Sexual Harassment, Victim Blaming, Toxic Corporate Cultures, President Trump’s Defense and Other Ethics Notes On Bill O’Reilly’s Fall (Part II))

The Ethics Alarms audit of the Bill O’Reilly canning by Fox (okay, technically it wasn’t a firing, but it was) continues…

9. One problem with the Left’s thinly veiled joy at getting O’Reilly is that it encourages the Right’s narrative that O’Reilly’s only crime was being conservative. Also not helping were President Trump’s interview statements about O’Reilly to the New York Times, in which he said in part,

“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person… I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”

Stupid, stupid, stupid; irresponsible. Maybe two stupids and two irresponsibles. Do otherwise good people engage in sexual harassment? Of course: good people do bad things. But when a prominent individual says publicly that a sexual harasser is a good person, it sends a message that sexual harassment, like all abuse, doesn’t create a rebuttable presumption that someone is not a good person. Add to that Trump’s last statement, “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,” and the toxic messaging is complete. Either that statement means that the President is, based on nothing, claiming that the allegations against O’Reilly are untrue, or worse, he is saying that there is nothing wrong with sexual harassment. Based on his infamous exchange with Bill Bush, there is good reason to believe that this is exactly what he means.

10. That interview, in turn, led inevitably to this fatuous and offensive article by conservative blogger Roger Simon. Sure, Roger, you dummy, O’Reilly did nothing wrong except support Donald Trump. Count the rationalizations in this piece of offal by one of the shimmering stars in the Pajama Media firmament of conservative thought-leaders.

The sad truth is the many conservatives—most?—really don’t think sexual harassment is a big deal. It is one of many ethics blind spots.

11. One conservative who lacks that blind spot—though she has lots of others—is Sarah Palin, who had this exchange yesterday with CNN’s Jake Tapper:

TAPPER:  I have to ask you a question and it’s kind of sensitive, but you are in a unique role being a strong woman who worked at Fox News channel as a contributor. Uhm, and I normally don’t cover a lot of media stories, but obviously the upheaval going on there with the CEO and its biggest star ousted because of sexual harassment, not just an issue at Fox News channel, but an issue across the country. And it seems to be, with what happened with Bill O’Reilly, really a change in corporate culture in terms of what is tolerated. What do you make of it?

PALIN: Well I think the key there is, you said I used to be with Fox. I used to be with Fox. Corporate culture there obviously has to change, y’know, women don’t deserve, they should not ever have to put up with any kind of intimidating work space. At the same time if a women believes that she is being intimidated and harassed, she needs to stand up and do something about it and not stick around for a paycheck for years and years and years. And then after the fact complain about what she went through. As a strong woman, I say we should be feel more empowered than that. And we should take a stand and get out of the place, or blow the whistle on the whoever is the perpetrator doing the bad stuff so that the culture will change. So yeah, obviously things are changing quickly at Fox News. There are some great great people who are there, though. And I appreciate what Fox News does, as CNN, you know, adding to the discourse and to the debate, which is a healthy thing for the society. You know, more power to the good things that Fox News is doing. But yep, culture had to change there.

12. Guess what the Huffington Post gleaned from Palin’s statements? Palin was “victim-blaming,” because, as we all know, nothing Sarah Palin says can ever be correct. Bias makes you stupid: Palin’s comments about “staying for a paycheck” were exactly right. Women who are harassed should 1) protest, 2) report it, and 3) get out of the hostile work environment. Staying is conduct that allows harassment to continue. Palin was obviously sending a shot across the bows of the highly paid female Fox News personalities who allowed themselves to be presented to the TV audience as eye candy while accepting six and seven figure contracts that included tolerating Roger Ailes’ harassing conduct. Ethics Alarms discussed this and made the same point as Palin here:

Like millions of women harassed in the workplace, Carlson decided to accept a big salary or other consideration in exchange for putting up with illegal and misogynist treatment in a harassing corporate culture, because to take legal action would be detrimental to her career and future prospects of working in the broadcast news industry.

I understand and sympathize with Carlson’s dilemma, but like battered wives who refuse to testify against their batterers, Carlson and women like her perpetuate and feed the problem of workplace abuse of women. They accept the illegal and demeaning treatment (and allow other women who observe the harassment to believe that this is conduct that they are expected to tolerate, a process called third-party harassment) in exchange for money, stardom, fame or professional advancement, a deal with the devil that they should not have to make, but also should not make, no matter what the benefits….I agree with NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard, who wrote in USA Today,

Carlson loses some of her effectiveness when it can be perceived — as Ailes claims — that the timing of her suit is retaliatory….Would Carlson have filed a bombshell lawsuit if Fox had renewed her contract? Would she have remained silent? She has talked about harassment at her network before, but in her memoir, “Getting Real”, she speaks highly of Ailes.

Carlson says in a statement that she has “strived to empower women and girls throughout my entire career. Although this was a difficult step to take, I had to stand up for myself and speak out for all women and the next generation of women in the workplace.” It is a brave thing to take on one of the most powerful men in the TV news industry. But a quiet settlement — as Fox News has done at least twice before on these lawsuits — is not a win for women except for the person filing the suit and her attorneys.

Carlson had a choice to quit and go public in her career at Fox News and potentially bring about change in the work environment. She didn’t.

Of course, the Huffington Post would never accuse NPR of victim blaming, but this was essentially what Palin said.

13. Asks Susan Wright on the conservative site Red State,

“So with Ailes, and now O’Reilly gone, can we expect the women of Fox News to begin dressing like journalists and not cocktail waitresses at a “gentlemen’s” club?”

My guess?

No.

55 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Business & Commercial, Character, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, U.S. Society, Workplace

55 responses to “Sexual Harassment, Victim Blaming, Toxic Corporate Cultures, President Trump’s Defense and Other Ethics Notes On Bill O’Reilly’s Fall (Part II))

  1. I’m getting really tired of all these allegations that seem to pop up years after the alleged harassment took place and I’m also tired of people in the public eye that claim to be innocent trying to silence these kinds of allegations with dollar bills regardless if they’re innocent just to save their public image and the image of the company for which they work.

    Some things need to change!

    1. If people are actually being harassed they need to stand up and say something WHEN it’s happening. Stand up for yourself, tell the boss, call the police, etc. don’t wimp out, leave the job, and do nothing until years later or never – you’re inaction, or delayed action, enables the person to abuse/harass someone else.

    2. If snowflakes are simply offended, they need to grow up; not everything that offends you is abuse, harassment, hate speech, etc..

    3. If public figures that are being accused of harassment are innocent, they shouldn’t spend one dime trying to silence the accuser to keep it out of the public eye, take the accuser to court and sue them for libel, slander, or extortion.

    4. People need to stop harassing other people!

    Fix the source of the problems.

  2. Jack,

    Can you blame Bill’s fans if they think this is made up, when they see how toxic feminism and anti-white, anti-conservative, anti-law abiding, and anti-male the progressive have become?

    Conservative have many who are uninformed, low information voters as well as the progressives. In the same way low info progressives view the world, so too do low info conservatives.

    Not saying they are right, but I get the knee jerk reaction of a class of people who see their way of life, their rights, and sometimes their very existence challenged constantly in the Progressive MSM?

    • Nope. There’s no excuse for blowing off sexual harassment, or abuse of women in the workplace in 2017. If you pay attention, you know that the O’Reilly saga matches the pattern of serial harassers and predators—Clinton, Kennedy, Ailes, Cosby, Packwood, et al. (In Clarence Thomas’s case, there was no flood of past accusers, which is how we knew that Anita Hill was pulling a political hit.) If O’Reilly fans refuse to believe the accusations are legit, they are being willfully ignorant.

      I blame anyone for being ignorant. I blame the willfully ignorant more.

      • Deery

        In Clarence Thomas’s case, there was no flood of past accusers, which is how we knew that Anita Hill was pulling a political hit.

        ? There were other women who have stated that Thomas subjected them to the same behavior as Hill outlined.

        Hill also voluntarily took a polygraph to prove the veracity of her statements, which she passed. Thomas refused the polygraph.

        Though leaving all that aside, I do believe that there are people out there that can harass only one time, and they shouldn’t be given a freebie for that behavior.

        • I know that the leftward blogs claim otherwise, but there was no flood; the only named woman who came forward at the time and also the only named woman other than Hill who has come forward at all was regarded as unreliable by the Democrats, or they would have called her. The was the classic vengeful ex-employee, because he had fired her.

          I discount all of the Hill accusation: no complaint, nothing while she followed Thomas to other jobs, and then when he is nominated to SCOTUS, she humiliates the man with a years old smear. Despicable. I would have said the same if one woman came forward to accuse O’Reilly only after he was nominated to a high post.

          Of course someone can violate the technical definition of harassment once, because all it takes in many cases is to ask a woman out three times after she has said “no.” If she says “yes” on #4, then its not harassment. If #4 is unwelcome, it’s harassment. Single episode harassment is NOT necessarily a firing offense. Repeat harassment is the mark of an asshole.

          • deery

            I discount all of the Hill accusation: no complaint, nothing while she followed Thomas to other jobs, and then when he is nominated to SCOTUS, she humiliates the man with a years old smear. Despicable. I would have said the same if one woman came forward to accuse O’Reilly only after he was nominated to a high post.

            And in a nutshell, you are basically showing by example why so few women come forward. Hill disclosed this information in a private FBI interview, which she was assured would remain private. She felt it was germane as to his character. This information was leaked to the press. But she did pass a polygraph on the matter, unlike Thomas.

            I know that the leftward blogs claim otherwise, but there was no flood; the only named woman who came forward at the time and also the only named woman other than Hill who has come forward at all was regarded as unreliable by the Democrats, or they would have called her. The was the classic vengeful ex-employee, because he had fired her.

            There were at least four other women who were also willing to testify that Thomas harassed them as well.

            Wright has always insisted that she was ready and willing to testify, but the committee, under the leadership of its then chairman Joe Biden, decided not to call her.

            She wasn’t the only one: Sukari Hardnett, who was a special assistant to Thomas in the mid-80s, wrote to the committee at the time that Thomas frequently called her into his office for meetings but then talked about his private life with women. “If you were young, black, female and reasonably attractive, you knew full well you were being inspected and auditioned as a female” by him, she wrote. “Women know when there are sexual dimensions to the attention they are receiving. And there was never any doubt about that dimension in Clarence Thomas’s office.” She also never got the chance to testify.

            https://thinkprogress.org/clarence-thomas-harassment-accusers-3608a700bf29

            Of course someone can violate the technical definition of harassment once, because all it takes in many cases is to ask a woman out three times after she has said “no.” If she says “yes” on #4, then its not harassment. If #4 is unwelcome, it’s harassment. Single episode harassment is NOT necessarily a firing offense. Repeat harassment is the mark of an asshole.

            I agree that repeat harassment is the mark of an asshole, but so is single instance harassment. Stop asking the same woman out multiple times after she has turned you down flat once, especially at work. If she changes her mind, she has the capability of letting you know that. Ignoring her rejection is the mark of an asshole.

            • “I agree that repeat harassment is the mark of an asshole, but so is single instance harassment. Stop asking the same woman out multiple times after she has turned you down flat once, especially at work. If she changes her mind, she has the capability of letting you know that. Ignoring her rejection is the mark of an asshole.”

              Or a romantic. Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate” for example. The law literally says that it isn’t harassment until the object/victim says it is. That means that a persistent romantic who asks a woman playing hard to get and coy out 10 times and she says nononononononononono–YES! is not a harasser. It even means that a creep who gets a no and follows the woman round from a distance and she is amused by it, finally agreeing to a date is not a harasser. The definition of harasser is especially hard on nerds who can’t read social signals. In one seminar, a lawyer told me hos wife rejected 14 date invitations…they’ve been married for 52 years.

              • deery

                Or a romantic. Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate” for example. The law literally says that it isn’t harassment until the object/victim says it is.

                Or it isn’t rape until the victim says it is. Or assault. Or robbery. Or battery. You are still an asshole if you go around punching people in the face on the off chance that one of them might like it. And yes, even if you heard a cute story about someone who got punched in the face by a person, and now the two are fast friends (really happened to a person I know, btw). The chances are quite likely you are still an asshole. Ask a woman out once, fine. But if she rejects you, leave her alone. The modern woman is more than able to indicate that she has changed her mind, if that ever happens.

                As a culture, we romanticize harassment and rape, but I don’t see why we should not attempt to at least change the narrative somewhat.

                • No, you are being stubborn and obtuse. I accurately quoted what sexual harassment IS. The term is a matter of law. Be ignorant if you want to be: it is only sexual harassment if it 1) is unwelcome and 2) contributes to a hostile work environment for someone. Repeated date invitations not down in public are NOT harassment as long as the object of them doesn’t feel harassed—and if she is, she has to make it clear.

                  • deery

                    No, you are being stubborn and obtuse. I accurately quoted what sexual harassment IS. The term is a matter of law. Be ignorant if you want to be: it is only sexual harassment if it 1) is unwelcome and 2) contributes to a hostile work environment for someone.

                    Yes, but a lot of laws turn on the potential victim’s state of mind, and whether or not certain actions are welcome or unwelcome.

                    Repeated date invitations not down in public are NOT harassment as long as the object of them doesn’t feel harassed—and if she is, she has to make it clear.

                    I think the initial rejection makes it clear enough. To keep persisting afterwards in the face of that rejection is a sign of an asshole. I know we have romanticized harassment, but I think we should stop. She said no. Why should she have to keep repeating herself? Sure, there might be an off chance that she changes her mind, but much like the guy who goes around punching people in the face, hoping that they might consent afterwards, the risk is all on you, and the odds are not in your favor.

                  • joed68

                    “No, you are being stubborn and obtuse. ”
                    And arguing for argument’s sake, it seems.

        • John Billingsley

          “Hill also voluntarily took a polygraph to prove the veracity of her statements, which she passed. Thomas refused the polygraph.”

          The results of a polygraph exam don’t “prove” anything. At best they suggest that the reported result may be correct. The false negative rate (lying but tested truthful) may be as high as 30%. The results of the test Hill took leaves about a 1/3 chance that she was lying. The situation with the false positive rate (truthful but tested lying) is worse. False positives may run 50% or more. If Thomas had agreed to the test, he would basically be facing a coin toss to decide whether he be viewed as a sexual harasser.

          It’s possible Hill took the test with multiple examiners and released only the result that supported her claim. Thomas, of course, could have done the same. Then what? Both side would be trotting out the same statistics I presented above to explain why the results really supported their champion. Hill’s supporters releasing the polygraph results was clearly an attempt to sway the hearings and Thomas wisely refused to play along.

          I don’t believe there was ever any true evidence presented to support Hill’s claim. I know that does not mean that the events she described did not happen. But it does mean that only Hill and Thomas and whoever they truthfully confided in know the facts. To impugn Thomas because he refused a polygraph test heads down a dangerous path in which anyone could be convicted of anything based on refusal to take a test that is known to be faulty or failing the coin toss the test represents.

      • If O’Reilly fans refuse to believe the accusations are legit, they are being willfully ignorant.

        Hence, the ‘low information’ designation. Fair enough

  3. Deery

    Why should the onus be on the victim to leave? Not everyone has it in them to be directly confrontational, in fact, I would wager that most people do not. If women left every job because they were sexually harassed, no woman would ever be working.

    I think there is a solid case to be made for keeping your head down, amassing your own power and social capital within an organization, and working from within to change the culture of the workplace when you have the chance to do so.

    Most sexual harassment usually boils down to a “he said, she said” thing, and in those cases, the woman, who usually has less power, will invariably lose, and all of her previous work, as well as future opportunities are gone. Unless you have solid receipts, it makes more sense to wait and amass ammunition than quit.

    • Baloney. Victims, like everyone, have a duty to mitigate harm. Everyone is responsible for stopping wrongdoing, including wrongdoing to themselves. Carlson et al. allowed other women to be harassed and abused so she could collect a bundle. Coward. A victim of harassment is no different from a victim of a robbery, a shake-down, bullying or rape. Yeah, it’s tough: do your duty. Fix the problem.

      • Wayne

        I think it’s disgusting what was done to Justice Clarence Thomas. O’Reily is a different case however. Like many other egomaniacs he thought he could get away with just about anything. Leave the woman alone on FOX though: They don’t have to dress like Jehovah’s Witnesses to satisfy feminists and MSNBC viewers.

      • deery

        So people are not only the victims of harassment, but they also have the ethical obligation to ruin their current and future employment because of the harassment?

        Baloney. Victims, like everyone, have a duty to mitigate harm. Everyone is responsible for stopping wrongdoing, including wrongdoing to themselves.

        The problem is identifying which harm to themselves a person might want to mitigate. And different people may come up with different answers. A person may simply want the sexual harassment to cease, consequences be damned. There are others who are willing to turn a complete blind eye, and even enthusiastically participate in the sexual harassment culture to get ahead (e.g. the casting couch). But most people are going to fall out in the middle. They have to weigh the real world consequences for reporting the behavior/quitting, including the likelihood that they will be believed, what might happen (as is likely) if they are not believed/the higher-ups are indifferent, the greater job market, whether they can be employed somewhere else comparable, who else might be dependent on them and the salary they make, etc. The severity and frequency of the harassment might also be taken into account.

        Carlson et al. allowed other women to be harassed and abused so she could collect a bundle. Coward. A victim of harassment is no different from a victim of a robbery, a shake-down, bullying or rape. Yeah, it’s tough: do your duty. Fix the problem.

        I’m not sure that quitting will fix the problem. It is deeply entrenched. Fox had many women complain about O’Reilly, and he was still allowed the King’s Pass and continued on, untouched. And not just at conservative places like Fox, but even in the more modern corporate cultures. Look at the Uber dustup as an example of that. Yes, it in an after-school special kind a way, it would be great if women who were sexually harassed could just quit, or even better, get the person who harassed them fired. But life rarely resembles an after-school special. I don’t think there is anything wrong with staying, and trying to change the culture from within.

      • Spartan

        You couldn’t be more wrong on this topic Jack. Do you know how a professional woman can protect herself? By building her reputation and getting a new job. And she keeps doing this until she has a position of relative power or job mobility. Quitting a job without another one lined up puts a label on a woman as a “problem employee.” Just about every company has problems with harassment — and this is not a secret. Employers have the luxury of skipping over these troublesome job applicants.

        As Deery said, “If women left every job because they were sexually harassed, no woman would ever be working.” I have been harassed (minor to severe) in EVERY job I have ever had. But, because I have a thick skin, I just ignore it. I quit my first professional job after severe harassment — and it almost tanked my career.

        • I couldn’t be more right, actually.

          This is the same argument given for abused spouses who never follow through on criminal charges, and rape victims who won’t file rape charges, and the women whose boyfriends are molesting their daughters or sons. It is the argument against whistleblowing, and in favor of all the Enron employees and Nixon White House Staff and Catholics who knew what was happening but didn’t want to accept the risks of doing the right thing. I reject it. Ethics isn’t easy. Carlson, and others, basically accepted career advancement and cash to allow a culture that harmed many women continue for years, until she hit a career dead end.

          When was it that liberalism wrote courage and personal accountability and responsibility out of the canon, I wonder> Yup, sucks to be in these situations. Terrible. That’s what makes it an ethics DILEMMA: you can do the right thing, or the comfortable thing.

          • And when I teach this topic in trainings and company audits, this is exactly what I teach—because, among other things, harassers better believe that some victims will fight.

          • Spartan

            This is ivory tower thinking Jack. In practice, it doesn’t work like that. And your analogies fail too.

            Abused spouses stay with their batterers because they are psychologically unable to leave. Rape victims don’t file rape charges for a variety of reasons — some are not mentally strong enough, others know that without physical evidence little will come of it.

            Th Enron employees engaging in fraud knew what they were doing was wrong, and I have little sympathy for them.

            How is this akin to a woman being harassed? Almost all of the ones I know quietly rewrote their resumes and looked for new jobs. They weren’t being manipulated into staying in horrible jobs. Those with good claims almost always settle out of court and then are subject to a gag order — like me from a million years ago. It’s all about the money. An employer willingly shells out millions of dollars to keep on the Bill O’Reillys of the world if overall their presence is still beneficial to the bottom line. The O’Reilly stories have been around for decades, everyone knew he was a creep, but Fox News kept him on until the advertisers started leaving.

            You can do all the ethics trainings that you want Jack, but equity partners will keep their jobs and the associates will find new ones. You should direct your coaching on not harassing in the first place, not what victims should do if harassed. We’ve been receiving training since we were little girls on the best way to protect ourselves at home, work, school, etc. If only little boys received similar training on how not to harass, molest, and assault ….

          • deery

            This is the same argument given for abused spouses who never follow through on criminal charges, and rape victims who won’t file rape charges, and the women whose boyfriends are molesting their daughters or sons. It is the argument against whistleblowing, and in favor of all the Enron employees and Nixon White House Staff and Catholics who knew what was happening but didn’t want to accept the risks of doing the right thing.

            I agree with Spartan. You are actively conflating people who are engaged in illegal behavior with those who have only been the victim of someone else’s wrongdoing. They are not the same, morally, legally, or ethically.

        • Glenn Logan

          As Deery said, “If women left every job because they were sexually harassed, no woman would ever be working.” I have been harassed (minor to severe) in EVERY job I have ever had. But, because I have a thick skin, I just ignore it. I quit my first professional job after severe harassment — and it almost tanked my career.

          I think you’re missing the point that Jack was making, which is that you should mitigate the harm. That can be best done by 1) informing the harasser his advances/comments are unwelcome in no uncertain terms, and giving him/her a chance to do better. 2) If poor outcome to 1, initiating a complaint against the person(s) harassing you, providing as much detail as possible. 3) If poor outcome to 2, consider repeating step 2 again, noting the original complaint. 4) If poor outcome on step 3, consider a) leaving your job for another, or b) filing a lawsuit against the company or both, preferably first a) then b) if the situation is not intolerable or potentially dangerous.

          Can this result in getting a reputation as a tricky person to employ? Absolutely, as wrong as that is. Life is not fair, as we all know. The best you can do is the best you can do. People are flawed, not everyone even accepts sexual harassment as anything other than a leftist plot to harm men, and some guys are just so certain of their universal sexual appeal (or indifferent to the feelings of others) that no amount of reasoning with them short of a firearm in their face (or a well-placed blow below the belt) will convince them of your sincerity.

          Harassment does happen in many businesses, but some harassment is actually hypersensitivity to marginal speech and commentary. I have seen women who claimed harassment and filed a complaint after an incident that was clearly misunderstood, without ever talking to the other person about it. That kind of thing happens often enough that it can desensitize men (and even some women) in management to actual cases of harassment.

          There is no perfect solution. Men are going to put moves on women — we always hope that once they learn their advance is unwelcome, they will stop. We also hope that they are professional enough not to put moves on women (especially subordinates) in the workplace because of the potential for continued discomfort and perception of a hostile environment. Unfortunately, human nature is what it is, and men are … well, men.

          I once saw a case of female on male sexual harassment. The guy was married and wanted no part of her and politely told her so, but she never missed an opportunity to come on to him. Of course, he never complained, but not because it wasn’t harassment. He just did what you mostly have; put up with it.

          Harassment is going to happen. Women must stand up for themselves, and act to mitigate potential harm to themselves if the threat is persistent or severe enough. It’s not victim-blaming to insist that women do their part in situations of potential harassment, and that includes being careful with dress and comments that might be seen as sexual interest. Some women have told me they shouldn’t have to do this, but that speaks poorly of them; they want all the benefits without taking any of the responsibility.

          • deery

            Harassment is going to happen.

            Agreed. Some people will be sexually harass other people.

            Women must stand up for themselves, and act to mitigate potential harm to themselves if the threat is persistent or severe enough.
            I don’t think there is an affirmative duty to do this, but I nonetheless think it a wise course of action. However, the “harm” identified is multipronged, and thus must, of a necessity, be put through some sort of balancing test. Is the harm of not reporting the sexual harassment worth the harm of being unemployed. Or, in the future, being unemployable, period? What are the benefits of reporting the harassment? Is the harasser likely to face consequences, or will the victim be unemployed, and the harasser still able to prey on other victims? What is the likelihood of the victim to amass her own power in the organization, and work to change the laws?

            It’s not victim-blaming to insist that women do their part in situations of potential harassment, and that includes being careful with dress and comments that might be seen as sexual interest. Some women have told me they shouldn’t have to do this, but that speaks poorly of them; they want all the benefits without taking any of the responsibility.

            Yeah, this is straight-up victim blaming, sorry/not sorry. Whether you are a lifeguard working in a teeny bathing suit, or a doctor covered in scrubs and a face mask, you don’t deserve to be sexually harassed, no matter how you are dressed. And if we are expecting the life guard’s boss to control himself with his employees, in their tiny swimsuits, we can certainly expect the average office manager to not become an uncontrolled rabid dog at the sight of some cleavage or a tight-fitting skirt. Lateral employees can take a coworker’s comments as sexual/romantic interest and ask the coworker out. I don’t consider that harassment. But if rejected, they should leave the coworker alone.

            • Glenn Logan

              Yeah, this is straight-up victim blaming, sorry/not sorry.

              Whatever. Typical leftist “I get to do what I want, and you poor slob, get to do what I say” elitism.

              • I guess it’s worth a post on this. What deery and other devoted leftist/statist/victim mongers call victim-blaming is really more rhetorical manipulation and falsehood, pushing the essential can’t that the world is divided into purveyors of evil and “victims,” who are helpless to control their own fates unless they cede power over their lives to the government. Victims or wrongdoing are often partially responsible for what happens to them, and if they aren’t going to lead others down the same risky paths, someone, like Palin, has to point out that there is a better way. No, you moron, you don’t marry the boy friend who knocked you around. That’s why you are trapped in an abusive marriage.

                • deery

                  So, just so I’m clear, do you agree with Glenn’s position that if we as a society want sexual harassment to be reduced in the workplace, women should be more covered up?

                  • That’s not Glenn’s contention.

                    The way to reduce sexual harassment is for employees to practice manners, ethics, and the Golden Rule,for workplaces to make it clear that they are not dating bars, and for vertical sexual relationships to be banned, in print.

                    All genders should dress professionally, with those whose personal attributes are conducive to sexual attractiveness being responsible as well. Women who dress in a deliberately sexually provocative manner should be told to tone it down. The fact that a woman does dress inappropriately, however does not mitigate the accountability of someone who harasses her. Even if she is naked and covered in Wesson oil, it doesn’t excuse harassment. But we can question her judgment in being naked and oiled up at work.

                    Clear?

                    • deery

                      Clear enough, except for this part: All genders should dress professionally, with those whose personal attributes are conducive to sexual attractiveness being responsible as well.

                      What does this mean?

                    • I mean if you look like Jayne Mansfield, there are things other women can wear in the workplace that you should not.

                    • Spartan

                      You’re both wrong and right Jack. I’ve spent considerable amounts of time and effort hiding my cleavage in the work place. I do it because I know I will be judged, but the point is that I shouldn’t be judged at all. If I am showing one inch of cleavage and my flat-chested colleague is showing one inch of breastbone, why I am I being inappropriate? We’re both showing the same amount of skin.

                • Spartan

                  “Victims of wrongdoing are often partially responsible for what happens to them.”

                  Stats? Evidence of any kind?

                  Usually it’s just being attractive Jack. I’ve been harassed so many times, I seriously couldn’t tell you how many. The harassment ranged from pathetic to serious and scary over the years, depending on who was doing it and where I was working. I’ve had bosses stick my tongue in my ear, take their pants off in my office, proposition me in elevators, etc. Now that I’m 40 however, it’s very rare that I am even am in earshot of an off-color joke. Because I’m no longer the target.

                  • You need stats? We can’t agree on that as a matter of judicial notice? I have told the story hear before about my clueless, gorgeous, flaming red haired college intern at the US Chamber who came to work on her first day in tears complaining that people in DC were so rude and mean. On the way to the office she received hoots and wolf whistles, and couldn’t understand why. She was wearing a brilliant green skin tight dress with a hem about five inches above the knee, and five inch heels, and this young woman would have been jaw dropping in a burlap sack. Well, yes, it would be nice if men weren’t reliably dogs, and a gorgeous 20 year old could dress like that in the workplace and betaken seriously, but this is reality. So I explained the facts of professional dress, and that, unfair as it was, women as gifted as she was by the Beauty Fairy couldn’t just let it all hang out without predictable consequences. As it was, she was the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment AFTER she dressed to de-emphasize the VA VA VOOM factor….because I couldn’t do anything about her incredible guilelessness. A top exec said he wanted to take her to a conference because he was so impressed with her mastery of economics.

                    Actions have consequences. When negative consequences are nearly guaranteed by certain actions, saying that a victim who willfully performs those actions anyway is immune from any blame is ridiculous.

                    • Spartan

                      Well, I never dressed like that in the office Jack. Never. I used to take great pains to make sure that I wasn’t showing cleavage and my suits were very conservative. I rarely wore dresses at all until my mid-thirties. Men who are dogs will be dogs.

                    • Common sense and good taste are remarkably useful—and indispensable— assets.

                    • Walk around a Mexican border town and wave wads of cash around in plain sight, and you are partially to blame for getting robbed. It is not right, but you presented an avoidable vulnerability and temptation in an area known to have an element prone to robbing tourists.

                      Same applies for getting sexually transmitted diseases, if your behavior was such that you risked exposure as a matter of course.

                      We used to call this ‘common sense’

                    • Spartan

                      Hmm. Perhaps we should be wearing burkas in the office? Or, better yet, not have women work at all in the office?

                      Really guys. Deery is right on this one — these are all shades of victim blaming. I should be able to wear heels in the office (and I rarely do anymore) without some asshole thinking it means he gets to grab my ass.

                      And talk about impossible standards! If you are a white collar woman, you have to have professional hair, make-up, nails, jewelry, and yes, clothes. The clothes are the trickiest part, because we are expected to dress attractively, but not too attractively — otherwise Bill in Accounting might get feisty. And since all men are attracted to different things, how on earth are we supposed to peer into your creepy heads and know what to avoid? I mean, one of my friends once asked me to never eat a banana around her husband because it is a major turn on for him. Bananas. Talk about ruining that fruit for me forever! Now I only eat them behind closed doors or cut up with a knife and fork. If you can’t handle watching a woman eat a banana, then you have no business walking around in the world.

                    • …how on earth are we supposed to peer into your creepy heads and know what to avoid?

                      I have a thing… for fabrics, from bikinis to burkas. You should not wear any fabrics in my presence, just to be safe.

                      Have a good day, Sparty 🙂

                    • I had an interesting experience regarding inappropriate clothing last winter at an area pizza place that my family and I frequent. You need to know right up front that almost the entire staff at this place are part of the LGBT community (it’s that obvious), I really don’t care about their personal lives – it’s not my business, they have good pizza with a good selection of beer to go with it. Now on to the inappropriate clothing story.

                      My son-in-law and I were out for pizza and a beer (remember this is the dead middle of winter in the upper mid-west) and the waiter (which our family has had a few times before) came to our table dressed in what could only be described as an extremely tight fitting pair of shiny spandex shorts which was unmistakably revealing his “package”, an equally tight fitting tank top revealing his bare skin stomach and the breasts, plus he was wearing an extremely elevated pair of spiked high heal shoes that made this already tall person a tower of absurdity. He looked like an over the top caricature of a transgender hooker straight out of a Saturday Night Live skit, he could barely walk in those heals, it was a sight to see.

                      My son-in-law blurted out something like “well you’ve got to be the winner of the most inappropriate waiter dress up day contest”; my comment at roughly the same time was “you’ve got to be kidding me”; neither one of us used a word of profanity but it was really clear that we were both thinking “what the fuck”. The waiter turned around and walked into the kitchen and shortly thereafter the manager strolls over to our table and began to chastised us for “offensive inappropriate comments” about the waiters clothing; when the manager got to the words “offensive inappropriate comments” that’s when my bull shit meter went straight through the roof. The manager got an ear full from me about what’s “inappropriate and offensive”, I was very blunt with him, we walked out the door. I’ll never recommend the place to anyone and I’ll certainly never take my grand children back again.

                      Inappropriate clothing has consequences! If you wear stupid shit in public you’re going to get comments about it, if you wear clothing that’s intentionally saying “look at me” – then expect to get ogled, if you want to make a statement with your clothing then you have to expect that there may be replies to that statement. People need to stop being snowflakes about responses to their clothing choices, learn from the responses; that said, there is absolutely no excuse for responses to clothing that clearly rise to the level of outright harassment or violence.

                      I remember walking down State Street in Madison, WI many, many, many years ago and a girl in an extremely skimpy string bikini was walking towards me (it was summer) and I cast her a well deserved ogling look. She gave me an angry look and yelled at me asking “What the fuck are you looking at?” I said “You, you fucking idiot! You’re making a statement with your bikini and I’m trying to read between the lines. If you don’t want people to look at you then don’t wear shit like that.” She wrapped her beach towel around herself and walked on.

                      Aren’t I a terrible person?

                    • dragin_dragon

                      Not so much. Normal, healthy male, I’d say.

                    • dragin_dragon wrote, “Not so much. Normal, healthy male, I’d say.”

                      Not many people I know would call me “normal”. 😉

                    • dragin_dragon

                      Few would call me that, either. Thus, WE are normal, me and thee.

                    • dragin_dragon wrote, “Few would call me that, either. Thus, WE are normal, me and thee.”

                      Ya got me there! 😉

                    • Spartan

                      Zoltar — you just described my usual first year associate look. I can’t believe I got chastised for wearing spandex shorts in the office!

                    • Spartan wrote, “Zoltar — you just described my usual first year associate look. I can’t believe I got chastised for wearing spandex shorts in the office!”

                      Ignorance is bliss but it can be fixed with effort; unfortunately, no matter how much effort you exert, you can’t fix stupid. I hope you were just faced with ignorance.

    • joed68

      ” If women left every job because they were sexually harassed, no woman would ever be working.”
      Sounds a little hyperbolic. Then again, if you believe that 1 out of every 5 female students is eventually raped…

  4. dragin_dragon

    JB is dead right about polygraphs. There is a remarkably good reason why they are not admissible in most, if not all, courts.

    • Polygraphs are dependent on interpretation by the tester. Hill could have gotten one from a partisan hack who she knew in advance would declare her ‘truthful.’ We just don’t know.

      I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to speak with a gentleman who used to run the definitive school for LEO polygraph testing (Texas DPS.) He asserts that there are so many factors involved that it is inappropriate for a court to take into account.

      For instance, he would not test an autistic person. Said too much depends on the commonality of reactions and autism skews those reaction in unpredictable ways.

      • dragin_dragon

        Absolutely, slick. There are so many factors that effect a polygraph it is nearly unbelievable. I would never, ever trust one.

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