Tag Archives: sexual harassment

MTV no longer is ‘MTV’

This item just recently came across my grid. I won’t comment at all on the subject of it, but it does bring to mind a question I’ve been pondering for years.

Someone named “Nev” Schulman has been accused of making sexual remarks to women on his show “Catfish,” an MTV series.

OK. I’m done with that.

Here’s the question: Why did MTV do away with its original mission, which was to televise “music videos”? Doesn’t MTV stand for “Music Video Television”? Yes, I believe it does.

I haven’t watched anything that MTV shows since it abandoned its signature premise. I used to watch it all the time. I don’t know “Catfish” from “Blowfish.”

I understand MTV went to a “reality television” format, which is laughable on its face, given that no “reality” situation on TV bears any resemblance to actual reality.

MTV won’t return to showing music videos. I guess the network has hit a home run with the audience it has sought. I’m too old to get into the young’ns’ “reality TV” fetish.

It’s just that MTV had a good thing when it debuted in August 1981. Then it tossed it aside.

They had me … then they lost me.

Farenthold chooses to stiff his former constituents

So much for doing the right thing … yes, Blake Farenthold?

The former Corpus Christi congressman had a chance to pay back his constituents for the disgraceful way he exited public office, but has chosen to ignore the request from a fellow Republican politician, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott had demanded that Farenthold pay for the cost of a special election to replace him. You see, Farenthold quit Congress amid allegations of sexual harassment. He made matters even worse by dipping into a taxpayer-funded pool of money totaling $84,000 to pay off settlements leveled against him by former staffers.

Abbott said he is disappointed in Farenthold’s decision. He ought to feel worse than that. Let’s try “outraged,” or “insulted,” “mad as hell.”

Abbott’s letter to Farenthold noted that his disgraceful conduct was the sole reason for having the special election in the first place and that the former congressman owed it to his former constituents to pay for the election in full.

The Texas Tribune reported: A spokeswoman for Abbott called the decision “disappointing,” but said “it’s not surprising that his last act would be to stick taxpayers with the bill at the worst possible time.”

“While Mr. Farenthold may consider this resolved, we’re not closing the case on this issue,” said Ciara Matthews, Abbott’s deputy communications director.

Farenthold said he planned to repay the fund, but hasn’t yet done so. Any bets on whether he’ll deliver on that pledge? Don’t hold your breath.


Sexual misconduct charges: deal breaker for sure

One of those online “polls” showed up on MSN.com that asked the following: “Do sexual misconduct charges against celebrities affect your entertainment choices.”

Umm. Yep. By all means!

The roster of entertainment casualties keeps growing. What’s interesting, though, about the “poll” question is that the allegations — even those that aren’t yet proven — have doomed many celebrities’ careers.

Kevin Spacey is a goner. Bill Cosby is now a convicted felon. Harvey Weinstein isn’t likely to produce another film ever again. Dustin Hoffman is toast. The list is a lengthy one.

Check it out here.

Indeed, if I know that an actor is involved with a sexual harassment/abuse/assault allegation I am most likely never to spend a dime to watch his work ever again.

The same is true for assorted other controversies. Tom Cruise has made a spectacle of himself over the Scientology controversy that erupted around him years ago. I haven’t paid to see a Cruise film ever since.

Do politics factor in my entertainment decisions? Not in the least. One of my favorite actors is Clint Eastwood, a serious Republican. I do love the man’s art. Same for the late John Wayne, whose films I always enjoyed watching, even though I didn’t care for his political leanings.

But in this era of “Me Too” and “Time’s Up,” I find myself making entertainment choices based on whether the star of the show is caught up in allegations of sexual misconduct.

I also will presume that millions of others are making the same decisions based on the same criteria. That, I will suggest, will hit these low-lifes where it hurts the most.

Pushing back against the pushback

Allow me this chance to push back against some of the soreheads who have dismissed a demand that has come from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

The governor has written a letter to former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, a fellow Republican politician, demanding that he pay the full cost of the special election that will occur on June 30 to determine who should replace Farenthold in Congress.

Farenthold quit because of sexual harassment charges leveled against him. Then it was revealed that he took $84,000 in public money to cover the cost of lawsuit settlements involving the complaints of sexual harassment. Farenthold reportedly is seeking a second mortgage on his Corpus Christi home to raise the money to pay back the congressional fund.

Abbott said in his letter that Farenthold’s behavior is cause for the election and that he should pay for it — in its entirety.

The pushback came from those who reminded me that Abbott is campaigning for re-election. His demand, they suggest, is nothing than a sop to voters, a publicity stunt from a pol seeking some positive publicity.

To which I say: Baloney!

So what if it’s an election year? So what if Abbott is up for re-election? He is a strong favorite to win a second term, no matter who wins the upcoming Democratic Party primary runoff between Lupe Valdez and Andrew White. He doesn’t need the good PR.

Hey, I am in no way an Abbott apologist. I just want to recognize when a politician does the right thing even when it’s juxtaposed with the political context in which he does it.

Gov. Abbott has made a poignant political demand of a disgraced — and disgraceful — fellow Republican politician. My praise of the governor still stands.

There. Now I have pushed back.

Abbott makes bold demand of disgraced lawmaker

If I were wearing a hat at this moment, I would doff it toward Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

The Republican governor has put a fellow Republican former member of Congress on notice that he should pay the cost of a special election that is occurring because of the lawmaker’s disgraceful behavior.

Corpus Christi-area voters are going to the polls to elect someone to replace former Rep. Blake Farenthold, who resigned after being charged with several counts of sexual harassment.

Oh, but there’s more to this tale.

Farenthold took $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle lawsuits brought against him. He has pledged to pay the money back, but hasn’t done so, although he reportedly has applied for a second mortgage on his home to cover the cost of the planned reimbursement

So, Abbott is seeking him to pay it back in another fashion.

The governor has written Farenthold a letter demanding he pay for the election that will occur on June 30 to replace him in Congress.

According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times: “On behalf of voters in the 27th Congressional District and as Governor of the State of Texas, I am writing to demand that you cover all costs for the called special election to fill the seat now vacated following your resignation,” Abbott said in his letter. “While you have publicly offered to reimburse the $84,000 in taxpayer funds you wrongly used to settle a sexual harassment claim, there is no legal recourse requiring you to give that money back to Congress.”

There likely is no legal requirement for Farenthold to pay for the election. However, Gov. Abbott has rightfully put the heat squarely under Farenthold backside, seeking to shame him into doing the right thing by the congressional constituents he disgraced first by committing acts of sexual harassment and then dipping into the public fund to settle those lawsuits.

I’m not holding my breath waiting for Farenthold to act responsibly. Still, the governor’s letter and the demand it is making are spot on.

Another ‘Me Too’ congressman hits the road

Blake Farenthold, a Republican congressman from Corpus Christi, has quit. Good deal. Hit the road, dude!

This means Congress’s ranks of men accused of sexual harassment has thinned by one more.

Farenthold, though, is a bit of a special case. He isn’t your garden-variety sexual harasser. He happens to be someone who bilked taxpayers out of $84,000 to settle a harassment claim. You see, the money came from that mysterious fund that enables lawmakers to use the fund — which is public money — to pay off those who accuse them of personal misbehavior.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Farenthold has pledged to pay the money back. He hasn’t done so just yet. Hey, I thought this guy took out a personal to reimburse the fund. Isn’t that what was reported when the allegations came forth in the first place and when Farenthold announced his intention to retire at the end of his current term.

He’s thought differently about that. I won’t say “better,” because of the statement he issued when he announced his resignation effective immediately. “While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” Farenthold said.

Here’s a thought as this fellow begins his search for “new ways to serve”: Don’t harass anyone — sexually or otherwise.

Oh, and how about lobbying Congress to get rid of the fund?

Charen challenges Trump on harassment? Wow!

I had to re-read this item a couple of times before it sunk in.

Conservative columnist Mona Charen has actually challenge Republican “hypocrisy” regarding sexual harassment and allegations that have been leveled against at least one prominent GOP politician.

Yep. Mona Charen. She’s a staunch defender of Donald Trump. She has stood shoulder to shoulder with the president on all manner of policy issues.

However, she bravely challenged the party’s stance on sexual harassment and the “mulligans” it keeps giving the president.

As The Hill reports:

“I am disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women,” Charen said, without mentioning the president’s name.

“And because he happens to have an ‘R’ after his name, we look the other way, we don’t complain,” she added.

Charen, of course, didn’t have to mention the name of the fellow who is “sitting in the White House.”

I’ll do it here. It’s Donald John Trump Sr., the hypocrite in chief.

Another one bites the dust

The number of congressmen being sunk by sex scandal has grown by one more.

The latest lawmaker to bail from the 2018 midterm election is Rep. Pat Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican. Meehan had been the subject of a lot of chatter about a sexual harassment complaint that a former staffer filed against him.

Meehan said he talked it over with his wife and children and decided against seeking another term this year.

So it goes. There have been other members of Congress who have bailed. They include senators and House members of both political parties.

It’s the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements together that have heightened our awareness of this systemic problem.

In Meehan’s case, there might be other concerns, too, that prompted his decision to forgo another re-election campaign. He represents a congressional district that Hillary Rodham Clinton carried in the 2016 presidential election. Might there have been something other than a sexual harassment complaint that came into play?

Some commentators have predicted a thundering herd of politicians heading for the exits as more women come forward with complaints. It appears they are correct.

Expecting more from our elected officials

I’m hearing the first hint of grumbling over the “Me Too” movement and fallout.

It comes from those who are wondering whether we’re expecting too much of our elected officials who’ve been caught abusing women sexually. Are we asking that only prudes can qualify for public service?

I’m as liberated a male as there is, but I remain fairly old-fashioned on some matters. I don’t believe in knowing the sex of unborn children; I hate the designated hitter rule in baseball … just for example.

Moreover, I expect my elected officials to represent the very best of the people they represent. They are our ambassadors. They are supposed to appeal to the very best of in all of us.

The accusations of sexual misbehavior and misconduct are troubling in the extreme to yours truly.

Yeah, yeah … I understand that no one is perfect. I don’t demand perfection, however. I merely want the individuals we elect to public office to know how to treat other human beings. Threatening them with the loss of job if they don’t “perform” is not part of the routine I want them to follow.

Let’s understand that they work for us. We are the bosses, not them. If they don’t behave the way we want or expect them to behave, they need to prepare to get the boot from those of us who expect more of them.

Capitol Hill gripped by fear of harassment

It’s come down to this.

Members of Congress — senators and House members — are being harassed and hassled themselves by bogus complaints alleging sexual harassment.

What has become of this scandal? Has it grown to something no one recognizes?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has had to fend off a fake complaint, as has Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Yes, this issue is real. It has reached scandalous proportions as scores of women have levied credible, legitimate complaints against powerful men in government. Three of them have been forced to resign; others are declaring their intention to bow out after the 2018 midterm election.

Some of these accusations involve some truly hideous conduct.

But there now appears to be some evidence of bogus allegations surfacing.

Let’s be careful — shall we? — as we continue to grapple with this matter.

We have complaints being lodged against none other than the president of the United States. Many of those complaints seem quite credible, in my humble view. The president has called them liars and said their accusations are part of a “fake news” effort to undermine him.

Then we have comments from the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, saying that all complaints “need to be heard.” I agree with her.

Be careful of fear

Then again, let us be take care that we don’t push the sexual harassment panic button at every single complaint. Human beings are quite capable of tricking the rest of us.

As Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “You want to have a welcome environment to report abuse — you don’t want to deter victims. But you’ve got to have enough due process and scrutiny to make sure it’s accurate.”

“I think this environment is pretty crazy right now,” Graham added, and “what happened to Sen. Schumer is a concern to a lot of us.”