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Old 12-13-2017, 12:05 PM
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I, Tonya (movie) and her guilt/innocence


Do you think Tonya Harding was a willing participant in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan? For those who knew of the saga before all the recent publicity surrounding the movie release, has your opinion of her changed over time? (I wasn't sure if this belonged here, The Game Room, or IMHO. I settled on CS because it will probably attract movie commentary as well.)

As it was all unfolding, I reveled in the tawdry details. I laughed at the trailer-trash skater, her idiotic husband, and the incompetent goons. I knew without a doubt that she was in on the plan from the start.

But I find my opinion changing in the last few months of #MeToo. I no longer find it unbelievable that these guys planned the attack without her knowledge. She was an amazing athlete, #1 in the U.S. a few years earlier. She might not have been #1 at the time of the attack, but she was a solid #2 who didn't need to resort to this to assure her trip to the Olympics. Her cocky attitude, considered another strike against her at the time, made her less likely to feel like she needed help.

This quote from a fan is a good summation:
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She’s like this glittering, spinning supermagnet for all the terrible things we project on women. She was a goddamn great athlete — against more odds than others — and we laughed at her, called her ugly, and blamed her for being preyed on by douchey morons....They had no reason to tell her they were doing it. She had no reason to want or need them to. If our default cultural impulse was to trust women, rather than the opposite, that would have been the narrative from day one.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:27 PM
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The film is a hit-and-miss affair, but the best part about it is that it pays close attention to issues of class, especially in the snobby figure skating circles, and cycles of abuse (from both her husband and her mother). The film is also very articulate in making the audience complicit in the Access Hollywood voyeurism that made Tonya an easy target and laughing stock, drawing glib (and unfair) parallels between her lack of "style" and her more photogenic, "graceful" competition--this despite her having the athletic chops to compete nose to nose with them (the movie makes a point of how the subjective nature of evaluating performances were often held against her because of her homemade costumes, choice of music, etc.). She comes off at the end as resilient and no bullshit and slyly sympathetic.

Sadly, the movie gets hijacked with the kneecap buffoonery of Jeff, Sean, et al, which makes for some easy broadsides at stupid (if true-to-life) people, but makes the movie less interesting thematically. Still, I found it completely plausible that her blinkered focus on the skating and her poor judge of character were the worst of her sins and she didn't have anything to do with the actual conspiracy.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:37 PM
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I have not seen the movie yet, but MovieMogul's is pretty much in line with the docs I've seen on the incident.

Personally I think knew about it and was in on it. In the various docs I've seen, she hardly comes across as a clueless bystander. And I'm one of the ones who always pulled for her and wanted to give her the benefit of doubt.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:41 PM
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It's possible she didn't have prior knowledge of the attack. That's all you can say, she says she didn't, but she lied about many aspects of the whole sordid affair and there's no reason to believe her self-serving statements.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:45 PM
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New evidence found includes the address where Kerrigan would be training in Hardings handwriting.

http://people.com/crime/tonya-hardin...-evidence/amp/
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:57 PM
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...she lied about many aspects of the whole sordid affair and there's no reason to believe her self-serving statements.
Keep in mind, she was in an abusive relationship, and her initial lies could just as easily be considered as intended to protect her husband, not her.

I also question that "there's no reason to believe her self-serving statements." Is anything she says to defend herself automatically taken as false unless proven true? Why is the default to not believe her? If you start with the assumption she is telling the truth now about her role, all her past actions and statements make sense in the context of an abused woman.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:02 PM
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Loudon Wainwright III had the most astute commentary on it all.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:07 PM
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Keep in mind, she was in an abusive relationship, and her initial lies could just as easily be considered as intended to protect her husband, not her.

I also question that "there's no reason to believe her self-serving statements." Is anything she says to defend herself automatically taken as false unless proven true? Why is the default to not believe her? If you start with the assumption she is telling the truth now about her role, all her past actions and statements make sense in the context of an abused woman.
That might be more convincing if the evidence of an abusive relationship were substantially more than her own self-serving statements. She may or may not be telling the truth, but there's certainly reason to find her claims to be suspect.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:10 PM
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New evidence found includes the address where Kerrigan would be training in Hardings handwriting.

http://people.com/crime/tonya-hardin...-evidence/amp/
That evidence was publicly released in 2016, but it was not new. It was found soon after the attack and was considered during decisions on how to charge all the players.

It definitely proved that Tonya misled investigators with her initial statements. It did not prove she had foreknowledge of the attack or had any part in planning it. Maybe Gillooly told her they wanted to scout her practices to find out details of her routine.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:20 PM
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That might be more convincing if the evidence of an abusive relationship were substantially more than her own self-serving statements. She may or may not be telling the truth, but there's certainly reason to find her claims to be suspect.
Again, why is that the default assumption? There is plenty of proof that she was abused beyond her own "self-serving" statements (and what exactly would you consider a non self-serving statement from an abused woman to be?). If Gillooly denied abusing her, aren't his statements only self-serving and not to be believed?

Her half-brother spent several years in jail for an attempted sexual assault on her when she was 15. That was a proven case, thus the jail time. Her stories of being forced by her mother to pee on the rink because "I'm paying for that ice time" are corroborated by other mothers. She filed restraining orders and had documented 911 calls against Gillooly. I see no reason to doubt she was abused.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:43 PM
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Loudon Wainwright III had the most astute commentary on it all.
Good lord that might be the most boring link ever.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:55 PM
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You know what I find ironic about all of this?

Supposedly, the main reason this whole thing happened in the first place is, Tonya and Jeff were pissed off that Nancy was going to get all of the publicity, stardom, and endorsement deals that go with being an Olympic gold medalist. However, pretty much the only two female figure skaters that were skating after 1988 that most people can name - Tonya Harding and Michelle Kwan - never won an Olympic title. (Okay, you can make a case for Tara Lipinski, but that's only because of her commentating for NBC.) Oksana Baiul? Sarah Hughes? Shizuka Arakawa? Kim Yu-Na? Adelina Sotnikova? Who?
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Old 12-13-2017, 02:28 PM
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I believe Tonya knew about the planned attack shortly before it took place. I don't think she planned it.

She may have been too afraid of Gillooly to speak up and stop the plan.

Maybe she went along with the plan hoping she'd further her career.

I don't know. Either way, she did play a small part in this story.

Last edited by aceplace57; 12-13-2017 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 12-13-2017, 02:36 PM
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Does the movie go into Tonya's recurring injuries?

I recall she paid a high price for landing the triple axel. She was the 2nd woman to do it successfully in international competition. I remember news stories it really messed up her ankles and feet.

I'm not sure she could have turned pro after the pounding her ankles took in training and competition.

The attack on Nancy got Tonya banned from the sport.

She trained & coached for awhile. I'm not sure why she quit.

Last edited by aceplace57; 12-13-2017 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:10 PM
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That evidence was publicly released in 2016, but it was not new. It was found soon after the attack and was considered during decisions on how to charge all the players.

It definitely proved that Tonya misled investigators with her initial statements. It did not prove she had foreknowledge of the attack or had any part in planning it. Maybe Gillooly told her they wanted to scout her practices to find out details of her routine.
I saw a Q&A with both the director and writer of the film, and the film's RASHOMON structure (showing events from differing perspectives) is based on how they sat down and interviewed both Tonya and Jeff separately specifically for this film (not just going off of news stories or other documents) and their versions of what happened were often so different that that became part of the film's screenplay (they often break the fourth wall to dispute what we see happening).

So in the film (largely based on these joint interviews, along with the public record), she wrote where Kerrigan was training because Jeff (as directed by Sean) asked and she transcribed it from a call she had w/the U.S. Olympic officials. In the film, Jeff is taken by surprised by the clubbing because he thought Sean was just coordinating some phony death threats on Kerrigan to rattle her. The clubbing is all Sean's idea which Jeff (who immediately suspects Sean's involvement), in his inept fashion, quickly tries to fix via poor damage control. In the film, Tonya doesn't know of their involvement until the FBI gets involved. Again, this is how the film presents things based on these (often contradictory) accounts.

Last edited by MovieMogul; 12-13-2017 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:23 PM
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Again, why is that the default assumption? There is plenty of proof that she was abused beyond her own "self-serving" statements (and what exactly would you consider a non self-serving statement from an abused woman to be?). If Gillooly denied abusing her, aren't his statements only self-serving and not to be believed?
I'm making the default assumption that I don't know. You are making the default assumption that she is telling the truth. I assume your assumption is based on watching a docudrama.

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Her half-brother spent several years in jail for an attempted sexual assault on her when she was 15. That was a proven case, thus the jail time. Her stories of being forced by her mother to pee on the rink because "I'm paying for that ice time" are corroborated by other mothers. She filed restraining orders and had documented 911 calls against Gillooly. I see no reason to doubt she was abused.
Were her half-brother and/or mother involved in the attack on Kerrigan? There's plenty of evidence that 24 year old Tonya could stand up for herself. The history of abuse could also explain why she would participate in an attack on a rival. And if such abuse has made her a habitual liar, which would seem to be the case based on her life following the attack on Kerrigan, then I don't see a reason to give her the benefit of the doubt.

The evidence is inconclusive.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:01 PM
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I'm making the default assumption that I don't know. You are making the default assumption that she is telling the truth. I assume your assumption is based on watching a docudrama.
You are correct on my default, although it's not because of the movie (I haven't seen it yet). Rather, it's due to introspection after listening to so many women detail their abuse and harassment, stories that I might have previously dismissed because the "evidence was inconclusive."

I see no evidence that her story is false, so why shouldn't believing it be the default? On the other hand, I see reasons why it doesn't make sense that she planned the attack.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:29 PM
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You are correct on my default, although it's not because of the movie (I haven't seen it yet). Rather, it's due to introspection after listening to so many women detail their abuse and harassment, stories that I might have previously dismissed because the "evidence was inconclusive."

I see no evidence that her story is false, so why shouldn't believing it be the default? On the other hand, I see reasons why it doesn't make sense that she planned the attack.
The default used to be to disbelieve a claim of abuse. Lacking any other details I would assume someone claiming to be a victim of abuse is telling the truth because there isn't much upside to making a false claim. However, this is a case where we have a lot of details, and there is a clear motive for Harding to lie about her participation. Still, I have no idea if she had prior knowledge of the attacks. I could easily see her talking about such things without knowing that anyone would put such a plan in motion, and then compounding the problem by lying after the fact.

She certainly had a rough life but after all, it is critical that the world have ice skating stars who give up their childhood and the possibility of a normal life, right? No, I don't think so. She is definitely a victim in that sense.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:40 PM
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Well, I've probably come off stronger in my defense of her than I intended. I think she's telling the truth, but obviously I don't know. What I found interesting was how my view of it has shifted in the last 23 years, particularly in response to the "Weinstein moment."

Looking forward to seeing the movie. No matter what your opinion of her guilt or innocence, it's a crazy and fascinating story.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:37 PM
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I still need a mnemonic to remember which is the evil one.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:29 PM
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They're figure skaters. They're all evil.
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Old 12-13-2017, 09:57 PM
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Tonya is a living example of Ron White's line: "You can't fix stupid". Talent out the wazoo, potential for mucho success......and she pissed it all away.
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Old 12-17-2017, 04:09 PM
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Respectfully, Weinsrein has nothing to do with this. In Weinstein, the victims of abuse are complainants. If charges are brought on the basis of their complaints, they still need to be proved to the "beyond reasonable doubt" standard.


That does not mean, and generally did not mean immediately prior to the Weinstein revelations, that there is some presumption that complainants are lying. A jury does not have to be satisfied a complainant is lying in order to acquit. Indeed, a jury might conclude that a complainant is probably telling the truth, but if their level of satisfaction goes no higher, then that is not high enough, because the standard of proof is a high one. Even so, that still does not mean that a jury may not convict on the word of a complainant alone, just that to do so, they must find her account sufficiently compelling to reach the brd standard.

Perhaps misconceptions or distortions of these ideas have contributed to cultural assumptions that lead to disbelief of complainants in these sorts of cases, but the law does not, and at least in recent times has not, required a starting position of active disbelief. I say in recent times, because in the past there have been requirements to warn juries about the desirability of corroboration. In many (most?) jurisdictions derived from common law, that has been done away with as a universal principle. It is manifestly unjust to victims.

All that is worlds apart from a case where someone is using abuse as a shield, as in Harding's case. The question in such cases is not whether the person in Harding's position has been abused at all. That is merely an incidental issue. The question is whether she criminally participated in the assault.

She claims she did not, because she did not know about it in advance. This means that the prosecution must prove, at the least, that she did. The issue of prior abuse might be relevant to any penalty later to be imposed, but is barely relevant at all in determining if she knew.

Her claim falls in a class of claims to similar effect. The class includes, for example, cases where the suspect claims they did not know about things apparently done on their behalf, such as people found in possession of drugs who claim that they had no idea the drugs were there and someone must have planted them, to people who claim that they did not know that one of their colleagues in a robbery they admittedly participated in was carrying a gun, to (at an extreme level) the Hitlers of the world on whose behalf it is claimed that they did not know of vile things apparently done in their name.

The existence of this broad class of cases does not reverse the onus of proof, and I do not say that the class is a formal juridical one. Rather, I identify it for illustrative purposes.

In cases where something is done for the manifest advantage of an accused, there is open an obvious inference that they knew about it, or perhaps even instigated it. This is not a formal proposition of law, but an example of common sense reasoning that juries are called on to apply all the time. The claim that the person for whom the crime was committed did not know about it is typically a weak one.

The reason it is weak is that while it might superficially explain, in a self-serving way, the state of mind of the accused, it does not explain the state of mind of the villains who acted in advancing the accused' interests. In the case of the robbery, the person who supposedly wields the gun without any of their colleagues knowledge has a powerful interest in advance to make sure everyone is on board with it. Robberies have to be planned to go smoothly, with everyone aware of their role. Throwing a huge spanner in the works like the unexpected presentation of a gun would mean that the reaction of the gunman's colleagues would be unpredictable. This is so manifestly contrary to the smooth running of a robbery that it is much more likely that the presence of the gun would be discussed in the planning stages.

Shortly put, the "But I didn't know" claim only satisfactorily explains things from the perspective of the accused. It does not explain things from the perspective of all the other important players.

In the Harding case, the Kerrigan assailants are taking a huge risk. To take that risk without knowing in advance what Harding's response will be is to compound the risk enormously. They cannot know in advance, despite any asserted history of abuse, that she will not put them in, or will not withdraw from the competition in shame for what was done ostensibly for her. There are many possibilities of what she might do that could undermine the whole enterprise if she was not locked in in the first place. They cannot know in advance that she has been sufficiently cowed by abuse into compliance after the fact. Putting them in, for example, might be her ticket to freedom from the abuse.

It is very unlikely that they would undertake the assault of Kerrigan with such a gaping hole in the plan. Her assertion that she did not know myopically explains only her position. It does not satisfactorily explain the motivations of the whole group. They certainly could not, in advance, have reliably predicted that she would tell lies for them.

After the event, it is possible to speculate up any number of "perhaps" narratives that seek to explain things. But the critical time to consider is before the event, when the future is, to those involved, unknown.

This process of reasoning might well satisfy a jury brd that her denials are self-serving lies. It is not inevitable that they do so, but I would rather be the prosecutor in such a case than defence counsel. I get that criminals sometimes do dumb things. But this was a planned crime, and patent self-interest on the part of the assailants leads to the conclusion that Harding was on board before the assault.
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Old 01-01-2018, 11:39 PM
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I saw I, Tonya today and loved it. All the actors were great, and the story was gripping even though I knew some of what to expect. Margot Robbie is not a good match for Tonya Harding physically, and didn't look like the athlete that Tonya was, and it was laughable when her coach called her pear shaped, but I think Robbie did a very good job in the role.

It is a little weird how it's somewhat marketed as a comedy, and some of the nominations it's been getting are for it as a comedy. There are some very funny moments, especially with the idiotic bodyguard and his crew, but a good portion of the film is her being abused by her mom or husband. I'd say that Three Billboards is just as much a comedy. Maybe I'm misreading the film and things were meant to be seen as more comedic in which case my opinion would be very different.

Regarding Tonya's guilt or innocence in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, that's harder to say. I could believe that she didn't know about it, or that she knew completely about it, or that she knew about it but didn't think it was actually something that was going to happen and just thought it was more bullshit that the "bodyguard" was talking about, or that she knew something but was afraid to say anything.

But I think it is very believable that Tonya was abused by her husband. It's not uncommon for women to go from abusive childhood homes to abusive marriages. And in general women don't lie about being abused, it's more likely that they lie and say they aren't being abused when they actually were. So the abusive relationship could have affected some of how she acted and if she covered up anything.
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Old 01-02-2018, 05:40 PM
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I don't know. Nothing I read on the internet is going to prove or disprove anything. If half pf the stories about her mom are true it is so sad. Many people have had tough parents but that was over the top
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:54 PM
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I don't know. Nothing I read on the internet is going to prove or disprove anything. If half pf the stories about her mom are true it is so sad. Many people have had tough parents but that was over the top
I agree about the mom, but what worries me is after we watched the movie, I pulled up the video of her shoelace incident on YouTube, and the camera cuts to her father sitting in the audience. Even the commentator says, "There's her father, wondering what's happening right now".

So did the movie play up her father leaving her and never coming back in order to highlight her self-loathing? If so, what else was played up? What else was pure fiction, even?
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:13 PM
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I agree about the mom, but what worries me is after we watched the movie, I pulled up the video of her shoelace incident on YouTube, and the camera cuts to her father sitting in the audience. Even the commentator says, "There's her father, wondering what's happening right now".

So did the movie play up her father leaving her and never coming back in order to highlight her self-loathing? If so, what else was played up? What else was pure fiction, even?
It sounds like the movie was pretty accurate, or as accurate as it can be with different people saying different things about some events. And while Tonya's father leaving was obviously a very upsetting experience for her and had an effect, it doesn't mean she never saw him again, just that she had to live with her mom and couldn't live with him. She mentioned how he wasn't sending money because he lost his job or something like that, I don't think she said that he disappeared and she never saw him again.

If there are major inaccuracies or exaggerations I'd be interested in hearing them. According to the link I posted the confrontation with the judges didn't quite happen like it did in the movie but other than that it doesn't have anything too different from real life.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:05 PM
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I kinda feel sorry for Tonya. I did at the time of the incident. I think she was used and abused by many people. I hope she's had a happier life since then.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:24 PM
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Respectfully, Weinsrein has nothing to do with this. In Weinstein, the victims of abuse are complainants. If charges are brought on the basis of their complaints, they still need to be proved to the "beyond reasonable doubt" standard.

That does not mean, and generally did not mean immediately prior to the Weinstein revelations, that there is some presumption that complainants are lying. A jury does not have to be satisfied a complainant is lying in order to acquit. Indeed, a jury might conclude that a complainant is probably telling the truth, but if their level of satisfaction goes no higher, then that is not high enough, because the standard of proof is a high one. Even so, that still does not mean that a jury may not convict on the word of a complainant alone, just that to do so, they must find her account sufficiently compelling to reach the brd standard.

[...]

In the Harding case, the Kerrigan assailants are taking a huge risk. To take that risk without knowing in advance what Harding's response will be is to compound the risk enormously. They cannot know in advance, despite any asserted history of abuse, that she will not put them in, or will not withdraw from the competition in shame for what was done ostensibly for her. There are many possibilities of what she might do that could undermine the whole enterprise if she was not locked in in the first place. They cannot know in advance that she has been sufficiently cowed by abuse into compliance after the fact. Putting them in, for example, might be her ticket to freedom from the abuse.

It is very unlikely that they would undertake the assault of Kerrigan with such a gaping hole in the plan. Her assertion that she did not know myopically explains only her position. It does not satisfactorily explain the motivations of the whole group. They certainly could not, in advance, have reliably predicted that she would tell lies for them.

After the event, it is possible to speculate up any number of "perhaps" narratives that seek to explain things. But the critical time to consider is before the event, when the future is, to those involved, unknown.

This process of reasoning might well satisfy a jury brd that her denials are self-serving lies. It is not inevitable that they do so, but I would rather be the prosecutor in such a case than defence counsel. I get that criminals sometimes do dumb things. But this was a planned crime, and patent self-interest on the part of the assailants leads to the conclusion that Harding was on board before the assault.
You argue that the jury can believe the victim is probably telling the truth, but that's not enough for a conviction. But then your argument against Harding is entirely based on there needing to be some excuse to prove her innocent. You weave this narrative that involves tons of guesswork about how people think.

Human beings are not perfectly rational creatures, and those who would harm others even less so, so any argument that assumes they would be all rational about this falls through. If they were rational, they'd have not done it at all, because there was no chance it would actually help. This is true whichever party was involved.

I think she probably did it, but, if I were a juror deciding this, that type of argument would actually give me more doubt just because of how weak it is. The plan could have been to pin it on Nancy if they got in trouble. Or her plan could be to pin it on them if she got in trouble. It works either way.

It definitely does not make me go any higher than "probably did it."

Do note this is said without any knowledge of the claims in the movie. It's entirely based on your argument and then what I heard back when it happened. More evidence could actually lead me to believe she almost certainly did it, or change to "she probably didn't do it."

Last edited by BigT; 01-02-2018 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:37 AM
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Pin 'what' on Nancy? She was the injured party.
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:09 AM
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IIRC Jeff Gillooly is responsible for releasing Tonya's sex tape. It's still on the web 20 years later.

Says a lot about the guy. I believe the abuse in that marriage was real.
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Old 01-03-2018, 06:08 AM
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Not seen the movie, no desire to. Does it portray Harding sympathetically?

This discussion reminds me of the reaction to Marcia Clark in People v OJ Simpson. While she certainly was roughly treated by the media, the failures she had and frankly incompetance she displayed in real life was all her doing. She was instead in that show held up as some sort of feminist hero, wronged by the male establishment, the later of which is pretty palpably not the case.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:08 AM
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...I don't think she said that he disappeared and she never saw him again.
No, I guess I just inferred that because we the audience never saw him again. Might have been nice to show him at the Olympics, like in real life. But I'll check out your link.

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According to the link I posted the confrontation with the judges didn't quite happen like it did in the movie but other than that it doesn't have anything too different from real life.
Yeah, she definitely didn't tell them to suck her dick, haha. But I read when Tonya Harding saw the movie she called Margot Robbie (or somebody associated with the movie) and told them that was her favorite part and she wished she had said it.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:31 AM
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IIRC Jeff Gillooly is responsible for releasing Tonya's sex tape. It's still on the web 20 years later.
IIRC, this was a faked "wedding night" tape they made after The Incident to sell and raise money. She dragged her wedding dress out and they pretended it was from their wedding night. So she was in on that.

Tonya was recently interviewed (autoplay video) and admitted knowing slightly more about things than she previously admitted.

I'm surprised that the sex tape wasn't even mentioned in the film.

While they had Tonya dump on Kerrigan for not smiling right on the medal stand, the "This is so corny. This is so dumb. I hate it. This is the most corny thing I've ever done." incident at Disney World did far more damage to Kerrigan's reputation (and finances).

How's Tonya been since then? Well, throwing a hubcap at her boyfriend's head for one thing.

While various abuses may well factor into her later character, she's basically been troubled her whole life.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:16 AM
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I just read ABC has an interview with Harding Thursday.
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:31 PM
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Saw the film. I was amazed at how well they faked Tonya's skating - I guess they put Robbie's face on a skating double - but for me, the best part was when they showed the real Tonya skating. You could feel the whole crowd's attitude changing. They had been there to have a snarky evening laughing at "poor white trash", and were forced to admit that she was a truly great athlete. If she hadn't run into that idiot Jeff, if she's escaped her mother and gotten into a good, supportive relationship, she would have at least one gold medal.

Last edited by gaffa; 01-03-2018 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:56 PM
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What I found interesting at the time was how the media (and culture) built a black-and-white contrast between "white trash" Harding and Kerrigan. Nancy, too, came from modest means (her father worked multiple jobs to pay for her coaching), but that didn't play well into the narrative that they wanted to tell.

I always had a hard time believing that Tonya was completely unaware of what was going on, but in the end, I also couldn't view her as the villain of the piece.

Also: if there was ever a real-life Coen Brothers movie, the Tonya Harding affair would have been it.
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:04 PM
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IIRC, this was a faked "wedding night" tape they made after The Incident to sell and raise money. She dragged her wedding dress out and they pretended it was from their wedding night. So she was in on that.
I hadn't heard that and my quick googling didn't find anything about it being faked. Can you point me toward something that says it was fake and she was in on it being released?

Quote:
How's Tonya been since then? Well, throwing a hubcap at her boyfriend's head for one thing.

While various abuses may well factor into her later character, she's basically been troubled her whole life.
The hubcap incident was 18 years ago while she was still in her 20s. I'm not sure you can extend that to her being "troubled her whole life."
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Old 01-03-2018, 02:10 PM
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She seems ready for a fight in the you-tube video, I think that may be a trailer or tease for the ABC interview. I hope she has some redeeming statements in the whole interview.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:45 PM
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The thing that really stood out about me about the whole sordid debacle was how it shattered the last vestige of my innocent assumptions about American values. From beginning to end I was flabbergasted at how everyone was eager to pile on Harding, how an entire nation just decided point-blank that she was the villain and absolutely refused to budge or take a look at the facts (bonus points by how the man who actually did the freaking crime got off virtually scot-free). For crying out loud, the media trotted out "madonna-whore complex" and acted like it was PERFECTLY NORMAL. Having faced no small amount of discrimination and a truly shocking lack of compassion (much less anyone offering one tiny speck of genuine help) during my own formative years, I felt nothing but disgust for everyone complicit, and the disgust kept growing by the week until it was almost suffocating.

As for what should have been done? "I know she's guilty! There's a zillion skillion quillion hints! My gut feeling is so powerful, I'm getting indigestion!" Cute. Bet you felt reeeeally, reeeealy strongly about Lance Armstrong too. Hey, here's an idea. Send her to the Olympics, let the folks who actually know the first thing about criminal investigation do their thing and decide whether or not to press charges once she gets back. Oh, and do hope that they at least charge the man who actually committed the goddam crime, y'know, so this doesn't come across as some nakedly obvious sexist witch hunt.

And before indulging in any cockamamie crackpot boneheaded peabrained so-off-base-it's-on-a-football-field "madonna-whore" BS, maybe talk to some people who actually know Kerrigan and see if there's any validity to this assessment. I read some testimonials on the old CNNSI.com boards, and the consensus was that she always had an attitude and the idea that she was this pristine innocent angel was absurd. Be honest, get that out in the open, and maybe ripping on Mickey Mouse in what's supposed to be her glorious victory lap won't sting nearly so much, eh?

Hmph. Stupid sport.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:19 PM
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My wife and I watched a lot of ice skating back then, and it wasn't so much a class issue as two different styles of ice skating - Tonya was far more athletic, while Nancy was more artistic - and the judges preferred the latter.
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:26 AM
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My wife and I watched a lot of ice skating back then, and it wasn't so much a class issue as two different styles of ice skating - Tonya was far more athletic, while Nancy was more artistic - and the judges preferred the latter.
That was certainly part of it, too. Particularly the Eastern European judges valued more balletic, classical expression (even to the point where you'd nearly never see a Russian skater performing to anything other than classical music).

I remember Surya Bonaly, the French skater from that era, who was an incredible athlete (and known for landing backflips and attempting other difficult jumps), but, as I remember it, wasn't known for being as artistic as some of her peers, and never medaled in the Olympics.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:11 AM
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My wife and I watched a lot of ice skating back then, and it wasn't so much a class issue as two different styles of ice skating - Tonya was far more athletic, while Nancy was more artistic - and the judges preferred the latter.
I'm sure this was true for the judges, commentators, and probably people who know a decent amount about figure skating. But for the public at large, the story I remember the media pushing was more about class and personality differences than athleticism. Or at least, that's the story that resonated with me as a non-skating fan.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:42 AM
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Don't forget that Nancy only silvered in 94. It wasn't because of her knee, it was because she was a dull skater. She had a classic artistic style, clean skating, but nothing all that special.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:46 AM
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And before indulging in any cockamamie crackpot boneheaded peabrained so-off-base-it's-on-a-football-field "madonna-whore" BS, maybe talk to some people who actually know Kerrigan and see if there's any validity to this assessment. I read some testimonials on the old CNNSI.com boards, and the consensus was that she always had an attitude and the idea that she was this pristine innocent angel was absurd. Be honest, get that out in the open, and maybe ripping on Mickey Mouse in what's supposed to be her glorious victory lap won't sting nearly so much, eh?
What does Nancy Kerrigan's personality have to do with Tonya Harding's guilt or innocence? Does it really matter if Kerrigan was a saint or an asshole? If someone steals a car, nobody says "Sure, but the car's owner is a dick."

As to Harding, it strikes me as being amazingly unlikely she was not in on it. The problem with the theory that she did not know, or only vaguely knew, it that such a scenario requires that Jeff Gillooly, her ex husband, would o his own accord plan the attack and go to the trouble of seeing it through. Gillooly was and is a criminal idiot, and it strikes me as being very difficult to believe that he would have done any of this without Harding suggesting it. Unless she made at least vague promises to him, why would he scheme to engage in a conspiracy to do something that might make his EX wife rich, assuming the sequence of events that Kerrigan defeated her at the Olympics? Does it strike anyone as being even one hundredth as likely as the much likelier scenario that she was in on it?
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:27 AM
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For those who are interested, ESPN's very good documentary series "30 for 30" had a fascinating episode on the Kerrigan/Harding affair. Here is the link: http://www.espn.com/30for30/film?page=thepriceofgold

Not many sympathetic figures in the affair, IMHO.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:30 AM
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As to Harding, it strikes me as being amazingly unlikely she was not in on it. The problem with the theory that she did not know, or only vaguely knew, it that such a scenario requires that Jeff Gillooly, her ex husband, would o his own accord plan the attack and go to the trouble of seeing it through. Gillooly was and is a criminal idiot, and it strikes me as being very difficult to believe that he would have done any of this without Harding suggesting it. Unless she made at least vague promises to him, why would he scheme to engage in a conspiracy to do something that might make his EX wife rich, assuming the sequence of events that Kerrigan defeated her at the Olympics? Does it strike anyone as being even one hundredth as likely as the much likelier scenario that she was in on it?
In the movie, Gillooly specifically hired Shawn what's-his-face but not to attack Kerrigan physically, only to send her threatening letters; Harding was made aware of that much at some point before the attack (I don't recall a scene where she's told so much as I recall a scene or two where she indicates she knew there were supposed to be threatening letters mailed). The movie depicts Shawn as going off the rails on his own with the physical assault scenario with neither Gillooly's nor Harding's awareness or consent. If Shawn was 1/1000th as depicted, and the movie appeared to be showing some real-life footage backing that up (but it could have been mock), this is quite believable. Also in the movie was the notion that Shawn had faked a death threat against Harding and that this was what prompted them to plan the death threat letters against Kerrigan, as retaliation. (Although why they'd assume Kerrigan was the source of them was not explained).
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:32 AM
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As to Harding, it strikes me as being amazingly unlikely she was not in on it. The problem with the theory that she did not know, or only vaguely knew, it that such a scenario requires that Jeff Gillooly, her ex husband, would o his own accord plan the attack and go to the trouble of seeing it through. Gillooly was and is a criminal idiot, and it strikes me as being very difficult to believe that he would have done any of this without Harding suggesting it. Unless she made at least vague promises to him, why would he scheme to engage in a conspiracy to do something that might make his EX wife rich, assuming the sequence of events that Kerrigan defeated her at the Olympics? Does it strike anyone as being even one hundredth as likely as the much likelier scenario that she was in on it?
I think it more likely that she was not in on it. She certainly knew something was up (she's admitted as much), but I have no trouble believing that she thought maybe they were going to send her threatening notes, and she was sufficiently cowed by Gillooly that she didn't argue with him.

Look at the motivations. For Tonya, her motivation would have been to remove a potential competitor for one of the three U.S. spots and a competitor at the Olympics themselves. Granted, that's a strong motivation. But it doesn't fit what we know about her. She was a fierce competitor and fearless on the ice. She was cocky. The idea that she thought she needed this help to make the Olympics doesn't match her personality. She had the spotlight, there was no need to bring more attention to herself.

Gillooly, on the other hand, was a nobody, defined only by his relation to his famous wife/ex. As an abusive husband, I'm sure it ate at him to be subjugated to her like that. Here was a way for him to be involved, and is his mind, responsible for her success. She didn't need him injecting himself in her competition, but he certainly needed it for his own sense of self-importance.

Then there's Eckhardt, who was a complete loon. Normal rules of rational behavior don't apply to him. Watch his interview with Diane Sawyer where he talks about being a counter-terrorism expert with hit men. He bragged to others about his plan to launch a business of bodyguards for skaters and how this attack would help grow that.

I don't know if Gillooly or Eckhardt was the "mastermind", but I think they both had much stronger motivations for the attack than Tonya.

But obviously, I have no idea, so this is just a different viewpoint, not an argument against yours.
  #49  
Old 01-08-2018, 06:40 PM
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Harding got a warm response at the Golden Globes. Perhaps she'll get an invite to Dancing With the Stars?

She'll never be allowed back into skating. Perhaps she can at least move past be reviled by so many.

Figure skaters traditionally do well on DWTS and are fun to watch. They learn dance steps quickly.

I don't know if it will happen. She may prefer a low key life now.
https://pagesix.com/2018/01/08/tonya...GIqduwJ8skQ_L5

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-08-2018 at 06:43 PM.
  #50  
Old 01-08-2018, 06:47 PM
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You know what I find ironic about all of this?

Supposedly, the main reason this whole thing happened in the first place is, Tonya and Jeff were pissed off that Nancy was going to get all of the publicity, stardom, and endorsement deals that go with being an Olympic gold medalist. However, pretty much the only two female figure skaters that were skating after 1988 that most people can name - Tonya Harding and Michelle Kwan - never won an Olympic title. (Okay, you can make a case for Tara Lipinski, but that's only because of her commentating for NBC.) Oksana Baiul? Sarah Hughes? Shizuka Arakawa? Kim Yu-Na? Adelina Sotnikova? Who?
Kristi Yamaguchi.
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