The awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment rose to a much higher level in 2017 with national attention spotlighting entertainment, government, media and other industries across the country. Sexual harassment in the workplace is certainly not new but hopefully with the increased attention on the subject, and powerful people being held accountable for their actions, it will decrease over time. Employees are becoming empowered as they more clearly understand their rights. Here are some examples.
2017 Sexual Harassment Cases & Reports
Harvey Weinstein — Movie Mogul
One of the biggest of the entire year, powerful American film producer Harvey Weinstein was fired from the film company he co-founded after explosive accusations from women across his many years in the entertainment industry. Launched to the national headlines after an article was published in The New York Times, Weinstein’s 84 accusers have reported myriad inappropriate and criminal behaviors from intimidating sexual advances to rape. The L.A. County District Attorney is currently working with various law enforcement officials in regards to official charges.
Matt Lauer — NBC Today Show Host
This long-time co-host and public face of morning television was reported to have multiple accusers of sexual harassment in the workplace at NBC. A memo from the company regarding Lauer’s actions included the termination of his contract with the broadcast media organization. Lauer accusers related accounts of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace including comments, exposing himself, and giving a work colleague an explicit sexual gift.
Check out this article to learn more on How to Report Sexual Harassment in Florida.
John Conyers — U.S. Senator from Michigan
A 2015 harassment case against Conyers came to national attention in November via an article by the media outlet Buzzfeed. The case of a former staffer against the U.S. Senator had been settled for $27,000. In a public statement, Conyers denied the allegations. On December 5, this longest-serving member of the Congress submitted his resignation and subsequently endorsed his son to replace his seat.
Al Franken — U.S. Senator from Minnesota
In the slew of sexual harassment reports and cases in November, Senator Al Franken became another prominent politician facing allegations. Stemming from a USO tour Franken was involved with prior to his entry into Congress, several other women came forward to accuse him of inappropriate sexual conduct. After initially requesting an ethics investigation, and amid pressure from colleagues, Franken announced he would retire. At the beginning of January 2018, Lt. Governor of Minnesota Tina Smith was sworn in to replace him.
Donald Trump — President of the United States
Allegations resurfaced at the national level in December against the current POTUS. The sexual harassment allegations against the President again gained national coverage after initially coming into a major spotlight during the 2016 campaign after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Trump has been accused by at least 13 women of various actions including sexual harassment and assault. These accusations have included three extensively reported cases, of which one was his former wife, Ivana.
Ken Friedman — Powerful Restaurateur
An owner of one of New York City’s most popular restaurants, The Spotted Pig, has been accused by multiple women including servers and a bar manager. The allegations include inappropriate touching and sexual advances and making text requests for nude pictures. Many others have also claimed daily issues of inappropriate touching and more during the operations of the establishment. Friedman stepped down from the company in December.
John Besh — Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur
John Besh, a celebrity chef with more than 12 restaurants, faced allegations from 25 former and current employees of sexual harassment on the job. After two official Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints were filed a few months prior, the multiple accounts surfaced bringing to light a culture of daily sexual and verbal harassment in Besh restaurants. Mr. Besh also stepped down from his position in the company. From fiscal years 2005-2015, the accommodation and food services industries accounted for the largest percentages of total sexual harassment charges filed.
Warren Moon — NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback
A civil lawsuit was filed in Orange County, California in December against Moon from an assistant in his sports marketing firm alleging him of “unwanted and unsolicited” sexual advances in conjunction with her role. Moon has taken a leave of absence from his role with the Seattle Seahawks’ game-day broadcasting team pending the proceedings.
Discover the history of sexual harassment in the U.S. with this infographic.
Roy Moore — Alabama Senate Candidate
The former judge and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore story broke in November when The Washington Post published allegations from a woman who said Moore forced her into a sexual encounter when she was 14. At least nine women have accused him engaging in sexual misconduct throughout his career. Moore lost the special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Louis C.K. — Comedian and Actor
Writers, actresses, and other comedians (totaling 5) accused Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct that went back at least fifteen years. These include instances when the accuser and the comedian were working together on a television show. HBO, Netflix, and the FX Networks and FX Productions all canceled contracts and events with him after the behavior was reported in The New York Times. Sexual harassment in the workplace cases will undoubtedly continue to gain attention in the media as more victims/survivors tell their stories and take action. Sexual harassment is wrong and should not be tolerated in any industry or organization — from entertainment and broadcast media to the restaurant industry and the political arena.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.