We cannot be selective about exposing abusers and holding them to account


I recently discussed this issue of sexual harassment and abuse with some female friends who were roughly of my age and they shared stories of utterly inappropriate behavior that they experienced at the hands of their male bosses decades earlier when they were younger. They had not reported it to the authorities for the usual reasons, many of which should by now be well known to everyone.

Samantha Bee makes the important point that it is easy to attack the behavior of those whom we despise or do not care much about because they are merely celebrities. The real test is whether we also do so with those who are in positions of importance and whom we think are on ‘our’ side politically such as US senator Al Franken, or people whose work we have admired for whatever reason. We should not avert our gaze in the latter cases if we hope to ever get rid ourselves of this kind of behavior. In order to deter future abusers, they must live in fear that they will be exposed at some point and suffer consequences, whoever they are.

Bee also talks, from first hand experience, about what it is like to be a woman in the comedy world (spoiler alert: it is not much fun) and urges fellow female comedy writers to take this window of opportunity of heightened sensitivity (which may not last, sadly) to not let others push them around, silence, and browbeat them but to assert themselves and take charge, because the future of comedy is theirs.

Comments

  1. says

    As much as I want to say that it isn’t like those “other” guys, I can’t imagine myself touching someone when they are sleeping and not aware like that.

    And, there is picture proof.

  2. KG says

    The real test is whether we also do so with those who are in positions of importance and whom we think are on ‘our’ side politically such as US senator Al Franken, or people whose work we have admired for whatever reason.

    Does that include Julian Assange? I seem to recall (before Assange’s collusion with the Trump campaign was revealed) a marked tendency here to denigrate his accusers and buy into his tall tales about how what he feared in Sweden* was extradition to the USA.

    *Which Assange is on record as denouncing as “the Saudi Arabia of feminism” – a phrase which one might have thought would give some of his defenders pause.

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