Some of you may remember a piece I wrote at the end of December where I mentioned that I was being followed on Twitter by someone calling themselves The Missing Minister. Here’s a link to the piece – So much for the season of goodwill

Now at the time I thought that Twitter account had something to do with Reece Wilkes, or if it wasn’t him, someone who was allied to the same MRAs as him. You know the ones I’m talking about, those men’s rights activists who are constantly bleating on about how white men are the only real oppressed group in society and how women have all the privilege and yada yada yada….

Well anyway, it turns out it isn’t young Reece behind the @MIN4MEN Twitter account, but Tom Martin. That’s the same Tom Martin who’s currently in the process of suing the LSE for sexism after allegedly ‘suffering’ “systemic anti-male discrimination” while studying for a masters in Gender, Media and Culture there. The same Tom Martin who’s also behind the @sexismbusters Twitter account.

It was Amity Reed who made the connection between Tom Martin and the Missing Minister in her recent F Word piece – On Tom Martin’s campaign to sue the LSE.

Reed remembers answering an online ad earlier this year “for a new website exploring gender issues and sexism”, and it turns out that Tom Martin was behind the ad. Reed had some correspondence with Martin about the work on offer, and says that Martin asked her to complete a writing exercise, which she did:

“It was only then that he outlined what the website and project were about, which was classed as ‘comedy’ and entailed a group of writers creating the ‘Missing Minister for Men – the world’s number 1 men’s rights activist’.”

Now understandably, given my earlier post about the Missing Minister, I was intrigued by Amity Reed’s F Word piece. So I’ve done some digging around on the Internet today, and I can now confirm that Tom Martin is indeed the person behind the Missing Minister account. Well, according to a discussion on the British Comedy Guide forum he is anyway.

The Missing Minister for Men?

And just in case that thread disappears, here’s a screen cap of the key comment:

(click on the image to make it bigger)

The comment is by someone else who had responded to the online ad, and the text says:

“Wow, it’s been a long while since I’ve been here… been too busy to come back and post anything.

Anyways, I did get an email from the guy, responding to me that I should apologise for calling him a douche or a bad guy. Well, I do apologise for making him appear dishonest and I appreciate him apologising to me for not letting me know if I had been selected or not, even if it took a bit long.

As for my defence, however, I have to say that being in a city like this where the competition is tough, it was easy for me to think that something like this might happen. I’ve heard of people stealing material just by going to some stand-up gigs and listening to comedians complaining about it. When I didn’t get any response and saw the same advert running again and again on gumtree, I felt I was being scammed.

Apparently, Tom Martin has launched his own Twitter feed for Min4Men (http://twitter.com/#!/MIN4MEN) so if anyone of you are interested in checking what he’s doing, feel free to go there and support him!

Best of luck to you, Tom!”

I’ve also managed to track down the google cache for one of the original ads that Tom Martin posted re his ‘Missing Ministry for Men’ ‘comedy’ group: We are the Missing Ministry for Men. Here’s the full text:

“We are The Missing Ministry for Men

Our comedy group’s mission, is to manufacture… The Missing Minister for Men – the world’s number 1 men’s rights activist.

The Missing Ministry (that’s us), will choose one of our number to become The Minister, whose remit and political direction, will be based on the following core set of guiding principles:

Truth-telling
Progressive
Gender Equality-driven
Secular/atheistic
Pacifistic
Environmental
Pro-choice
Pro-abortion
Pro-prostitution regulation
Anti Gold-digging
Pro-feminism
Anti victim-feminism
Pro-civility
Anti chivalry
Anti establishment
Pro racial integration
Anti sex segregation
Anti misandry/misogyny
Pro-capitalism.

Individual policies in line with these core principles will be decided democratically between the group.

All earnings and royalties will be split evenly between us too.

There may be deputy Minister(s) for Men, so lots of opportunities for any one of us to have a go.

The group is as non-hierarchical and supportive as possible.

The group will contain around six or seven members.

The group will be as gender-balanced as possible (so hermaphrodites particularly welcome).

Whilst perfecting our product, The Minister(s) will appear on gradually larger and more challenging stages. So we may start off with small, intimate media, but will be building towards widespread exposure when ready. The career path and merchandising opportunities for The Minister and Ministry will be decided by the group.

Our weekly brainstorming sessions will be filmed, as part of a making-of documentary, potentially appearing as extras, or as part of a feature in its own right. Each one of us will have the final say about release of such behind the scenes footage, leaving us free to take risks, and be as politically incorrect as we like in the creative process.

Men’s equality advocates traditionally receive a lot of flak, from women and men, so The Missing Minister for Men can expect to be heckled a great deal! This is all part of the fun, and the great news is, the heckles are extremely predictable. One of our initial tasks will be to familiarize ourselves with all the usual heckles, and develop some original and progressive-yet-hilarious come backs.

We are meeting every Monday, from 6.30 and 9.30pm, in a Central London bar’s upstairs room.

The best, most affordable long-term option might be someones very centrally located dining or kitchen table. Please make a suggestion about where you think the meetings should be held.

Over the next three months, we are mounting a street-based campaign, in conjunction with a website, to raise awareness and fighting funds, to help a man bring a sexual discrimination damages case against an elite university’s gender studies department, because he found its curriculum grounded in academic misandry – anti-male bias, rhetoric, propaganda, hostility, and anathema (typical across most media). A specialist lawyer and barrister believe the case is very strong, and await further instruction. The Equalities Commission has shown support too. This street stall campaign is designed to provide collaborators with an excellent opportunity to become fluent on all the main men’s equality issues (with all the reference materials to hand on the stall), and to interact with the public, and see what makes them laugh, lend their signatures, and donate their money. The stall will operate a day or two a week, on campuses around London, and collaborators will be free to pick and choose a daytime slot, for when they’d like to give it a go. These ‘customer’ interactions will also be filmed, and as well as being a great training ground for interactive stand up, will be high profile too, with both a Guardian and Daily Mail journalist expressing an early interest in covering the story, and other media, expected to follow in good time.

The whole premise of these collaborative opportunities might seem a bit new, odd, or even unrelated and alien to you, but rest assured, it is desirable for us to have some creatively antagonistic voices in the group too, as heated adversarial standpoints can generate great material.

The problems and inequalities men face, though sometimes hidden, are often universal, with repercussions for everyone, so The Missing Ministers’ appeal, impact, and marketability, can be universal too.

Please have a go at completing the following questionnaire in an honest, progressive and humourous way – using LESS than 20 words for each reply – so we can gauge your TRUE opinions on key gender issues, along with your COMEDIC voice(s):

1. What percentage of MPs should be women, and why?
2. What percentage of front line troops should be women, and why?
3. Why do women earn less per hour on average than men, and if you were in charge, what would you do about it?
4. How many weeks maternity and paternity leave should women and men be entitled to respectively, and why?
5. Should prostitution be legal or illegal? How can the current situation be improved?
6. Should porn be legal or illegal, and why?
7. Should the full-face veil be legal or illegal, and why?
8. Do you believe in aiming toward equality of opportunity for the sexes, or towards equality of outcome for the sexes too, and why?
9. Who should pay on the first date and why?
10. Name three gender issues you feel are too often overlooked, that we should be focusing on. How would you overcome these problems?

If up for it, then email with your completed answers and contact details including your telephone number, and a further short paragraph or two giving us an overview of any skills, experiences or connections you think relevant in light of this email – and I will phone to arrange a one on one meeting.

Thanks,

Tom”

That’s the first time I’ve seen Tom Martin claim that “The Equalities Commission has shown support for his case – I’d be interested to see the evidence for that…..

I have to say, for someone who claims to be a ‘feminist’, Tom Martin doesn’t half spend a lot of time hanging around MRA sites: more time than I do in fact. Here’s the ‘Action Alert’ he posted on anti-misandry.com in April for example (no, I’m not linking):

The text says:

“Gender Studies Lawsuit in London seeks MRAs for Fighting Fund Stall

A pro-equality MRA in London is bringing a damages claim against an elite university’s Gender department, for discriminating against him, and men in general, during a taught degree.
The case already has the support of a specialist lawyer and barrister, but requires funding.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to join us, at an awareness-raising stall, which will be appearing on campuses around Central London.
Broadsheet newspapers have expressed an interest in covering the story, so we can expect the campaign to be high profile.
Interaction with the public will give MRA volunteers a great opportunity to perfect their stand up debating and persuasion skills, across the FULL range of men’s rights issues.
All interested in volunteering, should contact mrastandup-at-hotmail.com for more details.
This case is rock solid, so now is the time for up and coming MRAs to make a move.

Please contact mrastandup@hotmail.com for more details, and spread the word to any London-based MRAs you know.”

In his recent piece for Comment is Free, Tom Martin claimed that he “enrolled at LSE’s elite Gender Institute to learn how best to combat discrimination,” and yet he only managed to stay on the course for 6 weeks. Since he left the course however Martin appears to have spent virtually every waking moment courting his fellow MRAs and trying to raise funds to launch his court case.

Amity Reed asks “Is Tom Martin’s lawsuit against the London School of Economics for ‘anti-male bias’ a genuine complaint (however eyeroll-worthy and misguided)? Or an attack on feminism from a misogynist in progressive clothing?

I think by now the answer’s pretty obvious.

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