Author Archives

Soraya Roberts
I am a writer based in Toronto and the author of In My Humble Opinion: My So-Called Life.

The Denial Diaries: On #MeToo Men With No Self-Awareness

Francesco Carta / Getty, Collage by Katie Kosma

Dan Harmon had no plans to say anything about the way he had treated Megan Ganz. But then, in January, the writer who used to work for him on “Community” accused him of sexual harassment on Twitter. Though he was advised not to respond, the women he worked with told him that if he was serious about making amends, he needed to talk about where he went wrong. So a week after Ganz’s tweet, Harmon spent seven shaky, breathless minutes of his podcast, “Harmontown,” on a systematic breakdown of the self-deceptions — including calling himself a feminist and those who questioned him “sexist” — that enabled him to harass Ganz. “I did it by not thinking about it,” he told his listeners, “and I got away with it by not thinking about it.”

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We Stand on Guard for Bieber

(Illustration by Katie Kosma, Dominic Lipinski / AP)

Soraya Roberts | Longreads | August 2018 | 18 minutes (4,330 words)

Stratford, Ontario, doesn’t announce itself. The first time I traveled there, in mid-February, I drove into its center before knowing I was actually in it. I had not noticed a sign. All I had seen were miles of flat snowy farmland — the odd silo, field upon field — a row of frosted evergreens lining the horizon. Stratford, population 31,465, is like any other small tourist town in Ontario — shabby strip malls, magisterial churches, brick Main Street, overpriced eateries. Like so many Canadian cities, it’s the kind of place where a kid could be born and, happily enough, have just as much chance of staying as leaving.

People generally visit Stratford in the summer for its renowned Shakespeare festival, but I went during the off-season. A couple of miles ahead of the town center, my boyfriend and I passed what appeared to be a school bus holding zone — about a dozen of them, parked like blocks of life-size Legos — before arriving at the Stratford Perth Museum. It was 10 a.m. on a Saturday, the opening time for the press day of the “Steps to Stardom” exhibit, which traced Justin Bieber’s life, all 24 years of it, back to his Stratford childhood. It was quiet. The exhibit scarcely announced itself either, aside from two festive planters flanking the entrance, each festooned with curlicued silver-sprayed twigs wrapped in bows and billowy purple gauze, a color that, for those in the know, announces JUSTIN BIEBER as surely as it might have once announced royalty. In the next room, even quieter, the “Railway Century” exhibit politely stood by with its black-and-white photographs of the industry that had built the town that had built Justin Bieber. Read more…