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Actresses—and Millions of Other Workers—Have No Federal Sexual-Harassment Protections

Actresses present the award for best actress at the Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on February 22, 2009. (Reuters / Gary Hershom)

  • This is another reason Harvey Weinstein’s accusers may have kept quiet until now.
  • Related: Sexual harassment, assault: Change the story. 

Bryce Covert, the Nation

October 19, 2017 | After The New York Times dropped its bombshell investigation into decades of sexual harassment perpetrated by film producer Harvey Weinstein, and The New Yorker followed up with allegations of not just harassment but sexual assault, dozens of women in Hollywood have come forward with stories about his harassment and abuse. But until these articles were published, Weinstein faced few repercussions for his behavior.

There are a number of reasons most of these women may have decided against reporting what happened to them. Many actresses talked about their fear that Weinstein would exact retribution by blacklisting them in the industry—something some victims said they experienced simply for rebuffing his advances. They likely worried that no one would believe them or take them seriously. One of the few women who did report his behavior to the authorities, Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, even wore a wiretap and caught Weinstein apparently admitting to assaulting her, only to watch Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. drop her case over what he said was lack of evidence supporting a criminal charge. Bryce Covert is a contributor at the Nation and a contributing op-ed writer at the New York Times. Her writing has also appeared in other recognized publications, and she won a 2016 Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus.

Full story …

Sexual harassment, assault: Change the story, Mariam Williams, National Catholic Reporter Participants at the Women's March, Kansas City, Missouri, Jan. 21, 2016 (NCR photo/George Goss)

  • We're not far from the scary world of "The Handmaid's Tale," but we don't have to keep repeating the story. Men in power can demonstrate that women are equal. They can call other men to examine masculinity. They can accept that women and men both desire sex and can control their urges. We can talk about crimes of power and the crime of silence among those who hold it. We can change.
  • Related: From the Archives | Let’s Stop Referring to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault as ‘Women’s Issues’
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