“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
Definitely 2017 will go down in history as the year multiple women made multiple allegations of misconduct by multiple men, with multiple reactions, among them these men losing their decades-long careers. The men in high-profiled positions in the media, entertainment and political platforms, that threatens to remap the optics in corporate America. After decades of facing sexual harassment, rape and misconduct by men in the workplace, women are speaking out. Employers are caused to draw the line in defense of the women.
In July 2016, Fox News co-founder and CEO Roger Ailes was forced to step down as the CEO of the network after former anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Soon after, six other female employees followed with details of similar claims including by another anchor Megyn Kelly who detailed alleged assaults by Ailes.’ Fox fired its founder and CEO; he died 10 months later in May 2017.
Sandwiched in between this and other sagas that have engulfed the American social horizon, is a list of 15 women who accused then US presidential candidate Donald Trump of sexual impropriety. Notwithstanding the women’s harrowing testimony of abuse, Donald Trump emerged winner in the elections, and is serving as President of the most powerful country in the world.
Then steps Harvey Weinstein, who in October 2017, accusations by over 80 women of sexual misconduct, has started a massive #MeToo where by women who have suffered in silence, many of them paid off to keep quiet, forced out of jobs or continue to live with the abuse for the sake of career growth or simply to keep their jobs.
The Weinstein bombshell, broken by The New York Times and The New Yorker detailed the allegations of decades-long sexual harassment and assault by Hollywood’s icon film producer Harvey Weinstein instantly destroyed the movie mogul’s brand.
Since the two media outlets broke the news, eighty-three women have buoyed out of the deep ravine and accused Weinstein of inappropriate to criminal behavior that ranged from requests for massages to intimidating sexual advances to rape.
While Weinstein denied the allegations, he lost the job from the company he founded. The Weinstein saga, opened up the proverbial can of worms, as an avalanche of accusations have been surfacing; and there seems no end in sight, no sector left unscathed.
Among those named are CBS news host icon, Charlie Rose, movie star Kevin Spacey and others. On the morning that Minnesota Public Radio icon Garrison Keillor was accused of inappropriate behavior broke, a major news that covered all the airwaves of the accusation of NBC’s the Today Show host Matt Lauer. The accusation briefly investigated led to the NBC firing its leading morning news anchor, who joined the show in 1997. In the 20 year Lauer has been the dominant conversation partner and the constant on NBC’s cash cow news and broadcast the Today Show.
On the political platform, joining Trump, accusations are on three prominent politicians: Republican (and senate candidate) Roy Moore, Democratic Party long-time serving Congressman John Conyers and Senator Al Franken. Others on the list are octogenarian former President George H. Bush.
In Malawi although the dialogue is mainly on violence against women, with little debate on sexual harassment and impropriety in the workplace, this week the nation woke up to a rude awakening with news report of renown Nyasatimes managing editor Thom Chiumia in custody following an incident in which he is accused of over the weekend, sexually assaulting his 17-year old babysitter. If convicted, the charge carries a 5-8 years jail term.
Asked why women are subjected to such abuse and the abuse permeating all sectors, NBC’s Stephanie Ruhle responded to all in with Chris Hayes Show that “if there was more diversity, you wouldn’t have this (sexual impropriety). This happens when there’s a power paradigm.”
This appears to be the case in the political sector: while in the media and entertainment world the accused are being disciplined with either dismissals, incarcerations, in the political world the inappropriate sexual behavior is being normalized by peers who fail to censor or discipline each other. This is creating a bad picture and hypocrisy writ large.
“It is time to stop, prevent and punish perpetrators of sexual misconduct in all its forms,” MSNBC talk show host Christ Hayes said on Tuesday.
Women cannot be truly free or equal if in the work place they are sexual commodities and in which they are unwilling participants to such branding. Women must be respected as equal partners in the workplace.
Stop sexual harassment, stop sexual misconduct, and stop rape!