Who would you be shocked to see accused by the #MeToo movement?

The recent spate of accusations of sexual harassment and abuse has netted many prominent people. While this has of course caused considerable consternation, it struck me that once the names were revealed, there was no one for whom I was utterly shocked. I want to distinguish being shocked from deeply disappointed, which is what you feel when people whom you admired for their skills (such as Kevin Spacey’s acting) or thought were on the right side of issues you care about turn out to have done such things. I mean being shocked because what you could glean about the person from their public persona seems utterly at odds with such actions.

This made me try and think about which people would really shock me if they were accused. It is hard enough to gauge people whom we know personally as to what they are really like, so trying to do so at a distance with public figures is almost impossible since we can never really tell based on what we see in the media. But even with that limitation, I gave it a go.

One name that came to mind was Stephen Colbert. Every report I had heard about him from people who have met or worked with him suggest that he is an extremely decent human being. As Mark Frauenfelder writes:

I had the privilege of being on the Colbert Report twice. Each time, Colbert came into the green room and spent about 20 minutes chatting with me. He was really nice. I also noticed that the crew adored him and had a great relationship with him.

Below is a one-hour interview with Colbert where he talks about the mechanics of running his current show. I had not known that the show is taped straight through live before an audience from 5:30 to 6:30 pm before being shown on TV at 11:30pm. He talks about how on election night in 2016, they ran the show live at 11:00 pm and had to deal with the most unexpected outcome of the four possibilities they had considered, where the fact of Trump winning became clear early on. He also talks about what he had to do to get increased diversity in the writing room. Now half are white men while the rest are women and people of color.

Another person whom I would be shocked to see accused is Yo Yo Ma. I was reminded of Ma because of an appearance on NPR last Friday where he spoke about his lifelong relationship with Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 and how that relationship has evolved as he grew older.

You can see a video of the slightly longer interview below.

Apart from being an acclaimed cellist and supportive of a wide array of worthy causes, Ma seems to be a really nice person, modest, self-effacing, and also playful. These qualities shine through in the above interview and also in two of his multiple appearances on Sesame Street from many years ago. Here is the first appearance.

In the second, he allows Hoots the Owl to make fun of his name before they have a Deliverance dueling banjos type of interaction.

Another person I would be shocked to see accused is Seth Meyers.

I am sure that if I think hard enough, I could add to that list but it was rather sad that more names did not immediately come to mind.

I would be curious to see what names readers would like to add in the comments.


  1. says

    As it turns out, Asia Argento is both a victim and a perpetrator. That said, I would still be very shocked to see Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino make the list.

    For men in the industry, I’m at a point where I wouldn’t be shocked by anyone, just saddened.

  2. DonDueed says

    Alan Alda.

    I was also going to mention Mr. Rogers, and Bob Keeshan (“Captain Kangaroo”) before him.

    Bill Cosby was a pretty big shock to me, as I hadn’t heard any of the earlier, less publicized accusations.

    … I hope we’re not jinxing anybody here in this thread.

  3. Mano Singham says

    Alan Alda is another good choice.

    I was not shocked by Cosby at all. He always had that self-righteous streak, moralizing to young black people in a smug, patronizing way, that made him look sleazy to me.

  4. fwtbc says

    Tom Hanks and Steve Martin are the first two that come to mind. John Candy is also someone I can’t imagine ever being anything other than a gentleman.

    Rick Moranis and Patton Oswalt are two other names that come to mind. I think maybe because they both seem like very devoted fathers, which I realise can probably be said about many abusers, but it does humanise them in my mind and makes it harder to imagine them being sleazebags and predators.

    I actually played this same “game” with a friend about a year ago. If I wanted, I could almost give you an exact date because she named Kevin Spacey and then a day or two later…

  5. Trickster Goddess says

    From among those I personally encountered while working in the film industry, I would say Tommy Lee Jones and Jeff Goldblum.

  6. says

    Mr. Rogers touched me.

    Of course, he had my permission. I was a tiny little thing -- 4 years old -- and Mr Rogers came to town. The local public broadcasting unit (Oregon Public Broadcasting) was using his appearance as a fund raising opportunity or something (I really don’t know, I was 4) and my parents told me it was possible to meet Mr. R. They asked if I would want that, & I said yes.

    Like two months later, or maybe two weeks -- which either way was FOREVER -- Mr. Rogers came to town and read to a group of 30 or 40 kids. I was one. Near the end, he invited anyone in the group who wanted a hug to come up and get one. There was a rush of children -- definitely more than half -- towards Mr Rogers. I might have gone up. I was the kind of kid that appreciated hugs, and I wasn’t that shy. But the rush was too much for me and I stayed seated while 20+ kids glommed onto him all at once.

    When he’d patted all the heads and given a little bit of attention to each, they were shepherded back to their places & Mr Rogers, acutely aware of child psychology, asked if there might be any kids who still wanted a hug but hadn’t gotten one yet. I’m sure I wasn’t the only kid intimidated by the earlier press and I’m sure this wasn’t the only time when Mr. Rogers had interacted with kids who were intimidated by a similar press. I got up and started forward … but no other kids did. So I got a very kind hug with more individual attention than anyone else got. Of course, I hadn’t planned any such thing, I’d thought my chance for a hug had passed by, but I did end up getting a moment of very personal attention from Mr. Rogers.

    I’ve never forgotten that day, and the way he read to us, the way he listened to us, the way he encouraged us to speak, the way he shared his respect and affection were all just what you would expect from his television persona, and even more genuine. Obviously you don’t lean much about a person by being in the room with them for an hour. Nor do you remember information perfectly 4 decades later. But what little i can add to the information we have from his television show and from media accounts of his personality and his life all confirms just what you would expect: Fred Rogers appears to be a truly kind, generous, moral man.

    Yeah. I would be shocked. There aren’t many people who could shock me by being accused of something as common as sexual harassment, but Fred Rogers is definitely one.

    If I had to name another? Author Suzanne Pharr would probably top that list.

  7. says

    I hadn’t read the comments before I posted, though i had seen Mr Rogers mentioned as I was in the process of scrolling down.

    Now having read the comments I find it interesting that Tabby is the only person to name any women. Are there really no women who would shock the commenters on this post? Or is it that it doesn’t even occur to you that women might be perpetrators, so you didn’t imagine being shocked at an accusation because you can’t even imagine the accusation?

    in any case, I stand by Suzanne Pharr. I don’t know enough about Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino, but I have to say I’d be surprised if Dame Judy Dench was accused. Not shocked, there’s a lot about her I don’t know, but surprised.

  8. SB says

    James Gunn. If he hasn’t been accused yet then the accusers are either dead or under a rock somewhere.

  9. Holms says

    For my part, it’s more that women are rarely the predators, and so any woman turning out to be one is inherently more surprising than a man being one.

  10. Mano Singham says

    Another name that came to mind later is James Garner. I would be shocked if he were accused of abuse.

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