Himbo Eruption, A New Round of Powerful Men Under Scrutiny
As a growing number of women are coming forward to share their disturbing encounters with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, more men in various positions of power are also facing accusations of misconduct varying from sexual harassment to assault.
The men accused represent positions of authority whether they be in politics, journalism, media, Hollywood and more. They have so far anywhere between one accuser or 200 women alleging misconduct.
Million of women across the world have been sharing their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse in an online campaign using the hashtag #MeToo on Twitter and with rolling posts on Facebook. The social media campaign was sparked by “Charmed” actress Alyssa Milano, who asked her followers to reply “Me Too” if they had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted. An earlier #MeToo campaign was first conceived by Tarana Burke.
Here are some of the men whose stories of using their authority to subject women to a range of sexual misconduct have come out since Weinstein as well as the latest news against Weinstein.
Co-founder and former co-chairman of the Weinstein Company, Weinstein stands accused of sexually harassing, sexually assaulting and/or raping at least 40 women. The newest accusation comes from actress Natassia Malthe, who told reporters on Wednesday that Weinstein raped her in 2008.
“I was completely grossed out,” Malthe said. “I believe that I disassociated during the time that he was having sex with me. I laid still and closed my eyes and just wanted it to end. I was like a dead person. Afterwards I lay there in complete disgust.”
Other women who have accused Weinstein of harassment, assault or rape include actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Ashley Judd, Lena Headey and Lupita Nyong’o.
Weinstein has denied the allegations against him, despite an initial disjointed attempt at an apology not long after The New York Times first brought to light the initial alleged instances of sexual harassment.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that almost 40 women had accused film director and screenwriter James Toback, now 72, of sexual harassment. After the initial story, more than 200 women have now told The Times they experienced some kind of sexual misconduct at the hands of Toback, including actress Julianne Moore.
Toback, who was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay in 1991 for his work on “Bugsy,” would proposition women by telling them he was a movie director. He coerced the women he encountered into thinking they were going to an interview or audition.
But these encounters then turned sexual, with Toback asking “humiliating personal questions,” according to The Los Angeles Times. Some of Toback’s victims explained to the outlet that he made them feel like encounters such as those were business as usual to get ahead in Hollywood.
“The way he presented it, it was like, ‘This is how things are done,'” actress Adrienne LaValley said in her interview.
LaValley described an incident in 2008 at a hotel “that ended with Toback trying to rub his crotch against her leg,” according to The Times. “When she recoiled, he stood up and ejaculated in his pants.”
Toback’s habits were well-known in the acting world, one woman reported to The Times.
“It’s a common thread among many women I know after someone mentions they were sexually abused by a creepy writer-director, the response is, ‘Oh, no. You got Toback-ed,'” said actor Karen Sklaire. “The numbers are staggering.”
Sklaire told of her own encounter with Toback in 1997, which “ended with him grinding against her leg,” according to The Times.
Toback told the publication that the claims were false and denied knowing the women at all. If he had met any of them it “was for five minutes and [I] have no recollection,” he said.
George H.W. Bush
One actress, Heather Lind, said that the former president touched her inappropriately while standing for a photo.
She shared the experience in a now-deleted Instagram post. According to CNN, the post read, in part, “He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.”
A former spokesman for Bush initially called the incident “an attempt at humor” in a statement to CNN.
The spokesman, Jim McGrath, later gave more detail.
“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” he said. “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
The problem with a seemingly innocent “dirty joke” is that while it can make women feel uncomfortable, at the least, most women do not regard it as a form of harassment. According to a Cosmopolitan survey of women aged 18 to 34, among women who said they have never been sexually harassed at work, 16 percent responded “yes” when asked if they have ever had a sexually explicit or sexist remark spoken to them at work.
Lockhart Steele, former editorial director for Vox Media, was fired last week. According to an internal communication from the company’s CEO to employees, “Lock admitted engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with our core values and will not be tolerated at Vox Media.”
Eden Rohatensky, who used to work at Vox, posted on Oct. 12 a blog post on Medium. Rohatensky did not identify Vox, Steele or any other employees by name in her original post. But the post details an encounter that occurred in an Uber during a company retreat that included one of the company’s vice presidents:
“We drove towards our destination and suddenly I felt the VP caress my hand. And then my arm. And then suddenly, in the dark corner of the car, he was kissing my neck. I grabbed his hand and held it down, worried he would try to go further with it. My coworker and my boss were unaware.
“I was fired a month later due to lack of productivity. No longer fearful of losing my job, I reached out to a few of the people I had worked with. I reported what had happened with the VP. A year later, I found out that an investigation had been done. That he had multiple victims within the company. That his punishment was being told he could not drink at corporate events any longer.”
According to a 2014 report from Equal Rights Advocates, Rohatensky’s experience and financial setback following the harassment is not uncommon.
“The financial impacts are severe,” the report states. “Sexual harassment undermines the long-term earning capacity of women workers and contributes to the gender wage gap. It can undermine job performance and professional credibility. Those who keep their jobs may be obstructed by harassing supervisors or may decline certain opportunities for professional advancement in order to avoid the harassment. Workers subjected to sexual harassment are often fired or forced to leave their jobs, regardless of whether they file a complaint.”
Mark Halperin sexually harassed at least five women while working at ABC News, according to CNN.
One woman told the outlet that she encountered Halperin in the 2000s in his office.
“I went up to have a soda and talk and he just kissed me and grabbed my boobs,” she reported. “I just froze. I didn’t know what to do.”
Halperin is exiting both MSNBC and NBC as a result of the accusations.
“We find the story and the allegations very troubling. Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood,” MSNBC said in a statement to several media outlets.
Roy Price, former head of Amazon Studios, left his role after a woman accused him of sexual harassment.
The Hollywood Reporter previously reported an allegation by Isa Hackett, a producer on one of Amazon.com Inc’s shows, that Price had lewdly propositioned her in 2015.
“I’m pleased Amazon is taking steps to address the issues,” Hackett said in a statement. “An important conversation has begun about the need to create a culture in our industry which values respect and decency and rejects the abuse of power and dehumanizing treatment of others.”
Venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), which has invested in Tesla Inc’s SpaceX, said it is independently probing sexual harassment allegations against its founding partner Steve Jurvetson.
The company came to know about “indirect and second-hand allegations” against Jurvetson earlier this summer, a DFJ spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
“We immediately opened an independent investigation, which is ongoing at this time,” the spokeswoman said.
Chef John Besh, founder of Besh Restaurant Group, left his company after more than two dozen women reported to NOLA.com and the Times-Picayune that they were sexually harassed by him and other male workers.
Shannon White, who will take over as CEO, said Besh needs to “provide his full focus on his family.”
Besh released a statement saying that he had a consensual relationship with someone from work a couple of years ago.
“Since then I have been seeking to rebuild my marriage and come to terms with my reckless actions given the profound love I have for my wife, my boys and my Catholic faith,” he said. “I also regret any harm this may have caused to my second family at the restaurant group, and sincerely apologize to anyone past and present who has worked for me who found my behavior as unacceptable as I do.”
According to the Cosmopolitan survey, food/service/hospitality had the highest level of reported sexual harassment: 42 percent.
Actor Ben Affleck was accused by one actress of groping her while filming a show.
According to Hilarie Burton, Affleck grabbed her while filming “Total Request Live.”
“I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” Affleck wrote on Twitter.
The incident was caught on video and came back to light, incidentally, when Affleck spoke out against Weinstein.
Reuters material contributed to this report.