Man bites girl at "New Moon"

A Michigan creep follows up some standard sexual harassment with a bad Edward Cullen impression

Published November 25, 2009 3:26PM (EST)

I've already mentioned my concern about the messages the "Twilight" series sends to young girls -- i.e., that "true love" involves things like ignoring a man's history of extreme violence and warnings that he wants to hurt you in particular; accepting his frequent insults as expressions of concern for your well-being; and finding it romantic when he breaks into your bedroom to watch you sleep, among other things -- but I confess I'd never given any thought to the messages it might be sending to grown men. Like that teenaged girls would like you to bite them.

That's the message one Michigan guy took from it, anyway. At a Friday showing of "New Moon," he sat directly in front of Erin Westrate and her friends, and throughout the film, she says, he would occasionally "lean back and make a sexual comment that was very unnecessary and not needed." (Point of clarification: There is no such thing as a necessary sexual comment between a grown man and teenage girls.) On the way out of the movie, "he grabbed [Westrate] by the back of the hair and pulled her down and bit her on the neck." Whether you're a high school student or a professional writer, I'm pretty sure the only appropriate response to that is, OMGWTF? 

The bite didn't break Westrate's skin, but not surprisingly, the dude freaked her right out -- and that wasn't even the end of it. The man also followed her to the parking lot and watched her get in her car to drive away. In an interview with her local ABC affiliate (video below), Westrate said, "He was just, like, smiling at me -- it was so creepy, it wasn't even funny. That's not right. I know that's not right." 

Police are now looking for the creep, who faces assault charges. 


By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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