Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Brett Ratner, James Toback, Roy Price, Ben Affleck, Oliver Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Ed Westwick, Mark Halperin, Louis C.K., Matthew Weiner, Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby, Gary Goddard, Eric Bolling, Jeremy Piven, George Takei, Steven Seagal, Terry Richardson, Andy Dick, Charlie Sheen, David Blaine, Bob Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, Roy Moore, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump.
These are some of the countless men that have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape in the past few years, many of whom faced allegations after the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. The men listed above have different ages, different races, different professions, different religions, and different politics, but they have one thing in common; they had power. For decades, there has been a systemic plague of men in top positions abusing their authority over the powerless. And since the Weinstein dam broke, both women and men who were victimized by sexual misconduct at some point in their lives have felt empowered to come forward to share what happened to them.
Since it’s impossible to find evidence for many of these decades-old allegations, much of these cases boil down to “he said she said” scenarios, leaving us to decide who to believe; the alleged victims or the alleged abuser. And sadly, we’re witnessing lots of tribal defenses and deflections, especially with politically-charged individuals.
Let’s first use the recent Roy Moore scandal. One woman claimed he initiated a sexual encounter when she was only 14 years old and three other women have also said he made sexual advances towards them when they were in their late teens.. He has received lots of bipartisan condemnation with dozens of sitting Republicans urging him to drop out of the race. So far he has remained defiant and despite giving an inconsistent interview still insists this is a “hit job” on his campaign. And websites like Breitbart and InfoWars have been doing all they can to discredit the story.
Partisans on both sides have deflected from Moore in order to drive their own points. Liberals point to the accusations made against Trump during the 2016 election after the Access Hollywood tape was leaked while conservatives invoked accusations made against Bill Clinton over the years.
When the Weinstein scandal broke, several Fox News personalties likes Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity slammed Hollywood for allowing a culture of sexual harassment to run rampant while lecturing the rest of the country on how to behave and attacked NBC News after they seemingly wanted to bury Ronan Farrow‘s bombshell report. And these Fox News hosts were mocked for blatant hypocrisy by not acknowledging the turmoil that took place at their network that led to the firings of Ailes and O’Reilly.
And that’s part of the problem. Many of us focus on certain predators in order to push a narrative that only one side of the political aisle has creeps and not our own. We’ve seen plenty of #NeverTrump conservatives invoke the current president while the GOP has been wrestling on how to handle Moore.
Here’s an honest assessment from Townhall.com editor Guy Benson.
Please explain, specifically, why we should believe Bill Clinton’s accusers (I believe several of them), but not Roy Moore’s — or Donald Trump’s?
Now do it the other way around.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 10, 2017
He makes a great point. Why should conservatives believe only one set of accusers (Clinton’s) but not another (Moore’s, Trump’s)? Unfortunately, there’s been a virtual blackout among liberals when it comes to comparing Moore/Trump to Clinton.
Which is why when MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted that Democrats are “overdue with a real reckoning,” it was extremely noteworthy.
As gross and cynical and hypocrtical as the right’s “what about Bill Clinton” stuff is, it’s also true that Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 10, 2017
Read this account, in light of all we’ve been hearing and reading this last month, and ask yourself if it’s credible. https://t.co/8jymWjFpiF
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 10, 2017
What conservatives and liberals need to understand is that the truth isn’t always flattering to your side of the aisle. Has there ever been a time when someone made false allegations against someone? Sure. But it doesn’t change the fact that Democrats like Clinton and Republicans like Moore and Trump have been accused of at least some form of sexual misconduct.
This isn’t just a problem for Republicans and Democrats. It took late-night comedians a while to address the Weinstein scandal and they barely mentioned the Spacey revelations. And despite the joy they seem to have in mocking Roy Moore, they’ve been practically radio silent about their own colleague Louis C.K.
We are in a middle of a cultural shift where more and more people are coming out with their #MeToo stories and many of those implicated are suffering the consequences. And in order to create meaningful change in the workplace, we have to be honest about what’s been going on, who’s been involved, and what we can do to cure this disease that has manifested in our society for decades. Whether you’re as liberal as Weinstein or as conservative as O’Reilly, all of these allegations matter and choosing to be outraged over one and not the other only makes you part of the problem.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.