Friday, March 29, 2024

Uplifting the Hostile Workplace

In October 2021 Charlotte Bennett, a health policy aide in the administration of New York governor Andrew Cuomo- forced out of office after a series of sexual abuse allegations- stated that

what emboldened her to come forward — and bolster the claims of an earlier accuser — was also the feeling that she was part of a community of survivors who had each other’s back.

“I was really scared to come forward,” Bennett said. “But something that reassured me even in that moment of fear was that there were women before me … (it wasn’t) Charlotte versus the governor, but a movement, moving forward. And I am one small event and one small piece of reckoning with sexual misconduct, in workplaces and elsewhere.”

Because things- especially in the workplace- can change dramatically in less than four years. 

An attorney for Lizzo’s former backup dancers, Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez, is fuming that the Democratic National Committee hired the “Good As Hell” singer to headline the Dem’s big fundraiser Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall.

“It’s shameful that Lizzo would be chosen to headline an event like this amid such egregious allegations,” Ron Zambrano told me. “Without getting into the politics, I can’t imagine why anyone would want Lizzo representing them in any way given her reprehensible behavior. It’s just a terrible look."

Lizzo is facing accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination by Davis, Williams and Rodriguez who sued Lizzo last August, accusing her of “creating a hostile work environment through a wide range of legal wrongdoing, including not just sexual harassment but also religious and racial discrimination,” according to Billboard. The women allege Lizzo forced them to attend sex shows and eat a banana protruding from a woman’s vagina, among other allegations. Last month, a judge denied Lizzo’s request to toss the lawsuit, allowing the majority of the case to proceed to trial later this year.

Last October, two years after Charlotte Bennett's account, Holly Corbett noted in Forbes "While some people may argue that #MeToo is dead or is not needed anymore, the truth is that change with any social movement is slow, nonlinear, and doesn't all the time." Yet she misleadingly added "The #MeToo movement of 2017 and 2018 grew with survivors finding community and resulted in holding hundreds of powerful men accountable."

Powerful men, arguably; influential women, not a chance. The performer of such classy and traditional lyrics as "Woo child, tired of the bullshit Go on dust your shoulders off, keep it moving Yes Lord, tryna get some new shit In there, swimwear, going to the pool shit" is not being held accountable. Ron Zambrano is trying to do so- but the last three Democratic presidents have not only given her a pass, but have now celebrated her, honoring her with prominence at the New York City gala.

This is what the #MeToo movement has come to. While many Americans flounder as victims of the vagaries of life, moral outrage vanishes when the alleged offender is a wealthy celebrity.  It turns out that if the wrongdoer is not among the "hundreds of powerful men," three of the most powerful Americans of the last quarter century can't be bothered. Perhaps the #MeToo movement should acknowledge it no longer serves a useful purpose and simply call it a day.


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