*It’s a new day, and with each one comes the name of a new victim that adds to a growing #Metoo movement. Add to that the man who put them there. I continue to applaud these survivors and the immense courage it has taken to finally reveal the ugly truth. I say, spray thoroughly, and bring all the roaches out of hiding. No doubt, there’s a lot more cleanup to be done, and as I told a colleague earlier, a lot of men are sitting around biting their nails and biding their time. Now here comes that highly anticipated word…
I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and ask: How easy would it be for someone to use this extremely important, yet sensitive movement — a movement that set out to expose the abuse that men (so far) in powerful positions have yielded upon subordinates — as a source for the perfect revenge?
Opportunists are everywhere, wouldn’t it be prudent to think they wouldn’t be here?
Some of these reports are obviously cut and dry. Women cooperated in capturing their predators by wearing hidden devices; and others had various correspondence to back up their claims. But then there were the others — who only had a claim…
…and Gloria Allred.
With Harvey Weinstein, there was actual proof. Plus it didn’t hurt that A-List actresses including Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd was among the 40+ accusers. Comedian Louis C. K. didn’t even deny it, he just came out and said, “These stories are true.” And others accused, like actor Kevin Spacey, just disappeared; making his silence an admission.
In each case the companies, agencies, TV shows, sponsors, etc, quickly separated themselves from the accused; followed up by a statement. True, some of the men resigned, others were fired. But that word “investigation” always seemed to pop up.
Thing is, its not exactly clear what an “investigation” entails. Especially with many of the allegations stemming from alleged acts that occurred so long ago, what if there is no evidence? How then does one come to a fair conclusion?
In the meantime, companies fearing the negative publicity have been quick to act on it — and just fired people. Not only ending lengthy career tenures; but trashing reputations and damaging names that were built over a lifetime.
In short, this has become — right before our eyes — a case of guilty until proven innocent.
I will admit, the latest allegation surrounding political analyst Tavis Smiley has got me thinking. Let me say this: I do not know Mr. Smiley. We have only met in passing over the years and I don’t know his innocence or guilt. Yes, I was very surprised to hear of the allegations; but more so of the immediacy of his longstanding talk show on PBS being pulled and his relationship with the media being severed.
I also read reports referencing “credible” accusers being interviewed during an investigation, and quite frankly, I was happy to hear Smiley say that he will fight these allegations as he denied all except one, where he admitted to having a relationship with a co-worker years ago. Smiley says, in a Facebook video looking directly into the camera, with regard to these recent allegations against him, “It is clear that this has gone too far, and I, for one, intend to fight back.”
He also stated…
“Let me also assure you that I have never groped, inappropriately exposed myself or coerced any colleague in the workplace ever in my 30-year career.”
It’s no secret that Smiley lost a lot of popularity and respect in the Black community because of his Obama-shaming remarks; and reports claim some folks who did not care for this are calling his ousting karma. What if some of those same people are behind these allegations?
What would keep someone with a grudge from using this as an opportunity to settle a score?
It’s not out of the question. Opportunists are everywhere, why not here?
As the days come and go, and new “victims” reveal themselves, as they should, I just hope innocent until PROVEN guilty will return to the equation. That anyone who happened to have an unfavorable run-in with someone doesn’t turn it into their own personal #metoo campaign and walla! that person’s career is over.
Don’t let fear rule. An investigation should be more than a word used to appease a hungry public.
As you were…only better.