Pearls & Vodka

Day of the Girl

Harvey Weinstein. Bill Cosby. Roger Ailes.

Three powerful men in their fields, with a net worth of a combined $800 million. [1]

These three men have been tall figures in the entertainment industry.

Weinstein in the movies, Cosby on the sitcoms, and Ailes on the 24/7 news channels.

They all have something else in common.

They destroyed their legacies with tales of sexual harassment and assault.

“I can’t stand cruel people. And if I see people doing something mean to somebody else just to make themselves feel important, it really gets me mad.” [2]

Roger Ailes wrote those words in his book, “You Are the Message: Getting What You Want by Being Who You Are.” I’m not sure what happened between writing those words in the book published in 1998 and the allegations that rolled in about his sexual harassment of broadcasters at Fox News. Ailes wrote a book about the idea that what you communicate with others constantly sends signals about the kind of person you are.

In 2016, Gretchen Carlson filed suit against the 76-year-old media legend, Roger Ailes. Carlson alleged that Ailes had harassed her constantly throughout her time at Fox News and enabled a hostile work environment. Once Carlson came forward, other women began to air their accusations of his sexually related misconduct from “unwanted groping” to decades of “psychological torture.” The accusers grew to over 20 at the time that 21st Century Fox booted Ailes out. It should be noted; he didn’t leave empty-handed, they sent him on his merry way with $40 million. Women like Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Laurie Luhn, Andrea Tantaros, Kellie Boyle, Rudi Bakhtiar, Shelley Ross, and Marsha Callahan all stepped forward to detail their allegations against Mr. Ailes. [3]

In September of 2016, Gretchen Carlson reached a settlement with 21st Century Fox for $20 million. In February of 2017, the Justice Department announced they were investigating Fox News on the premise that they may have failed to inform shareholders about settlements made to employees who had accused Ailes of sexual harassment. In April of 2017, the federal probe expanded to bring in the United States Postal Inspection Service who investigates mail and wire fraud. [4]
Roger Ailes passed away on May 18, 2017.

The Cosby Show was an iconic program from 1984-1992. Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, with his colorful sweaters and a big smile, was on almost every television set in America for those eight years. Long before his career on television, Bill Cosby was a legendary stand-up comedian. Cosby won his first Grammy for best comedy performance for an album in 1965. Sunni Wells, an aspiring singer, alleges that in the mid 60’s, around the time he won his first Grammy, that Bill Cosby drugged her drink and sexually assaulted her. Kristina Ruehli, a talent agency secretary, alleges a similar incident occurring in 1965 as well. She had two drinks with Mr. Cosby, and then she alleges that she woke up in his bed after something sexual had occurred. In 1966, Bill Cosby won his first Emmy for the lead actor in “I Spy.” The next year, the former wife of the Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno, Carla, alleges that Cosby grabbed her and kissed her, against her will on a double date. She ran from him and left the date. The allegations continue almost yearly, Linda Joy Traitz, Joan Tarshis, Cindra Ladd, and Linda Brown all in 1969. “The Bill Cosby Show” aired from 1969-1971, where Cosby played a high school gym teacher who was also a bachelor. He also starred in the “Fat Albert” TV movie in 1969. Victoria Valentino, the former Playboy bunny, also alleges that Cosby drugged and raped her the same year. Autumn Burns in 1970, Louisa Moritz in 1971, the years and the names just keep coming. In 2000, Bill Cosby sat in the President’s box next to then-President Bill Clinton and his wife First Lady, Hillary Clinton, and received his Kennedy Center Honors. In 2004, Andrea Constand alleged Cosby offered her some pills to release some tension in her body, and she woke up later with her clothes in disarray. In 2008, Chloe Goins, a model, alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the Playboy Mansion. [5]
As of November 20, 2014, over 45 women have said they were assaulted by Cosby.

To be fair, neither Cosby nor Ailes has ever been convicted in a court of law on charges of sexual harassment or assault.

Powerful men have been put in a negative spotlight again this week with the latest blockbuster allegations against movie executive, Harvey Weinstein.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosanna Arquette, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd. Just a few of the names who have come forward to allege that Mr. Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances towards them over their projects they worked with him on. [6]

The Chicago Tribune did an interesting commentary piece on Monday about powerful men regarding chronic sexual harassment. On Weinstein, Earl Ofari Hutchinson wrote, “He is super rich and powerful, and he had tentacles into every nook and cranny of Hollywood film, art, and culture. Along the way, he made a lot of careers for big-name actors, actresses, directors, writers, and others in the film industry. They owed him and owed him a lot. This can buy a lot of silence. Silence, yes, because many of them admitted that they had heard the rumors, knew the alleged victims, or said they were victims themselves, of Weinstein’s alleged sexual rapacity.” Hutchinson went on to say, “See no evil, hear no evil,” and described that as the pattern with Bill Cosby. Hutchinson also discussed the Iowa Law Review that publicized the underreporting of rape in cities all over our nation. The study zeroed in on the prime reason being disbelief. The ideology of disbelief tells the accuser that the powerful men they allege to have harmed them will be believed over their account of the incidents.

How have we come to a place in our nation where we minimalize, marginalized and even mock those who allege sexual misconduct?

You might be asking yourself, why the tangent today?

Sure, Weinstein is in the media, and it is a “hot topic.” But I am writing about this today because of an even bigger, more important reason.

Today is the International Day of the Girl.

I know the wording is a bit odd, but it is a 100% youth-led movement for gender justice and youth activism that was instituted by the United Nations in 2011. The Day of the Girl-US is working to, “dismantle patriarchy and fight for social justice” and it is “rooted in a girl-led activism across the country.” [8]

This is their day of national action.

The beliefs the movement holds are: girls are the experts on issues that affect girls, girls are marginalized in communities, truly effective social change cannot come without girls’ leadership, and girls’ issues are intersectional. [8]

If you’d like to learn more about their organization, I would highly encourage you to visit their very informative website at, Day of the Girl.

I’m not naïve enough to think that for every person that alleges sexual misconduct, there are some that are dishonest. I know that the “hush-money” that a lot of high-power men have provided has caused a surge of “get rich” schemes. I believe that every man, every boy, every woman, every girl, deserves the right to due process. They deserve the opportunity to share both sides of the story. Evidence should be demanded. Equal representation should be provided. And a fair trial should be conducted.

Just because there are allegations against someone does not mean they are guilty.

That being said, just because someone is powerful does not mean they are innocent.

And even further, just because someone is famous does not mean they should have the ability to “pay” their way out of the consequences of their actions with money.

I also am not blind to the fact that is not just an issue that girls are fighting. There are plenty of boys and men who are taken advantage of by someone else.

And for the naysayers out there, that will point out who I voted for last November. I hear you, loud and clear. I’ve had plenty of messages from friends, family, and others who have questioned my ability to vote for Donald Trump last November in light of some of the recordings of him that were released. I understand. I do not condone his actions in those interviews, in any way, shape or form. To insist that I do is a choice to be ignorant to the growth I have experienced over the year in my thoughts and opinions. While we are on the subject of politics, I respect the legislators who have made donations with the funds that folks like Mr. Weinstein donated to their campaigns.

Here’s a thought, what if everyone who spent money on seeing a Weinstein film donated the cost of their movie ticket to an organization like Day of the Girl, we’d really make a difference instead of just a statement.

We as parents should be so laser-focused on raising a generation of young people, boys and girls alike, that are respectful of one another, that know their boundaries, that know their worth, that know the difference between right and wrong and who understand that there are consequences to every action and no one ever has a right to make you feel uncomfortable or violated. We need to be raising a generation of children who seek open openness instead of stigmatizing the trauma of those around them. We should be raising children who are listeners and helpers, instead of children who become adults who force themselves on others. We should be raising our children to respect the minds and bodies of everyone, no matter their differences, or their feelings.

If we don’t take these steps as parents, stories like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and Roger Ailes will become typical in our society instead of the outrage they warrant.

So today, on International Day of the Girl, empower a little girl to stand up for herself. Encourage a little girl to see her self-worth. And help a little boy understand the importance of respecting the girls he is around. And encourage him to see that each human life is a gift and should be treated as such.

Let’s raise a generation of children who do not stand for being cruel to one another.

And if you would like to make a donation to the Day of the Girl organization, please, donate here. You can also follow them on their Facebook page here.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackomalleygreenburg/2017/06/12/full-list-the-worlds-highest-paid-celebrities-2017/#1852d2e349ec
[2] https://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Message-Getting-Being/dp/0385265425
[3] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/roger-ailes-accusers-list_us_57a9fa19e4b06e52746db865
[4] http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/18/media/timeline-roger-ailes-last-year/index.html
[5] http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-bill-cosby-timeline-htmlstory.html
[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/us/gwyneth-paltrow-angelina-jolie-harvey-weinstein.html
[7] http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-sex-assault-weinstein-cosby-1010-story.html
[8] http://www.dayofthegirl.org/about

Photo Credit: Day of the Girl 

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