Goodbye

I wrote nearly two weeks ago that I’d be taking a break from online writing. I intend to continue to do so. I want to be a bit more specific as to why.

For one, the toxicity of take-down culture is exhausting and dispiriting. The cheapest and easiest tweets and articles to compose are snarky and clever dismantlings of what someone else has worked hard to create. The defenders of this culture of fierceness call it intellectual honesty, but it is an honesty too often edged in cruelty. I’ll admit It: I’m a most imperfect man. I have an absolutely dreadful past, one for which I continue to make quiet amends. I’m also frequently a smug and sloppy writer. But despite that past and my glib prose, I don’t think I’m wrong that when it comes to a concerted effort to drive me off the internet, I’ve been more sinned against than sinning.

So I’m done. I surrender the field to the critics who wanted me gone from feminist spaces.

Secondly, my family and I have been through a very difficult time as late, the details of which are saved for close friends but which are linked to this internet business. Contrary to rumors, I have kept my sobriety but it has been a near run thing. My fragile mental health and my relationship with my wife and children must take first priority.

I’m not “flouncing.” I’m not mad. I’m sad and hurt by a culture in which what we can say online is policed by clever cynicism masquerading as progressive outrage. I’ve tried for ten years and I’ve had a little success and a lot of failure and made many wonderful friends. I wish you all well.

And perhaps, in a long time, in a different capacity, I’ll be back to a public life.

UPDATE: Perhaps ill-advisedly, I did an interview with Kat Stoeffel at New York Mag yesterday. She captured my words almost verbatim, and as self-absorbed and tone-deaf as they may come across in spots, it’s an accurate interview with which I can have no complaints. The unflattering portrayal is my doing, not Kat’s.

As a personal update and partial explanation, I am out of the hospital after a psychiatric hold and I’m on a cluster of drugs that affect my mood, my judgment, and my capacity to engage. While I stand by the interview, those drugs (including heavy doses of Lithium, Klonopin and so forth) played a part in the poor way I framed things. Nonetheless, I take full responsibility for every word I said, save for the unkind remark about XoJane publisher Jane Pratt. I’d also like to clarify that the Good Men Project has changed substantially since Tom Matlack left, and has become a more feminist-friendly site than when I was forced out.

Through all this public career, I have carefully (or not so) concealed a serious mental illness that has once again come to the fore. If nothing else, I ask for prayers for my wife Eira, my daughter Heloise, and my son David. They are innocents in this story.

Also, this.

And I will be doing no more interviews. I’m gone.

94 thoughts on “Goodbye

  1. I’m sorry to see you go, but I can understand & support your decision. I always appreciated your bold, raw voice. You may be “offline” for now, but your work will continue to influence many positively.

  2. Hugo, I really understand your feelings of being overwhelmed by a media world gone mad. Sometimes it is too intense for everyone involved and I doubt that anyone would say that they weren’t hurt being called names or by having harsh personal attacks against them. I don’t look at this as a weakness. I see your decision as the empowerment of making choices. You have chosen to commit your energies right now to your family. And that ain’t hey. My warmest support I am sending to you. Don’t stay away too long.

  3. I’m thinking of you during this difficult time. Just want you to know that my experiences of you — your writing and our social media interactions — place you in a place of only high esteem imo. I know you only as a profound thinker, compelling writer, and a caring and loving human being. Hang in there, Hugo.

  4. You will be missed Hugo. I always found your writings spot on and very, very good. It was always a highlight of my day when I saw you had posted another article.

  5. You’ll be missed. I always enjoy your articles and I truly appreciate the thought you put into your writing. You add an important voice to the discourse on sex and gender, especially with so many close-minded people trying to silence it. I hope you’ll choose to write again, and look forward to it.

  6. It was good to hear a man’s voice speaking out for feminism and how male privilege harms us all. I wish you the best in everything.

  7. Once in an exchange with me, you approvingly described the murder of 16 year old Abdulrahman Al Awlaki as ‘muscular liberalism.’ Maybe shit like this goes down well in your little Jezebel circle of imperial feminists, Hugo, but in mine you’re still a would-be murderer, with or without substance abuse.

    So fuck off forever and good riddance.

      • Speaking truth to power, that’s what that is. Maybe the OP is all better now, but his past behavior disqualifies him from being a public face of feminist men. He can advocate all he wants in private.

      • “What is wrong with you expressing this here and now?” – nothing wrong, everything right. Let’s not forget *why* this man has been drummed out of feminism. Do you really expect folk to be all quiet and respectful- he put it on his blog and he left comments open. Maybe you should worry more about that 16-year-old boy and not Hugo’s fee-fees.

  8. Write under a pseudonym. Worked for J.K. Rowling. Seriously. You have to find a way to keep doing what you do, otherwise you’re not being fair to who you are. Take a break, take care of what you need to take care of, then come back.

  9. Hugo,

    I am so sorry that it’s come to this, but I respect (and sadly) totally understand your decision.

    I consider myself so lucky to have discovered you and your writing. Your honesty and introspection have always been a much-needed breath of fresh air.

    Sending you lots and lots of love.

    xx.

  10. I just want to say i really appreciate you. Since the first time i heard you speak here in mexico city, you have helped me understand myself better and get through a lot of confusing and hard times with the things you share. Thank you.

  11. Hey Hugo,
    Even if we often disagreed in writing, I liked reading your stuff and enjoyed your company. Taking a vacation from the on-line world is a great idea. I may just follow you. It’s such a cheap imitation of reality, after all. I hope you’re healed and nourished by the time away.

  12. Pingback: Bye Bye Hugo Schwyzer, you vile little man. | THE VENUS ENVY

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  14. Why did you stick around for so long – and as a leader, too – when you knew that you made women uncomfortable? And what made you think that you could do a number of horrible, abusive things to women, “own up to it”, and then that would be that and everyone would congratulate you for everything that you did, or that they’d just go ahead and forgive and let it go? Did you think that everyone was going to agree that you’re as important as you think you are? Thank goodness you’re leaving feminism. Don’t come back.

    • Any woman who was personally hurt by Hugo has good reason to be angered and horrified by him, and to refuse her forgiveness so long as she may choose. You were wronged, and the right to forgive is yours and yours alone.

      Then there are those who rail him about past but were never involved. Your forgiveness is not necessary or wanted. Stop appropriating someone else’s pain and rightful outrage to justify your own indulgent cruelty.

  15. Sorry but I never heard of you until I read this article so I will disqualify myself from the discussion. I will watch for your name. take care, Sandy

  16. Yes.

    This might possibly be the first good thing you have ever done in your life.

    I encourage you to continue along this path. Stop criticising other men, and concentrate on redeeming yourself.

  17. Before reading your articles, i never believed that a man can be supportive of feminism. Thank you for changing my mind, it definitely gave me hope that women are not alone in this fight. Take care and stay strong, and know that many will welcome you back here.

  18. You know, I am ardently opposed and in many cases was disgusted by some of hugos views, much of it was so anti male it was scary but he was out there and he deservedly took the flak for it, but he stood his ground, but seeing posters like one above claiming to speak for Feminists and wanting him gone, this man was one of your most ardent supporters and you are happy to crap on him from a height, this is a man I don’t like, I don’t even erect his beliefs but I respect his right to speak, the previous poster is an example f all that’s wrong with feminism.

  19. I think this parting shot at your critics is sadly inappropriate, given your stated disposition to acknowledge their points. The overall effect is to smear feminists who have attempted dialogue with you, albeit in ways you deemed unacceptable, indeed all those who have “sinned” by taking more radical positions than yourself – and that is a lot of people. This hiatus may be an occasion to reconsider and dive deeper into the wreck of a male privilege you have often exemplified with some arrogance, something we profeminists all do at times. I hope you will do so: all hands are needed on deck.

  20. It’s a nice gesture to make family first priority. I guess they weren’t first priority when having an affair?

  21. Completely understand and support your decision, Hugo. For what it’s worth I’ve enjoyed all of your writing and appreciate your support to the cause. People are flawed, no one is perfect but what we do with what we learn from our experiences is all that matters. I believe you’ve applied (and continue to apply) your learnings very well. Take care of yourself, your wife and the beautiful kiddos. Love & miss you!

  22. You won’t be missed. You’re a pathological liar and a teach at a JC. Your “qualifications” to comment are that of a GED. You’re pathetic, misinformed, shrill, irrational, histrionic and logically/intellectually/factually challenged. Please crawl back under the rock you came from.

      • Actually … he’s right on target. And even after the “long goodbye”, Hugo is giving Interviews and trying to “assuage the anxiety” of all of his followers …

        … this is one of the biggest narcissistic twits I have ever seen.

        Hugo some real advice: Community college girls can’t distinguish between you and the real thing. Go back to fucking them, you loser.

  23. Dude, just because you say you’re not flouncing doesn’t make it not flouncing, and I say this with lots of experience flouncing off of Usenet back in the day myself. Speaking out for feminism neither excuses your past bad behavior nor makes you special and deserving of cookies.

    • This “take down” culture is actually a “take no bullshit from men” culture, and we’ll do just fine without him, thanks.

      • Right there you exhibit one of the core failings of feminism ie bigotry. Women are perfectly capable of bullshit too and many have taken advantage of that capacity including now yourself of course.
        Human beings come in two sexes (yes yes I know there are some out there who talk of other sexes too but they are at best combinations of the two) and humanity includes men as well as women. Human rights therefore means nothing unless it is genuinely inclusive of BOTH sexes. Humanism therefore not feminism is what is needed to end division between the sexes.

  24. Your departure makes more room for men who haven’t attempted murder of their girlfriends.

    “Men are afraid of women’s anger. It’s very hard for men to stand up to women’s anger.” Funny, most women tend to be afraid that men will, you know, kill them. But your poor fees, of course, this matters, of course.

  25. Just a note of support for Eira. We’ve never “met” you through your writing like we have Hugo, but through Hugo’s descriptions of your lives together I’m certain I’m not the only one to consider herself an Eira fan. And I know I’m not the only one sending prayers and strength your way.

  26. Good luck in your struggle and your journey. I’ll look forward to reading your work when you feel well enough to come back.

  27. Hugo,

    Very few people would have tried to continue on after constant criticism. I understand you’re probably as controversial now as you were back then. It’s sad to see you go.

    As someone who learned a lot in your class, I want to say thank you for giving me that experience.

    I owe you a pina colada buddy.

  28. The feminists hated you because you are a man. That’s all there is to it. “White” is icing on the cake. Feminism *defines* male and female as political classes at enmity with one another. That’s precisely what feminism is *about*. You, I’m sorry to say, have suffered the usual fate of quislings: to be hated by both sides.

    When you are finally ready to go your own way, dude, visit mgtowforums. If you de-clutter your life, you might find that that absurd cocktail of poisons you take (God: how *did* we manage to function all these aeons without them?) becomes unnecessary.

    Peace, man.

    • No, we hate him because of all the disgusting things he’s done, listed in the comments under this article. But if you want to make it about being a man, go ahead. You’re clearly very hard-done-by, much like the male victims of… oh no, wait, Hugo victimised WOMEN. Never mind.

    • I’m a feminist and I love men. What I do not like is the way some men behave, and the way their bad behavior is upheld by society as something normal and desirable, and I’m told to shut the fuck up when I point that out.

      I bitch about the bad behavior because I love men and I know you can do better.

      And every time I see a twit like you stick up for the bad boys I know you’re just trying to say you approve of their behavior and would gladly jump in and help them in the fucking-up, should they fuck up again.

      Do not need. No idea why you bother women in feminist spaces since you don’t give a fuck about our humanity anyway. Go find yourself a Fleshlight and leave us alone.

  29. Hugo
    I am very sorry to hear that you are taking a break from your writing. I hope you are not also taking a break from teaching, being a former student of your I can said that I am so proud to call myself a feminist now because I would not have called myself a feminist before I took your class. I can also said that you are one of the best professors that I have ever had.

    I wish you all the best and I hope you take care of yourself and your beautiful family because in the end family is what should always come first. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

    I ask you please do not take what some people are saying to heart because those of us who know you know that you are a good man, husband and father, and your family and friend with give you strength in the months and years to come.

    Good luck in everything you have done and are going to do in the future because I for one know that whatever you decide to do will be great and I can wait to see what it is.

    All my love and support,
    Your former student and friend
    Denise

  30. Child molesters are rarely completely cured, so I suspect that a chronic creep such as Hugo will be. He will be back, re-reformed, and sucker some amount of people into believing that he isn’t the same guy that fucked his students, took advantage of his power, and wasn’t using his “fame” to take advantage of people.

  31. Hugo,

    My heart breaks for you and your family. Truly hoping/believing that this all occurred for some greater purpose.

    Love and support,
    JB

  32. Hugo, you know even in our forties, “sh*t happens” (as a relative remarked the other day after I had a spectacular falling out with my mother-in-law). The people that matter will still love you, they may be a bit disappointed in you but they will still love you. I guess you might be in a place where you need to love yourself again.

    The rest of us out there who enjoy your work, will miss you even if we don’t always agree, but just get well (and for all the haters out there, it is their hate not yours). Sometimes we do stuff that goes against our beliefs, sometimes our beliefs change – I guess that is life.

    someone on this side of the atlantic who went through an internet feeding frenzy not so long ago – he got through, so will you.
    http://lukebozier.co.uk/

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  36. Well Hugo, I’m sad to see you go. Didn’t totally agree with you, didn’t totally disagree with you.

    If nothing else, your experience is instructive on how one’s past comes back to bite them. I think that you effort to overcome past mistakes and right past wrongdoings and wrong thinking is admirable. Needless to say that effort is not appreciated by all. I think it will do you good stead in the long.

    Take care and so long, as well as good luck and godspeed in your future endeavours. You’ve given me a thing or two to rant and rave about on the internet and that’s not worth nothing.

    Peace.

    The Wet One

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  38. Hugo, I, for one, am glad to hear a bit more about why you felt you had to sign off. Sounds like the right decision, all around. Sorry you had to make it.

    And I, for one, will miss reading your writing, which (agree or not) I always found interesting & engaging.

    Good luck to you & your family. Take care of yourself & them. If you ever find yourself in the Fingerlakes region of upstate NY, drop me a line.

    Stephen Frug

  39. Best wishes to your wife and your children. They need a husband and a father.

    Apart from that I hope you are swiftly buried in obscurity. You were and are a source for dissension in the so called gender wars, and I have my strong suspicions you are a sociopath.

    Get lost.

  40. Get help, get your head straightened around if that’s possible and take care of your kids–or see that someone trustworthy does so.
    You’ve got some real problems, and the good that you have done with words, helping people think, will be taken over by others with fewer problems. Drop out of the public eye, which will soon find someone else to pick at, and this will help your family heal.
    Best of luck to Eira and the kids.

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  43. Self proclaimed male feminists who garner fem foot soldiers are the pits. Glad to see them all marching out of feminist activism as the damage to womon every where is hard to calculate. Nothing worse than reformed sex offender teaching other womon ‘how it is’. Why are womon so gulable?

  44. I’m sorry to hear it. I found much of your writing to be risky, thoughtful, and helpful, despite your flaws and despite this. I hope you can make the best of this and grow from it. A lot of people do care for and root for you.

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  48. I wish you and your family well, going forward. One need not be morally perfect to do good and moral work, and it is no more your job to be accepted by any given woman than it is her job to be attractive to any given man. It is a hard thing to crave an acceptance one will never have, but I hope that it doesn’t stop you from being a better man and father now and always, going forward.

    My prayers for you in your health, for your family and all our futures.

  49. Hugo is not a good man. He is not a bad man. He’s off that continuum.
    He’s a mental case.
    It’s possible to be sorry for him.
    It ought to be mandatory to be sorry for those in his orbit.
    I quit reading him–same old schtick–a couple of years ago and so I have no idea who’d been beating up on him. Or who’s been following him in terms of types.
    You didn’t have to know his background to be appalled that anybody took him seriously.

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  52. WE DID IT! WE GOT RID OF HIM!

    What mental illness are you dealing with? Delusional narcissism or overwhelming shame at having raped and attempted to murder a defenseless woman? Maybe if you post more facetious bullshit about how badly all men who aren’t you are failing in life you’ll get better.

    “When I found her, she smelled of sex and sweat and alcohol; as she climbed unsteadily into my truck, I noticed rope marks on her wrists and bruises on her arms and throat. She’d been with a dealer, and had paid a debt in a way that young female addicts sadly often pay it — but things had clearly gotten uglier than she’d expected.

    She nestled next to me as I drove back to my apartment. She murmured softly, “I want a pizza. And I want you.” We got back to my little place on Sierra Madre Boulevard, stumbled in the door, shed our clothes and had the desperately hot, desperately heartbreaking sex we had had so often. And then I ordered the pizza. ”

    SO DESPERATE. ALSO PIZZA.

    http://hellnohugo.tumblr.com/

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  54. What a bunch of holier than thou comments here. So the guy has been a tit at times. So what. His writing seems interesting enough.

    And do the feminists who think that as a man you can’t join the struggle for female equality and justice really think they can change society on their own?

    Hugo, I had never heard of you and you may well be a psycho basket case, all those meds must be there for a reason, but don’t let the haters get to you. You can be a calendar boy good looking dude smelling like daisies, and some people will still not like your looks.

    good luck with the recovery and all that.

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