NBC’s sudden dismissal of “Today Show” host Matt Lauer following allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior, coming a week after the termination of
The fact that news organizations making hundreds of millions of dollars off their morning lineups were willing to summarily fire stars as big as Lauer and Rose is testament to the sea change in the public attitude toward sexual harassment. (Granted, NBC knew that Variety was about to publish a piece detailing multiple, albeit anonymous, accusations of sexual harassment against Lauer.) The reckoning shows no sign of slowing; shortly after Lauer's ouster was disclosed, Minnesota Public Radio announced the firing of folksy radio show raconteur Garrison Keillor in response to allegations of "inappropriate behavior."
This reckoning is a good thing. But of course it’s been politicized — noting Lauer’s dismissal,
What these latest accusations and consequent banishments show is that the misuse of power in a sexual way, almost always by men, is alarmingly frequent in entertainment, business, politics, and media — and, until now, tolerated and endured. It's also evidence that, as industries take these allegations seriously, more women and men who were harassed will feel confident coming forward. If Trump were still just the star of "The Apprentice" today and the multiple women who've accused him of sexual harassment came forward, can you imagine NBC saying anything to him other than "You're fired"?
Of course, the falls from grace that have grabbed headlines involve celebrities and other high-profile people. What's just as important now is that the rest of the business world take seriously the accusations leveled by and at their workers. It shouldn't take word of an impending exposé or fear of bad publicity to get business owners to do the right thing.