By Evelyn Garcia
Sexual harassment in the workplace is one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can go through.
One study found 38 percent of women had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Despite this, there is not much research available or concrete statistics on the issue in recent years. What has come to light, however, is how often it seems to occur in the entertainment industry.
In a world full of publicists and managers, many sexual harassment cases of prominent male figures get worldwide attention, are settled with millions of dollars and then eventually brushed under the rug. However, too often the said males receive a large sum of money or award for their work shortly thereafter.
This needs to stop.
Most recently added to the list of Fox News employees all too familiar with this routine is Bill O’Reilly. According to reports, the often controversial, longtime news anchor and the top-rated host in cable news saw the end to his reign Wednesday.
The New York Times shed light on a series of allegations against O’Reilly of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.
According to their investigation, five of these women received payouts totaling up to $13 million, either from O’Reilly or the company itself, in exchange for them not speaking of the accusations. That in itself is a problem.
Companies or employers sending the message that women should be kept quiet or paid off in order to keep quiet under such serious allegations is dangerous.
Although O’Reilly has been let go of his tenure at Fox News and has denied such claims, he was very politely shown the door with a reported $25 million payout.
A man accused of being inappropriate with multiple women, dating back to the early 2000s, was paid off with a year’s worth of salary.
Let that sink in.
Another prominent scandal last summer was that of Roger Ailes, Fox News’ former chairman and chief executive, who left with a reported $40 million payout.
Ailes had also faced a series of allegations from women at the company who said they underwent inappropriate behavior from him over the years.
Just a few months ago, a similar phenomenon occurred in Hollywood, with Casey Affleck’s controversial award season nominations and ultimate wins, despite accusations of sexual harassment.
The two women’s allegations were also settled out of court, but made news headlines nonetheless as most award committees paid no mind. The actor received praise for his role in “Manchester by the Sea.”
While these are recent accounts of such instances, the list of men in the entertainment industry who face similar crimes continues to grow.
Let’s not forget about our very own President Donald Trump who, during the 2016 election, saw more than 10 women come forward with reports of having faced unwanted sexual advances by him, which he himself was proud of at one time, via the now infamous Access Hollywood tape.
If a man accused of sexual harassment can become president, what’s to stop any other abuser in the entertainment industry from advancing in his career?
Women, and all people, should feel most comfortable and safe in their workplace where they are meant to thrive and succeed. They should not have to face unwanted advances or sexual harassment from anyone, let alone someone in such a high position of power.
The men facing allegations need to be held accountable and every report of sexual harassment and unwanted advances deserves to be heard and taken seriously.
This idea of minimizing harm to both parties by exchange of money is only beneficial to the harasser as the women have to deal with the experience for the rest of their lives.
The men, on the other hand, are well taken care of and coddled by companies protecting them and not the victims, but they should be held accountable.
Robert Diep / The Poly Post
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