In her depiction of life inside New York city clubs, Jennifer Lopez regretted in the 2019 film “Hustlers” that, “This whole country is a strip club. You’ve got some people throwing the money and you’ve got people doing the dance”. Cardi B provides us with a vicarious experience of this naked truth with her riveting appearance in this unsettling film. In “Hustlers”, Cardi B is a Bronx-born stripper named Diamond performing alongside icons like Lili Reinhardt, Keke Palmer, and Lizzo.  The beats of Cardi B’s hit song, “Money,” line up to images of Constance Wu as Destiny and Jennifer Lopez as Ramona flirting with men and swiping their credit cards. In a three-year-old resurfaced Instagram Live video, Cardi B admitted to flirting, drugging and robbing men who were willing and aware.

Many of the issues that dominate Cardi B’s graphic lyrics emanate from her relentless hustle, street savviness and her fixation on money – both as a necessity and as a luxury during her years as a stripper. Stripping has been at the heart of her most injurious controversies, where the dubious strand of third-wave feminism of her former career unify with certain criminality, making her into one of pop culture’s most conflicting and fascinating women.

Her debut album “Invasion of Privacy” is a raucous ode to money, sex and haters – reminding us that a place like Hell Yard is no Disney and that going to church in off-white is best. After all, God may not want many of us and the devil is certainly not finished with the remainder as yet.  Cardi B protests that the MeToo movement remains defined by the transgressions of the elite as publicly protested by affluent women and remains exclusionary.

The MeToo movement started in 2017 around the Harvey Weinstein scandal who was accused of exploitative and abusive behaviours, including assault and rape, by more than a hundred different women. The butterfly effect released many more women and even men came forward with allegations about other Hollywood figures like Kevin Spacey. In France, it spawned its own hashtag, #Balancetonporc or “expose your pig”. But, these causes have spawned unforeseen effects for countless men. The instantaneous, no-questions-asked condemnation of men is a distressing contemporary trend.

The vile practice of airing one’s grievances in public rather than through due process has even claimed lives. Alex Holowka committed suicide after social justice activist Zoe Quinn accused him on Twitter of rape and other acts, allegedly committed in the past. Quinn’s own tweets at the time of the alleged offences contradict her own narrative. However, by the time they were exhumed, Alex had already been fired from his job and had taken his own life. Soprano vocalist Aliana de la Guardia tweeted that she was “not surprised” by the allegations levied against the opera legend Plácido Domingo, while classical guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan didn’t mince words: “He did it. Let him fall.”

Plácido was accused of inappropriate touching, kissing and other unwanted behaviour by eight singers, a dancer and six other persons — yet so far, no concrete proof underpinning the allegations has surfaced. Caught in the crosshairs of the MeToo movement, it seems that he was tried in the court of mob justice and declared to be guilty. After the allegations surfaced, Plácido was disinvited from the opening nights of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera. The Los Angeles Opera was more reticent and opened an investigation.

Recently, one hundred French intellectuals and artists denounced the MeToo campaign in the French Newspaper Le Mode. They argued that while the MeToo campaign has helped countless women, who are subject to sexual violence in their professional lives, like Ashley Wagner who accused fellow US skater John Coughlin of sexual abuse, seven months after his suicide, it is clear that many men have been punished summarily and forced out of their jobs.

In a swift reply, thirty leading French feminists slammed Deneuve with a disapproving post on- Franceinfo. They clamoured that such defences only serve to rebuild walls of silence. Deneuve claimed that “It is the characteristic of Puritanism to borrow, in the name of a so-called general good, the arguments of the protection of women and their emancipation, to bind them to the status of eternal victims, poor little things under the influence of the demon patriarchy, as in the good old days of witchcraft.”

She went on to say that grown-up and independent women should be able to tell the difference between menacing behaviour and an awkward pick-up, and that to assume otherwise denies basic sexual freedom. “Rape is a crime but insistent or clumsy flirting is not, nor is gallantry a macho aggression,” she writes. Laetitia Casta is the latest celebrity to join the counterattack. She claims that the hatred of men won’t move things forward.

Journalist Sandra Muller launched a campaign naming and shaming TV executive Eric Brion. He apologized for his comments and sued Muller for defamation saying that her tweet had destroyed his reputation and livelihood. The French courts agreed and ordered Muller to pay Brion €20,000, to delete the offending tweet and to post a court-ordered explanation instead.