Where do we draw the line? Americans first asked this question when discussing what is and isn’t sexual harassment. As a result, women have been forced to ponder this question again – but this time they are asking themselves whether or not they can continue to respect these men’s work despite their moral offenses. Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, and Louis C.K. are just some of the once beloved celebrities who have been accused and convicted of sexual harassment. Can women ever view a Weinstein film again? Is it acceptable for women to rewatch a 60 Minutes story narrated by Charlie Rose? Are women still able to laugh at Louis C.K. comedy specials? OHS senior Skye Margies argues, “I know that it is not wise to judge someone based off of one mistake he/she has made in his/her life, but when multiple people come out and accuse men and women in the media of sexual assault, I personally feel disappointed. I can’t see myself turning on a movie of someone who’s been accused of such vile actions and be okay with it.” If women were to continue to see these men in the media, many would find them off-putting subconsciously because they are knowledgeable of these men’s actions. So whether or not one chooses to exclude these men from her media library, without a doubt women will never again view them in the same light.
While most of these men have been fired from their jobs and will most likely not be employed anytime soon, there is still a chance that they may land back on their feet in the media world. However, the outlook on their potential viewership does not appear wide. “If any of these celebrities accused of sexual harassment actually manage to start making projects again, I definitely won’t be one to watch them. These men were repeat offenders and I doubt they regret their actions; they regret getting caught. Reading about the accusations against them, it’s clear that these entertainers should retract themselves from show business altogether,” senior Brianna Stanco states.
There is a pretty clear consensus that women will not continue to idolize these infamous stars. However, women have another choice to make as more news rises to the surface surrounding sexual harassment allegations – will they demonstrate their opposition against these men beyond flipping the channel? Savannah Guthrie, who co-anchored the Today Show with Matt Lauer, and Gale King, who co-hosted CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, are caught in between their friendship with these men and their sympathy for the men’s victims. However, those who do not know these celebrities off screen are more readily able to take a harder stance on these men’s actions. Social Studies teacher Ms. Wolfe, for example, says, “These men who committed deplorable acts toward women are evidence that the subjugation of women still occurs in the 21st century. Will I actively boycott their work? Probably not. Will I work everyday to stop the rationalizing of ’locker room’ behavior as boys will be boys? Absolutely. It is the rationalizing of this behavior that allows the egregious acts by Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, and others to happen in the first place.” Americans’ voting patterns may also change as many of our government officials have sexual harassment allegations against them, including Senator Al Franken and even our own president, Donald Trump. As a result, Americans may or may not vote for a candidate from the opposite party if it means keeping an alleged sexual harasser from becoming elected.
No matter one’s opinion on the matter of sexual harassment, both men and women have to realize the realities of it – clearly, it exists among celebrities and politicians, but these crimes against humanity impact everyday people, and probably occur more often than we may think. According to RAINN, “every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted” (figure includes Americans sexually harassed). If we want to bring sexual harassers to justice, we must not downplay the facts nor exempt convicted socialites from their actions and we must create a cultural environment in which victims will not be harmed, ridiculed, nor denied a voice for which to express their tragedies.