On the very day Harvey Weinstein, Honorary Lifetime Member of the Casting Couch Hall of Shame, was finally convicted of rape, I have to admit I have incredibly mixed feelings about the #MeToo Movement.

Harvey Weinstein is a sexual thug who as a matter of course coldly abused women just starting out in their chosen profession. Throw the book at him. I wish the same book could be thrown smack in the faces of those who covered for him, as well as the low-lifes who did the same things he did and those who covered up for THEM. This sort of thing is as ubiquitous as plastic surgery in the entertainment business, Weinstein being just a particularly heinous example. Predation happens to both men and women in the acting field, though I’d guess more often to women, who are lucky if they escape the producer in the bathrobe. I’d love for the stereotype of the Hollywood mogul preying on aspiring movie stars to become a relic of a bygone era, like smoking sections in movie theaters.

On the other hand, I heard today that my best-male-friend-other-than-my-spouse has just been tossed out of a local business/community organization because of complaints from women about his behavior. There was no warning, no discussion, just...goodbye. His understanding is that certain women had complained to the leadership that something about his behavior made them uncomfortable.

This man is just about the last person anyone would expect to face an accusation like this. He is deeply religious, has four young-adult daughters he would protect with his life, and respects women so much he won’t even let his language go beyond PG-13 around them.

To show how bewildering it must be to be on the receiving end of such a complaint when one has not knowingly done anything wrong, I’m reprinting, with permission, an excerpt from the letter my friend sent to the group whose leadership has ousted him. I’ve edited out anything that could reveal identities, as that is not the point. This letter illustrates how someone feels who has been wrongly accused. My friend was first notified of his ouster last week, and he responded assuming it was some kind of mistake. Today he officially learned it wasn’t, and he sent the following reply...

Greetings Loved Ones,

This email is a follow-up message to one that I sent last week regarding leaving the Thursday morning group. The reason I sent that message was out of ignorance. I thought it was a mistake. Now I know better.

Today is my birthday. Also today, Harvey Weinstein was convicted of very bad behavior. Additionally, I spoke with *******, who explained to me that I’m being terminated from membership in the ******* because it is alleged that I have had inappropriate behavior and touching with several ladies in the group. Since the only thing I do with ******* is Thursday group, I have to assume that the ladies who’ve accused me are reading this letter. I categorically deny the behavior which I myself abhor. I’ve raised four daughters to adulthood, am a 20 year charter member of *******, have been working with ******* for forty years and been associated with the ******* for four years. Whatever you perceived that I did, it would have been so much better if you’d have just talked to me and given me an opportunity to fix whatever the problem was. I’m sorry if I hurt you in some way. Certainly, it was never my intention.

This kind of problem has the effect of seriously damaging an otherwise good reputation...Since I don’t know who my accusers are, I will never know who will speak badly of me whenever I go anywhere or do anything.

I don’t live or die by the Thursday morning group, and I’ve made some very good friends there, with whom I’ll continue to do business and referrals. As I leave, please don’t turn your back on [the children helped by a charitable organization they support]. They depend on you to be able to live. It’s amazed me that I’ve not had more sponsors come out of the group over the many years I’ve been a member...

God speed to all of you, may your businesses prosper, and may you always remember to love.

Sincerely,

*******

As you can see, the irony of having this happen to him the very day Harvey Weinstein was convicted is not lost on him. (It was also, sadly, my friend’s birthday.) Now, you don’t know this person and can only take my word, but believe me, he would never intentionally make a female colleague uncomfortable. I’ve seen him in social situations many times; he’s naturally friendly and outgoing and might offer a casual hug (with others around) or compliment someone (man or woman) for a stylish dress or cool tie. But this wasn’t a workplace situation; there’s no HR, no posted behavior code for employees. Within hours of sending this letter, he’d already received numerous letters of support from both men and women in the group.

I spoke with him at length about this today, and he understands that perhaps because of past experiences, a woman might be easily made uncomfortable, but he just wishes he could have been made aware, either by the woman herself (“Eh, I’m not really a ‘hug’ person”) or by leadership (“I thought I’d better tell you, there’s been a complaint about you being too outwardly friendly”). He would have respected that and behaved accordingly.

The way this was handled is just wrong, and, as a woman, I’m flat-out embarrassed by it. In the post-feminist age, are we capable of navigating interpersonal situations (at least in cases not involving a job or other power play) or are women fragile little flowers? I can see not wanting to confront one’s boss or attacker, but this innocent, friendly care-bear? Get real. And if the woman is, for whatever reason, too uncomfortable to talk to the person directly, can’t the leadership of this relatively small, local group bring members together to resolve such issues? As disappointed as I am by the women in this situation, that’s nothing compared to the way I feel about how the organization handled it.

So, where does my friend go to get his reputation back? He has no idea who accused him and has no recourse. He’s well aware of how word gets around, and since he’s a member of other, similar groups in the area, he wonders if he’ll be dropped from them, too. Will he be known as “the guy who got kicked out of *****”? Will false rumors spread that he groped women or propositioned them? Will it hurt the very worthwhile charity he supports? Honestly, the longer I go on about this, the madder I get --- probably much madder than the man this happened to, as he’s more forgiving than I am.

Harvey Weinstein is finally going to prison, and that’s a great consequence of the #MeToo movement. But my innocent friend deserved, at most, a heads-up to just be a little more reserved. He did not deserve what happened to him. And that’s a terrible consequence of the #MeToo Movement.

Leave a Comment

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.

Your Information
Your Comment
BBML accepted!
Captcha

Comments 1-14 of 14

  • Ruth Heinz

    03/07/2020 03:24 PM

    I totally agree with Ms. Ainsworth. Anonymous complaints are difficult, but totally buying into them by punishing the accused without giving a chance of rebuttal or facing the accusers is just plain wrong. I have been a victim of this (I am too intimidating) and have refused to consider the complaint unless I know who is the accuser. This has caused some difficulty for the carrier of the accusation, but ultimately has worked out the problem between them both and myself. Facing it is healthy, hiding is not.

  • Carol Lay

    02/27/2020 10:29 PM

    Thanks for the Bible verse of the day! It's one of my favorites.
    The Lord bless thee and keep thee, also.
    Carol Lay


  • Marchia Kay Forber

    02/27/2020 10:54 AM

    Using gov't spies for political reasons reminds me of
    the recent trouble the Astros got into by stealing signals.

  • Dale Taylor

    02/26/2020 07:56 PM

    A real shame . Since when do they decide to just take one side as truth? What goes around does come around. Shame on the women, and the idiot who handled this. I am sharing this hoping it will be read . God Bless you, Laura, for writing this .

  • Mary Rollinson

    02/26/2020 02:40 PM

    My niece got her mba last May. She’s discovered that many businesses are reluctant to hire women, promote them, take them to business meetings, etc for fear of this very thing happening. So, you could say this movement has hindered more than helped.

  • Elizabeth W. Odom

    02/26/2020 01:34 PM

    I whole heartedly agree with Laura on this. It is reprehensible and I would bet my bottom dollar it has something to do with Politics. How? I do not know. But it sure smacks of it. True "mis-behavior" needs to be punished but there should at least be an opportunity for rebuttal and/or explanation. So those who complained need to be investigated just to see if there is someone in politics who has authored this through them. Just MY opinion.

  • Anne Turner

    02/26/2020 01:14 PM

    There are so many cases of organizations founded fo great reasons to correct failing groups of people or society in general. Examples include unions and a number of the civil rights organizations. Power does corrupt. Unions were very necessary to make corporations share the wealth, so to speak, and secure better working conditions. But ow they have almost bankrupted these very corporations and have had a hand in ruining our educational systems as well as becoming an arm of the DNC. Some civil rights organizations were very much needed to push an attitude change and fairness to minorities. Now they exist to perpetuate racism as this is how they survive. The MeToo movement was needed to try to stop rampant sexism by men and women in power. Now it is ruining lives of innocent people. What a shame, but holier than thou makes some people feel good and increases their feelings of self worth and ego gratification.

  • Lucy Hooker

    02/26/2020 12:59 PM

    I honestly thought when the #metoo movement first came to the forefront that it was an attack on the right to due process. People championed it and all I could think was ‘why is an accusation being treated like a conviction?’ No proof, no right to face your accuser, no defense, no jury of your peers, guilty until proven innocent. It sounds like a precursor to the kangaroo court we witnessed in the impeachment of President Trump. I agree with women wanting to be treated respectfully, but when it results in the destruction of one of the most distinguishing hallmarks of our republic, the right to due process, we are left with little more than the justice found in a banana republic. I’m just a big enough conspiracy theorist to ask myself if this is an intentional by product of #metoo. I was born in 1950, I heard about men inappropriately approaching women and, having been attractive, I also experienced that, but I never had a problem telling them in no uncertain words that I had zero tolerance for inappropriate words or actions. I never suffered for it socially or professionally. I am sorry this happened to this gentleman. He sounds like he has been the victim in this and not some woman that lacked the good manners to speak up if something annoyed her. #unfair

  • Casey Eckert

    02/26/2020 11:09 AM

    I'm so saddened by this article - if a woman feels uncomfortable about ANY touch or talk, she needs to learn how to SPEAK UP. I've told ALL the men in my life, from husband to sons to nephews, to friends to colleagues, etc. that they need to be sure the women they hug WANT that hug or WANT that compliment. They need to learn body language in order to sense if a woman is uncomfortable, ALL THE WHILE the woman needs to say something. A colleague of mine enjoys giving neck and shoulder massages to women - and men - but I'm not comfortable with that so I've told him, with a smile, "No, thanks!". Simple. No hurt feelings, no nastiness, no accusations, just an easy-to-understand request!

  • Shirley Bone

    02/26/2020 11:09 AM

    I agree with all you said and I am so sorry for your friend. I feel that this happens more often than we know. God Bless him and God Bless you for standing by him.

  • james alan randolph

    02/26/2020 10:49 AM

    ANONYMOUS ALLEGATIONS need to stop.
    If leadership will not allow due process, and presumption of innocence, confrontation of accusers, then besides unconstitutional, this is SLANDER and GOSSIP. Shame on the leadership that caved.

  • Paul Kern

    02/26/2020 10:39 AM

    It seems like all women are victims now. Must be "Southern Belle's." Grew up around that kind. Very sweet talking but very evil and cunning. Now you can't even say hello without someone reading some insanity into it. I pity the other men in the group. The witches will eventually head them out.

  • Sharon Faulkner

    02/26/2020 10:34 AM

    MeToo is the modern Salem Witch Trials also manipulated by bitches

  • Theresa Harris

    02/25/2020 10:48 PM

    You’re friend should of gotten at the very least a chance, it is wrong to only take her word for anything. As a group everyone should weigh in on the decision long before he was let go. My heart
    Goes out to him and his family, I hope the woman will do the right thing. It’s in Gods hands now????