From The Double Standard Files: I Just Watched Ellen Degeneris Sexually Harass Jake Gyllenhaal On TV…Why Is That OK?


That was a rhetorical question. It isn’t okay. It’s sexual harassment. It’s a double standard. And it’s wrong.

I must admit, I’m kind of ticked off about it.

Jake Gyllenhaal is a marvelous and attractive young actor, currently starring on Broadway in the revival of Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George.” He’s also a favorite guest of Ellen Degeneris, America’s favorite openly gay TV talk show host. I don’t usually watch “Ellen,” but I was in a dentist’s chair getting SIX cavities filled (Remember Dudley Moore in “10”? Like that.) and that was on the telly while I was suffering.

Ellen spent easily five minutes nagging Jake to take off his shirt. Well, it’s possible it was less: time seems to pass slowly when you are watching a famous and beloved Hillary Clinton supporter engage in unethical sexual conduct that is far, far more substantive than anything Billy Bush did when he was caught on tape with Donald Trump, and there are drills, rubber devices, cotton and random finger in your mouth.

Try it some time. You’ll see.

Ellen was flirty. She was teasing. She actually unbuttoned (or buttoned, it was hard to see, and I was screaming) his shirt. Jake appeared embarrassed—he refused to take it off—but Ellen didn’t stop. Was it “unwelcome”? That’s the key factor that makes it sexual harassment, but in this case, it doesn’t matter. This was on TV. Even if Gyllenhaal agreed to the incident in advance, there were millions of viewers. This is classic third party harassment. Those witnessing it were informed that sexual harassment is harmless, playful and cute…or, that women harassing men is harmless, playful and cute. Or maybe, as my dentist suggested when I asked him what he thought of what we had just witnessed, that lesbians harassing straight men is harmless, playful and cute.

Funny, I’ve studied sexual harassment law and the various cases, and I don’t recall seeing that exception. Or maybe it’s just Ellen who has the privilege, because, you know, she’s so nice and funny. Its that it?  Seriously? I’m pretty certain Donald Trump was sure that special rules applied to him, too.

Meanwhile, Billy Bush, who was not on TV when he played along with Donald Trump and enticed an actress—who also didn’t appear to be made uncomfortable, but you never know— to hug the billionaire, was vilified, fired and had his career crushed, as feminists and columnists decried the persistent “war on women” that encouraged this kind of conduct.

Sexually harassing a male actor in front of millions? Hey, lighten up! It’s Ellen! It’s all in good fun!

12 thoughts on “From The Double Standard Files: I Just Watched Ellen Degeneris Sexually Harass Jake Gyllenhaal On TV…Why Is That OK?

  1. “Sexual harrassment”, “openly gay”, “unbuttoned shirt”, “rubber devices” and “random finger” “in your mouth”. Your site is about to start showing up in some interesting Google searches.

  2. She probably would have unzipped his pants if she could have gotten away with it. All to build a higher Nieson rating for her show. Still, it’s wrong to ambush an actor with this kind of stunt.

  3. Jack Thank you.
    This issue has bothered me for a while. It seems that women believe that any sexual advance is welcomed by hetero men. Physical touching is deemed to be acceptable when done by females but any contact by males is viewed as having a sexual intent.

    How often have we heard women explain that men think only with their genitalia or we are little boys that are lacking in emotional intelligence. All the supposed desirable characteristics for human interaction are possessed only by females. Males are merely Hobbesian throwbacks who only want to dominate the weak so their egos are not injured.

    Often, women who are ardent supporters of female empowerment are unwilling to hold their own responsible for personal behavior. Instead they rationalize poor choices to male dominance. They applaud women who accuse males of impropriety as courageous. What gives these women any more courage to level an accusation today than when it happened.

    Today HRC stated that Trump sexually violated contestants in the Miss Teen competition. No facts, no details, and more importantly no charges were brought. Now hundreds will repeat that accusation and people will accept it as fact. Even you accepted the tales of abuse by the eleven Trump accusers. You took the volume of accusations as evidence of wrongdoing. All of these came out after the hot mike incident. Gee, how convenient. All these accusers only got the courage to come forward after he claimed to have never actually fondled a women without consent. I am willing to believe a woman claiming abuse immediately after an incident but why should women automatically be believed decades later when such claims only come when the accused is politically or economically vulnerable. Assuming women are incapable of lying to gain some advantage is as misogynistic as any behavior that treats them only as sex objects Such claims should be viewed with a skeptical eye. Otherwise we are trrating them differently than men.

      • Well, I didn’t expect you to be insensitive on this issue, but a double standard is rampant. Ellen’s whole audience was female ( a couple of guys…I’d estimate 4 or 5 max, as opposed to 200 or so beaming women) and they just laughed and laughed at Jake’s discomfort.

      • I can only speak anecdotally on this, because I’m not even sure what empirical evidence would look like, but I’ve lost track of the number of harpies that have responded to me declining to sleep with them with “What, are you gay?” Which, *chuckle*. This only moderately declined when I started to wear a wedding band when I went out.

        I wouldn’t go so far as to say ALL women, obviously. And I might be biased because I only see one half of the equation, but I have the definite impression that women in general feel more entitled to physical male sexuality than the reverse

          • I don’t know, I’m sure if I were a woman telling stories like this, I’d be pedestalized as a sexual harassment victim. Am I supposed to be proud of this? I found the confrontations annoying… I started wearing the ring because it cut out some awkward interactions… And I like wearing bling.

            • “I have the definite impression that women in general feel more entitled to physical male sexuality than the reverse.”

              I have that definite impression, too. The worst part about it is, I felt that impression for the first time only recently, I mean, like, in the past month. The worst part about that is, it involved my wife [uses one hand to slap the other away from the keyboard]…talk about guilty & never provably innocent! [now, banging head on hands, to make them stop typing] Old age wasn’t supposed to go like this!

      • Spartan. I realize that there are no absolutes and not all women think the same way. Perhaps I should have college educated feminists who believe that male motives are prurient and female motives are always pure of heart.

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