Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Sexual harassment hits all communities

Sexual harassment is in the air. Maybe it’s in the water.

A one-time major-league Hollywood mogul’s career has been destroyed by allegations of his untoward behavior against women.

A “Me Too” movement has emerged, with women coming forward to reveal their own exposure to sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Now a school district at the very top of the Texas Panhandle is dealing with a potentially burgeoning controversy involving sexual harassment. Two top Perryton Independent School District administrators — Superintendent Robert Hall and Assistant Superintendent Keith Langfitt — have resigned. Both men had been accused of sexual harassment. They both were on paid administrative leave.

I am going to take a leap here and suggest that their resignations likely mean there had to be merit to the allegations that had been leveled against them.

The details of the complaints remain sketchy. I hope the school district will reveal the nature of the allegations leveled against these two men. I am not suggesting that Perryton ISD officials reveal the names of the victims of the activity that’s being alleged.

The community, though, would be well-served if it learns about what was going on in secret in a publicly funded institution that has such a direct impact on the lives of taxpayers — and their children.

‘Paid leave’ while investigating wrongdoing?

I’ve only worked one public service job in my entire life — if you don’t count the two years I served in the U.S. Army: six months as a juvenile corrections officer in Randall County; the job didn’t work out for me.

Public service employment does have its quirks that are unique to it and not usually found in the private sector. Take the issue of “paid administrative leave.”

The Perryton (Texas) Independent School District superintendent is on paid leave after someone filed a sexual harassment complaint against him; the assistant superintendent also has taken paid leave. The school board is considering what to do about Superintendent Robert Hall and Assistant Superintendent Keith Langfitt.

I don’t know about the nature of the complaint that’s been filed against these fellows. I won’t comment at all on that.

Pay now or pay later

I do find it curious that a public institution would continue to pay someone a hefty salary while he awaits his fate at the hands of his employer, in this case the Perryton ISD board of trustees.

If these fellows worked for a private company, they likely would be suspended without pay. Done deal. Don’t ask questions. We’ll get back to you when we decide.

Suppose the Perryton school board had decided to withhold payments to Hall and Langfitt. Suppose, too, that a careful investigation clears them of the complaint. Couldn’t the school board then reimburse them for back pay when they returned to work? Paying them while they are on “administrative leave” exposes the school district to being stuck with the salary tab if the complaints are shown to have merit.

Legalities sometimes get in the way of common sense.

Hillary is right: We’ve got serious sexual conduct issues to answer

Harvey Weinstein, the film producer and mentor to the stars, apparently has a serious problem  on his hands. He stands accused of sexually molesting women. He is seeking help for his problem, but his career likely is toast — as it should be.

Then we have another notable individual, the president of the United States of America, who’s actually acknowledged groping women and, in effect, committing sexual assault.

Hillary Clinton addressed both men’s issues in a United Kingdom television interview.

As The Hill reported: “Look, we just elected someone who admitted sexual assault to the presidency. So there’s a lot of other issues that are swirling around these kinds of behaviors that need to be addressed,” Clinton said when asked if she had heard rumors of Weinstein’s behavior before the bombshell reports. “I think it’s important that we stay focused, and shine a bright spotlight, and try to get people to understand how damaging this is,” she continued.

No one should dismiss what Weinstein has been accused of doing. That he would check himself into a rehab clinic is an acknowledgment that he has done what many women have accused him of doing.

The astonishing aspect of this is that while the media are zeroing in on Weinstein we seem to have looked askance at what the leader of the free world has admitted doing. The “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump admitting in 2005 to hideous behavior with women raised a ruckus for only a brief period before this fellow was elected president of the United States.

Do values matter?

Many of us talk all the time about “values” and their impact on contemporary culture. We expect our elected leaders to be paragons of virtue. We bristle — or at least we used to bristle — when they don’t measure up.

Donald Trump has defied every conventional norm one can name in his quest for the presidency.

Should we be alarmed at what Harvey Weinstein is alleged to have done? Certainly. But what about the president?

‘We all make mistakes?’ Seriously?

Harvey Weinstein hasn’t said much in public since these allegations surfaced about sexual harassment and rape.

The longtime film producer, mentor to many of the film industry’s superstars and a deep-pocketed Democratic Party financial donor, is in serious trouble. Stars are dropping him like a bad habit; politicians are donating money Weinstein sent them to charities relating to sexual harassment.

So, what does this guy say about his hideous alleged behavior?

“Everyone makes mistakes,” he said this week while piling into an SUV. Yes, Harv, everyone makes mistakes. You know, things like bouncing a check, or being late with a credit card payment, or running a red light in a busy intersection.

Not “everyone” sexually harasses women or tries to rape them.

We aren’t talking about a simple “mistake,” dude. We are talking, though, about sexual predation.

Sordid past catches up with this mogul

Harvey Weinstein once was called “God” by award-winning actor Meryl Streep.

Well, it looks like Streep’s version of “God” has taken a mighty fall and he’s feeling it right where it hurts.

Weinstein is a once-notable agent to the stars and a big-time Democratic Party donor. It turns out the fellow’s got a seedy, sordid and salacious past.

Allegations of sexual harassment — and even rape — have emerged to sink this guy, who this week was actually fired from the company he co-founded. Actors have bailed on him left and right. Women have come forward to accuse him of seeking to do naughty things with and to them.

To make matters worse — and yes they can get worse — Weinstein’s wife has announced she’s leaving him.

Oh, and then there’s the political side of it. All those Democratic pols, particularly the women who run for or who currently occupy public office? They’re donating the cash that Weinstein gave to their political efforts to charities, notably those that deal with women who are abused or harassed.

I get that we’re talking virtually about allegations. I haven’t heard of anything that’s been proven.

But this big-time big hitter is paying the price he likely ought to pay. All those allegations — they appear to be countless — seem to add up to a disgusting and disgraceful past that has caught up with this guy.

Sexual harassment: the ‘norm’ at Fox News?

Eric Bolling has joined a growing list of Fox News talking heads to take a fall because of sexual harassment allegations.

I believe it’s a fair point to ask here what others in other forums have asked already: Is there some kind of corporate culture at Fox that promotes  — or perhaps condones — this kind of thing?

I’m going to go easy on Bolling, whose son has just died suddenly. The man is hurting.

But we’ve had the late Roger Ailes resign as the head man at Fox News in the wake of sexual harassment charges brought against him by the likes of former anchor Gretchan Carlson.

Then the big fish got caught on the sexual harassment hook: Bill O’Reilly was shown the door, again after sexual harassment charges were leveled against the prime-time star. Bill O denied any wrongdoing, even though he — and Fox — shelled out tens of millions of dollars in out-of-court settlements.

I don’t watch Fox as a rule, not because of the sexual harassment allegations, but because of its right-wing political slant, which I find objectionable.

However, I am a fan of at least a couple of the network’s shining stars: Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith both manage to seek and tell the truth reasonably and without outward bias.

I also used to be a huge fan of the late Tony Snow, with whom I was acquainted. I loved a story that Snow once told me about his “mission every Sunday” while he hosted “Fox News Sunday” was to get commentators Brit Hume and Juan Williams — who Snow described as his best friend at the network — to “get into a fight” on the air.

Well, that was then.

The here and now has the network reeling from yet another high-profile talking head tumbling out the door.

Sad, man. Sad.

See ya later, Bob Beckel

Bob Beckel’s dismissal from the Fox News Channel isn’t as big a deal as, say, Bill O’Reilly’s firing or that of the late Roger Ailes.

It’s still a big deal, however.

Fox canned Beckel today in connection with racially insensitive remarks he made to a fellow network employee. Beckel was one of the co-hosts of “The Five,” a network news talk show that airs weekday afternoons. He leans to the left politically and usually found himself on the short end of a gang fight with his co-hosts, most of whom lean to the right.

I always found it fascinating that Beckel was seen as a political “expert.” Why the fascination? Well, he shepherded Democratic nominee Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign to a 49-state landslide loss to President Ronald Reagan.

Fox’s quick dismissal of Beckel does suggest to many observers that the network has been sensitized to misbehavior by its on-air personalities. O’Reilly was canned after revelations came out about the sexual harassment settlements to which he agreed; several women accused O’Reilly of harassing them. And then there is Ailes, the network founder who was let go also for sexual harassment claims leveled against him; Ailes died this week at the age of 77.

I won’t miss Beckel. For starters, I don’t generally watch Fox News. When I have tuned in, I have found Beckel’s analysis to be seriously underwhelming.

Kudos go to Fox for its quick action. Heaven knows the network has taken a beating over the way it (mis)handled the sexual harassment matters.

May this firing signal a change in the corporate culture at the “fair and balanced” network.

O’Reilly gets the boot … then he gets a lot of dough!

I am not too proud to admit that I do not know about a lot of things.

The Bill O’Reilly story has me confused. I’m baffled, befuddled and bedeviled.

Some women accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment. He paid some of them with millions of dollars in settlements. Fox News Channel, where O’Reilly worked until just the other day, shelled out big money, too, to the women.

Advertisers bailed from O’Reilly’s show, costing the network millions of dollars in revenue. O’Reilly then goes on “vacation.” Fox decided this week to cut O’Reilly loose. O’Reilly has denied the accusations of harassment.

Fox felt the pinch from the revenue loss.

But then the network has decided to pay its former talk-show colossus the equivalent of a full year’s salary.

How much is that? It’s being reported to be in the neighborhood of $25 million.

If someone is let go for cause — which is how I am interpreting Fox’s decision to part company with O’Reilly — how does a former employer justify paying out that kind of cash?

What in the name of TV ratings am I missing?

Life isn’t fair, right, Bill O’Reilly?

We all can admit what we know, that life sometimes just isn’t fair.

It deals harsh retribution for some of us, while others seemingly get away with similar — if not even worse — behavior.

I present to you two cases of men who reportedly have treated women badly. One of them is a noted television news commentator/pundit/ correspondent/personality; the other is a well-known politician.

Fox News Channel has just cut Bill O’Reilly loose after revelations about allegations of sexual harassment became known. None of us can predict at this moment whether O’Reilly’s broadcast career is over. Suffice to say, though, that it doesn’t look good.

It is true that O’Reilly received a healthy severance from his former employer. It’s also true that the allegations from several women haven’t been adjudicated, even though O’Reilly and Fox have doled out substantial settlement payments to several of the complainants.

O’Reilly’s reputation is in tatters and will require substantial repair — if it’s even reparable.

The politician?

That would be Donald John Trump, 45th president of the United States of America.

What did this individual do? Oh, let’s see. He is heard on a 2005 “hot mic” recording collected by “Access Hollywood” actually bragging about how he has sexually assaulted women, grabbing them by their, um, genital area. What gave him license to do such a thing? Trump told Billy Bush that he could do it because he’s a “star” and that his status as a big-time celebrity somehow enabled him to act like an animal.

This recording became known during the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign. What price did Trump pay for it? Hardly nothing.

He got elected with 304 electoral votes on Nov. 8.

There you have it. The president of the United States is an admitted sexual assailant.

OK, the cases aren’t entirely parallel. Fox News suffered a serious decline in revenue as advertisers withdrew from O’Reilly’s nightly TV show. Trump didn’t have that particular staring him down as the chatter mounted over his “Access Hollywood” recording. All the Republican presidential nominee had to face was whether enough voters would be sickened enough by the revelation to turn to another candidate, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Trump apparently felt immunized sufficiently by his victory in the election to offer a word of support for O’Reilly, calling him a “good person” while the sexual harassment allegations began piling up around him.

I have no solution to this dichotomy. I simply remain baffled beyond belief — given what he has acknowledged about his behavior — that one of the principals in this blog was able to ascend to the highest office in the land.

Is a ‘culture change’ in store at cable network?

21st-Century Fox made it official today: Bill O’Reilly, the company’s No. 1 blowhard and ratings juggernaut is gone.

He won’t be returning from his “long-planned vacation,” which commenced suddenly in the middle of this past week.

The reason for O’Reilly’s departure? A steady stream of negative publicity relating to sexual harassment complaints leveled against the veteran TV talk-show host.

O’Reilly paid out millions of bucks to women who had filed the complaints, all the while maintaining his innocence. Interesting, yes? Well, I think so. Fox News Channel coughed up a lot of cash, too, to women who had griped about O’Reilly’s treatment of them.

These media stories usually become the stuff of inter-network gossip. Competing networks — chiefly CNN and MSNBC — have had a field day covering this story for their audiences; Fox, meanwhile, hasn’t done much reporting at all on the difficulties that O’Reilly has brought to the network.

He’s gone now.

For me, it’s no great loss. I quit listening to O’Reilly a couple of Christmas seasons ago when he would allege that some phony “war on Christmas” was being waged by the “mainstream media” and assorted “left-wing pinheads.”

O’Reilly will get a big chunk of cash for, essentially, being fired for cause by Fox. That’s another part of these celebrity stories that baffles me. A big-ticket media talking head screws up, makes a big mistake — in this case, allegedly, several big mistakes — and he’s still able to walk away with a hefty severance package.

Whatever …

See ya in the funny papers, Bill.

As for the network, it lost its news boss — Roger Ailes — over similar accusations. Women have suggested there exists a “culture” of sexual harassment at Fox.

Perhaps we are witnessing a fundamental change in that culture and that female journalists and other “contributors” will feel more welcome and accepted for the talent they bring.