Commend news outlets for exposing sexual predators
Throughout this year alone, the media — or, more specifically, the New York Times — has done an unprecedented job in exposing people in positions of power who turned out be concealing egregious secrets about their sexual misconduct in the workplace. The series of exposés have given the voice and courage many women, who are minorities in different working fields, have needed for such a long time already to call out their abusers.
Back in April, that Bill O’Reilly has settled five sexual harassment lawsuits against him since 2002. Andrea Mackris was the first to have sued O’Reilly for sexual harassment, seeking $60 million in damages. According to the same Times article, O’Reilly agreed to pay $9 million along with a public statement saying that there had been “no wrongdoing whatsoever” to make the allegation go away.
As a result of the disclosure of the sexual harassment lawsuits against O’Reilly, “The O’Reilly Factor” — his hour-long show since 1996 — lost more than half its advertisers within a week, according to an . In fact, the backlash was considered so appalling that it did not go away soon enough, prompting Fox News to cancel O’Reilly’s contract and rename his program “The Factor.”
In late June, a New York Times published-piece by Katie Benner, titled denounced prominent Silicon Valley investor, Dave McClure. McClure, founder of the start-up incubator “500 Startups,” was described as sending sexually inappropriate messages to a female investor, who later applied for employment at his company. McClure apologized for his behavior stating, “I’m a creep. I’m sorry,” and resigned as general partner. The scandal prompted a conversation about sexual harassment and the role that predominantly male companies, such Facebook and Uber, play in them.
Now, all eyes are focused on Hollywood. Recently, the Times has exposed another well-guarded secret revolving around sexual misconduct, this time involving film mogul Harvey Weinstein. first broke the story on Oct. 5 with an article detailing the traumatic experiences of three women sexually harassed by Weinstein, including actress Ashley Judd.
Two decades ago Judd, who was shooting a movie titled “Kiss the Girls,” was to meet with Weinstein for breakfast at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. When she arrived at the hotel, she was told to go to Weinstein’s suite, which surprised her. It did not get any less surprising, as the article reveals. He would toss invitation after invitation, asking her for a massage, a shoulder rub, if she would watch him shower, to all of which which she said no. She rejected each offer and had to bargain to safely leave the situation by telling Weinstein that he could touch her if she won an Oscar.
Another testimony comes from a memo written by a former Weinstein employee, Lauren O’Connor. Though she is not a survivor, O’Connor wrote a memo in 2015 describing the experience of Emily Nestor, an employee at The Weinstein company, with the goal of exposing the sexual misconduct of her boss. Ronan Farrow’s describes a series of interviews with survivors of Weinstein’s abuse.
In her memo, O’Connor wrote about Nestor’s response to Weinstein’s behavior. Nestor stated, “I am a 28-year-old trying to make a living and a career. Harvey Weinstein is a 64 year old, world famous man and this is his company. The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10.”
Prior to this excruciating and pivotal reporting, there were people who knew about it and decided to remain silent and look the other way. Weinstein had been harassing and assaulting women for three decades, and many people in Hollywood knew about this. French actress Lea Seydoux said, "Everyone knew what Harvey was up to and no one did anything. It's unbelievable that he's been able to act like this for decades and still keep his career." It just so happens that no one dared to speak about it out of fear of the possible retributions that the powerful and influential man could take, like ruining somebody’s career. He certainly did ruin more than one person’s career, as Farrow’s piece tells it.
It was shocking to learn this news; his name is mentioned in more than one speech at a film award ceremony. He has been involved in the distribution of touchstone films as “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting.” Weinstein was one of the co-founders of Miramax and The Weinstein Company, along with his brother Bob Weinstein, whose films have garnered hundreds of Academy Awards. Each year, the company produces films that gain a lot of critical acclaim and attention. The man presented himself as a liberal who hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton last year, employed Barack Obama’s daughter Malia Obama as an intern last year and in 2015, when O’Connor wrote her memo, his company distributed a documentary regarding campus sexual assault, “The Hunting Ground.”
Weinstein is a man who utilized his position of power to get what he wanted at any cost. He knew he put women against the wall, like a predator corralling his prey. They had to chose between advancing their film careers and taking the risk of calling him out. According to piece, “Mr. Weinstein enforced a code of silence; employees of the Weinstein Company have contracts saying they will not criticize it or its leaders in a way that could harm its ‘business reputation’... And most of the women accepting payouts agreed to confidentiality clauses prohibiting them from speaking about the deals or the events that led to them.”
This is when the media has acted responsibly and has ushered a new era wherein if one person cannot possibly speak, through the media, their voice is projected. In the case of Weinstein, the Times and New Yorker both collected multiple voices with the same narrative, which made it more believable. also mentioned and released a tape where Weinstein tells model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a survivor, that he had groped a woman and is “used to” it. The tape was part of a covert operation, and it was going to be used to press charges against Weinstein. However, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. decided not to. , some suggest that Weinstein’s contributions to the DA had a lot to do with Vance’s decision not to prosecute him. Furthermore, according to the same piece, Gutierrez signed a “highly restrictive nondisclosure agreement with Weinstein, including an affidavit stating that the acts he admits to in the recording never happened.”
Weinstein now joins the group of public figures, such as Donald Trump, O’Reilly, Roger Ailes and Bill Cosby, who have had stories about them allegedly engaging in sexual misconduct. Regardless, the accusations against these men have only been met with repudiation. Several ties were cut when Cosby’s allegations emerged, including representation, honorary degrees, business contracts and the reruns of his show. Similarly, O’Reilly was dropped from his TV show. Despite the backlash, Trump still got elected President. In his case, there were countless factors that played in his favor. In the most recent case, Weinstein was fired from his own company, and multiple women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cara Delevingne, have decided to speak against him.
Though some people claim that journalism is dying, good reporting still defends and sheds light upon the most unspeakable truths. The good reporting about sexual misconduct has propelled a response with the goal to get the message across: Today’s society rebuffs this kind of behavior, regardless of the power and the wealth.