The Three Most Notorious Sexual Harassment Cases of All Time

If the media covered every sexual harassment case that ever happened in the workplace, there’d be little room for reporting on anything else. When a celebrity or politician is involved, however, that case is given prime real estate on the front page of the newspaper or website. Below are three summaries of some of the most infamous sexual harassment cases in the last few decades. Can you think of any others that have stood out to you over the years?

3. Britney Spears

In 2012, Britney Spears settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with her former bodyguard, Fernando Flores. According to the lawsuit, Spears repeatedly flashed him and invited him to go to bed with her while she was naked. Another time, she asked Flores to wait 15 minutes before entering her bedroom. When he entered, Ms. Spears had on a see-through nightgown and allegedly bent over suggestively. In addition, Flores claims that Ms. Spears practiced poor hygiene and was on several illegal prescription and non-prescription drugs including Ritalin and methamphetamines. As a result of her unwanted sexual advances, Flores was seeking $10 million for psychological damage (though it’s not clear how much he actually received). Spears settled the matter with a private mediator, officially closing the case for good. 

2. Bill O’Reilly

In 2004, Bill O’Reilly, television host of the Fox News program The O’Reilly Factor, was sued for sexual harassment by his former producer, Andrea Mackris. After Mackris was fired by the company, O’Reilly rehired her and gave her a raise.  O’Reilly then told her to stick with him and he would take care of her. O’Reilly then allegedly pursued Mackris, asking her to enact his sexual fetish of phone sex. He also repeatedly suggested that Mackris buy a vibrator, and even offered to help her make the purchase. Mackris sued O’Reilly for $60,000,000 which prompted O’Reilly to counter-sue for extortion. O’Reilly eventually settled the case out of court for an undisclosed amount of money (although it is believed to have been in the millions of dollars.)

1. Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, has a sordid past to say the least. Though everyone tends to remember him most for his “sexual relations” with intern Monica Lewinsky, Clinton was sued for sexual harassment years prior by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee. While alone in Clinton’s hotel room one evening, Jones alleges that the President (before he was President) complimented her, exposed himself and then asked her to kiss his penis. When she turned him down, Clinton told her to keep quiet. Though the court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that Jones ‘failed to demonstrate any damages’, Jones decided to appeal the case. During the appeal, Clinton settled the case out-of-court for $850,000.

What infamous sexual harassment cases would you add to this list?

*image by Flickr

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