ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – News anchors, entertainment moguls, to high ranking political figures are being caught with their pants down, so to speak, as sexual harassment allegations are rocking from Hollywood to the Capital. So what do all these sexual harassment allegations mean? Is the liberal left getting boomerang reality check and mistakenly throwing stones in glass houses? With so much happening so fast, I thought it would be an interesting journey to explore this increasingly fast spiral talking with leaders about their opinions on the issue of sexual harassment.
HAS THE TRUMP ERA EMPOWERED WOMEN TO FINALLY SPEAK THEIR TRUTHS?
This dirty little secret has finally been given the freedom to be discussed, but we’re learning it really wasn’t a secret at all. During the past year we’ve probably heard more about sexual harassment than we have in decades. Certainly that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist, especially in the workplace. But now we’re learning that people in power, specifically in politics, entertainment, and the media are being successfully called out for their alleged indiscretions. Called out “BIGLY.”
The question isn’t so much who do we believe and who do we not believe. There’s multiple variables there from intention to truth. The real question is, who is next?
“There’s no room for sexual harassment in the workplace…and that includes Congress,” said Leland McKee, conservative political strategist. “I’ve worked for three Fortune 100 companies in management positions, had my own company and NEVER, not ONCE, harassed anyone in thirty years.”
McKee makes an interesting point. Most people who own a business or works in business management realizes that sexual harassment has far-reaching ramifications, often including termination. So why, in good conscience, would any elected official or high profiled person engage in such risky behavior? Is it because they’re drunken with their power and influence? Well as we learned this week, maybe it’s because they know there is a $17 million Congressional ”slush fund” to pay off or compensate their accusers?
This may very well be the swampiest thing to come out of all this: taxpayers are unknowingly and frequently paying for sexual harassment settlements?
Further, Senators like Al Franken and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are calling for investigations. How much will all the investigations being launched cost taxpayers especially at the rate they’re unfolding? Clearly the swamp is far more filthy than any of us realized.
DID THE TRUMP “GRAB’m” BUS TAPE BACKFIRE?
As most may recall, there was a hot mic conversation years ago between then businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump and a reporter from Access Hollywood. That tape, released during the later parts of the 2016 campaign and commonly referred to as “locker room talk,” worked to discredit the candidate and ultimately resulted in the firing of the reporter, Billy Bush, who allegedly leaked it.
Uniquely, what if the liberal agenda of trying to portray President Trump as a man against women in fact empowered real victims of Sexual Harassment to speak out? Did the President, by denouncing the media and false allegations, actually allow victims to pause and seek strength to speak out against the establishment and those in power?
“I believe when the media went after our President and he fought back…the people started questioning the legitimacy of the media and their better-than-us mentality,” said Michele DeBoer Nunnelley, a small business owner in Florida. “I believe it carried over in our workplaces, and in fact President Trump has given women and men voices to defend themselves and the truth on harassment in the workplace.” Nunnelley is an outspoken supporter of the President, but believes this is a nonpartisan issue. She continued, “In my twenties I was a single mother working at an Outback Steakhouse as a manager in training. Every day the managing partner harassed me. I never said anything for the same reason most don’t. I needed the job and lacked the confidence to confront him. Today would be much different for me. Trump is empowering people to speak out for themselves.”
As stories like this continue to come to light more and more men and women will muster the confidence to speak out regarding their accusers. We could just be seeing the tip of the iceberg with an avalanche of people finally saying #MeToo.
“There has been a culture in government and many businesses and industries where sexual harassment has been minimized with a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude,” says Chadwick Hardee, who is the Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County (FL) and candidate for Orange County School Board. He continued, “We now see the veil being removed and offenders being called out.”
With the recent announcement of NBC TODAY show anchor Matt Lauer being the latest to be terminated for sexual harassment allegations it’s clear the ramifications are far reaching and continuing to mount, no matter your position of influence. “There will be many more as we have seen people from nearly forty years ago coming forward. It is going to take years for many to gather the courage to come forward and as they do, more offenders will be called out,” concluded Hardee. Hardee is referring to a Judge Roy Moore accuser who came forward weeks ago with an allegation towards the Alabama Senate candidate. Uniquely, there’s been much pushback on Moore’s accusers and even the President has suggested, “Moore emphatically denies it.”
WHAT IS SEXUAL HARRASSMENT?
The easy answer is sexual harassment is any perceived uninvited advancement or obscene remark in the workplace or social setting towards another person, female or male for that matter. But have we come too far, in some cases, in what seemingly may amount to a compliment versus an action? For example, one could argue that if a male boss says to a female employee, “Looking really great today there, Jane,” that could be sexual harassment because it was an unsolicited remark at work. One could argue as well, as legendary actress Angela Lansbury said this week, “We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. We must sometime take blame.”
Certainly this opens up a plethora of arguments that women and men, in a desire to feel attractive to those around them in the workplace and socially, might invite some harassment, if you will, by dressing provocatively or wearing a certain type of cologne or makeup. The world would be a pretty boring place if we all dressed down and didn’t compliment a pretty woman or attractive male, so it simply comes down to what is the threshold of the receiver regarding their interpretation of sexual harassment? What we’re hearing of lately, however, isn’t the passing, “you look nice to today, Melania,” allegations, no. From Roger Ailes, to Senator Al Franken, Senator John Conyers stepping down from the House Judiciary Committee and so many more to come. We’re witnessing a Washington D.C. figuratively and literally with its pants down. “I think it’s all disgusting. I used to work in the restaurant industry where to get better schedules you’d have to sleep with the manager. I guess that’s why my shifts weren’t the greatest,” said Cheryl Hall, President of We The People for Donald Trump Club, based in Lake County, Florida. “Whether we like it or not, we live in a man’s world. I’m glad to see the media and politicians being called out for their hypocrisy. It’s about time.”
SHOULD THERE BE A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
Hardee’s concluding statement brings up an interesting discussion. When is too long to address being sexually harassed? Sexual harassment, assault and domestic abuse all come with a stigma that victimizes victims. Uniquely, as an example, with the accusers of Alabama Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore, many believe (four weeks prior to an election) there was a political intention to promote such an assault to sway the contentious election. Well, as is the case for Judge Moore, the voters of Alabama will decide next week who or what to believe. Sadly, they’ll have to believe the accuser or the accused, which means Moore, should he win, will have much work to do to garner the trust of his fellow Republicans many who have called for him to step aside.
Political Insider and Philanthropist Kim Justice noted, “As a nation, we can never allow a person to lose their livelihood or freedom based on allegations alone. America has the best justice system in the world. We must rely on it and the jury system. If we don’t…chaos.”
Maybe the best advice comes from our Vice President as suggested to me by Pierce Outlaw, a business owner and conservative radio personality on The American Adversaries radio show, “The media chided and made fun of Pence’s policy of never being alone with a woman who wasn’t his wife. He looks pretty darned smart now, doesn’t he?” Sadly, in a he-said-she-said world…this may be the safest approach, especially in the work environment.
Like the bible says, “The things done in the darkness shall be brought to the light and shouted from the house tops.” So it’s safe to say, as Rose Pagan Annabring commented on Facebook today, “You ain’t see[n] nothing yet.” By “nothing,” it could be everything is falling in the house of cards. The coming weeks and months and the results of the allegations and how swift the Justice system is could be a defining moment in our history– not just for women, but for balancing the powerful with reality.
Randy Ross is a political contributor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org