Saturday, December 2, 2017

What is the Rule?

I will now need an entire wall to mount my spread sheet of men who have been accused and/or apologized for assaulting/harassing/abusing/touching/raping women.

Again I have to ask at this point the need to have someone believe you and at least to have someone recognize your pain and even acknowledge you seems to be the real purpose as arrests, legal retribution - civil or criminal - possible but highly unlikely given the age of some of the complaints. Some will lose their jobs and in turn financial resources but again even that is unlikely given the wealth and long term success could mean they could live out their days financially secure even stable.

Then there are those stories that frankly are just lost in the shuffle, the Poppy Bush tales of wandering hands.  The man is in is dotage and has serious health issues so while that was sad we can classify him as run of the mill old perv.  Or George Takei or even the odd gropes by Al Franken who ran for Senate since yet no one cared to bring this up before?  This was just tasteless stupidity were you so injured to equate this with Roy Moore?

We had Kevin Spacey who chased young tail to the point of where do we care at this point?  In a few years after some penance and time away "thinking" and "listening" the new code words for "Fuck this shit" will return to the stage chastened and contrite but same old same old. He just wont chase young tail.

Of late more names of fame now infamy have come forward. Some with well known histories and in turn documented tales of abuse. The playwright and father of Adam Horovitz (of the Beastie Boys)  or Met Opera Conductor James Levine.

There have been so many from Hollywood or the Industry at this point I have lost count other than Harvey Weinstein whose 20 plus year career included raping and abusing women has attained a higher body count than Oscars at this point.  And it appears that criminal charges are not likely but I see the civil courts busy in the years ahead and Lawyers making out like bandits.   David Boies is going to really pay for all the billing hours lost he spent explaining his role covering for much of this.

And that is the point, the system that covered these men for years.  As long as they were successful financially what they did on their off time was not an issue. But was there ever an off time for these men?   Much of it happened under the guise of work or right at the work place so it no it was not something where professional liability could be ignored.  NBC permitted it under the roof of 30 Rock. There is an episode Tina Fey sure missed out on.

Almost all of the men had women in their lives. They were married or had children or had women in executive or administrative positions.  They had tons of women and came from a woman and at some point the women failed them.  And from this came a rage, an anger, a disappointment that led to this overwhelming insatiable need to harm women.  At no point did they ever think that maybe they had a problem and no one around them who knew them and even knew of some of thought they did either.  Or did they?

I am sorry but you know, you always know.  Women know.  But why do women do nothing?  Financial obligations, familial ones, professional ones or sheer fear keep women from doing anything even when it is being done to them.  And perhaps that is why some had a "creep warning" or the like to advise or caution women but in reality that does nothing but obfuscate and in turn enable the predator. And that is one thing all of these men are are predators.  And to think that it is confined to the ageis that is the "Industry" you have another thing coming.

I have largely in my professional life worked for and with Women.  The few times I worked for men the stories of abuse and assault and harassment are not concepts of which I am unfamiliar.  I found that women do it just differently and to each other.  Watch a Housewife franchise if you don't believe me.  And to say Gay men are better again watch Andy Cohen and his show Watch What Happens Live.  Gay men do hate women.  And again this is not a generalized comment it is the exception to the rule but then what is the rule again?

I watched Lewis Black on Stephen Colbert and they shared stories about their days at Comedy Central and Lewis was well Lewis, full of spit and vinegar and could not believe that it was men their age, men who came up through feminism, through the rise of liberalism, through Anita Hill and the idea of being better men were the ones perpetuating much of this.  Funny Lewis forgot that it happened long before and that Bill Clinton, husband of Hillary Clinton, whose own legacy and history is not forgotten.  And Stephen Colbert sat there grinning like the idiot he is (the man is not intellectual in the least I don't always confuse funny with smart) not recalling his friendship with Louis C.K. the irony not lost that in his discussion with Jerry Seinfeld only a month earlier chastised Jerry for still admiring Bill Cosby's work.  Then after the commercial Seinfeld then retracted that and apologized saying that Colbert was right and he now realized that Cosby's work was no longer valid.  To that I cry bullshit.   I do think I can watch a Kevin Spacey movie or show and not think rapist. But then again I have no barometer on this.  I have watched Woody Allen movies and thought "this sucks" without equating it to his history. The same with Mel Gibson.  Hell Hollywood Boulevard is littered with bodies of victims of the abuse of that world so at this point if we all went on strike we would be sitting staring at a wall.

I had a conversation with someone about this a long while ago. The Louis CK rumor at the time came up and I said I don't find him funny so his weird personal shit doesn't matter and may explain why I don't find him funny.  Then the discussion went to one of my favorite Artists, Picasso.  Again the same criticism was leveled about his history and my response: "He's dead and it's not as if I am buying any of his work supporting this so I am good with just looking at it."  She did not agree. I guess I will blind myself as well.  And then we have music.  Okay, not a fan of hip hop, understood it and got the rage, the same with punk and those two genres passed me by as the rage and anger was not something I connected with (at that time today, however).   And yes I found the lyrics denigrating women upsetting and the same women however said to me, "Well I can listen to it and know that I am not the bitch they are talking about."  Okay then.  Hypocrisy much?  Ah Millennials are good with that - accusing and excusing.    And yet while I don't listen to the music I can adore Ice T, Snoop Dog, LL Cool Jay and my new favorite Chance the Rapper as his ability to articulate about Education is impressive.  Do I own a CD of theirs?  No but I can respect them and appreciate them outside their work and have no need to comment on it artistically or socially as I don't listen to it.

Which is why if we spent all of our days sorting through the rubbish pile to figure out who we can listen to, watch, read, laugh at, look at, be entertained or educated by we would have a long day on our hands and frankly the phrase "see the forest for the trees" applies.   No one is perfect and as my Mother used to say "The perfect person is dead."  If you don't understand that you are likely from Tennessee where stupid is as stupid does.

See I cannot see past my work here and my introduction to my city through its schools.  I hate walking into them, feel dirty walking out of them and have tried varying coping skills to manage this while I wait for what is now akin to a prison sentence to end.

When you know something, when you are a part of a culture that is so divisive, hideous, dangerous and disgraceful what do you do. What are the rules?  When you are financially obligated, professionally committed and have some appreciation or pleasure that comes from what you do, when do you stop doing it because those around you don't share your values or beliefs? What are the rules?

There are FIVE Title IX suits here in Nashville and there was one when I was in Seattle. I knew the school well, Garfield High School. That school was a complicated mess of poverty and academia and when I subbed there I saw it all.  I knew when I walked into a classroom for a Journalism teacher she was up to something with those kids that was not healthy (the condoms in the desk a tip off)  and sure enough she was charged with sexual abuse and supposedly in Las Vegas teaching (like the one here in Fresno) after it was brought to fruition.   I never knew what happened there in the long run.  There also was the Science Teachers who was chaperoning an organized trip as part of the Botany class where the rape occurred and in turn she and her fellow chaperones had failed to provide adequate security which enabled this to occur.  Despite the lawsuit it was ruled she did nothing out of policy and kept her job as did her colleague.  I had subbed for her in the past, never did again nor her colleagues.   Silent protest or just not getting involved you pick?

Or the other Teacher that was the Choir Teacher there who was fired for similar issues (no suit filed however) and I was there the day she got her job back and I just thought "Why is I am always here when some bullshit is happening?"
 
 So in turn I did my best to avoid going to Garfield. The Principal had a long history of running that school for scandal but as long as they had highly achieving children the district turned a blind eye. There were hazing incidents, bizarre Steve Harvey appearances,  Football scandals. a Teacher who organized testing protests later pepper sprayed (whom I also subbed for and found him to be a shitty Teacher but highly political)  and on and on and on.   The school is losing status due to policy changes and new schools being built with similar programs and now over time he too may finally find the door out; however, his residency has been fraught with one story after another.  It is why the Principal is called Teflon.  And for the record he has Vice Principals that are Women whom are equally culpable and engaged in some of this.  I have had repeated run ins with them over many of the discipline and other issues that I encountered when I subbed there.  I kept thinking Battle Axe was a perfect description of each.  And yes enabler clearly.

There was Ballard High where a Teacher whom I had subbed for earlier that year and irony he asked me to sub for him when he too was chaperoning a field trip, I declined as having met him you would too. However, that field trip was over on Friday and he left kids and one of the kids older Brother who was acting as Chaperone behind at the kids request. Thankfully nothing happened and he kept his job without incident.   So people still worked at both schools and frankly in any public school you would be hard pressed to not find one issue after another, swept under rugs and dutifully ignored.  So when anyone asks me "What are you going to do about it?" I got nothing.  And finally after moving here and seeing the depth and breadth of it and leading to a book solely about the Nashville Schools, I am out.  It cannot come soon enough.

And there will be someone right behind me to take the job, to turn the other way and try to cope and find the best.  I cannot think about who will sit in the Today show or CBS Morning chair following the ouster of their raging perverted former hosts.   Two men singularly different yet not.  And all of them had women co-hosts,  Producers, Writers, etc that had to know and in turn consented or ignored it and in turn enabled it.

Women teach your children well.  Teach them the rules.  Well if we knew what they are? Or do we?



Women enable men like Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose

By Roxanne Jones
CNN  December 1, 2017


Roxanne Jones: Behind every sexual harasser likely stands a woman willing to excuse, cover up or feel sorry for him  It's hard to deny the reward for silence, but it ensures continued inequality of women, she writes

Admit it.

Behind every sexual harasser, be he Matt Lauer or the man next door, likely stands a woman willing to excuse, cover up or feel "heartbroken" for the abuser once his lewd behavior is exposed. I've seen this time and time again and I know I'm not the only one.

You know these women. Maybe you are even one of them.

In some cases, these women are the personal assistants, executives and co-workers who have benefited from the harasser's success. They've gotten promotions, recognition and raises.

They may commiserate with other women in the ladies' room about the awful boys' club culture. But if you ever accuse a co-worker of sexual harassment or abuse, the last thing they will do is support you. If they have the power, these women may even fire you for causing a stir.

This week, NBC star Matt Lauer became the most recent man to fall amid sexual harassment allegations, which ranged from castigating a woman for not having sex with him after he dropped his pants in the office to sending women sex toys. On Thursday, Lauer apologized: "... there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed," he wrote. "I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly," his statement said.

When his "Today" show co-host Savannah Guthrie broke the news of Lauer's firing on air, she was clearly devastated.

"... I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner," Guthrie said on the show. "He is beloved by many, many people here." Guthrie added she also was heartbroken for the woman who came forward to tell her story and for those who might still come forward. Her fill-in co-host Hoda Kotb joined the Lauer lovefest.

Why would Guthrie and Kotb immediately rush in to praise Lauer before they even had details of the story? This type of selfish, blind loyalty is what enables these predators to reign with terror over working women in the first place. Must we always show this automatic sympathy for men we know who've shown such cruelty to women?

It's infuriating.

Rumors of their dear friend's womanizing ways were no secret in the media industry, according to Variety. Ann Curry was infamously ousted from the show as Lauer's co-host in 2012, in part allegedly because of her frosty relationship with Lauer, as noted by CNN's Brian Stelter and others. Curry always cited the boys' club environment at the Today's show, as Stelter noted.

The accusations against Lauer are increasing, and they are disturbing. In addition to the stories detailed in Variety, a different woman, who didn't want to be named, told the New York Times on Wednesday that Lauer had called her to his office back in 2001 to discuss a story. He locked the door, she said, bent her over a chair, pulled down her pants and had sex with her. She said she passed out and was taken to a nurse. She told The Times that she didn't report the assault at the time because she felt she didn't do enough to stop Lauer and was afraid she'd lose her job. She quit a year later.

Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Congressman John Conyers, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, even our "grab 'em by the p***y" President Trump -- all have had women eager to defend their honor, no matter how obscene the accusations of sexual harassment and abuse. Lauer, Rose, and Weinstein have apologized for at least some of the alleged behavior, with Weinstein denying anything non-consensual took place. One of Conyers' accusers is still asking for an apology.

Moore has denied the allegations, as has President Trump -- who it was reported this week suggested the infamous Access Hollywood tape may have been a fake or altered, though he had apologized in the aftermath of its release to the press last fall

Yvette Vega, an executive producer with Charlie Rose since 1991, knew for decades about her boss' crude behavior -- which, according to allegations, include his walking around naked in front of young women who worked with him, and late night sexual fantasy calls. Rose has been accused of sexual harassment by eight women. Still, Vega did nothing for women who asked her for help.

"I explained (to Vega) how he inappropriately spoke to me during those times," Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, a 21-year-old Rose assistant in the mid-2000s told The Washington Post. "She would just shrug and just say, 'That's just Charlie being Charlie.'" Vega doesn't deny she covered for the predator. "I should have stood up for them. I failed," she said in a statement. "It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them."

Yes, Yvette. You did fail.

Another recent fail for women involves a not-as-famous but still powerful man, Mike Oreskes, who was recently forced to resign from his post as NPR's senior vice president of news after two women accused him of unwanted sexual contact. Oreskes admitted wrongdoing and apologized in an internal memo obtained by CNN. The alleged assaults happened when Oreskes was a Washington bureau chief for The New York Times. He also worked at the Associated Press. Decades later, women at NPR also complained about his alleged behavior.

Said Jill Abramson, who was Oreskes' deputy at The Times and eventually became the first female executive editor at paper: "Maybe confronting him would have somehow stopped him from doing it to another woman. ... I don't really feel it was in a gray area in retrospect. I should have stopped him," she told the Washington Post. Abramson, who left the paper in 2014, is now a lecturer at Harvard.

It's hard to deny the reward for silence, for not supporting women who report harassment. Sadly, Vega and Abramson are examples of this. But silence like theirs ensures continued inequality of women in the workplace and puts women in danger.

It ruins the careers of countless talented, ambitious women. And that should be unacceptable. It's not enough to want full equality, or equal pay, or respect in the workplace if you are not willing to stand up and fight for it when it counts.

According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "anywhere from 25% to 85% of women report having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace." That's a huge range, but even looking at 25% means 1 in 4 working women experience harassment. And the EEOC study also said that 75% of sexual harassment cases are never even reported.

I understand that these situations are complicated. Working relationships do sometimes grow into deep friendships, if you're lucky. And it's disheartening to find out that a male colleague you admire and respect, or even call a friend, may also be a sexist pig, or worse.

Firing the harasser is not always warranted -- although if reports are true, Lauer had to go. There have been times when I've reported sexual harassment for myself, or other women and men, but I didn't demand the harasser be terminated. I didn't hire a lawyer and try to sue for big bucks. However, I did call for accountability -- a demotion, a record of the harassment in his personnel file, a canceled bonus, mandatory counseling -- some sign that the company didn't condone this behavior. This was not always achievable. Sometimes it was impossible and the abusers were protected.

That's why it's crucial that we continue to speak up and out these sexual harassers. But we must also confront the women in the room who continue to fail us all.

"Roxanne Jones, a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and former vice president at ESPN, has worked as a producer, reporter and editor at the New York Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Jones is co-author of "Say it Loud: An Illustrated History of the Black Athlete." She talks politics, sports and culture weekly on Philadelphia's Praise 107.9FM. The views expressed here are solely hers."

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