NICOLE RUSSELL: The Trevor Bauer case is #MeToo at its worst

Rape is an unfortunately common crime, which should never happen. It is true that far more women are raped and are too afraid to report it than men who are falsely accused of rape, but these stories seem to be increasing and shed light on both today’s criminal justice system and toxic relational dynamics between men and women.

Such is the case of Trevor Bauer. While a star baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, in 2021, a woman named Lindsey Hill accused him of sexual assault on two occasions while the two were in a consensual relationship. Though Bauer claimed he was innocent and no trial had taken place finding him guilty, Major League Baseball (MLB) placed Bauer on administrative leave. Two years later, October 2, Bauer finally spoke out about what happened.

In a video recording posted on X, Bauer explained the stunning details. He showed texts and video proof that, although Hill claimed to have been sexually assaulted and battered, she had not only planned to entrap and extort money from him, per text conversations with her friends, but the morning after she told her attorneys she’d been assaulted, she was happy, smiling, and looked perfectly healthy.

“The fact is I was never arrested,” Bauer said in his video. “I was never charged with a crime, and I won the only legal proceeding that took place, without my side of the story even being heard. And most importantly, as I said from day one, I never assaulted Lindsey Hill, or anyone else for that matter, so I sued her which prompted her to counter sue me.”

In the video, Bauer went on to recount that even legal fees were extraordinary but the result was discovery of critical information ‒ such as the texts and videos ‒ which helped clear his name. In a post under the video, Bauer explains that Hill’s attorneys initially withheld the evidence exonerating him. Prosecutors decided to drop the charges last year. Eventually, Hill’s attorneys offered to settle and both sides agreed to a settlement without any exchange of money. Bauer also retained his right to speak out about what happened.

It’s not clear if Bauer will press charges against Hill for a number of potential crimes, but it seems clear that if Bauer is innocent, Hill should answer in some way for the false accusations that nearly destroyed Bauer’s reputation and career. In fact, some would argue that if a convicted rapist gets jail time, a person convicted of false accusations of rape should too. After all, there were real consequences for Bauer, who was suspended for 324 games by MLB, though this was later reduced in 2022. Bauer now plays in Japan.

The #MeToo Movement did expose a dark underbelly of media, entertainment and workplaces where men did often use their positions of power to assault, rape, or hurt their female counterparts. A 2018 New York Times story said at the time that 201 powerful men had been “brought down” by the movement, half of whom were replaced by women. The upside is that perhaps more women feel safe in their everyday lives and this would deter more men from being perverted, power-hungry criminals. However, the flip side to the movement means that a small number of women have taken advantage of the money, fame, and attention that comes from bringing down a powerful male accused of assault, even if the assault is fabricated.

False accusations not only hurt men but women, too. Women already have a hard time telling authorities about rape for fear they will not be believed or that they will be shamed. False accusations by women sow distrust among law enforcement for women who truly have been raped and come to authorities for help.

While this story is mostly an unfortunate tale of a twisted, greedy female, angling for attention and instant wealth, there’s one more added lesson here and it’s not to “victim blame” Bauer. He’s a grown adult who is responsible for his own decisions. But it’s worth noting that this is one example of the myriad of negative consequences of casual sex, one-night stands, sleeping with a person without commitment, or whatever else society now calls this.

There are a lot of consequences to having sex with someone you don’t see a long-term future with, pregnancy, disease, and even extortion and entrapment among them. Not all women are genuine or gold diggers; not all men are predators or innocent. Nobody knows either of these things about the other when engaging in brief, sexual interludes. The fastest way to ruin your life is to engage in the wrong substance or the wrong relationship at the wrong time ‒ and this covers more than just sex.

To hear Bauer’s own tale, just weeks after Russell Brand was pushed out of his social media platform for allegations of assault, is to realize at least this one concluded with somewhat of a redemptive arc. However, the consequences of Bauer’s choices and Hill’s pre-meditated greed are both a tragic tale of the downsides to the #MeToo movement and a tale of caution for men and women in relationships. While the truth of Bauer’s story eventually prevailed, not all men are able to fight back with expensive lawyers, and he likely may never fully redeem what he lost.

Image: Title: Trevor Bauer