Are We Turning a Corner in the Fight Against Sexual Harassment?

The past few weeks have seen a series of high profile Hollywood personalities accused of sexual harassment. In some cases, this behavior has occurred over a period of years. They were apparently able to carry on for so long because no one dared go up against a person with that degree of power. Denial of employment, threats of being blackballed, and other forms of coercion were used, and when those failed, hush money was offered.

Hollywood is certainly not the only industry where such criminal activity takes place, but because of its reputation for glamor, it often holds the spotlight. Now that spotlight is being shone on a part of the movies that everyone knows exists, but tinsel town would like to keep quiet. The big question is: will it make a difference?

You don’t have to do much research to find previous instances of harassment similar to that allegedly committed by figures like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Brett Ratner. Many people enter the movie industry based on the lure of money, glamor, and sex. The power dynamic can feed into a growing sense of entitlement that may occur when a person begins to find fame.

However, while scandals have broken out before, we have not seen so many at one time. Also, the penalties that the alleged perpetrators will likely end up paying seem far greater. What is clear is that these stories will not be going away overnight and that is a good thing.

There has been some worry expressed that this could lead to caution that might even impede some people’s careers, but this seems like much less of an issue than the thought that it will instead give pause to would-be predators. It will also likely lead to more and more victims coming out and making their stories known.