During these last few months we have watched as powerful men in the public eye face the cold hard consequences that come with sexual harassment in the workplace. Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, and Matt Lauer are probably the biggest names to have fallen. But many more names come to mind. These men are accused of a wide array of sexual misconduct in the work place, from indecent exposure to rape to manipulation of power.
And it has caused quite the uproar with those of us watching from the sidelines. Many women have responded with their #MeToo stories; some men have responded in shock, some have responded in support. Some feel this is a long time coming, others feel this is unjust – going as far as to call it a “witch hunt”. Several men, in particular, feel that how these men are being treated is quite unfair.
And to them I say: chill. All this talk about “innocent until proven guilty” and “should they all be punished the same” is irrelivent. Because we aren’t talking about criminal charges. These men aren’t going to jail.
Let me say that again: These men aren’t going to jail.
They are losing their jobs. Hollywood is a unique industry where your career lives and dies by your own personal marketability. And for years (decades, in many cases) these men have been conducting themselves however they wanted with no accountability or punishment and have been thriving with millions of dollars and acclaimed fame.
And now all they are losing is their job. They still have their millions, their awards, their freedom. They just are no longer marketable.
And to be perfectly clear, that is the only reason they are being fired.
Make no mistake. NBC, Amazon, Netflix, The Weinstein Company (I’m sure a name change is coming soon), and all of these other studios, they are not firing these men to do right by women. They are firing these men to keep advertisers. To keep investors. To keep their own fame and millions going. The behavior of these men was well known, covered up, brushed aside, even enabled. But now that it’s all out in the open they have to save face.
Women in every other industry are still powerless to speak up. They have no platform. There is no bottom line dollar effect by coming forward. So, men will keep their behavior and their jobs. Women are harassed and assaulted daily in the work place (seriously, go ask any woman you know if they have been sexually harassed at work this month) because there is still so much more work to be done.
I know better than to read comments on the internet. Doesn’t stop me from doing it, but I know better. And so many men are angry and fearful at the quick firing of famous men for a wide scale of sexual accusations. “Don’t lump them all together”, “They aren’t all Harvey Weinstein”. These men are so angry at the “injustice” of the treatment of these Hollywood men (perhaps because they are afraid it’s only a matter of time before it trickles down to them). But these Hollywood Men are just losing their jobs. No other punishment is happening to them.
People in Hollywood lose out on work all the time because they are no longer marketable. No one pitches a fit that Adam Sandler isn’t making movies anymore because no one wants to see Adam Sandler in a movie any more. And that’s why studios stopped making Adam Sandler movies. He’s no longer marketable.
But now all of these men are losing their marketability because of their sexual misconduct with women. And it’s just not fair. A man stops being funny, sure we don’t want him in movies any more. But a man gropes women regularly and we should let him go about his business.
So. To recap. These Hollywood Men aren’t going to jail. And they aren’t being fired for sexually harassing or assaulting women. They are losing their jobs because they lost their marketability. So to the rest of you lay working men out there: don’t worry. You can still assault and harass women all you want, so long as it doesn’t go public and affect your employers bottom dollar. No one is coming for you.