It is common knowledge that sexual harassment and minor incidents of misconduct have been the norm in Hollywood and other industries for as long as we can remember. Since the first allegations were brought against Harvey Weinstein, the sexual harassment debate has been a topic of contention. Numerous other well-known men (including Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby, and Mark Cuban) have since been accused of sexual misconduct and harassment, raising the question of how we got to this point.
The number of instances of sexual harassment and stories that have made headlines have also brought into question where we draw the line. A Reuters/Ipsos poll that was conducted in December discovered that the many of Americans don’t think compliments on appearance (47 percent) and dirty jokes (44 percent) should be lumped into the same category as groping or kissing without consent. This is a common assumption and one we are struggling to define right now. People seem to have less tolerance for physical abuse and violence, but for some reason, words, insults, and derogatory terms of address don’t seem to create the same feelings. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), states that sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances and verbal harassment. An important distinction is that teasing, comments, or isolated incidents of abuse are only illegal when repetitive. This is a problem, as we have come to see that even small incidents of sexual harassment need to be addressed.
Small Incidents of Harassment Are Problematic
Regardless of how major or minor an incident of sexual harassment is, it needs to be called out. That being said, sexual harassment is, of course, worse than witnessing someone tell an inappropriate or dirty joke. Establishing a pattern of abuse and uncomfortable sexual comments, unwanted touching, or ogling is important when it comes to moving forward with a sexual harassment case. With this, the term “microaggressions” has become common in the #MeToo movement. The term was originally coined in 1970 by Harvard psychiatrist Chester Pierce to describe “racially charged subtle blows…delivered incessantly toward black people in the USA.” The concept later expanded to include other marginalized groups, including women, the LGBTQ community, and other racial and religious minorities. Today we are seeing it used when talking about sexual harassment and abuse.
In Hollywood, there is no shortage of instances of long-term abuse. Many report a hostile work environment right from the first day of work. Furthermore, women in Hollywood have long been exposed to sexism and been ignored when they bring up feeling uncomfortable or the “boys club”. The industry is ripe with macho energy and misogyny, but hopefully, that is changing thanks to #MeToo and #TimesUp.
At Janovsky & Associates, we are committed to your rights and helping you fight any unwanted actions, comments, or aggression. We understand how devastating being the victim of any level of harassment, misconduct, or abuse is, and we want to help you. Attorney Janovsky has been a leading force in the #MeToo movement, standing up for victims and ensuring their accusers are held accountable. If you have experienced sexual harassment at work and need a lawyer, please contact us today. As a leading Dallas sexual harassment lawyer, attorney Janovsky will advise you on how to proceed and stand by your side throughout the entire process.