Senator Al Franken

Digging Deep: Uncovering the dirt behind sexual misconduct

It’s a public relations nightmare: people coming out of the woodwork to report decades-old “sexual incidents” from the casting couch to the boardroom. Finally, hidden but commonplace episodes of coercion and sexual harassment are getting airtime. That’s a good thing.

The number of men accused of inappropriate behavior is going to increase. The cavalcade of accusations and recounting of inappropriate incidents will rise. Denials will increase. Some men, like Senator Franken, are admitting guilt and moving on. Remember David Letterman’s apology and frankness? It solved his near-term problem quickly and he got back on track with his life. Just how this feeding frenzy will flesh out is unknown. I am convinced a number of men in high places from Washington to Winona are tossing and turning in their beds worried that the “shoe” will fall on them.

Will this explosion of candor and openness change the way men interact with women? Maybe. It’s hard to believe that exploitation will stop. Why? Because people in positions of power sometimes lose their senses (if they ever had them to begin with) and believe they are invincible and righteous. Now, that is sad.

Will all of these exposés result in people losing their jobs, titles and wealth? Hard to say. But if we ask Kevin Spacey, I’m sure he will say the result of his bad press is going to ruin his legacy. Sadly, House of Cards fell like a house of cards, too.

Interestingly, public relations managers are probably getting a lot of work out of this mess. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But when Gloria Allred shows up at your door, it’s going to be a rough day.

I will add this possibly controversial comment to this posting. We are lucky in America. Why? Because in my experience of visiting other cultures and countries, we are really way ahead of the curve on equal rights, representation and equality. I know many people will strongly disagree, but have you ever visited Central America or Italy? The way women are perceived, treated (or mistreated) and hassled in those countries is disconcerting – cat calls, roving hands and outright harassment are commonplace and sometimes considered very acceptable. At least in America, we are finally putting the issue on the table, and maybe the painful and important revelations may result in needed behavioral modification.

Still, I will miss House of Cards. But in a way, wasn’t Kevin really playing himself on the show? He was mean-spirited, grotesquely chauvinistic and willing to do whatever it takes to win. Art imitating life? I vote to bring Claire back and let her run the country, although, come to think of it, she has a few skeletons herself.

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