re about people whose names we do not recognize.
Take from that what you will.