Jordan Peterson appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored Wednesday morning, and there was a single bright spot in two of the worst men in the world convening for a televised gab sesh: Peterson, at one point, broke down in tears.
While I cannot judge whether these tears were genuine or not, the red-meat-guzzling alpha male appeared to cry shortly after Morgan asked him about Don’t Worry Darling director Olivia Wilde’s recent comments about him in Interview magazine. In the movie, Frank (Chris Pine), the main antagonist, is the leader of an incel-like cult, and Wilde explained that Frank was inspired by Peterson. “We based that character on this insane man, Jordan Peterson, who is this pseudo-intellectual hero to the incel community,” she told actor Maggie Gyllenhaal in the interview.
Wilde added, “Jordan Peterson is someone that legitimizes certain aspects of [incels’] movement because he’s a former professor, he’s an author, he wears a suit, so they feel like this is a real philosophy that should be taken seriously.”
This morning, Morgan asked the controversial author for his reaction to these comments: “This insane man, this pseudo-intellectual hero to the incel community,’ ‘incel’ being these weirdo loner men who are despicable in many ways—is that you? Are you the intellectual hero to these people?” he said.
“Sure, why not,” Peterson replied, visibly emotional. “People have been after me for a long time, because I have been speaking to young men, what a terrible thing to do.” At that moment, he appeared to weep, before continuing, “I thought the marginalized were supposed to have a voice?”
Where’s my tiny violin?
However casually the term “incel” may be wielded nowadays, incels—who weaponize their own frustrations and entitlement as an excuse to harass and abuse women—are extremely dangerous and becoming more radical and violent. A new study found members of the most popular incel forums—viewed by 2.6 million people per month—mention the word “kill” every 37 minutes and the word “rape” every 29 minutes, and the subjects of their ire are, obviously, women and girls. Incels are largely fueled by the notion that women having rights amounts to men’s oppression—and it certainly doesn’t help when influential men go on TV and openly weep about how supposedly persecuted men are.
Noting Peterson’s emotional state at this point in their interview, Morgan asked if Wilde’s comments had “stung” him. Peterson called them “kind of low-level” compared to at least one other much-publicized fictional characterization of him. Last year, he was the muse for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ portrayal of the Nazi super-villain Red Skull in Coates’ Captain America comic book. Peterson’s exact response to this, at the time, was, “What the hell?” On Wednesday he told Morgan, “Once I got painted as Red Skull, you know, a magical super-Nazi, that was kind of the end of the insults. There’s no place past that.”
Despite the literal tears in Peterson’s eyes, he tried to save face by claiming to not be ~triggered~ by Wilde’s description of him. “It didn’t really bother me,” he said, adding that he “quite liked” the trailer of the movie, though he hasn’t watched it in full yet.
“I said, ‘I hope that you know that if I had to be played by someone, I think Chris [Pine]… is a very good-looking man,’” Peterson continued. “So that seems alright, you know.”
Earlier in the interview, Peterson spoke at length about his frustration with how the “demoralized” young men whom he inspires are perceived. “God, you know, it’s very difficult to understand how demoralized people are, and certainly many young men are in that category,” he said. “And you get these casual insults, these ‘incels’—what does it mean?” Of men who are characterized as incels, Peterson said they’re just rightfully upset that “they don’t know how to make themselves attractive to women”—his words, not mine!!
“Women, like, be picky. That’s your gift, man. Demand high standards from your man. Fair enough,” Peterson said. “But all these men who are alienated, it’s like, they’re lonesome and they don’t know what to do and everyone piles abuse on them.”
If, as Peterson understands it, all cis, straight men have to fear in life is rejection, that still sounds like a luxury compared to what women are dealing with: being forced to give birth, attacked and disbelieved for reporting abuse, and bombarded by constant online death and rape threats. But, sure, Jordan—have a good cry about how “marginalized” men are!