Undoubtedly, you followed the stories of the seemingly endless line of women accusing famous and influential men of sexual harassment. These women had kept their silence, some for decades, for fear that speaking out would ruin their careers. The allegations sparked the #MeToo movement, which encouraged other victims of sexual harassment to come forward and hold their harassers and abusers accountable.
If you are ready to take a stand following your own experiences with harassment in the workplace, you may hesitate because your coworkers may admire the person who has made your job hostile. Perhaps your abuser is even a public figure, and you fear no one will believe you or think your allegations have merit.
The fall of the powerful
You will not be the first to make a startling revelation, and you may find it helpful to remember some of the most shocking events in the #MeToo movement, including:
- Roger Ailes: Arguably, the walls that shielded many alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment began to crumble when Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against the chairman and CEO of Fox News. Following her accusations of unwanted sexual overtures, more women began to detail similar experiences with Ailes, some of whom had lost their jobs because they refused him.
- Bill O’Reilly: Another Fox News giant against whom five women complained of verbal and sexual harassment caused many to wonder about the atmosphere of entitlement in network television. Mark Halperin of MSNBC, Charlie Rose of CBS and others all lost their jobs after women accused them of unwanted advances or sexual assault. Perhaps you felt most shocked by Matt Lauer of NBC, whose sudden departure from “The Today Show” came after revelations of years of pervasive sexual assault on employees.
- Harvey Weinstein: You have probably seen many of this influential director’s movies, but his career ended abruptly when numerous female actors and assistants accused him of assault and rape, saying he threatened to ruin their careers if they refused. He was apparently not the only Hollywood director to use his power over hopeful actors.
- Kevin Spacey: Academy Awards could not protect this acclaimed actor from allegations that he assaulted at least eight people, both in the past and on the set of his current series, “House of Cards.” Most of the accusers were young men, some of whom said Spacey allegedly took advantage of them when they were minors. Numerous other actors have fallen under the weight of harassment allegations, including Dustin Hoffman and Richard Dreyfuss.
- Al Franken: One of many politicians facing charges of inappropriate behavior toward women, Franken’s accuser produced pictures of him groping her while she slept. This turned the attention of the #MeToo movement to the hostile environment in Washington and state politics.
Like many, you probably found the #MeToo movement inspiring, and you may have wanted to speak up about your own experiences. However, many things that happen so glamorously in Hollywood or the nation’s capital don’t always translate in your life. Nevertheless, you have rights, and a dedicated New York attorney can help you protect those rights in the workplace.