It has been a difficult couple of months for high profile, influential men. Multiple women came forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Since then, the dominoes have been falling. Men in a variety of industries have resigned, been fired or experienced other fallout after accusations emerged that they were involved in sexual harassment. The accusations include conduct ranging from inappropriate text messages to rape.
The list of names is distinguished for cases where there has been significant fallout: John Lasseter, Glenn Thrush, Al Franken, Steve Jurvetson, Eddie Berganza, Andrew Kreisberg, Louis C.K., Roy Moore, Benjamin Genocchio, Jeffrey Tambor, Ed Westwick, David Guillod, Jeff Hoover, Brett Ratner, Kirt Webster, Andy Dick, Michael Oreskes, Hamilton Fish, Kevin Spacey, Ken Baker, Mark Halperin, Rick Najera, Knight Landesman, Leon Wieseltier, Terry Richardson, James Toback, John Besh, Lockhart Steele, Robert Scoble, Chris Savino, Roy Price, Andy Signore, Harvey Weinstein.
Some of the names I recognized and was disappointed. Some didn't surprise me. A number of them acknowledged their behavior and apologized. Abject denial came from others. The only name that got to me was Charlie Rose.
With Charlie, it was personal. I've allowed him into my home on a regular basis. I listened to him. I liked him. I trusted and believed him. Typically, I find morning television programming with its sunny, superficial banter nauseating. I watched Charlie and co-anchors Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell on “CBS This Morning." I loved the show’s signature "eye opener" — "Your World in 90 Seconds," but the theme was different Tuesday morning. The "eye-opener" was Charlie, as Gayle and Norah told their audience how much they were shaken by allegations of sexual harassment against The man who sat beside them most mornings.
He was fired by CBS for the harassment of at least eight women, including groping and lewd phone calls. Bloomberg and PBS canceled distribution of his interview show, “Charlie Rose.”
Charlie responded: “I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”
And with that statement, my morning routine changed.
I appreciate the fact women in all of these cases have had the courage to come forward. In some cases, it happened quickly. In other cases, it took decades which has led some to question the credibility of the accusers — as though time diminishes the truth. If the allegations are true, does it matter when the incidents occurred?
Some women lack the courage to advocate for themselves; some need jobs and fear retribution and years ago, society was more tolerant of harassment. Unfortunately, too many men feel they are entitled — and even worse, Americans have tolerated their behavior and rewarded it.
Look no further than the Oval Office. Former President Bill Clinton. Did what he did and remained president. Democrats rallied behind him. President Donald Trump boasted (on tape) about grabbing women by the genitals, among other things, and still got elected president. The supposed party of conservative values elected HIM. There are examples of poor conduct in both parties.
These boorish examples were delivered by "we the people." So why shouldn't men who have the interest in similar behavior not feel they can get by with it? Every time we send people of low moral character to represent us, we are saying that we accept it.
Let that sink in. Is it acceptable? If not, what action do you plan to take? Would you want your daughters to put up with it? Heck no. So stop voting for and supporting people who set such poor examples. We can do better. We deserve better.
Shea Wilson is the former managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SheaWilson7.