Lately the media has reported on a number of men accused of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Some of those high-profile men have been supported by female colleagues who have made it clear the accused was never sexually inappropriate with any of them. In fact, recently 36 women associated with Saturday Night Live released such a statement with regards to Senator Al Franken who has admitted to some of the sexual harassment and assault of which he has been accused.
Yesterday, news broke that NBC superstar Matt Lauer has been accused of sexual harassment and assault.
Now, not all that long ago (as in 2 weeks ago), NBC News fired Matt Zimmerman, senior vice-president of booking, news and entertainment, who had been with the unit since at least 2004. NBC said the firing was due to his “inappropriate conduct” towards female employees while working at NBC. Interestingly enough, Matt Zimmerman handled guest bookings for “Today” as well as other NBC News programs.
And two weeks before that, NBC fired Mark Halperin for sexual harassment of female employees while working at NBC. The media reported Mark Halperin’s exploits as sordid (a word that has not been used when describing Matt Lauer’s exploits).
It’s been a nasty stretch for NBC over the past four weeks, or so it would seem. However, this graphic created by The New York Times shows that the behavior both Matts and Mark have been accused of seems to be par for the course in other parts of the same industry.
However, unlike Senator Al Franken who had a bevy of female colleagues from SNL willing to vouch for his good behavior when he wasn’t acting badly, it would seem that Matt Lauer and Matt Zimmerman and Mark Halperin and countless others who have been accused of and/or admitted to sexual impropriety don’t have the same star power as Al Franken. I wonder why that might be?
And I also wonder why the accused thought their behavior was accepted and in some cases, welcome. Where did they get this message when, for years, the media has stated clearly that sexually unwelcome behavior is inappropriate and, in many cases, criminal?
These are difficult times in which we live, but they need not be. If people in general respected themselves and respected others, these scandals wouldn’t break because these scandals wouldn’t happen.
Still one has to ask, if Senator Al Franken has the Women of SNL vouching for how good he can be, should we be keeping an eye out for the Women of NBC who might be hiding in the wings, waiting to release a statement in support of Matt Lauer? And if there are such women, should their word be taken over those of the victims who have come forward to date?
And what about those who knew what was going on and did nothing to stop the behavior? How should we feel towards them, and how should they atone for their refusal to act on what they knew to be factual at the time they were made aware of what was going on?
For those who say it’s complicated, it really isn’t. As the saying goes: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
It appears a lot of nothing has been done over the years, and this is how what happened was allowed to happen for so many years.
ADDITIONAL SUGGESTED READING
ALLEGED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT BY GERALDO REVIERA RESURFACES AFTER HE DEFENDS MATT LAUER
CNN’S JEFF ZUCKER SAYS HE KNEW OF NO MISCONDUCT BY MATT LAUER
MARK HALPERIN SCANDAL BECOMES MORE SORDID
MATT LAUER ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY MULTIPLE WOMEN
MATT LAUER APOLOGIZES AFTER FIRING OVER SEXUAL MISCONDUCT CLAIMS
MATT LAUER CAUGHT ON CAMERA TELLING MEREDITH VIEIRA TO KEEP BENDING OVER
MATT LAUER EXPRESSES REGRET, APOLOGIZES TO THE PEOPLE I HAVE HURT IN STATEMENT
MATT LAUER SOUL SEARCHING AFTER BEING FIRED FROM NBC
FOR INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN WORKPLACE
NBC FIRES MATT LAUER OVER INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
NBC FIRES TODAY VETERAN MATT LAUER, CITING INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
NBC NEWS FIRES TOP TALENT BOOKER FOR INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT
NBC RECEIVES AT LEAST 2 NEW COMPLAINTS ABOUT MATT LAUER
NBC TERMINATES MARK HALPERIN’S CONTRACT OVER HARASSMENT CLAIMS
NEW ZEALAND EXAMINES MATT LAUER’S RANCH PURCHASE AFTER HIS FIRING
SCARBOROUGH: MOST POWER PEOPLE IN MEDIA KNEW ABOUT LAUER’S SEXUAL PROCLIVITIES