Sexually harassed by your employer? Call Shirazi Law Firm for a consultation: 310-400-5891. Join us on the following networks for the latest legal news:
Sexually harassed by your employer? Call Shirazi Law Firm for a consultation: 310-400-5891. Join us on the following networks for the latest legal news:
Though Steve Wynn is an American real estate mogul and art collector, he might be best known for his Las Vegas casino contributions. He has created some of the most famous hotels/casinos in Sin City including The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, and the Wynn and is worth an estimated $3.5 billion. And until a few days ago, he also happened to be the Republican National Committee Finance Chairman. He resigned from this position after the sexual harassment allegations below came out by dozens of people over three decades.
Here is what we know about the allegations:
1/ Wynn allegedly pressured his employees to frequently perform sex acts. The abuse was so well known, that sometimes his employees would make fake appointments for their colleagues to protect them from being alone with him.
2/ Wynn paid out a $7.5 million settlement to his manicurist after he allegedly pressured her to lie on a massage table and have sex with him. She told Wynn she didn’t want to have sex because she was married but he persisted.
3/ Wynn would expose his genitals during massage sessions and ask the women massaging him to “touch him.”
4/ At times, Wynn would make sexual requests in a small space occupied by one or more of his German Shepards, a move that intimidated women into cooperation.
Current GOP candidates are desperately trying to distance themselves from Wynn by redirecting his contributions to charitable organizations. Wynn denies the accusations, however, calling them preposterous. Instead, he believes his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, may have something to do with it.
What do you think of these latest sexual harassment allegations?
Sexually harassed by your employer? Call Shirazi Law Firm for a consultation: 310-400-5891. Join us on the following networks for the latest legal news:
Publisher for The LA Times, Ross Levinsohn, is currently under investigation for past sexual harassment that resulted in two settlements. In addition, Levinsohn is being accused of displaying inappropriate behavior at work and creating a hostile work environment. Following NPR’s investigation, the Times’ parent company, Tronc, publicized that it will also be launching an investigation against him.
Levinsohn, who has been referred to as a digital media pioneer, has held top management positions at companies such as Yahoo and Fox. He’s held the position of publisher at the LA Times since August 2017. Here’s what we know about the allegations:
1/ Levinsohn once forcefully kissed and rubbed up against a woman at an industry party despite being married.
2/ Levinsohn admitted, on record, that while he was employed at Alta Vista, he rated his female colleagues according to their attractiveness.
3/ Levinsohn once left a Hollywood Reporter-sponsored fashion event because he felt uncomfortable around all the gay men. He also used the slur “fags” when referring to homosexuals.
Twelve LA Times’ editors have released a statement pledging their concern that Levinson’s inappropriate behavior might jeopardize the integrity of the 136-year publication. If the accusations are proven true, they don't want him leading the organization.
While the investigation continues, Levinsohn has agreed to take a leave of absence from his role as trustee at the American University.
Do you believe the only reason this story came out was because of the #metoo movement?
Dawn Knepper, a female lawyer, is suing Ogletree Deakins for gender discrimination in a class action on behalf of female partners. The class action complaint seeking $300 million alleges female partners make less than similarly situated male partners. Though she asked to be paid the same amount as her male cohort with equivalent experience when she transferred to the firm’s Orange County office in 2012, she says her requests were not taken seriously. Knepper alleges Ogletree paid her about $100,000 less than her male counterpart with similar experience and business. Here is what we know about the allegations:
1/ The firm’s management is dominated by males, many of whom hold superior roles.
2/ Knepper alleges that the male-dominated work culture “ marginalizes, demeans and undervalues women.”
3/ Though Ogletree Deakins claims to be an equal opportunity employer, Knepper alleges that 80 percent of the equity partners are men.
4/ Though Knepper brought up the fact that she was underpaid in every shareholder compensation interview, her compensation was not increased. She also submitted unsuccessful follow-up appeals.
5/ Knepper alleges that a male cohort prevented her from attending a business conference and speaking at a seminar, experiences that could have furthered her career.
Though there are more female law school graduates, women tend to only make up 35 percent of employed lawyers at firms. Studies also show that female partners at big law firms earn an average of $300,000 less than male partners at such big firms.
What do you think of these claims? Is it really possible to do an apples to apples comparison for big law firm partners when so much of their compensation is based on business and not experience?
Hollywood heartthrob James Franco may have worn a black and white Time’s Up pin to the Golden Globes last night, but that doesn’t mean the internet is letting him off the hook for his questionable past behavior. The Time’s Up pin was an initiative created by hundreds of actresses, female agents, writers, directors and entertainment executives to fight sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct.
This Sunday, Franco won the award for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy called The Disaster Artist, though many felt that it was inappropriate for him to receive such an honor considering he was caught trying to hook up with a 17-year-old back in 2014. Once his behavior was exposed to the media, he tweeted “I hope parents keep their teens away from me.”
After he received the award last night, three more women came forward with accusations against the actor. Here’s what we know about the allegations:
1/ Violet Palsy tweeted that James Franco once pushed her head down in a car towards his exposed penis. Another time, she alleges that Franco asked her 17-year-old friend to come to his hotel (after he’d already been caught luring a different 17-year-old.)
2/ Actress and filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan also called out the actor on Twitter. “nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes, remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn’t exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!”
3/ Actress Ally Sheedy, who had an appearance in Franco’s 2014 off-Broadway play, The Long Shift, tweeted several times during the award show about Franco.
“James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.”
“Ok wait. Bye. Christian Slater and James Franco at a table on @goldenglobes #MeToo”
“Why is a man hosting? Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much. Nite love ya #goldenglobes”
A short time later Sheedy deleted her mysterious tweets.
What do you think about the allegations against Franco?
*image by Alice Barigelli
Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Gomez Diamond have joined forces to sue Bill O’Reilly and Fox News for defamation and breach of contract after the network reportedly depicted them as liars and politically motivated extortionists following their sexual harassment allegations. Here is what we know about the latest case against O’Reilly and the network that made him famous:
1/ Andrea Mackris worked as O’Reilly’s producer in the early 2000s. In 2004, Mackris sued him for sexual harassment.
2/ Rebecca Gomez Diamond worked as a host on Fox Business Network. In 2011, she reached a settlement with O’Reilly following sexual harassment claims against him.
3/ Both Mackris and Diamond recorded conversations with O’Reilly. As a result, both women were given settlements.
4/ The women allege that Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, “disparaged and defamed” them. Murdoch dismissed the “bad cases” as a “bit of flirting” despite knowing that the women had substantial and valid claims against O’Reilly.
5/ O’Reilly repeatedly claims that these allegations have no merit and that the only reason he agreed to settling with his accusers was to “protect his children.”
6/ Bill O’Reilly has 6 publicly known settlements that total about $45 million.
7/ Mackris and Diamond joined the lawsuit that Rachel Bernstein, a former Fox News employee, filed against O’Reilly. Though Bernstein’s allegations weren’t sexual in nature, they did involve O’Reilly’s behavior.
8/ All of the women have signed non-disclosure agreements.
The women are currently seeking release from their confidentiality agreements, an apology from O’Reilly, Fox News and Murdoch, an admission from the network that they did indeed have substantial evidence against O’Reilly, and compensation for legal fees, reputation damage, and emotional harm.
Do you think signing non-disclosure agreements following settlements should be banned? Is it fair for the employer/harasser to say the case was frivolous after it settled, while the employee can’t say anything?
Employees of the NFL Network are the next to receive accusations of sexual harassment. Analysts for the network including Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans, and Ike Taylor were all accused of sexually harassing Jami Cantor, 51, a former wardrobe stylist. Cantor is also suing NFL Enterprises for wrongful termination.
Here is what we know about the accusations:
1/ Cantor alleges that Faulk, Evans, and Taylor (who are all former NFL players) groped her and made sexually explicit comments towards her.
2/ Accusations were also made against NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger who allegedly sent Cantor nude pictures of himself along with lewd texts.
3/ Weinberger told Cantor she was put on the earth to pleasure him.
4/ Cantor alleges that Weinberger rubbed his genitals on her shoulder and asked her to touch him.
5/ Faulk allegedly asked Cantor inappropriate questions about her sex life.
6/ Faulk also allegedly touched her breasts and butt.
7/ Taylor allegedly sent Cantor lewd photos and a video of him pleasuring himself.
8/ Donovan McNabb, a former analyst, allegedly also sent Cantor lewd texts, though he currently works at ESPN and no longer has any affiliation with the NFL Network.
9/ Cantor says that she complained about the harassment to Marc Watts, the league’s talent coordinator, but that he failed to take her complaints seriously. He allegedly told her that sexual harassment was “part of the job when you look the way you do.”
Since the complaint, Faulk, Taylor and Evans have all been suspended from the Network. Weinberger, who is now the president of sports commentator Bill Simmon’s media group, has also been suspended.
What do you think of these allegations?
Still no word on whether or not Jeffrey Tambor will leave the Emmy award-winning show Transparent amid three co-stars’ sexual harassment accusations. Three women, his former assistant/trans actress Van Barnes, his trans co-star Trace Lysette, and Tamara Delbridge all allege that Tambor sexually harassed them whilst working with him. Here is what we know about the allegations:
1/ Barnes first brought her story to light on a private Facebook post which then prompted Amazon to initiate an investigation. Though her claims didn’t list Tambor by name, she did say that her “former boss” had repeatedly solicited her, made inappropriate comments, molested her, and threatened to initiate legal action if she spoke up.
Tambor denied and rejected Barnes’ claims, saying that she was just a “disgruntled” assistant.
2/ Just one week later, Trace Lysette came forth with her accusations. She said that Tambor made “many sexual advances and comments, but one time it got physical.” While on set, Lystte, Tambor and another co-star were all wearing filmsy pajamas for a scene. In between takes, Tambor allegedly cornered Lysette, put his feet on top of her feet to prevent her from moving, sunk his weight on to hers, and began to thrust, back and forth, in a quick, yet discreet manner. Lysette says she felt his penis on her hip through his thin pajamas. She then pushed him off of her and laughed it off so she could complete the scene. She says she compartmentalized in such a manner because it’s part of her “survival tool kit” as a trans person. You can read her entire post here.
Tabor admitted to being volatile, ill-tempered at times, and even difficult to work with, but he stands by the fact that he is not a predator and never has been one.
3/ A third accuser alleges that Tambor “forcibly kissed her” back in 2001. Delbridge, a makeup assistant on the film Never Again, told Tambor on the last day of shooting that it was nice to work with him. She then said he grabbed her out of nowhere and kissed her on the lips.
Tabor responded to Delbridge’s statement by saying he has no recollection of anything like that ever happening. He said that if it did happen “it wasn’t meant as anything more than an enthusiastic farewell and gratitude for a job well done at the end of a shoot.”
So will Tambor leave Transparent? It’s unclear. Though Jill Gordon, head of the series' writing department, has said that there is “momentum on the inside to continue without Jeffrey Tambor”, Tambor’s publicist has said there has been no final decision made either by Tambor or Amazon.
Transparent is a groundbreaking series that showcases the trials and tribulations of Mort/Maura Pfefferman, a college professor who comes out to his family as transgender.
Do you think Tambor should be fired from the show Transparent for these allegations?
On November 19, LA Times reported that back in 1991 Russell Simmons, the Def Jam Recordings co-founder and Brett Ratner, a then-upcoming film, TV, and music video director sexually assaulted a 17-year-old model named Keri Clausen Khalighi. A few days later, Russell Simmons was accused of another case of sexual conduct which propelled him to step down from his companies. Here is what we know about the allegations :
1/ Khalighi was wined and dined by Simmons and Ratner before they took her back to Simmons’ apartment to “show her a music video” that they were both working on. Khalighi alleges that Simmons then began making sexually aggressive moves towards her including pulling off her clothes. Khalighi summoned Ratner for help but by the look on his face, she quickly realized Simmons and Ratner were cohorts. Simmons proceeded to try and force her to have sex with him but she “fought it wildly”. When Simmons forced her to perform oral sex on him, she gave in while Ratner watched.
Afterwards, Khalighi went to take a shower because she said she felt disgusting. While in the shower, she alleges that Simmons came up behind her and “briefly penetrated” her before she pushed him away. Both Simmons and Ratner deny details of Khalighi’s story, claiming that they had her full consent and participation (though Khalighi claims that she’s received private apologies from both men regarding their sexual misconduct.) She said she came public with the claims because she didn't like the incongruence between the men's private apologies and what they were sharing publicly with the media.
2/ Tanya Reid, an aspiring model, tells a disturbing tale of crossing paths with the duo in 1994 while working the desk at a hotel. Simmons called the front desk and asked her to come up so Brett could hold her down while he performed oral sex on her. Another time, Ratner asked her to his room where he had pictures of models spread out on the bed. He asked if she wanted to be a model in one of his upcoming music videos and she said yes. She then gave him her phone number. A few days later he came over to her apartment and exposed himself while forcing her hand on his penis. He then asked for oral sex. She initially declined but eventually gave in when he pushed her head against his penis. After the incident, Ratner left and Reid never heard from him again.Though Ratner denies this ever happened, because of the flood of sexual harassment allegations coming out against him, Warner Bros. has said they were severing ties with him.
3/ The latest claim against Simmons came out a week ago. Jenny Lumet, a screenwriter, claims that Simmons coerced her into having sex with him in 1991. Though he denies being violent, he did release an apology for making her feel fearful or intimidated. He then said he was going to remove himself from his companies so as not to be a distraction.
What do you think of these allegations?
*image by Coco Curranski
America’s most trusted morning sweetheart for the last 20 years, Matt Lauer, is that latest to be outed as a sexual assaulter/harasser. Though specific details of much of the alleged sexual harassment have yet to be released to the public, there was more than enough for NBC to fire him.
Here is what we know (so far) about the allegations. As soon as we know more, we will continue to update you.
1/ According to the NBC News president Andrew Lack, a “detailed complaint from a colleague” arrived at the network on the evening of November 27th.
2/ The allegation presented a clear violation of the company’s standard. After a stern review from network executives, the decision was made to terminate Lauer’s employment.
3/ Though it’s allegedly the first complaint made against Lauer in his 20 years of employment, Lack believes it likely wasn’t the only time Lauer acted inappropriately.
4/ The woman who made the claims isn’t ready to come forth to the public at this time, though she has already spoken to The New York Times in private.
5/ Savannah Guthrie announced the termination of her Today Show co-host on Wednesday morning. She told America, on air. that she was heartbroken over the news of the firing of her “dear, dear friend.” and that she was still processing the news.
6/ Five years ago, Lauer’s former co-anchor Katie Couric told Andy Cohen that Lauer’s most annoying habit was “pinching her butt”.
7/ According to CNN, multiple news outlets have been investigating Lauer’s lewd behavior for the last few months. CNN goes on to claim that Lack and other NBC bigwigs have known for a while that these accusations would be breaking soon and here they are:
Lauer regularly made lewd sexual remarks about female colleagues.
He had “consensual” sexual relationships with NBC employees.
Lauer once invited a female employee to his secluded office, then showed her his penis.
He gave one female colleague a sex toy with an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her.
Lauer just issued the following apology:
"There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry.…as I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly…repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job."
Lauer said that the "last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It's been humbling…I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace."
We hope that the firing of Lauer sends a precedent to other companies that sexual harassment is a serious matter and abusers should be punished or fired if sufficient and credible evidence supports the claims. Do you think NBC knew more earlier?
Photo by David Shankbone on Flicker
Charlie Rose, 75-year-old PBS host and co-anchor of CBS This Morning, is the next sexual harasser on the hot seat and has been fired. According to an article on Yahoo.com, Rose has been accused of sexually harassing eight women between the late 1990s to 2011, some of whom were colleagues of his. Here is what we know about the allegations:
- Rose allegedly touched the legs of several women.
- Rose allegedly walked in front of several women while he was nude.
- Rose allegedly called Reah Bravo, a former colleague, on the telephone in the early morning or late night, calls that Bravo insists were “lewd.”
- Rose allegedly groped a woman’s breasts while driving in a car with her.
- Rose had a tendency to give unsolicited shoulder rubs to women at work, an act that earned him the nickname “crusty paw.”
- Two of the women reported the incidents to their female producer, but she didn’t do anything to help them.
Rose released his own statement in response to the allegations. Though he admits to behaving insensitively, he doesn’t admit to any specific allegations. At the time, he says he believed the feelings were mutually exclusive, an assumption that he now knows was wrong. CBS have now fired Rose since hearing of the allegations.
Do you now think Hollywood is taking sexual harassment too seriously?
If you’re in the restaurant industry and you’re a sexual harasser, brace yourselves, it’s about to get ugly. Following the #MeToo campaign and the slew of sexual harassment victims coming forth amidst the Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood allegations, the restaurant industry is up next. A few weeks ago, Gabrielle Eubank sued Todd English, the celebrated chef of the Plaza Hotel Food Hall in New York City for sexual harassment. This lawsuit is just one of many against English. Back in August, English was sued by six former and current female employees including the hospitality coordinator and hostess. Here is what we know about the current suit:
1/ English made inappropriate comments towards Eubank while she was on the restaurant floor. He said that she was sexy and that he was surprised she was single.
2/ He tried to kiss her on the lips. Eubank had two choices, go along with him, or turn away. She turned away.
3/ He repeatedly showed her physical affection including kissing her on the cheek and hugging her.
The former lawsuit against English alleges that multiple female staff had to endure a rape culture while at work. Male staffers would take otherwise harmless objects such as pens, cucumbers, or bananas and make them sexually suggestive ones. If that weren’t bad enough, staffers would then offer to take the female employee in the back to have sex.
The restaurant industry has long had a reputation for having hostile sexual work environments, and will, therefore, be a hotbed for sexual harassment allegations in the coming months. In addition to the English lawsuit, there have been several high profile cases to come forth. Here are a few:
1/ John Besh, Top Chef and Food Network Challenge judge and owner of a New Orleans based restaurant, has stepped down from his restaurant group after being accused of propagating a vulgar work culture where inappropriate touching was encouraged by upper management.
2/ Abe Hiroki, chef at EN Japanese Brasserie, was sued by his former female manager for touching her butt and simulating sex.
3/ A dishwasher at Le Bilboquet sued a male colleague for groping her repeatedly.
This behavior is so ingrained in certain industries, especially the restaurant industry, that many people don’t even know that they are being sexually harassed when it actually happens. In the past, women in low-income jobs have felt like they didn’t have the power to speak out. But now that there are so many women coming forward in the media, it sets a new standard. Women no longer have to accept this inappropriate behavior as truth.
Do you think the wave of people coming forward in Hollywood with their sexual harassment experiences will also apply to other industries?
Well, it’s been a whirlwind since we first shared the Hervey Weinstein allegations. In just one month there has been an outpour of accusations against powerful men in Hollywood. Below are some of the new allegations, though by the time we publish the article there will probably be much more to add to this ever-growing list. What an unfortunate time to be a sexual harasser.
1/ Kevin Spacey has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting several men over the years including at least 8 House of Cards employees. The first accusation came forth from Anthony Rapp, who was only 14 at the time. Rapp claims that Spacey came on to him while they were both attending a house party. Spacey picked Rapp up “like a groom picks up a bride” and put him on the bed while pressing his weight onto Rapp. Filmmaker Tony Montana claims that in 2003, Spacey forcefully grabbed Montana’s genitalia in a bar and told him to leave the bar with him. Montana turned him down only to have Spacey follow him to the bathroom. Actor Robert Cavazos says that Spacey had a particular fondness for men under the age of 30 and that he felt entitled to touching them without their consent. Though Spacey published an apology for his inappropriate behavior towards Rapp, he claims that he has no recollection of the behavior. In his statement, he also came out as a gay man. Then news came out that there were many others claiming harassment and assault from Spacey, including at least 8 House of Cards employees. According to People magazine, Spacey is currently seeking treatment at a facility. It is rumored that Spacey will no longer appear on the last season of House of Cards and future show production (beyond the upcoming season) has already been permanently cancelled.
2/ Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexually harassing a 17-year-old intern on the set of Death of a Salesman in 1985. The former intern, Anna Graham Hunter, alleges that Hoffman grabbed her butt and made inappropriate comments about her breasts and sex while they were on set. Hoffman recently released a statement saying that he has the “utmost respect for women.” He went on to apologize for putting Hunter in an uncomfortable situation and swears that his past behavior is not reflective of who he is.
3/ Brett Ratner, director and producer of movies like the Rush Hour franchise and X-Men: The Last Stand, has been accused of sexual harassment/assault by actresses. Actress Natasha Henstridge claims that in the early 90s, Ratner forced her to perform oral sex on him. Actress Olivia Munn recalls a time where Ratner came out of his dressing room bathroom and “furiously masturbating.”
How do you think Hollywood is handling all the sexual harassment allegations coming out?
*image by Paul Hudson
Wondering what to do if you have been sexually harassed or assaulted by someone at work? If your first thought was to make a report to HR, you may want to listen up. The truth of the matter is that the HR department has been put in place to serve the needs of the company first and foremost. This is why so many sexual harassment cases get swept under the rug. Uber engineer Susan Fowler’s bold actions eventually led to the resignation of Uber founder Travis Kalanick, but only after she pushed her claims out to the public via her blog.
Bottom line: The HR department is there to protect the company and keep legal damage to the company at a minimum.
Before you head to HR, ask yourself this question. Who signs their paychecks?
In industries such as entertainment and tech, there is an increasing competition amongst workers. This can sometimes lead to “godlike” worship of high performers, meaning they can basically get away with anything, including sexual harassment.
According to a 2016 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission study, 75% of women don’t report sexual harassment due to fear of retaliation or dismissiveness. According to the same study, 95% of women who reported being sexually harassed to HR, claim that their harassers suffered no consequences.
If you have experienced unwarranted sexual advances, harassment, or assault at work, it’s best to get guidance and support from an employment lawyer first, before you take your claims to HR. This way you can be guided to prevent HR from covering up your complaints or retaliating against you. Most importantly, always submit your complaints in writing and keep a copy. As an experienced employment lawyer, I can’t tell you how many times HR covers up or misstates what verbal complaints were made to it.
What do you think are the best ways to report harassment or discrimination at work?
Following the #MeToo phenomena, several men in Hollywood have also come forth with their own sexual harassment and assault claims. Their perpetrators also happen to be powerful men in the industry.
Here’s what we know about the claims that have recently come to light:
1/ Terry Crews, who is a former NFL star turned Hollywood actor, claimed that a powerful and influential Hollywood executive recently grabbed his genitals during an industry-related event he was attending with his wife. Though his first reaction was to get physical with the perpetrator, Crews admitted that he refrained from doing so because he did not want to be ostracised.
2/ James Van Der Beek, an actor most famous for his starring role in Dawson’s Creek, claimed that when he was much younger he had his rear end grabbed by powerful men. In addition, he says they would corner him and discuss sexually charged matters with him. Van Der Beek said he empathizes with anyone in a similar situation, “There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.”
3/ Comedian Rob Schneider, most famous for his supporting roles in Adam Sandler movies, claims that he was once harassed by a director while they were both in a hotel room. The bathrobe-clad director (who has since passed away) asked Schneider to crawl towards him on the ground. Schneider felt disgusted by the whole scenario.
4/ Todd Bridges, an actor known for his role as Willis Jackson on the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, says he was sexually assaulted by his publicist when he was only 11.
5/ Corey Feldman claims he was molested by several different people when he was a young actor. His friend Corey Haim, was raped at the age of 11.
Hopefully, as more males share their sexual assault and harassment claims, it will be easier for more men to come forward. There is still a stigma against being a vulnerable male in the Western world. Being masculine implies that a man has to suck up any pain or trauma he may have endured, so as not to be perceived as weak by others. Further, many male survivors choose to stay quiet because they are embarrassed and feel anger towards themselves for failing to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place. Thus, they isolate themselves.
Do you think that as more influential men in Hollywood come forth with their survivor tales that it will inspire other men to come forward?
In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment past coming to light, there has been a flood of sexual harassment and assault reports coming out. Female celebrities and personalities such as Bjork, Jennifer Lawrence, Martha Stewart, Gabrielle Union, Reese Witherspoon, Jane Fonda, and Kristen Stewart have all shared their similarly horrific experiences with being sexually harassed or assaulted.
In addition, Tarana Burke, a black female activist, is responsible for inspiring a trending hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. Though she started the Me Too movement 10 years ago as a way to let young women of color who have survived sexual assault that they are not alone and that they are not to blame, the hashtag went viral when actress Alyssa Milano asked victims of sexual assault and harassment to update their statuses with #MeToo. Some women even chose to share their painful stories. Burke says the hashtag is particularly important to survivors who still haven’t healed, “As a community, we create a lot of space for fighting and pushing back, but not enough for connecting and healing."
Below is a summary of some of the sexual harassment stories that have recently come forth:
- Kristen Stewart recently made a statement that addresses the pertinent sexual harassment that pervades women who are behind the scenes in Hollywood, such as makeup artist and camera assistants. She goes on to say that, though she calls out those who are inappropriate and they act embarrassed in the moment, the inappropriate behavior continues to happen.
- Reese Witherspoon says she was assaulted by a director when she was just 16 years old. Though she feels guilty not coming forward sooner, Witherspoon reveals that, at the time, agents and producers made her feel that silence was imperative if she wanted to remain employed. Though she didn’t go into detail about the assault, she has vowed that she will do her part in raising awareness and inspiring change so that other sexual assault victims can heal.
- Gabrielle Union has used Twitter to share her story of survival. The 44-year-old actress revealed that she was raped at gunpoint when she was only 19. The actress is committed to educating the public, especially in regards to victim blaming and victim shaming. “I just want to keep speaking out to dispel as many misconceptions as possible about sexual violence.”
- Martha Stewart revealed that when she was a 16-year-old model, she was asked to wear a bikini under her clothes during a commercial. Thinking they were filming a beach commercial, she agreed. When she was asked to remove her clothes in a room full of male Ad executives, however, she realized exactly what was going on. Instead of complying, Stewart walked out of the room. Stewart thinks that more women should just say 'no'. “You can walk out of the room, Stewart says, "it might hurt your career, so you’ll find something better somewhere else.”
- Bjork used Facebook to reveal her first-hand account with sexual harassment. Though she never revealed that her claims were specifically directed at Lars von Trier, a Danish director, and screenwriter, but the public soon figured it out, which then inspired him to publicly deny the allegations. Bjork then spoke up with more details of the harassment. She claimed that while she was filming in Sweden, “a Danish director” threatened to come into her hotel room with a “clear sexual intention.” In addition, he often whispered graphic sexual offers in her ear or would hug her for an inappropriate amount of time. Because she didn’t comply with the harassment, Bjork believes that he spread lies to the media portraying her as difficult on set.
Do you think the Harvey Weinstein scandal and #metoo campaign will finally get the public to understand the sexual harassment/assault problem in our society?
There is even more to the original Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment case than we originally reported a few days ago. It appears that many powers at be have known about his lewd behavior for decades, yet did nothing to stop it. Their silence or refusal to take the allegations seriously can best be described as complicity. Here are some of the latest details.
- Ronan Farrow, NBC reporter, American activist, and son of actress Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, wrote an expose for the New Yorker accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment and multiple rapes.
- In a 10 month investigation, 13 women told Farrow they were sexually assaulted or harassed by Weinstein. Three women allege that he raped them.
- Asia Argento, an Italian actress, alleges that Weinstein forced himself on her and then performed oral sex on her. She says that she didn’t say anything because she was afraid what he would retaliate against her by ruining her career.
- Four of the women say that Weinstein exposed his genitals in front of them and then masturbated.
- Weinstein groped the breast of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a Filipino Italian model, an action that Weinstein openly admits (probably because there is an audio recording of the interaction.)
- Farrow originally brought the story to NBC but they didn’t want to publish it, perhaps because they were trying to protect Hollywood relationships.
- 16 of Weinstein’s employees told Farrow that they had knowledge of Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior towards young actresses and models. According to the executives, his behavior was widely known throughout Miramar and the Weinstein Company.
- A female employee alleged that she was employed to make the victims feel safe. She would join the meetings between young actresses and Weinstein, eventually leaving, so the two could be alone.
- Lucia Evans claims that Weinstein assaulted her during a business meeting. He allegedly forced her head onto his penis. She eventually succumbed to his force, leaving her feeling powerless and shameful.
- Like many victims of sexual assault, the accusers said that they were fearful Weinstein would retaliate against them if they came forward.
- When high profile actresses such as Rosana Arquette did complain about Weinstein, he allegedly removed them from projects or tarnished their reputation so that no one else would hire them.
- In the past, Weinstein bragged about being able to plant negative gossip about accusers in order to tarnish their credibility.
- While Weinstein has apologized for any pain he’s caused, he has denied any claims of non-consensual sex. He firmly believes that it was all consensual.
- Gwyneth Paltrow accused Weinstein of putting his hands on her and trying to go to the hotel bedroom for massages when she was 22 years old.
- Angelina Jolie accused Weinstein of making sexual advances towards her in the 1990’s.
Weinstein was recently fired by the company he co-founded and has apparently fled the country for a sex addiction rehab facility in Europe. In addition, his wife Georgina Chapman recently made a public statement to People magazine that she is leaving her husband of ten years.
Does this help you understand why most people never report sexual harassment? Now that the floodgates have opened, many women have the courage to bring their stories against Weinstein and other Hollywood stars.
Not only is Harvey Weinstein a movie mogul, the co-founder of Miramax production company, and the winner of six best-picture Oscars including Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting, but he has been accused of being a serial sexual harasser. Weinstein has been accused of sexually harassing a host of women he previously worked with (including actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd) over a span of three decades. Here is what we know about the allegations:
- Weinstein settled at least eight different sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact complaints with women; a young assistant, an actress, another assistant, a model, and more.
- All of the accusers were female and in their early to mid-20s at the time of the harassment.
- Twenty years ago, Weinstein invited Ashley Judd to a business breakfast meeting. Instead of breakfast, Judd was urged to come up to his room where he greeted her in a bathrobe. He then asked if he could give her a massage or if she would watch him shower.
- Weinstein offered another woman, Emily Nestor, a boost in her career if she accepted his lewd invitations.
- An assistant accused Weinstein of prodding her to give him a massage while he was nude.
- Italian model Ambra Battilana, alleges that Weinstein grabbed her breasts and placed his hand up her skirt.
- Weinstein’s employee, Lauren O’Connor, claims that Weinstein repeatedly made insensitive comments about her; telling her she should just get married, be a wife, and make babies. In addition, she claims that Weinstein frequently lured aspiring actresses women to his hotel room for private meetings.
After O’Connor's claims went public, Weinstein came forward saying that, though he bears responsibility for his previous lewd behavior, he will also sue the New York Times for “reckless reporting” regarding this story. He believes that the publication has a vendetta against him and that instead of shining light on the positive things he’s done (such as raising $50mil for amfAR) they depicted him as a villain. In addition, Weinstein claims that they made assumptions instead of double checking the facts with him and his team.
Weinstein goes on to say that though O’Connor retracted her claims two days after they went public, the New York Times used them as the basis for their profane depiction of Weinstein. The New York Times, however, claims that they are confident in the accuracy of their piece.
How frequent do you think sexual harassment in the entertainment industry is today?
The EEOC is suing a Chipotle Mexican Grill in San Jose, California on behalf of a male shift manager. The 22-year-old claims that he experienced sexual harassment and retaliation during his employment. Here is what we know about the allegations:
- A female general manager verbally and physically harassed him, including slapping and groping his genitals.
- The female GM kept a daily "sex scoreboard" in the office that revealed details of her staff’s sex lives.
- She told the complainant that she wanted to watch him and his girlfriend have sex. She also told him that she wanted to have a threesome with them.
- The GM frequently discussed inappropriate topics such as her sex life and the sex lives of her staff members.
- The complainant reported this behavior to upper management but was later locked in the walk-in freezer and forced to quit.
Though Chipotle refuses to comment on the specifics of this lawsuit, a spokesperson has come forward saying that the company doesn’t tolerate “discrimination or harassment in any form” and that they will take “appropriate action” whenever reports of harassment come forth in the restaurant.
How common do you think "female on male" sexual harassment takes place in the workplace?
*image by Mike Mozart