On Monday, NBC fired author and political journalist Mark Halperin following multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
The same day Netflix announced it was canceling the popular “House of Cards” series after an actor accused the star of the political show, Kevin Spacey, of sexual assault in the mid-1980s. The alleged victim was 14 at the time of the incident.
The dominoes are falling after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was outed earlier this month as a serial sexual assaulter. Some 80 women claim Weinstein assaulted and even raped them, dating back to the 1970s.
The accusations against Weinstein have unleashed a tidal wave of similar claims of sexual misconduct against other powerful men in Hollywood, politics, media and the corporate world.
The Weintein scandal has inspired women, and some men, to speak out publicly and share their stories of sexual harassment. It has shined a bright light on the magnitude of this problem, which is far more pervasive than many of us knew or cared to acknowledge.
It also has spurred swifter retribution for perpetrators who are now being fired or shamed from their positions of power.
Weinstein may represent the tipping point on this issue but he isn’t the first chronic sexual predator. Far from it. The truth is sexual harassment, in all of its virulent strains, has been around as long as humans have been around. The other truth is that men have gotten away with it just as long.
But the country was paying closer attention to the sexual harassment problem after recent allegations involving prominent figures like Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and even President Trump.
When you couple that with the scandals in corporate boardrooms in places like Silicon Valley and the pressure to crack down on sexual assaults on college campuses, it was clear this issue was bound to explode.
There is a national conversation underway over sexual harassment, due in part, to a realization that it is more widespread than perhaps people knew.
According to a recent survey, one-in-three women have experienced sexual harassment or assault in the workplace, and 71 percent did not report it.
Why would they? Especially when you consider reports that over half of the claims are found to have resulted in no charges, according to The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The risk of losing their jobs or being blackballed in their industry are just too high for some women.
It’s time for a wake-up call. It’s time to pay attention. For far too long we’ve ignored sexual harassment. Just because powerful men have been getting away with this for centuries doesn’t make it right.
It’s time for these stories to come to light. There is absolutely no excuse for taking advantage of another human being for your own personal gain or desire. It’s time to hold people accountable.
Weinstein has sparked a movement, an awakening that sexual harassment is not OK. It’s long overdue.