Sorry (Not Sorry): Decoding #MeToo Defenses

38 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2020 Last revised: 2 Apr 2020

See all articles by Charlotte Alexander

Charlotte Alexander

Georgia State University – Institute for Insight; Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: March 1, 2020


This Article examines the text of over two hundred public statements issued by people accused of work-related sexual harassment and misconduct as a part of the #MeToo movement. Using both computational and manual text analytics approaches, the project constructs a typology of the statements' substantive content, including admissions, denials, defenses, and apologies; their emotional content, including anger, anxiety, and sadness; and their cognitive content, including authenticity and certainty. The project also tracks specific themes throughout the statements, including attacks on the accusers, references to changing workplace norms, addiction and mental health stories, and concerns about due process. Building on this descriptive picture, the Article uses the statements to assess the #MeToo movement's progress in holding individual perpetrators to account, and in achieving structural change.

Keywords: metoo, defenses, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, text analytics, text analysis, sentiment analysis

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Charlotte, Sorry (Not Sorry): Decoding #MeToo Defenses (March 1, 2020). Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-02, Texas Law Review, Vol. 99 (forthcoming 2020), Available at SSRN: or

Charlotte Alexander (Contact Author)

Georgia State University – Institute for Insight ( email )

Tower Place 200, Third Floor
3348 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
United States

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

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