A few months ago, someone on my team had to fire someone for inappropriate behavior. The man in question had been sending sexual messages to people on our team. This person was in the social circle of people I know and after the firing more, than one person mentioned to me that it was unfortunate because he “has autism.”
Let’s be clear. This guy may be autistic. From my experiences with him, I doubt it, but I’m not an expert. Even if he was autistic, that is no excuse for inappropriate behavior. But simply being autistic doesn’t mean that you sexual harass people you work with.
It’s certainly possible that uncharitable people may call an autistic person weird or strange or, more commonly, find them stand offish and distant. His weird behavior had nothing to with any of those things. His behavior had to do with paying an inappropriate amount of attention to young girls on the team. And when his behavior was rebuffed becoming outraged.
People would rather believe that someone they know has a neurological problem than admit the guy is just a fucking creep.
Creepy behavior isn’t autism. It isn’t aspergers. It is men who believe they are entitled to the time and attention and bodies of women. And the response isn’t to give them a pass. It’s to call out their bullshit behavior for what it is.