By Charlotte Alter
November 3, 2014

Over the weekend, author Steve Santagati appeared on CNN to defend the men in the street harassment video that went viral last week.

“If you don’t compliment me when I walk by, that’s abuse,” he said. “You didn’t bolster my self-esteem.” Santagati is the author of The MANual and Code of Honor. “I want to start a coalition against women who don’t compliment men,” he added.

Comedian Amanda Seales, who appeared on the segment with Santgati, was appalled by his comments. “The reality is, a lot of women, when we leave the house, we are not looking for compliments,” she said. “If we say we don’t like it, and we are demonstrating that, then you should actually, as a man who is a man of honor and wrote a book about this, should be saying ‘well let’s discuss how to make you feel more comfortable.'”

But Santagati couldn’t avoid hitting all the nerves in what has now become a hot-button issue. “The type of guys who made those comments speak for itself,” he said. “That’s part of maybe their culture, part of how they were brought up.” The street-harassment video, made by Hollaback, has recently been under scrutiny for racial bias, for editing out white catcallers and only showing black and Latino ones.

Watch the full segment here:

Santagati had some advice for women who don’t like being catcalled. “If you don’t like it as a woman, turn around and tell them to shut up,” he said. And for women who don’t feel safe? “Carry a gun.”

 

 

Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com.

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