Will Same-Sex Harassment Make News After Harvey Weinstein Debacle? [Opinion]

The biggest secret that was really never a secret just got out — there is a casting couch syndrome in Hollywood, and Harvey Weinstein was just revealed to be the leader. It’s gone on for years, and the fact that it’s suddenly making the news right now is laughable to those who have worked in the entertainment industry.

But that hasn’t stopped many high-profile figures from speaking out against the “surprising” news. According to CNN, Hillary Clinton, who slut-shamed many women who accused her husband of doing the same thing as Weinstein, is “shocked.”

“I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way. And, you know, like so many people who’ve come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past,” Clinton is quoted as saying.

All over social media, people have called out Clinton for not being supportive when Monica Lewinsky and other women came forward regarding Bill Clinton’s abuse of power. It’s true that many bashing Clinton don’t know the full details of what happened more than 20 years ago. However, male presidents, bosses, and movie studio bosses have abused their power against women for years. They have also abused their power when it comes to other men. This is something that has barely been talked about.

Hillary Clinton Sexual Harassment

Openness about homosexuality is still relatively a new thing. Just 20 years ago, talking about consensual gay relationships was still taboo. Same-sex harassment has always been buried, and it still makes people uncomfortable. But how long can that last? The issue is real and it needs to be dealt with. Those who come forward must not be made fun of or treated like outcasts.

The issue started to gain traction at the very beginning of the decade when Krista Gesaman of Newsweek wrote about six Cheesecake Factory employees filing suit after they claimed to be subjected to repeated sexual harassment at one of the Phoenix locations. Some of the allegations dealt with sexual fondling and simulated rape. The plaintiff and defendants were all men. The Cheesecake Factory settled the dispute by paying $340,000 to the victims.

As Newsweek’s article noted, the Supreme Court, in 1998, first recognized that an individual can file a sexual harassment claim against someone of the same sex. In the case of Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Joseph Oncale claimed he first received verbal attacks, and it soon grew to him being sodomized with a bar of soap. A lot of the same-sex harassment claims deal with men claiming they have been fired due to not giving into the sexual demands of their male bosses.

Male-on-male sexual harassment has also plagued Hollywood for years. This author has personally experienced it several times. Many victims are too embarrassed to talk about the situation. However, as IndieWire notes, Terry Crews has recently come forward to reveal that a male executive came over to him and started grabbing his genitals at a Hollywood function in 2016. He has been praised for coming forward, especially because he is a straight African-American former NFL player.

Although this article concentrates on male-to-male sexual harassment, women get sexually harassed by other women as well. JR Thorpe of Bustle recently wrote a popular column on why this type of harassment is not a myth.

“One of the reasons why most of us remain in the dark about female-on-female sexual workplace harassment is due to how we study workplace harassment in general.”

No matter what sex the perpetrator is, all victims have one thing in common — feeling powerless. In addition, they also feel embarrassed and, in some cases, try to blame themselves. We can combat sexual harassment, but we also have to leave taboos behind and realize that same-sex harassment is a real issue.

[Featured Image by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]