Just The Tip Of The Iceberg: Some High-Profile Men Charged With Sexual Misconduct In 2017
2017 has proven to be a double-edged sword for men and women, and especially men — a true year of reckoning and atonement. As the year comes to a close, stories of misbehaving high-profile men across industries continue to fill up our news feeds and make headlines on an almost daily basis, each revealing sordid accounts of what had transpired.
In what appears to be a cultural shift in attitudes towards sexual misconduct in the workplace, powerful men's sexual misdeeds are being brought to light and are subjected to appropriate legal consequences, while the women they assaulted, harassed, bullied, coerced, intimidated, and in some cases, raped, are finding strength in numbers and a voice that refuses to be ignored.
While it's been a pretty progressive year for women in this context, these men have a lot of making up to do. Take a look at some of these men who have been accused of sexual misconduct and the cases file against them.
Harvey Weinstein, now Hollywood's biggest pariah, tops this list as almost 80 women from the US and the UK have come forward with accounts of sexual assault, harassment, and rape. Most of these women were actresses and staff members he had work with on his films and include Hollywood heavyweights like Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Kate Beckinsale, and Cara Delevingne. His story was brought to the world's attention when journalist Ronan Farrow published an expose detailing his misconduct and attempts to cover up his actions for almost two decades. Previously one of the industry's most lauded and respected producers and co-founder of powerhouse entertainment company Miramax, Weinstein has been terminated from his company's board, expelled from the Director's Guild of America, and could be stripped of his honorary title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The shunned entertainment mogul has been sent to a rehabilitation center in Arizona to receive treatment, while police and private investigators in the UK and and the US continue to gather more evidence to back the civil and criminal cases filed against him. Weinstein has denied all accusations.
NBC news anchor Matt Lauer was recently terminated from his position in the network. Lauer was a co-anchor of the Today show since 1997. His co-anchor Savannah Guthrie made the announcement of his departure to the public last month. When it comes to Lauer's case, discoveries were made about numerous women making complaints to the NBC network — whether they were co-hosts, staff, interns, or guests — about the disgraced reporter, but who went on to be ignored. Most of his complainers have pointed out that executives, human resources, and other parties had always known about Lauer's misconduct which included but were not limited to groping women on set, making lewd comments, and even exposing himself to them. Mouths were kept shut and ears deaf as those who knew about Lauer's actions or informed about them were too scared to speak up as they knew Lauer held the power of making or breaking their careers. Anything done to smear his name would result in instant consequences. Lauer has evaded making statements about this case, and more details about what' in store for him have yet to unfold.
TV, Broadway, and movie superstar Kevin Spacey saw his career tumble like a flimsy house of cards in the last couple of months. The two-time Oscar winner has been accused by a myriad of men, beginning with former child star Anthony Rapp, for inappropriate sexual behavior towards minors, bullying on the set, and using sex to intimidate young men he worked with. Spacey had actually come out as a homosexual man in the beginning of this ongoing saga, earning only more ire from the public as it appeared to be an attempt to distract people from the real issue. Unlike fellow Hollywood big shot Weinstein, Spacey has made public apologies to all those he had hurt or offended, but similar to him, Spacey has been sent to the same sex rehabilitation center Weinstein currently attends. In light of these accusations, Spacey has been fired from immensely popular Netflix show House of Cards in which he plays its lead character, replaced by Christopher Plummer in year-end blockbuster All The Money in the World (even though Spacey had already finished filming most of his scenes), and isn't looking like he's going to get any roles in any platform any time soon. More accusations from more men continue to surface, some dating as far back as the 80s. Law enforcement agencies are gathering evidence and accounts from witness to develop cases against him.
Matt Dababneh, California State Assemblyman
You'd think that a lawmaker would know better, but it Matt Dababneh's behavior shows that sexual misconduct follows no rules and respects no boundaries whatsoever. When this California State Assemblyman was accused of exposing and handling himself in front of a lobbyist, and making other unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances. He has decided to resign from office, and a statement from him reads, "My stepping down isn't out of guilt or out of fear. It’s out of an idea that I think it’s time for me to move on to new opportunities.” Legal cases have been filed against him, but no apologies have been made.
Comedian Louis C.K. didn't get famous for his political correctness and social sensitivity. Crassness and toilet humor propelled this ex-funny man to popularity, but sexual harassment, as it should be, is no laughing matter. In November, C.K. was accused by women he worked with that oftentimes, he would create situations where they would be forced to be alone with him in private where C.K. would make his victims watch him pleasure himself. The worst part was came when these women spoke out about this to colleagues with the aim of getting help and reprimanding C.K., and many of them, who were also mostly men, simply brushed it off as "common knowledge" or an every day occurrence. Sometimes, their stories were even made into material for jokes during comedy shows. It's clear that C.K.'s working environment consistently downplayed and trivialized the experiences of these women and they were never made a big deal. The comedian has offered numerous explanations for his behavior, none of which acknowledge that what he was doing was, indeed, sexual predatory behavior. According to People, C.K.'s "overall production deal with FX was canceled, and he lost his role as executive producer — as well as the compensation that came with that title — on the FX comedy shows Better Things and Baskets, the Amazon series One Mississippi, and a TBS animated series, The Cops."
Eddie Berganza, DC Comics Editor
Not even even Superman can save Berganza from the mess he's in. Well, not that he'd want to, anyway. With Berganza's accusations — a growing list that details instances when he tried to force himself on and kiss an employee at a comic convention, when he had made numerous offensive sexual jokes at the expense of women (if women were around, the more he we would make them), attempt to grope female employees at office parties, and, more than once, put his tongue in inside unsuspecting female employees' mouths — Superman would consider him one of the worst villains out there. The law seems to agree with the superhero, as Berganza has been fired from his post. He has not made any comments about this case and details about legal action to be filed against him have yet to be made known to the public.