Follow Up On Tough Love Rape Stance

If you’ve been living under a rock and somehow missed the slimy activities going on with Steve Ward and VH1’s Tough Love show…

It starts here, with Giving Steve Ward & VH1 Some Tough Love Of My Own, continues with More On Moron Steve Ward & The Rape Issue & Mommy, Make The Bad Man Stop, and, frustrated with all that, I then directed you to contact the producers etc.

I’ve been contacting them all, one by one, and thought you might be interested in my progress…

First I contacted Flower Films, the commercial film production company founded by Drew Barrymore & Nancy Juvonen which is a partner in Tough Love‘s production. If you thought for just one moment that being “woman owned” would make the company receptive to this issue of blaming women for rape you’d be dead wrong.

During a phone conversation last week, with a woman who refused to give her name, I was told that “all complaints/comments are to be posted to VH1’s blog.” When I explained that this had been done, but Ward was only continuing his misogynistic statements, I was told, “We read the blogs, we are aware.” I’ll admit, that set me back a bit, so I countered with a, “Don’t you wish to make a public statement to at least clarify Flower Films’ views — to separate them from those of Ward?” Her reply was to say that there would be “no statement on the subject” and I was dismissed.

Can you feel my hackles rise?


Next I contacted the other production partner in the making of the show, High Noon Entertainment “one of America’s largest creators of unscripted television.”

There I spoke with Paul Taylor, Executive In Charge Of Production, who began by plainly & dismissively informing me that they had “been in touch with their legal department and they were protected.” Because, you know, the litigious are all they ought to be worried about.

I countered by restating my concerns for the perpetuation of misogynistic rape mythology; he countered with, “Well, you know, VH1 is a controversial network…”

So profiting from dangerous myth-information is a-OK?

Ready to spew (both anger and vomit), I thought about High Noon Entertainment’s primary concern regarding legal action… They have a legal team & they know how to use it — which is not the case for victims of rape. That smug “been in touch with legal & we’re protected” line…

Well, if that was their line then I was going to jerk it.

So I told Mr. Taylor that next on my list was to inform those involved in the federal lawsuit regarding trademark infringement, trademark dilution and related claims against MTV Networks, Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and High Noon Entertainment based on the unauthorized use of the trademark “Tough Love,” of which Toughlove America is the exclusive licensee. (See details here.) He interrupted, countering with noise about how unfounded the lawsuit was — so I interrupted right back with an, “Oh, given that the lawsuit expressly states a desire to collect damages for the harm being done to their brand by the show’s use of the name, I imagine that they’d be interested to know just how many of us are now associating the phrase “tough love” with blaming rape victims.”

Now I had more of Paul’s attention. He wasn’t quite conceding anything, mind you, but he was now actively asking questions, such as my name, my telephone number, and the name and location of this blog. (I cooperated fully — and I totally welcome any further contact, should it occur.)

Feeling that perhaps he had moved past the party-line deafness and that he might just hear me now, I reiterated my concerns about Ward’s statements especially in light of the interviews Ward has done. In the interviews since the show aired and we responded, he’s defending his beliefs, not budging an inch; antagonizing, not apologizing.

Either Taylor began to hear my concerns or he’s just really good at the old “neutralize a complainer by being a good listener” thing because we ended the call with Taylor informing me that he would share my concerns but, due to a staff wedding that week, I likely wouldn’t hear from anyone until this week.

Not that I’m holding my breath.

But I will call back, Mr. Taylor, to see just what High Noon Entertainment intends to do about this mess Steve Ward has gotten them into.

And when I do, I’ll share it with you. As I will all my contact with those involved with this issue.

Now I have to go puke. Again.


  1. Drew Barrymore’s made comments in the past about how she’s not a feminist because she loves men, or some such. So many Flower Films productions are really anti-woman, like He’s Just Not That Into You, and while Tough Love didn’t have to be a misogynist show, they really couldn’t have picked a worse host.

    I don’t buy that “VH1 is a controversial network” excuse, not a bit. The “…of love” shows VH1 is most famous for are meant to parody serious romance shows like The Bachelor. Most viewers think the prize bachelors are pathetic and root for the women they really like to get cut. I watch a lot of trashy television and Tough Love goes beyond other shows on the same channel in really putting forth a woman hating, rape affirming POV.

  2. I would like to start off by saying I have been raped. It was the most terrible thing that has ever happened to me in my life, and I know it was not my fault at all. Now that being said, I agree completely with what he told her on the show. He was trying to explain to her that she was getting herself in dangerous situations. It is never a womans fault for being raped, but some women are just stupid as hell and put themselves in a situation that gets them into trouble. I did, and I paid the price for it. The guys said nothing wrong.

  3. You are awesome, Alessia. You actually got some folks on the phone and got their attention about this issue, which is so often and easily swept under the rug. THAT IS SO FUCKING AWESOME. I can’t even express it.

  4. I appreciate what you are trying to convey but unfortunately, I have to agree with Steve Ward that reckless, unthinking behavior can lead to bad consequences. Perhaps he was not diplomatic but frankly, his choice of words was geared for shock value for Ariana.

  5. I recently wrote a letter to Master Matchmakers. I just saw a reply from Joann Ward, and I’m afraid to read it now…because I’m sure in my condition right now…I will be more inflamed. Her response is titled “Way To Deep”. Funny how she cannot comprehend proper grammer (“to” and “too”). My only comment for now, is that I guess the 3 year old who was molested “asked for it” as did the 80 year old who died in terror. The research is undeniable. Unless you have fantasies to be raped, the brain can never asked to be raped. So do Hannah and Kar have such desire? There’s S&M clubs they could have easily gone to. But perhaps they chose to live out their “wishes” at the expense of other women and children. If true, then they need serious medical evaluation because that’s pathological and sociopathic. Logic is not a trait many Americans possess unfortunately, as most surrender to the false teachings of US “history”.

    From one survivor to another…

  6. Thanks — I’m not done with this yet; not by a long shot. It’s heartbreaking, exhausting and infuriating, but giving up & letting this matter rest as it is won’t be any better. In fact, it just means more suffering for everyone.

  7. Hannah, I’ve very sorry to hear that you’ve been raped — and twice as sorry to hear that you believe yourself to be in any way to blame. I don’t know how many of the other posts on this topic I’ve made here at this blog that you’ve read, but I hope you at least read this.

  8. Hi again, Kar,

    “Rape” sure carries “shock value” — but that only works against any message you hope is delivered and in this case, it is inaccurate and perpetuates horrible, damaging, patterns of thinking and behavior.

  9. Dawn, you are not the first one I’ve heard from that received a response to their contact with the Wards via their website — I sent a message within an hour or so of that episode’s first airing and never received a reply. I guess my message was deleted as a “just a feminist crank” — until the rest of you chimed in ;)

    I’m sorry you have to claim the name survivor and I hope you’re healing well. I’m guessing that educating yourself to the facts has helped — I know it has for me.

    Thanks for your lending your voice and support to this issue!


    PS And just for the record, “rape fantasies” have nothing to do with rape; nor does BDSM. I just wanted to clarify that.

  10. Yeah, your right…I was just writing in anger, so I didn’t respond to that in the proper way. Thanks for the support, I’ve just been exhausted defending myself in so many ways.

    I’ll just quote The Beatles and ask for those who don’t understand to “Give Peace a Chance.” We will not overcome this until others know that so many of us want to live again. I did not ask to be born, I did not ask to be abused. So until anyone walks in my shoes, they have no knowledge to speak on my life.

    Any “fantasy” is that person’s only, no matter what.

    Thanks, Dawn

  11. First time reader, and first time responder. Love your blog :)

    I, too, was giving Steve Ward the benefit of the doubt. He clairifed in the show that he said “you could end up raped or get an STD” if her behavior continued. He probably meant it to shock and scare her. But it was a silly move on his part, especially since she had a strong dislike for him and the situation entirely. Saying something cruel like that sure as hell wouldn’t make her warm up to him!

    I can understand the comment about getting an STD, and I can kind of see where he’s coming from about the rape. I think what he was hoping to accomplish was to tell her that if her trashy behavior continues, she could be at risk for a, b and c – which is unfortunately true. Certain guys prey upon women like that, and while it certainly wouldn’t be the woman’s fault, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with protecting oneself.

    I think his intentions were good, but it just came out all wrong. Somehow I don’t think he’s done any research on this topic post-his VH1 interview. If he did, I’m sure he would retract his statements and issue an apology. If he realized how upset he made so many people, if he’s any kind of person, he would look into it further and make a public apology. He seems like a very prideful person, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t admitting that he was wrong because it would hurt his ego. Shame.

  12. Hi G,

    I hate to sound negative about a first time reader/responder, but…

    I don’t think Steve’s intentions were “good” at all. I did originally… But since he’s sticking to his delusional yet dangerous guns — and after speaking with producers of the show — I believe they are under the horrible notion that misogyny sells. It’s not only a “heated conversation point around the water cooler” to promote the show, but perpetuating myths like this is more acceptable than sharing the truth, so viewers who feel as Ward does (or at least the way he has communicated his feelings & beliefs) are not threatened with any actual information.

    Had Ward (or anyone at the show) actually intended to “help” Arian (or others), they would have made clear attempts to talk with her, not throw scare tactics at her. Rape as a word and an idea is too powerful to throw around as he did and all connected with the show should be ashamed.

    I do believe there is a high probability that Ward’s ego would prevent him from apologizing for anything. Ugh.

    I do have to say that STDs are a completely separate issue. Safe sex (or abstinence) is the prevention; not how dirty a girl talks.

  13. Hi Alessia, thanks for responding. It’s been a while since I’ve been back, and I just stumbled upon this post again and completely forgotten that I had commented here.

    I have been doing some research on my own regarding rape and victim blaming. This website has helped me to better articulate and strengthen my views on rape. I am now in 100% agreement with your posts here regarding this situation with Arian.

    At first I thought Ward’s intentions were good, and lord knows I tried to believe that, especially after he said “I said that because I am worried about Arian” (or however the hell he worded it), but now… Yeah. Fuck him.

    His shock jock act is really getting old and his behavior is inexcusable. Yes, Arian (and all women) should be careful and protect themselves as best as they can. That goes for anyone, for any situation. But sometimes there are things you can’t foresee, and no matter how prepared you are – something bad can still happen.

    I came back here while collecting some links regarding rape to include in a recent blog post I made. I read some disturbing things on an internet forum about rape, and I think I argued my point on the forum very well. But the person I argued with didn’t respond positively to it at all (which isn’t a surprise, considering his other posts).

    When I provided a few links about rape and rape victims, and told him to go through them, he flat out said “no thanks”. I was dumbfounded and upset. I had to write about it on my own blog, and come here to share my experience with you. I wish I wasn’t so troubled by it, but unfortunately I am and so, there it is.

    Anyway, thanks for “listening”. Makes me feel better to just put it out there.

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