by G. Brown
What’s being dubbed the “Weinstein Effect” continues to churn through Hollywood like a slow moving virus that’s now infecting the music industry and the political world.
We’ve seen the scandal of sexual predation toppled the career of producer Harvey Weinstein after more than 60 women came forward with stories of how the movie mogul was more of a monster. Weinstein has lost his company, his marriage and his reputation, now his freedom may disappear as officials are looking at formal charges of rape.
We’ve seen mostly women and some men coming forth with the predatory behavior of other men, but now we’re hearing similar allegations emerging against one of the music industry’s diva.
The Daily Beast is reporting that singer Mariah Carey is the latest power player to be accused of sexually harassing underlings. The Beast says, “Mariah Carey allegedly referred to her former head of security as a Nazi, a skinhead, a Ku Klux Klan member, and a white supremacist, according to complaints contained in a draft lawsuit reported by the website TMZ. Lawyers for Michael Anello, who headed up Carey’s security company, have prepared the papers, which also accuse Carey of exposing herself to him…Anello claims that during a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Mariah asked him to come to her room to move some luggage; when he got there, she was allegedly wearing a see-through negligee that was open. ”
The article goes on to say Anello worked for the “Hero” an “Touch My Body” singer for a two year period that ended earlier this year. The former employee also claims that the singer owes his company more than half a million dollars for previous and promised work.
The EEOC defines ‘sexual harassment” as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects one’s employment. That definition was necessary before we share the accusations being levied against Reverend Jesse Jackson who a journalist alleges harassed her at a photo-op three years ago.
According to NBC Chicago, Danielle Young says the Civil Rights leader “groped her and made lewd comments.” The journalist who works for “The Root” news outlet wrote an article about the ordeal in which she said, “I walked toward Jackson, smiling, and he smiled back. His eyes scanned my entire body. All of a sudden, I felt naked in my sweater and jeans. As I walked within arm’s reach of him, Jackson reached out a hand and grabbed my thigh, saying, ‘I like all of that right there!’ and gave my thigh a tight squeeze.” Young posted this photo of her smiling as Jackson stands with his arm around her shoulder and says of the picture, “don’t let the smile fool you. I’m cringing on the inside.” Young says she initially was not going to make the incident public, but as the Hollywood sex scandal continues to shed light on what constitutes inappropriate behavior she realized that her story fit the definition saying “…something that was so casual, I almost didn’t even consider it sexual harassment, even though it was beyond my desire.”
Jackson released a statement through his Rainbow PUSH Coalition saying, “Although Rev. Jackson does not recall the meeting three years ago, he profoundly and sincerely regrets any pain Ms. Young may have experienced.”
All of the people accused of sexual harassment and predatory behavior seem to be following a formulaic response of Step 1) Say you don’t remember but apologize for their pain. If Step 1 is not enough to stem the tide of negative press against you then proceed to Step 2) Seek counseling or treatment. While both those steps should be acknowledged and taken, is it enough? An “I’m sorry even though I don’t remember” isn’t really ownership of your behavior–it’s a passive aggressive manner of implying that your accuser may be lying, but you want to look like the hero of the story so you tell them “I’m sorry for your pain”.
The journalist’s story falls into a gray area because Jackson wasn’t her employer, but he was a man in a powerful position and a negative word from him to her employer could have impacted her employment. As more accusers come forward, it’s hard to say how all of this will end, but one thing is certain the shroud of secrecy around sexual harassment and predatory behavior has been lifted…and it will be hard for things to go back to abuse as usual now that more and more people are aware.