The past few months have been big for change. Companies have been called out for systemic racism. The Supreme Court gave LGBTQ workers federal civil rights. Sexual predators are having a renewed #MeToo moment. Powers-that-be are being held to account. That’s phenomenal for social progress. It’s also horrible for workplace sexual harassment.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (amidst an already heinous 2020), but you’ll want to beware of increased sexual harassment when you’re on the job, as harassholes hate this new world.
Here’s the skinny: Workplace sexual harassment is a power play. Basically, harassers are insecure people who want to make you feel small because they find you threatening and/or seek a power boost.
Don’t get it twisted, though: Sexual harassment doesn’t have to be sexual. What matters is that you’re being targeted because of your gender or sexual identity.
Harassholes may try to “put you in your place” by using typical sexualized come-ons, like ogling your goodies in the office, jumping in your DMs to ask you out for the umpteenth time, or promising you a promotion in exchange for a Netflix and chill. Or, harassholes may leverage hostile put-downs that humiliate you, like calling you crude names on conference calls, cutting you out of morning meetings, berating you for not dressing the way a woman “should” dress. The displays of disrespect are limitless.
Now that our new world is pushing for greater respect for marginalized persons, women included, harassholes see our world as a less hospitable place for their antics. They’re frustrated about not being able to mistreat you and others with impunity, and they’ll try to reclaim their sense of power by stepping up their harassment game. Protect your purse and your mental health by being prepared.
Here are three quick tips to help you beat workplace sexual harassment:
Identify The Harassholes
You may be a butterfly, but harassholes aren’t very unique. They tend to have shared traits, among them being gender. Men make up some 90% of harassholes. In addition to that, they’re more likely to embrace these characteristics:
⭐︎ Support traditional gender roles
⭐︎ Maintain a strong male identity
⭐︎ Think men are superior to women
⭐︎ Believe men and women should be segregated
⭐︎ Sexualize women, girls, and LGBTQ people
⭐︎ Trivialize victimization or engage in victim-blaming
⭐︎ Lack egalitarian attitudes toward gender and/or race
You can spot these traits by listening to what a harasshole says about gender and sexual identity. For instance, harassholes often think men are better suited for traditionally male jobs and leadership positions whereas women should be in “pink careers,” stay-at-home moms, or in supporting roles. Harassholes use activities and terms typically associated with women to demean other men, such as calling a man a “pussy” or promising to wear a dress in public as part of a bet. These are the dudes who use stereotypes about women as punch lines.
The thing is, there’s nothing funny about harassholes. Keep an eye out for them and remember—just because someone isn’t a harasshole to you, doesn’t mean they’re not harassing another colleague. Harassholes are shady shapeshifters.
Document, Document, Document
Your records of what happened are essential to beating workplace sexual harassment. Why? Memories fade. Plus, there’s a 99% chance that the harasshole (and your employer) will lie. Avoid the he said, she said situation by documenting what went down. On your personal computer or encrypted email, maintain a log of the who, what, when, where, and how of the experience like you’re writing a bland yet detailed screenplay. Also, attach supporting documents such as text messages, emails, DMs, and notes.
You’ll want to have it all, especially if you ever need to speak out or if you suffer retaliation. Documentation can make the difference between getting the heave-ho with nothing and getting out of a company on your own terms with solid references and a strong severance.
Always Trust Your Instincts
Pay attention to that still small voice that echoes within when you’re uncomfortable. Never try to override your instincts with rationalization. You know what you’re sensing, what you experienced, and what you need not tolerate. Don’t ignore it.
Do ignore gaslighting and shade-throwing coworkers. As much as I hate to say it, research shows that some coworkers will try to discourage you from speaking out about sexual harassment and many will distance themselves from you for fear of being mistreated by your employer too. That’s a bummer. But it doesn’t mean you should “take one for the team” by keeping quiet. Real friends won’t insist you be disrespected and won’t try to deny your reality.
Stick close to your instincts, demand to be treated with respect, and do you. You may not be The Boss, but you are a boss and you deserve to work in a harassment-free workplace.
Adrienne Lawrence is an on-air legal analyst and the author of Staying in the Game: The Playbook for Beating Workplace Sexual Harassment (TarcherPerigee, 2020). Lawrence has contributed her insight on workplace sexual harassment for outlets such as the Harvard Business Review and NPR. Follow her on Twitter @AdrienneLaw and IG @AdrienneLawrence
Images: Song_about_summer/ Shutterstock.com
Trigger Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.
We previously penned an article with the headline We Need to Talk About These Assault Allegations Against Joe Biden. One month later, here we finally are. Yay?
In recent weeks, woman named Tara Reade, who worked for Joe Biden when he was a senator in 1993, has come forward accusing the presumptive Democratic nominee of sexual assault, expanding on a previous claim that Biden had touched her inappropriately to allege he also pushed her against a wall and sexually assaulted her.
After remaining silent about the allegations for many weeks, Joe Biden this morning made a statement denying them.
In a written statement, Biden says that this incident “never happened.” The former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee also attempts to advocate for survivors of sexual assault, saying, “While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”
Biden echoed the sentiments of the written statement in an interview on MSNBC, where he reiterated, “I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened.” He also urged the National Archives to search through his Senate records to identify any complaint of misconduct, which Reade says she filed with the Senate in 1993.
Other Biden staffers at the time say they do not recall a complaint or ever discussing an issue like this with Reade. Reade’s motivations have been questioned because of past praise of Vladimir Putin.
So, Biden has graduated from ignoring the allegations to denying them. A bit derivative, but I’m glad he is addressing them now, as they are bound to come up in November. We all know Trump will bring this sh*t up, and Biden needs to be prepared for that. *Thinks about the inevitable moment when these two men go back and forth about their sexual assault allegations on the debate stage and voluntarily dissociates until 2021*
To recap, Tara Reade came forward with allegations of inappropriate touching from Biden back in 2019 when several women did the same. She spoke of incidents when Biden touched her neck and shoulders and made her uncomfortable. Reade has since elaborated on her story, and says Biden shoved her against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers without her consent.
Unfortunately, her story wasn’t met with much of the “believe women” and “all women should be heard” sentiment that the world claimed to adopt in the post #MeToo era. Not many major news outlets covered the story, people accused Reade of being politically motivated, and Biden himself remained silent while women like Nancy Pelosi and Stacey Abrams had to speak on the issue for him.
Not our best work as the party who claims to be champions of survivors, I’ll say that.
Perhaps the reason we finally saw some acknowledgment of these allegations this week are because of a) pressure from women’s rights groups pleading with the former vice president to make a statement before they had to publicly ask him to, and b), evolving reporting that suggests there is more evidence that can be investigated.
Originally, Reade’s brother and a friend who asked to remain anonymous were able to confirm that she told them about the assault after it happened. This week, two more people came forward to say Reade discussed the incident with them.
A former neighbor of Reade’s, Lynda LaCasse, told Business Insider, “This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it.”
Another source, Lorraine Sanchez, a former coworker of Reade’s, says she recalls Reade complaining at the time that her former boss in Washington, DC, had sexually harassed her.
Reade had also previously said that she had talked to her mother, who has since passed, about the assault. A newly surfaced video from 1993 shows a woman calling into “Larry King Live” to seek advice for her daughter who was having “problems” working for a prominent senator.
“My daughter has just left there after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all,” the woman says. “And the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”
Reade told CNN that she is confident the voice in this video is her mother’s.
In his official statement, Biden called on the National Archives to release any existing complaint related to Reade’s employment, even as he continued to oppose requests to release other documents related to his years in the Senate, which are housed at the University of Delaware and not scheduled for public release until two years after he leaves public life.
When pressed by MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski about why he wouldn’t allow a search for any documents related to Ms. Reade at the University of Delaware, Biden — seemingly annoyed by the question — claimed that there wouldn’t be anything to find there. He also suggested that releasing the papers could result in the release of private, confidential conversations with officials that his political opponents could use to undermine his 2020 chances. Who, Donald Trump?! He would never!
So, as it stands, Biden denies the allegation, there are several people able to corroborate Reade’s story, but there isn’t any evidence being released that could verify her official complaint against Biden. Hopefully, we can move forward with this information and do a thorough investigation, as women and all survivors do deserve to be heard.
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Trigger Warning: Sexual assault
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of bad news (coronavirus) to bring you some other bad news. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. The year 2020 does and she is one brutal bitch.
As you or may not have heard, there are new sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. You may not have heard of this because it’s not being widely covered by most major news networks. Well, we’re not most major news networks, so we’re going to breakdown what we know.
The woman who has come forward with these allegations is Tara Reade, a former staffer for Biden when he was a senator in 1993. Reade was one of the several women who came forward with allegations of inappropriate touching (read: sexual harassment) after Lucy Flores wrote about an incident when Biden came up from behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, sniffed her hair, and then slowly kissed the back of her head backstage at her campaign rally.
Flores’ piece ran in The Cut in March 2019, right before Biden announced his run for president. Many wondered if it would affect his ability to gain Democratic support for the nomination. Well, I guess we got our answer, as he is currently the frontrunner.
Reade’s original allegation was that Biden used to put his hand on her shoulder and then run his finger up her neck when she worked for his Senate office. Not what you want from your literal boss, or any person who you have not given permission to touch you, for that matter. Creepy thing to do! Anyway, now Reade has come forward saying there is more to her story.
Warning: this next part is graphic and upsetting. Please read with caution, and be kind to yourself.
Reade told her full story to Katie Halper on her podcast. In the interview, Reade recounts a time when Biden pushed her against a wall, stuck his hands up her skirt, and then penetrated her with his fingers, all without her consent. She also says when she tried to pull away he said something along the lines of, “I thought you liked me.”
Of course, since people still don’t seem to fully grasp that coming forward about sexual assault isn’t an easy and fun thing to do, the question of why Reade waited to share this part of the story has come up. Reade’s answer is two-fold.
First, she only shared part of her story because she figured that part would more likely be believed, as it matched what Lucy Flores experienced. And she wanted to stand with Flores, as she saw talk shows like The View defending Biden. Plus, she had witnesses and a filed contemporaneous complaint for those accusations. But still, after she came forward with the original accusations of sexual harassment from Biden, she received backlash online. People accused her of making it up and being politically motivated, pointing to a since deleted Medium post that Reade had written that praised Russia and Vladmir Putin.
Reade’s 2018 Medium piece said, “What if I told you that everything you learned about Russia was wrong? President Putin scares the power elite in America because he is a compassionate, caring, visionary leader. … To President Putin, I say keep your eyes to the beautiful future and maybe, just maybe America will come to see Russia as I do, with eyes of love. To all my Russian friends, happy holiday and Happy New Year.”
Reade is currently writing a novel based in Russia, and in the process had learned about Russia through a Russian friend. At the time, she says, she wrote the post in the spirit of world peace and solidarity with her friend. She has also pointed out that her writing shouldn’t make her unable to be the victim of sexual assault.
Nonetheless, after dealing with online harassment and disbelief from people, she decided to go silent. Until now.
Reade attempted to take her case to TimesUp, but was ultimately turned away and told that the organization could lose its nonprofit status for going after a presidential candidate (whether or not this is true is up for debate). Reade is trudging on without their help, but not a lot of news outlets are having her on. She did an interview with Krystal Ball on her left-leaning online talk show, “Rising,” which is worth listening to. But for the most part, this story isn’t getting a lot of traction.
A lot of the information comes from the coverage written by Ryan Grim for The Intercept, a publication that has been accused of attacking the establishment, particularly the Democratic establishment. Some people think this means we should take this story with a grain of salt. But even with that, this story deserves further investigation.
Joe Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential candidate. If these accusations of sexual assault are credible, the American people need to know. We need a fully covered, thorough investigation.
Reade said in her interview with Katie Halper that at the time of the incident, she told a friend, her mother and her brother. Her mother has since passed, but both the friend and brother confirmed to The Intercept that she came to them when it happened. There are ways to investigate here.
If time really is up, we should be eagerly searching for the truth, not ignoring it.
Another day, another story about an employer treating women badly. Sadly these stories are all too common—just in the last week, there’s been a sexual harassment lawsuit at Lisa Vanderpump’s foundation, an explosive New York Times report about sexual misconduct at Victoria’s Secret, and now, we have a story about a Montana woman who was fired from her job for her Instagram posts. Can we please just let women live?
The latest story in women’s unequal treatment in the workplaces comes from Presley Pritchard, who was employed as a part-time firefighter paramedic in Kalispell, Montana for nearly three years, until she was fired last August. In December, Pritchard filed a wrongful termination complaint with the fire department, and in an interview with VICE last week, she shared the details of the misogynistic attitudes that led to her firing.
For the first two years she worked at the fire department, Pritchard says she never had any issues, until July 2018. At that time, a department board member claimed a “concerned citizen” contacted him about Pritchard’s social media. I feel like real citizens should have other things to be concerned about, but ok. From then on, VICE says “she estimates she was reprimanded around 20 times for her social media content,” including what she wore to the gym and how she looked in her ACTUAL WORK UNIFORM. Apparently, someone complained that her standard-issue women’s firefighter pants (pictured below) were “too provocative,” so their solution was to have her wear men’s pants instead. To quote Pritchard: “Am I supposed to leave my butt at home?”
View this post on Instagram
My face when someone mentions how I’m “provocative” in professional attire 🤣 – This post is for all the ladies out there making a difference, doing their jobs day in & day out. – Have you ever been asked why you wear makeup in uniform? Or why you brush your hair and care how it looks? Or why you tighten your pants “too tight.” Or been told that you are too “manly,” “too skinny,” “too small,” or “you’re provocative” because of your curves or way you look that you can’t help? – If you’re a female in this field, especially an attractive or curvy girl, you’re GOING TO be ridiculed. You’re going to be mocked, made fun of, talked about poorly, judged by looks. – Here’s the thing; when you genuinely love yourself and others and what you’re doing while radiating the love of Jesus & walking in your calling, the enemy WILL try to knock you down. Did you know the enemy only attacks things of value? He sees you walking in God’s calling for your life, helping and inspiring others, and he will do EVERYTHING in his power to prevent you, stop you, discourage you, and talk you out of things meant for you. He does this through words, judgmental unbelievers, temptation; the devil has a bag of tricks up his sleeve. Don’t give in. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t throw in the towel. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can. So be a light to others. Keep shining. Keep doing you. Keep staying in your lane, inspiring, and making a difference. . . . . . #firefighter #firefighterworkouts #sweaty #ems #firefighterfitness #firefighterworkout #fitfirefighter #femalefirefighter #thinredline #fitfemalefirefighter #paramedic #fitforduty #womeninuniform #functionaltraining #medic #firstresponder #firedepartment #onduty #fitnessmotivation #mediclife #functionalfitness
In addition to her former work as a firefighter, Pritchard is also a fitness influencer, and she has over 100,000 followers on Instagram. As you would expect, her content on Insta is a mix of informational workout posts, sponsored posts for products like protein shakes and organic snacks, and posts about her personal life. During her time as a firefighter, she posted lots of pictures in uniform or at work, but those were never sponsored posts, or even particularly racy. But after the initial complaint, she says she began to get reprimanded for posting photos in her uniform at all.
If your employer doesn’t want you posting about your job on social media, fine. But the problem with this specific case? Her male colleagues were posting uniform pics all the time! And, surprise surprise, they were shirtless in a lot of them—definitely more provocative than the work pics that Presley was posting. Along with screenshots of these posts, Pritchard also told VICE that a male coworker wasn’t reprimanded for claiming on Instagram that the Sandy Hook shooting was fake, so like, this place had inconsistent standards for what their employees should or shouldn’t post on social media.
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I have gotten comments on photos in uniform about how my butt looks and about the fact I’m wearing makeup on shift so I must be “incompetent at my job.” About how I care how my hair looks to be presentable when I’m taking care of someone’s dying family member.. I scroll through friend’s photos in uniform or holding guns and men automatically assume that they’re less than capable because they also like to dress up or have their nails done. – Since speaking up about this, I find that many of you women have similar stories. I’ve always been one to speak up about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Unfortunately, it is all too common in male-dominated fields. You’re not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage. I’m not afraid because I trust that God has worked through me and used my pain as a microphone to help others. – Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power – not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and don’t want it to exist. – Remember, people who repeatedly attack your confidence and self-esteem are quite aware of your potential, even if you are not. . . . . . . . . . . DM for coaching inquiries @1upnutrition || code: presleykp @ninelineapparel || code: presleykp @herbstrong || code: presley15 @warriorflask || code: presleykp @freskincare || code: Presley #firefighters #firefighter #femalefirefighter #firechicks #strongwomen #blessed #doboth #bomberos #uniformedwomen #metoo #functionalfitness #thinredline #curvesncombatboots #speakup #womeninuniform #feminism
But could anything make this situation worse? Yup! Pritchard claims that she actually got advance permission to post most of her pictures in uniform, but then the higher-ups at the department still used those pictures against her. Wow, these people are terrible. When she was ultimately fired in August 2019, the official reason given was that she failed to take down Instagram posts showing her in uniform—the same posts she says she got approved by the department. The department had given her five days to remove the posts, but per the advice of a lawyer, she chose to leave them up, because the department lacked “a standard social media policy.”
Aaaaand to further confirm that the people who fired Pritchard are trash, they tried to lie to stop her from receiving unemployment benefits. They claimed that she was using her job at the fire department to make money on Instagram, even though this literally isn’t true. According to Pritchard, she was careful to only agree to sponsored posts that were separate from her firefighter job, and said, “I’d be freaking rich if I made money from every post… They probably should have looked into how social media works before they say that, because it just makes them look really, really, really stupid.” Yeah, I have a feeling they’re going to look pretty dumb in court if all of this is true.
At the end of the day, Presley Pritchard was f*cked over by the same sexist attitudes and double standards that affect so many women in the workplace. And, like many toxic industries, firefighting appears to be a boys’ club. A recent study by the National Fire Protection Association showed that only 7% of firefighters in the US are women, and that number drops to 4% when you don’t include volunteers. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that this fire department was not exactly a supportive environment for women.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a woman be mistreated by an employer, or potential employer, for social media posts, and sadly, it probably won’t be the last. Certainly, the relationship between social media and the workplace can cause valid issues, but in this instance, it really doesn’t seem like Presley Pritchard did anything to warrant such a harsh reaction, or any negative reaction at all. On the contrary, she worked hard to establish her Instagram presence as a way to make some extra income, and it appears that she was extra careful to make sure this didn’t interfere with her work as a firefighter. She told VICE that, in almost three years, she had “never, ever once been talked to about actual job,” and it sounds like the men in charge were just looking for an issue with her. Hopefully, Pritchard’s lawsuit will expose what happened, and make another step toward ending this type of gender-based discrimination in the workplace and in our society in general.
Images: presleykp.fit / Instagram
Cancel culture is by far the best thing to come out of the last decade. Sure, in some cases it can be hurtful and uncalled for, but so is polishing off an entire box of wine over the course of 72 hours. What’s your point? I, for one, am living for cancel culture, and not just because it speaks to the blackest, pettiest parts of my heart (though that is certainly a plus). There’s something to be said for holding people accountable for their actions, for holding a mirror up to all of their wrongs and saying “you know why, YOU KNOW WHY.” And in the past decade, no one has been called out more for their bullsh*t than powerful men, especially in Hollywood. Canceling sexy, powerful men (aside from being a sexual fetish of mine) feels like a long time coming and a necessary part of moving forward as a society. My vote has always been to isolate the men in an underground bunker and only let them out for breeding purposes or until they’ve learned to behave themselves, but my therapist calls this plan “troubling” and “something to discuss in our next session.” For now, I suppose, I’ll just have to settle for tarnishing their reputations and banishing their names and negative energy from the mainstream media. Sighs.
So, as we approach a new year and a new decade, let’s take a look at all of the men we need to cancel forever and finally leave behind (to hopefully eat sh*t and die):
Talk about a 10 year challenge. No one has aged less well than James Franco. I’m not gonna lie, but back in the day I was a huge fan of Franco’s, and that had everything to do with his role as tortured (but sexy) knight in the romantic drama Tristian & Isolde. But little did I know that while I was swooning over hot beach sex and painful British accents, our boy James was out here allegedly manipulating and sexually exploiting the struggling, young actresses of LA. This is why we can’t have nice things, James!!
Back in 2018, and in the wake of #MeToo, several women from James’ acting school, Studio 4, came forward and alleged that this highly esteemed “school” was actually just an elaborate ploy to take advantage of young women. Furthermore, the $300 highly sought after “classes” taught at his “school” allegedly involved women disrobing in front of James and his pals. Hmm. This feels less like honing one’s craft and more like a page out of Harvey Weinstein’s playbook, but okay. Recently, two of the five women who came forward filed a lawsuit against James and I’m really hoping they take him for everything he’s worth. I always say, there’s no better way to start a new year than by watching a man be financially ruined. Cheers!
I was today years old when I found out that Nate Parker, actor and former man of my dreams, is actually a flaming piece of sh*t. For those of you who don’t know, Nate Parker rose to fame after his role in The Great Debaters and, more recently, The Birth of a Nation. But I know him from Beyond the Lights, an OSCAR WORTHY movie, about hip-hop artist Noni who doesn’t want to be anyone’s music video hoe, she just wants to get back to making real music, and the sexy but sensitive cop who helps her find herself. So, as I’m sitting here WEEPING at the scene where Nate Parker whispers “I see you” to Noni, I find out that in real life Nate Parker has a very dark and troubling past that involves allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in college.
While attending Penn State in the late 1990s, Parker and his wrestling buddy were accused, and actually tried in a court of law, of raping a female student. Parker was found not guilty while his pal was found guilty, only to have his conviction overturned. With all the hype surrounding Parker’s new movie, The Birth of a Nation, the case has come back into the spotlight with renewed interest, and the information surrounding the case is… troubling to say the least. The victim alleged that she was too drunk to consent to sex, and that after she accused Parker and his friend of rape, she was harassed on campus by Parker and his friends so much so that she “feared for her life.” I’m not going to get into the full story here, but if you’d like to read more about the case (and you absolutely should) then this Vulture article is a great read. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to go quietly weep for Noni and her monster of a prince charming.
First of all, I’d just like to say that I was never a fan of Brad’s. Not only do I think his acting is subpar (I said what I said!), but it goes against every bone of my deeply feminist body to support a philanderer like him. I have to save that kind of compassion and forgiveness for my own romantic relationships with cheating assholes, obviously. That said, he is good-looking, and in the last 10 years he has done nothing but further sully his own reputation so, congratulations Brad, you made my hit list. Bravo.
I think by now we all remember the infamous plane incident of 2016 that resulted in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie getting a divorce after nearly 12 years together and Brad being investigated by the FBI for child abuse. But just in case you need a refresher, in 2016 Brad allegedly got into a drunken fight with Angelina (he was drunk; she was not) on the family’s private plane on the way home from France. An anonymous person then reported Brad to Los Angeles DCFS and claimed that Brad “attacked” their 15-year-old son Maddox during said fight. Apparently, Maddox jumped into the fight to verbally defend his mom when Brad “lunged at the boy.” Brad has vehemently denied hitting his son, though he does admit to being drunk and yelling at people. Since the incident, Brad has undergone a stint in rehab while Angelina has pushed for full custody of their kids in the divorce. Yikes. And to think I thought his low as a human being was when he copied his girlfriend Gwyneth’s haircut that one time, but it’s good to know I can still be proven wrong.
Chuck Bass is the reason I, a grown-ass woman in her late 20s, still consistently match with 23-year-olds in polo shirts on Hinge. So, it shocked me to find out that the man who plays a borderline sociopathic asshole who likes to intimidate and force himself upon unsuspecting women was allegedly, in real life, a borderline sociopathic asshole who likes to intimidate and force himself upon unsuspecting women. What is that saying about art imitating life? In 2018, actress Katrina Cohen came forward on Facebook and alleged that Westwick had raped her in 2015. In the Facebook post she says that the reason she didn’t come forward until after #MeToo was because she was persuaded into believing she was somehow complicit in her attack and that making accusations against the actor would kill her own career. No charges were ever filed due to “insufficient evidence” but the accusation itself is upsetting and troubling and reason enough for all of us to stop incorporating a whispered “I’m Chuck Bass” into foreplay (or is that just me?). Hey, Ed? You can go Chuck yourself now, mmkay?
Remember when the Bachelor was actually America’s most eligible man and not just a flaming piece of garbage masquerading as a very attractive human man? No? Me either. Chris Soules was the Bachelor back in 2014 but his most recent claim to fame is that he accidentally ran someone over—and killed him!—as a result of drinking and driving. Wow, do we think Becca Tilley is feeling blessed that she never received that final rose, or what? Chris, always the gentleman, took responsibility for his actions by evading charges at all costs. At one point his lawyers even claimed that the law he violated (leaving the scene of a hit and run) was actually unconstitutional because it, like, got him in trouble. Look, this is a thing I say when my barista f*cks up my order and puts three pumps instead of two pumps into my peppermint mocha, and in that instance, is totally valid. When it’s not valid? Manslaughter. Here’s hoping that in the new year he’s properly banished back to the Iowa cornfield from whence he crawled out of.
Sadly, I’m sure there are many more Hollywood hotties who could have made this list, but truthfully I’m afraid if I include any more I’ll slip into another rage blackout and accidentally burn this entire world to the ground. Anyway, can’t wait to see what the new decade brings! Hopefully it’s a continuance of believing women and holding men accountable for their disgusting, damaging, and just, like, really illegal behavior. Cheers to the new year!!
Images: Shutterstock.com (5)
Rep. Katie Hill of California has announced that she will resign amid an ethics investigation into her alleged relationship with a staffer. The allegation claims that Hill had a sexual relationship with her legislative director, Graham Kelly, which she denies. Such a relationship would violate a new House ethics rule that was implemented at the height of the #Metoo movement and forbids House members from having sexual relationships with their subordinates.
While Hill denies the alleged relationship with her legislative director, she has admitted to previously being in a throuple with a former campaign staffer and her soon to be ex-husband. Hill has conceded that this consensual relationship was inappropriate given that she was the individual’s boss, but there are no official laws that bar someone from engaging in a consensual relationship with their campaign staff members.
“During the final tumultuous year of my abusive marriage, I became involved in a relationship with someone on my campaign,” she said in an earlier statement. “I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment.”
But the real story here is that all of these allegations became public after Hill’s estranged ex-husband leaked nude photos of her without her consent, making Hill a victim of revenge porn.
The supposed-to-be private photos were published by a right-wing, conservative website called Red State and later published by the British site the Daily Mail. The photos have since been taken down after Hill threatened legal action, as she should.
Nudes are the best, but they are never, ever meant to be leaked to the public without someone’s consent, and doing so is abhorrent.
Plus, the fact that Katie Hill is the first openly bisexual House member is not an irrelevant factor here. Her sexuality is a problem for people, so naturally, it is going to be the first thing her opponents use against her. Exposing nude photos and private information about her sexual relationships is a clear attempt to paint her as a sexually “promiscuous” or “immoral” person. And the fact that she is a woman makes it even easier to weaponize her sexuality, seeing as women are constantly shamed for daring to be sexual beings.
It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community, and our country.
See my official statement below. https://t.co/RO8B0znc6C
— Katie Hill (@KatieHill4CA) October 27, 2019
Still, Hill says she made the choice to resign “so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives who seem to happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built on cyber exploitation.”
In regards to the allegations, if Hill is being honest about never having had a relationship with her legislative director, then technically she has done nothing wrong here. She has labeled her relationship with her former campaign staffer as improper, but it didn’t violate any official rules. She herself has decided to admit fault for not recognizing that such a relationship with a subordinate could be irresponsible, which I think is more than a lot of other politicians would do.
Katie Hill is resigning amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with staffers *and* after a campaign of harassment, including revenge porn, allegedly from an ex-husband who she calls "abusive." Reporters should mention both those things!
— Molly Hensley-Clancy (@mollyhc) October 27, 2019
As a bisexual woman, Hill is being held under greater scrutiny, and apparently she is holding herself to a higher standard as well. While men before her have been caught having affairs with their subordinates and remained in office *cough Bill Clinton cough* she has taken it upon herself to resign. I imagine this is because she feels the moral obligation to set a precedent and because she is feeling defeated and fearful from a stunning violation of privacy and repeated attacks against her.
I imagine Hill knows from experience that these kind of shaming tactics will not end for someone like her.
I think those of us who have been forced to navigate the world as people who are not welcome at the table are more prone to holding ourselves to a higher standard than those who were raised to believe that they absolutely deserve to be in power (white men). With this, I think it’s noble of Katie Hill to admit her shortcomings, but I also think it’s unfortunate that it means we lose someone with integrity like her, while literal sexual assaulters remain in the Supreme Court and the Oval Office.
Also, fuck her ex for leaking those photos, as that is the real crime here.
Images: Twitter (1), Giphy (2)
Sexism is alive and well in the year of our Lord 2019. This we know to be true. But sometimes we stumble upon some sexism that is so on the nose it almost feels like a joke. And this week we have found something that made me feel like I was either reading satire or taking crazy pills. But in reality I was just reading some straight up, unoriginal, by-the-book sexism. Cute!
HuffPost reporter Emily Peck obtained truly shocking information about a training seminar offered to some women at the accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY), which employs 270,000 people globally. A woman who has since left the company was appalled by what the seminar was prescribing (as she should have been) and decided to share details with the outlet in hopes that the company will change. The seminar was taught as early as June 2018, AKA the height of the #MeToo movement, but EY told HuffPost it “is no longer offered in its current form.” The firm told HuffPost after publication that the training included “offensive content.”
The training was called Power-Presence-Purpose or PPP, and focuses on how women need to fix themselves in order to acclimate to a male-dominated world (baaaaaaaarf) and attempting to educate women on how to navigate men’s flawed temperaments while demanding they adopt it themselves. We picked out the most absurd and infuriating parts to share here, but encourage you to read HuffPost’s full report. You’re welcome!
Women’s brains are smaller and dumber than men’s.
You ready for this one? The presentations said that women’s brains absorb information like pancakes and soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus, according to the attendee. And men’s brains are like waffles because they are more able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square. L-M-A-O. We got pancakes for brains, ladies!!! This is so beyond offensive and ridiculous, I refuse to even explain how wrong and misguided it is because that is beneath me. Also pancakes are better than waffles, don’t @ me.
“Don’t flaunt your body ― sexuality scrambles the mind (for men and women).”
Lmaooooo. Okay, so look good but not too good, ya sluts! The presentation tells women not to show skin because that will distract people, and by people they obviously mean men. (The document makes no reference to queer women or any gender identity beyond cis het woman.)
I love how it’s implied that men are the smarter, more professional people, but ALSO they cannot be expected to focus or do work if they see a woman’s clavicle. Which is it, boys?! Are you geniuses or horny lil’ toads?! ‘Cause it’s looking like the latter…
Women aren’t as good at speaking as men.
The seminar includes an entire section of “invisible rules” that appears to just be a list of false stereotypes about the differences between men and women in the workplace. It says that women “speak briefly” and “often ramble and miss the point” in meetings. (Again, which is it?!) On the other hand, men “speak at length ― because he really believes in his idea.” It also states that women don’t interrupt effectively like men but instead “wait their turn (that never comes) and raise their hands.” So, this is just a summary of how women are pushed out by arrogant, sexist men in the workplace, but instead of suggesting that women work on deconstructing this kind of toxic environment, it says that they should learn to fit within it. Because if we don’t the men might get uncomfortable which is illegal???
“Don’t talk to men face-to-face.”
As much as I enjoy not talking to men, unfortunately, sometimes it is required at work. However, this seminar told women that if they must speak to men, they shouldn’t do it directly. They should ask to meet before or after the meeting, and not interrupt during. And once they do meet, they should cross their legs and sit at an angle so they are not directly facing them because speaking to them face-to-face is something men see as “threatening.” But again, men are big strong leaders…who can’t handle looking a woman directly in the eyes lololol.
Women aren’t natural leaders, but men are.
Oh cool, some more bullsh*t! The workshop provided women with a “Masculine/Feminine Score Sheet, which had them rate their adherence to stereotypical masculine and feminine characteristics. The “masculine” traits included “Acts as a Leader,” “Aggressive,” “Ambitious,” “Analytical,” “Has Leadership Abilities,” “Strong Personality” and “Willing to Take a Stand.” The “feminine” traits included “Affectionate,” “Cheerful,” “Childlike,” “Compassionate,” “Gullible,” “Loves Children” and “Yielding.” Are we living on the set of The Stepford Wives?!? What is happening? Like, this has to be a joke.
Be “polished,” have a “good haircut, manicured nails, well-cut attire that complements your body type.”
Who are you, my mother? And WTF is a “good haircut”? I can only assume the well-cut attire that complements our bodies is the red handmaid gown from The Handmaids Tale. The presentation also tells women that the most important thing to do at work is to “signal fitness and wellness.” I thought this was an accounting firm not a spin class?!
Well, now that we all know how to adhere to the patriarchy, let’s go burn it to the ground.
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Images: Giphy (3)
Trigger Warning: This article contains details of sexual assault and rape.
Former Today host Matt Lauer was back in the news yesterday after disturbing new details from the allegations against him were released. Variety published an excerpt from Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, which includes an interview with Brooke Nevils, Lauer’s accuser.
Lauer was fired in 2017 following the complaint, but details of the misconduct had not been revealed. In Farrow’s book, Nevils recounts a time in which Lauer anally raped her in a hotel room at the Sochi Olympics, describing the assault by saying, “It was nonconsensual in the sense that I was too drunk to consent,” and, “It was nonconsensual in that I said, multiple times, that I didn’t want to have anal sex.” Now, Matt Lauer is — you guessed it — denying these claims and attempting to paint Nevils as an attention-seeking liar. How original.
Lauer wrote an open letter addressing the allegations, which was published in Variety. You can read the full letter here, or you can read my one-word summary of it: trash.
Live footage of Matt Lauer penning his open letter.
In the letter, Lauer claims that his “affair” with Nevils was completely consensual. Nevils has acknowledged that she had subsequent encounters with Lauer, which were transactional in nature, but the incident she describes in Sochi is undeniably a criminal act. Lauer also claims that she is releasing these details in an attempt to sell a book. And he tries to discredit her claims of assault by saying that their affair continued after the encounter at the Sochi Olympics and that she continued to see him and pursue him. As for the assault itself, Lauer writes, “We engaged in a variety of sexual acts. We performed oral sex on each other, we had vaginal sex, and we had anal sex. Each act was mutual and completely consensual.”
But Nevils is standing her ground and not letting Lauer intimidate her with his denial. She fired right back, calling his open letter “a case study in victim-blaming.” Nevils’ statement was read on-air on NBC Nightly News and in it she concluded that she is not afraid of Lauer, “Regardless of his threats, bullying, and the shaming and predatory tactics I knew he would (and now has) tried to use against me.” Get it, girl.
I want to thank the many survivors who shared their stories with me today and offered their support. It takes courage, and I am truly grateful.
— Brooke Nevils (@BrookeNevils) October 9, 2019
Nevils is spot-on. Lauer’s letter explicitly uses classic and problematic victim-blaming tactics. Many victims of sexual assault continue relationships with their assailant, and that does not disprove the assault. Additionally, his attempt to paint the scene in the hotel room as consensual by saying they were hooking up in other ways beforehand reads as him implying that if she liked the other sexual acts then she must have wanted the anal sex. I can’t believe I have to say this, but you can do every sex act in the book consensually, but the second a party says they don’t want to do something else — which Nevils says she did several times — it becomes nonconsensual if you do it anyway. That is how consent works. Look it up.
If you need help dealing with sexual assault or misconduct, go to RAINN.org, or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE.
Images: Giphy (2), Twitter (1)