Accusations of sexual harassment carry serious consequences, even when those accused leave behind the hostile work environments that they created to take a job in a similar industry.
Not even two months into his new position as the New York Mets general manager, baseball executive Jared Porter was forced to admit that he engaged in sexual harassment while he was with the Chicago Cubs. His target was a female reporter who received more than 60 unsolicited and unwanted text messages that were highly sexual in nature.
Sports network ESPN broke the story, publishing the account on January 18th. The reporter was a foreign correspondent who moved to the United States specifically to cover professional baseball. She met Porter in a Yankee Stadium elevator in June of 2016. The chance encounter started with casual texts before taking on a more sinister and sexual tone.
What seemed to be innocent conversations were actually seeds planted by the Porter that resulted in overt sexual harassment. Requests to meet went ignored. He took it to another level, sending sexualized images of himself. Perhaps fearing the consequences, several apologetic texts soon followed from the baseball executive.
When confronted with the allegations, Porter’s initial confession was half-hearted as he admitted to texting the reporter. However, he denied that he shared any images, claiming that they were stock photos meant to be humorous.
What isn’t funny are the reasons behind the victim’s longtime silence and reluctance to tell her story. It represents an all too common concern that keeps sexual harassment victims silent.
The accuser did not want her truthful allegations to affect her employment prospects.
It was only the decision to pursue a new career that motivated her to come forward. Sadly, those who hold high-profile positions of significant power know all too well that their victims feel forced to remain silent to protect their own jobs, allowing the cycle to continue.
Twelve hours after the story came to light, the Mets terminated Porter’s contract. His tenure that started on December 13th ended a little more than a month later. Perhaps the only commonality he has with his victim is a career change as well.