In recent weeks sexual harassment in the entertainment industry has been the hot topic of conversation everywhere you look. One of the most well know and successful movie makers, Harvey Weinstein, has been accused of multiple instances of harassment, both sexual by victims as well as hostile work environment allegations as he required employees to help facilitate the unwanted sexual advances against dozens of women world-wide. In the wake of all this, women have taken to social media to share their tales of sexual harassment and assault. Scores of famous Hollywood actresses have come forth with tales of sexual misconduct by Weinstein. His business partner and brother is also being accused.
With the door being opened by the Weinstein case, other high-profile predators are finally facing their victims. Former Fox News personality, Bill O’Reilly is said to have paid one victim $35 MILLION to settle a sexual harassment claim, and that was not the first settlement he paid out over the years. Fox News know of this, but not only did they not fire him, they signed him to a new, higher paying contract, until the FBI got involved with the investigation into the then head of Fox News who was also being accused of widespread harassment of female employees over decades. That is when O’Reilly was cut loose.
The sad fact is the “casting couch” is a long accepted practice in Hollywood. Powerful men used their influence to get what they wanted from beautiful young woman hoping to make it big. It’s sick and it has been going on since earliest days of the business. Another form of harassment widely reported and seemingly accepted in show business is old fashioned bullying. People like to use their power over those who work for them, because they can. Over the years stories of personal assistants berated and abused by temperamental “stars” was as common as a summer blockbuster. Tantrums and outrageous demands are common place in an industry where there is a lot of money and even more egos.
But these egos and the bad behavior that go along with them are not reserved for the rich and famous of Hollywood. We have someone in our office who could give any Hollywood bully a run for their money in the harassment department. This person has had a string of assistants in the short time they have been here, most leaving due to the abusive way of communicating, unrealistic demands on a personal level and basically treating people with no respect at all. Stories of this behavior extend outside the office, with this person engaging in a war of words with their neighbors that ended up in a lawsuit. This is not normal behavior for a grown ass person, not to mention in the workplace. This week there was yet another incident that resulted in yet another assistant hitting their breaking point. Much like the long history of Hollywood harassment, why is this person, who is clearly the problem, allowed to continue to verbally abuse people? One word: entitlement.
I’m sure that it is no shock that the aggressor is a man in a high profiled position. The assistants have all been women, the ones forced out of the position by his behavior have been over 40. The one assistant he treated well, was hand-picked by him, much younger with zero office experience. And this when the story goes from “man bullying woman” to “women bullying women”. The assistant he liked, while not up to the task, was forced to leave due to the unkind and harassing behavior by other women in the office. So, the pattern never ends it seems.
It is sad to watch this play out, in my own office, in the news and even in the White House, as the current President didn’t see a drop in the polls after an audio tape was released with him bragging about kissing women against their will and “grabbing them by the pussy”, simply because he was famous, he could do what he wanted. Since taking office there have been countless claims of a similar nature, most on air or tweeted by Trump himself. I guess if we don’t expect more from the President of the United States, we can’t expect better of the bully down the hall.