There’s a serious problem that’s gaining a ton of media coverage: sexual harassment. It’s insane how many women, famous or not, have stepped out and confessed their stories. And now it seems like some of Hollywood’s big faces are going downhill such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, talent agent Adam Venit, and ex-NBC television host and journalist Matt Lauer.
When hearing the name Adam Venit, very few have heard of the talent agent and Hollywood Executive who managed the careers of Emma Stone, Eddie Murphy, and Adam Sandler. But recently, famous actor Terry Cruz accused Venit of sexual assault back in February 2016. It started at an event where Cruz attended with his wife and Adam Sandler where during so, Venit had been fielding stares at Cruz the whole night in an uncomfortable manner. When Venit finally approached him, Cruz offered his hand but Venit grabbed Cruz’s genitals instead. Men can be victims of sexual harassment too, they shouldn’t feel like this doesn’t affect them because of their masculinity. It wasn’t for a year and a half later where Crews filed a report against Venit for sexual assault stating, “People need to be held accountable. This is an abuse of power. He’s one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.” Terry Cruz’s case shows that women aren’t the only ones coming out with accusations of sexual assault. He is representing the majority of men in Hollywood still silent despite the copious amount of allegations coming out.
From 1997-2017, Matt Lauer was a recurring host on NBC on popular shows like the Today Show and Dateline NBC. He’s interviewed many famous people including President Vladimir Putin and Prince William. On November 29, NBC received a complaint from a colleague disclosing information about Lauer’s inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace back in 2014. Andy Lack, NBC news chairman, in a later statement went on to state, “we’ve decided to terminate his (Lauer’s) employment. While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
After this allegation surfaced the internet, Times wrote that NBC has received to further complaints. So far, all women have chosen to stay anonymous but one came forward in Times telling of her account. She was summoned to his office in 2001 where he sexually assaulted her and caused her to pass out., later she was taken to a nurse. To Times, she said that, “she felt helpless because she didn’t want to lose her job, and that she didn’t report the encounter at the time because she felt ashamed.” In Lauer’s statement, he confirmed there was, “enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” further adding, “It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”
Now it’s politicians taking the spotlight. KABC radio anchor, Leeann Tweeden, accused Al Franken for aggressively kissing her in 2006 while on USO tour. He’s also pictured groping her breasts while she was asleep on an airplane, according to Fox News.
Then Joe Biden. Although he hasn’t been accused of any sexual allegations, there’s photos floating around the Internet of him smelling, touching, hugging, and whispering to women as well as little girls; and by the looks on their faces, it’s evident they’re completely uncomfortable.
Even the president, Donald Trump, stated his sexual attempt onto a married woman and made inappropriate remarks regarding women on tape recorded by Access Hollywood in 2005. Who knows what else is happening with the other politicians.
And if you think this issue doesn’t concern you because it doesn’t affect you, you are terribly wrong. Sexual harassers are everywhere and do not only exist as politicians or Hollywood stars, they can be the average person. They can be your mailman, your neighbor, your teacher, your coworker, your boss, your friend, and even your family.
It is unfair to live in a society in fear of potentially being sexually harassed, anywhere you turn. In a 2014 U.S. national 2000 person survey from Stop Street Harassment, approximately 65% of women and 25% of men (mostly LGBTQ identified) have experienced some form of street harassment and that’s just street harassment alone. Who knows where the numbers lie in the workforce, college campuses, etc.
Being harassed is one thing, publicly coming forward and making a statement is another. Often times, women fear of coming out if their harasser is someone of importance- such as their boss. When Janice Dickinson was asked on Entertainment Tonight why she took 32 years to publicly accuse Bill Cosby of sexual harassment, it was because she was “ afraid of being labelled a whore or a slut and trying to sleep my way to the top of a career that never took place.”
140 women from legislators and lobbyists from California have signed a letter addressing the “pervasive culture of sexual harassment” according to the LA Times. 2016 was a year where everybody’s favorites celebrities died. 2017 is a year where everybody’s favorite celebrities are sexual predators. Men and women can be the victims or the sexual harassers. There is a crack of opportunity to change and if Hollywood can fire the sexual harassers, why hasn’t the same been done with politicians?