Sexual Harassment in the Media Industry

The dirty little secret of sexual harassment in the media industry is out, and many who work in the industry are no longer silenced. They aren’t working in a hellish environment where the boy’s club gets a pass for sexual misconduct or rape. Today, media workers’ rights to a safe workplace are enforced and at the forefront of creating emerging laws to protect the innocent.

Gretchen Carlson and Fox News

As celebrity sexual harassment victims populated the news cycle, media celebrities who reported these stories have taken a stand against their own attackers. In 2016, Gretchen Carlson of Fox News sued the media giant’s chairman, Roger Ailes for sexual harassment (Shepherd, Katie, (2020, January 10). I do wish I had done more’: Megyn Kelly tearfully reacts to ‘Bombshell’ and the fallout of the Fox News sexual harassment scandal. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/01/10/kelly-fox-bombshell/).

While the story gained traction, it was not until Megyn Kelly another anchor at Fox entered the arena with her own sexual harassment allegations against Ailes that more victims came forward. Twenty women joined in the fight against Ailes and collected a record $50 million in damages.

Matt Lauer and the Not So Isolated Incident

In 2017, NBCs Today Show co-host, Matt Lauer faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment and later forced sodomy (Corinthios, Aurelie. (2020, December 02). Everything We Know About the Allegations Against Matt Lauer. https://people.com/tv/matt-lauer-sexual-harassment-assault-allegation-breakdown/). NBC Anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie come forth with their allegations against Lauer initially. A growing number of sexual harassment complaints against Lauer led to his termination from NBC in 2018.

In 2019, Brooke Nevile broke her silence and detailed her story about Lauer. In reports across multiple media outlets, Nevile discussed her encounter with Lauer in a hotel room at the 2012 Olympics where Lauer pushed her onto his bed and raped her anally.

As of 2021, no lawsuits or criminal charges have been filed against Lauer although his termination was a step to protect future victims. According to Katie Couric in a 2021 interview with Savannah Guthrie, Couric stated about the Lauer allegations, “It was really devastating, but also disgusting.” (Stump, Scott. (2021, October 19, 2021). Katie Couric says she has ‘no relationship’ with Matt Lauer, calls scandal devastating and disgusting. https://www.today.com/news/news/katie-couric-says-no-relationship-matt-lauer-calls-scandal-devastating-rcna3273).

Linda Vester Accuses Tom Brokaw

In April 2018, Linda Vester who spent her career as a war reporter accused NBC’s high-caliber news anchor Tom Brokaw of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances in the 1990s (Wagmeister, Elizabeth and Setoodeh, Ramin. (2018, April 26). Tom Brokaw accused of Sexual Harassment by Former NBC Anchor. https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/tom-brokaw-sexual-harassment-nbc-news-correspondent-1202789627/). According to the reports of the allegations, Brokaw forcibly kissed her and touched her inappropriately. Further allegations indicate that Brokaw entered Vester’s hotel room without an invitation.

Although Brokaw retired from NBC News in 2004, these allegations have forced NBC to reassess its policies on sexual harassment and increased in-person sexual harassment training for all employees. According to the latest reports, Vester hasn’t filed a civil lawsuit against Brokaw.

The Victims Of Charlie Rose and Les Moonves

In 2017, initially, eight women came forward with allegations against CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose (Glamour. (2019, May 18). Powerful Men Facing Sexual Harassment Allegations. https://www.glamour.com/gallery/post-weinstein-these-are-the-powerful-men-facing-sexual-harassment-allegations). The alleged events were coined, “crude sexual advances” ranging from obscene calls and incident exposure to molestation and groping. By the final count in 2018, more than 30 women reported Rose for sexual misconduct resulting in a civil lawsuit filed by three unidentified CBS employees against Rose and CBS. Charlie Rose was fired from CBS in November 2017.

In September 2018, CBS Corp’s chief executive, Les Moonves became a hot topic in news cycles. Twelve women accused him of sexual harassment and rape beginning in the 1980s. CBS combined the Rose and Moonves investigations. The findings show Rose and Moonves were guilty of violating company sexual harassment policies and were terminated justifiably.

The #MeToo movement and the emergence of the post-Weinstein era give new hope for all victims. Media celebrities who have fallen victim to these heinous acts now have a voice, and they have a real chance to get the justice they deserve.

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