Channing Tatum spoke about rape culture and the controversial light sentence former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner received after his sexual assault conviction. Turner was convicted of three sexual assault felonies in March and ended up with only a six-month jail sentence for his crimes.
On Wednesday, June 22 in Cannes, France, Tatum, 36-years-old, discussed the subject with Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles during a Facebook Live broadcast from The Girls’ Lounge. Tatum shared his disbelief over the light sentence Turner received.
“I really think it’s a horrible, horrible idea to let someone off because of possibly what they’re gonna be capable of doing. Because if you start doing that, where do you end?… I think he should’ve been punished, personally, but I also don’t know what the answer is to protect women, to keep you out of those situations.”
In March, Turner was convicted of three sexual assault felonies on an unconscious, intoxicated young woman. Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to six months in jail with three years of probation. Prosecutors had wanted a six-year sentence in prison. However, Judge Persky claimed that sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner and his future, citing his age and lack of criminal history.
According to the Associated Press, the former Stanford swimmer will likely be released from jail in September for good behavior, therefore serving even less time at a mere three months as a result of his actions that night in January, 2015.
Channing Tatum told Coles he couldn’t believe how light the sentencing was for Turner, comparing the sexual assault case to a convicted murderer receiving a lesser sentence because he or she went to a highly esteemed school or being a “good swimmer.”
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Tatum said. “This is like if you killed someone, if you got caught red-handed murdering someone, and then just because you went to a nice school and you were a good swimmer, you somehow get a lesser sentence than what you would’ve for cold-blooded murder. I mean, that doesn’t make any sense.”
According to Vulture, the Stanford case was brought up during the audience Q&A within the context of what can be done to end rape culture. Tatum was also asked about being a role model for the upcoming generation of girls.
“That’s a tall question and I don’t know if I have the best… I don’t know if anyone has the best answer for it yet,” Tatum said. “I think it’s tough. I think the rape culture is a very real thing.”
Ten Eyewitness News reports an audience member asked Tatum to use three words to describe what feminism means to him.
Tatum answered, “I can do it in one: equality.”
Asked about feminism last year, Tatum told DailyLife.com, “I would love to say I’m a feminist but I don’t study feminism, so I can’t just go, like, ‘Yes, I’m a feminist!’ But I’m very pro-feminism.”
The Turner case made national headlines after the unidentified 23-year-old woman, who was sexually assaulted by Turner, wrote a powerful and emotionally moving letter to him and read it aloud in court.
Turner’s father then publicly defended his son’s actions, writing a scathing letter to the judge stating his son’s sentence “is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.”
Tatum also addressed an important part of dispelling rape culture: educating young people on the importance of consent. Tatum believes the most important part of consent is communication.
“I think we need to use education and we have to be comfortable talking about [sex]…. How do we actually come up with a plan to be able to communicate about sex… what are the lines and how do you even know where the lines are if you’re not strong enough to say OK I’m not comfortable with this anymore…”
Channing Tatum isn’t the only famous person to strongly disagree with Judge Persky’s handling of the case and the sentence he handed down to Brock Turner. Vice President Joe Biden, Lena Dunham, and Comedy Central’s Nikki Glaser have all spoken out about rape culture, citing the Stanford case.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]