OP-ED: Amanda Seales did NOT accuse Myron Rolle of sexual harassment, so why is sis being dragged?

Inaccurate reporting has landed the actress at the center of a social media firestorm.

Amanda Seales thegrio
Amanda Seales doesn't have to explain herself to anyone. (Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Actress and comedian, Amanda Seales has found herself in the crosshairs of critics after she spoke about NFL player turned neurosurgeon, Myron Rolle. 

Seales recounted her experience with an unnamed man on her podcast (Small Doses) and during an interview on The Breakfast Club. She described a man who had contacted her on the internet and had spoken with her on the phone. In February, she posted a video on social media naming Rolle as the man she had described. 

“I, on my podcast, um and on ‘The Breakfast Club,’ spoke about an individual who had approached me on the Internet and we spoke on the phone, and, they said some troubling things in the conversation that made me take a step back,” she said in an Instagram video in February. “With literally no investigation, it was brought to my attention he had sexually harassed a woman by opening the door when she came to meet him for a date butt naked. And then telling her that she was the one overreacting,” she continued. 

“When I spoke about him on my podcast and on ‘The Breakfast Club,’ I didn’t say his name. I literally just said a couple of characteristics about him and it has been shocking and incredibly discomforting to me, how many women, eight as of tonight, that have come forward to say his name. And that he had been incredibly problematic and behaved in a very sexually predatorial way with them that some have said could have gotten him fired. I say all that to say, if you are approached by Myron Rolle, you should just be mindful. I don’t have empirical proof but I’ve had enough women come forward to say that he was incredibly inappropriate with them, that I feel it would be inappropriate of me to not put the word out there that there’s a man that is not being OK with women.” 

Numerous outlets reported that Seales had accused Rolle of sexually harassing her. Critics say she she should be ashamed of herself for putting this man’s job in jeopardy and accusing him of sexually harassing her. They accuse her of hating Black men and speaking far out of turn and they’re shaming her for lying on this brilliant, athletically-gifted, intelligent Black man. 

So. Many. Problems. 

First, Seales NEVER said or insinuated that Myron Rolle “sexually harassed” her. Ever. If we’re going to have this discussion it’s important that we all at least get our facts straight. (Re-read  quote from the video for reference.)

Amanda found out that a man who had set off her alarm bells, had allegedly done more than that to other women. Many of these women trusted her enough to confide in her and she was tasked with the moral conundrum of warning others, while still protecting the anonymity of the women.

When she took to Instagram this week to respond to the reckless and inaccurate reporting on the original video, she explained just that.

“I never accused Myron Rolle of sexually harassing me or of sending me inappropriate DMs. What I did say was that via DM, several women have approached me accusing him of sexually harassing THEM,” she says in the video posted to Instagram.

Somehow, BlacksportsOnline took that extremely clear and concise clarification and marketed it to their readers as an admission of lying. On what planet does that make any logical sense? This sort of sensational clickbait is not only inaccurate, it’s irresponsible and inflammatory.

The outlet has presumably come to their senses and altered the headline to read “Amanda Seales Backtracks When She Said Ex-NFL & Neurosurgeon Myron Rolle Was Problematic After Putting Rolle’s Medical Career in Jeopardy By Accusing of Being a Sexual Predator”

There are several ironies at play here:

1. The only ones backtracking here are people attempting to create a scandal where there was none.

While that tragically long headline may have been a half-hearted attempt to “backtrack” on the 100% false information contained in the first one, it illuminates the sad reality that is the state of our community.

Black women are expected to protect Black men at all costs, at all times and if they dare to criticize one in any way, for any reason, it is due to a deep-rooted hatred for all Black men. It’s as if the writer was itching for an excuse to discredit the growing tide of the #MeToo movement and used Seales as an excuse to unleash his resentments. The tone of the piece illustrates this bias from the get go.

Robert Littal starts his piece with “This is very dangerous stuff here and I am going to need Seales to do better, you can’t be putting things like this out there in the wind if it didn’t happen.”

Which brings us to irony #2 The person who published a headline like that, is chastising a woman for something she never did. He even posts the videos that prove she never said Rolle sexually harassed her and one that reiterates that she never said he sexually harassed her.

Littal continues:

Seales went on shows and did a video accusing Ex-NFL and now Neurosurgeon Myron Rolle of being problematic with her over the phone. She then went on to say a bunch of unnamed women told her Rolle was a sexual predator but didn’t explain how and in what way before saying a woman said Rolle answered the door to his house one time naked before a date.

Again, So. Many. Problems.

For those who are tired of fake news and who want to know the real story, here’s what Amanda ACTUALLY said in the video, naming Rolle:

“With literally no investigation, it was brought to my attention he had sexually harassed a woman by opening the door when she came to meet him for a date butt naked. And then telling her that she was the one overreacting.”

It’s clear that some folks don’t think there’s anything wrong with a man answering the door butt naked, and we’re not here to debate what should or shouldn’t be considered “problematic.” Instead, we will assume that the woman who was at the door, as well as Seales, as well as nearly any other woman I can imagine, would agree that words or actions may make a person uncomfortable. At the very least, this woman was uncomfortable. At worst, she may have felt threatened, embarrassed, and/or disrespected by a man’s naked body being presented to her with no warning. (In case you didn’t know, there’s a whole school of thought around the idea that no one should have to see your private parts if they don’t want to. Check out the laws on indecent exposure, if this is perplexing. Or, if you’re feeling froggy, rip off your clothes the next time you walk to the mailbox and see what happens.)

“She never provides any proof that Rolle has done anything to anyone, it is all secondhand info that no one has publicly backed up.

You can’t throw around phrases like “sexual predator” on people just because it didn’t work out between you that is super dangerous. If you have some real proof go to the cops, but don’t ruin a man’s career that you never met and have no experience with dealing in person.

This only hurts REAL VICTIMS when you do BS things like this and Seales should frankly be ashamed of herself,” Littal writes.

No one took Rolle to task about why he felt it was OK to greet a woman with his sausage out. No one paused to ponder how eight women were able to identify Rolle from Seales” G-rated musings on her experience with an unnamed man.

Instead, Seales is expected to provide receipts for opening her mouth. To explain her “discomfort” and defend her “feelings” with concrete proof that this man could be problematic. Why? Because this is a sexist, patriarchal society full of HOTEPS who put men’s interests above all others. 

Look no further than the army of R. Kelly supporters (who also have it in for Seales) who aren’t satisfied with videos of the star performing sexual acts with young girls, or accounts from numerous women saying they had similar experiences with him. Those women must be lying. They must want something out of him. How dare they speak up. 

It’s disgusting and perpetual and it’s exactly the kind of thing Seales has been battling since the start of her career. Not only is she a comedian and actress, but a cultural critic who has made no secret of the fact that we as a community can do better. This latest incident is a prime example of the unfair standards Black women continue to be held to by men who refuse to take any accountability for bad behavior.

He continues: “Rolle had to address the situation because these things can ruin careers. Rolle pointed out that Seales was upset he didn’t want to pursue a relationship and that is why she was falsely accusing him.”

This writer believes that this intelligent, beautiful, successful celebrity went on record with false allegations because her feelings were hurt? Because she’s just so fragile? Because nothing, not her career, not even the threat of pubic backlash ranging from degrading comments to death threats, is more important than sticking it to a man who rejected her? For real?

The statement Rolle issued, he refers to Seales as “a blogger and online personality” in an effort to discredit her hard-earned place in Hollywood. She’s a cast member of one of the most popular and relevant shows to come around in ages (Insecure) and the second Black woman to helm her own comedy special on HBO. (Wanda Sykes was the first.)

Perhaps the final (and greatest) irony in all of this is that Seales has continued to be incredibly careful with her words – even now as she’s unjustly dragged through the mud by those who seem to have an agenda that far exceeds her.

And the truth is, she shouldn’t have to be, just like Gayle King shouldn’t have to sit calmly in her chair while R. Kelly stomps around the room like a temperamental child. But in both cases, these women have chosen to keep their cool and trust that the audience is smart enough to see what’s really going on.

As she states in her original video, Amanda Seales has always been clear about what’s at stake, and the weight of the words she was about to deliver.

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“I really don’t take it lightly what I’m about to say. Um, because when you name names, you know, you put not only that person out there, but you also put yourself out there. But, I feel as a woman who makes it my business to be a warrior for the truth, that it needs to be said…”

Here’s the thing— Amanda Seales gave women a heads up on a man she felt they needed to be warned about. Some folks wouldn’t do that. Some people keep walking when they see a man slap a woman on the street, They mind their business. They think, ‘It’s not me so it doesn’t matter.”

Others would stop to help, knowing full-well that they’re not obligated to do so, but feeling intensely that it’s the right thing to do…that it could help save someone. That they couldn’t keep walking without their conscience eating away at them.

Seales had an interaction with someone that gave her pause. However you want to describe her account of her interaction with Rolle, the take away is that he gave her the icks. No big deal.

When she was approached by several other women (EIGHT) who said that this person was sexually predatory towards them, those “icks” turned to concern. Whatever those women described to Seales was enough to make her want to warn the women of the world to “be mindful” about this man.

“I say all that to say, if you are approached by Myron Rolle, you should just be mindful. I don’t have empirical proof but I’ve had enough women come forward to say that he was incredibly inappropriate with them, that I feel it would be inappropriate of me to not put the word out there that there’s a man that is not being OK with women,” she said.

She is within her rights to do so and she’s being crucified for it. She’s being charged with hating all Black men. She’s being accused of lying. She’s being characterized as a woman scorned out to ruin this upstanding Black man’s career.

She should be applauded for speaking up for women who felt silenced until they heard HER voice. She should be commended for not waiting until something terrible happened, for not looking the other way when she saw smoke. She should be respected for caring enough about other women to want to protect them from possible danger.