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Sexually Harassed At Work? Here’s What To Do.

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James Franco Accused of Sexual Misconduct After Winning Golden Globe

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

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NFL Network and Former NFL Players Sued for Sexual Harassment

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?

Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

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Lead Transparent Actor Jeffrey Tambor’s Status Unclear After Multiple Sexual Harassment 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?

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Explosive Sexual Harassment & Assault Allegations Against Russell Simmons (and Brett Ratner) Lead to Simmons Resigning from His Companies

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

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Multiple Male Hollywood Stars Come Out With Their Sexual Assault Claims

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?

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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Many Hollywood Actresses Come Forth With Their (Non-Weinstein) Sexual Harassment Experiences

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.”
  5. 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?

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

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Apprentice Contestant Claiming Sexual Harassment Against Trump Says She Will Dismiss Lawsuit if He Takes Back Calling Her a Liar

Back in October, Summer Zervos sued Donald Trump, claiming that he sexually assaulted and harassed her back in 2007. Zervos was a contestant on Trump’s reality show, The Apprentice around the same time. 

Here is what we know about the alleged claims: 

  1. Zervo set up a meeting with Trump at his office to ask him some professional advice. When Zervos walked in, Trump congratulated her for having the balls to set up a meeting with him and then proceeded to kiss her on the mouth multiple times.
  2. While in LA, Trump asked Zervos to join him for dinner at his hotel. When Zervos arrived, she was taken to his room where he was completely nude.
  3. He began kissing her on the lips again and then touched her breast. 
  4. Trump then grabbed her hand and suggested they “lay down and watch some telly-telly” together.
  5. When Zervos turned down Trump’s offer, he seemed to be angry and began mocking her. 
  6. After the incident, they had dinner together, and Trump conducted business as usual. He then invited her to tour his golf course the next day. 
  7. Zervos arrived at the golf course the following day. Though she was sexually harassed, she still had hopes that Trump would offer her a job within his company. Trump, however, was not present at the golf course the next day. When Zervos called him to tell him she felt like she was being punished for not indulging him, he told her to lose his number. 

Trump denies the allegations made by Zervos and claims that hers is “yet another hoax.” More than a dozen other women have made similar claims since Trump began his presidential campaign to which he also denies, referring to them as unattractive and liars. Zervos is currently seeking compensatory and punitive damages but it willing to dismiss the case if Trump retracts his “defamatory statements” that she is a liar who made this up and acknowledges that Ms. Zervos is indeed telling the truth. This is highly unlikely behavior considering Trump’s stance on sexual harassment and his golf course’s history with sexual harassment.

What do you think about her openly willing to dismiss the lawsuit if Trump retracts his statement about her being a liar? 

*image by Michael Vadon, Flickr

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Chipotle Loses $7.65 Million in Sexual Harassment Trial

After a two week trial, a Houston teenager was awarded $7.65 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former employer, Chipotle Mexican Grill. Because the court is classifying her as a sexual assault victim, her identity will remain anonymous. Though she is 19 and attends college now, she was 16 at the time of the sexual misconduct. 

Some of the inappropriate behavior she experienced while she was employed by the restaurant include: 

  1. Her manager bumped into her breasts and made comments about them. 
  2. Using the security cameras, supervisors watched the breasts and butts of women in the restaurant.
  3. Her 26 year old manager had sex with her more than 40 times (she was underage so could not consent). Though her supervisor knew it was happening, he did nothing to stop it or prevent it from happening again.

The plaintiff hopes that this case will give females the courage to speak out against sexual violations, especially in the workplace. Her lawyers are currently seeking criminal charges against the man who committed the sexual violations, though they fear he may have fled to Mexico.

Chipotle released a statement saying that they support the plaintiff and care about her wellbeing. When the chain found out about the assault, none of the alleged perpetrators were working with the company any longer. Chipotle claims that they have “rigorous policies specifically designed to protect employees” and that they go to “great lengths to provide safe and productive work environments.”

Why do you think a case like this could not settle before trial?

*image by Flickr

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Shirazi Law Firm, PC

Shirazi Law Firm, PC

1875 Century Park East,
Suite 1025,
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310 400 5891
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