Failful Reporting Ahead

[Trigger warning.]

Actress Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of musician John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, reports in her upcoming memoir High on Arrival that she and her father had a "sexual relationship," which is her framing, despite the fact that it was clearly rape:
"On the eve of my wedding, my father showed up, determined to stop it," writes Phillips, who was 19 and a heavy drug user at the time. "I had tons of pills, and Dad had tons of everything too. Eventually I passed out on Dad's bed."

"My father was not a man with boundaries. He was full of love, and he was sick with drugs. I woke up that night from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father."

"Had this happened before? I didn't know. All I can say is it was the first time I was aware of it."

Phillips' life began to spiral out of control. In 1980, she was fired from One Day at a Time because of her constant drug use. That same year, she went to rehab – with her father. Her sexual relationship with him had become consensual.
I'm not sure that a "sexual relationship" with a parent can ever be truly consensual, but, leaving that aside, the fact that there is an attempt to distinguish between the "consensual sexual relationship," and the time she awoke to "find [her]self having sex with" her father, ought to make plain that she wasn't "having sex with" him, but being raped by him.

For her own reasons, that isn't something Phillips seems comfortable saying. And that is not something she, or any other survivor of sexual abuse, is required to do.

The media, however, should not use that as permission to not say it, either—but, of course, they do.
People's headline is "Mackenzie Phillips: I Slept with My Own Father," and CNN's headline is "Mackenzie Phillips: I had sex with musician dad John Phillips." Although they might risk leaving themselves open to libel charges if they reported it as "rape," unless Phillips ever explicitly categorizes it as rape in her memoir, there's nothing that prevents use of a term like "nonconsensual sex" when she reports waking up in the middle of the act. But I guess "Mackenzie Phillips: Nonconsensual sex with father" steals all the salacious fun out this distressing story.

Anyway, there's probably going to be some really ugly reporting, commentary, "jokes," and other hot messes about this story, so I basically just wanted to open a thread for people to talk about the coverage, if they want/need to.

UPDATE: Deeky points to E!'s coverage in comments, where it is reported:
Phillips says in her new memoir, High on Arrival (which she discussed with the daytime queen), that she confronted John, who died in March 2001, about their sordid past, saying, "We have to talk about when you raped me."
They appropriately title their piece "Mackenzie Phillips: I Was Raped by Papa John." So, basically, People and CNN (et. al.) have no excuse for soft-peddling.

Except, naturally, their typical rape apologia.

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