Former “Today” show host Matt Lauer is the latest media icon to fall from accusations of sexual harassment. But it raises a question: At what point will the pendulum swing too far?
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An op-ed piece by Bari Weiss, a female columnist for The New York Times, details the fears of the men she knows who are now scouring their memories for anything they may have done in the past. Many are asking that if they were wrongly accused, would anyone believe them?
Given that celebrities and politicians are being outed one day and fired the next, it’s a reasonable concern for men who are innocent. Former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna says there is a chance to defend oneself from claims of harassment, so long as those claims are false.
“This does happen every so often, but it is pretty rare,” he said. “I suspect because there aren’t that many false claims that are made relative to the number of truthful claims…”
The cases of sexual harassment being highly-publicized often involve a pattern of behavior. This pattern is what leads to the downfall of the accused.
“If there is a pattern of behavior, no one is going to believe that every single one of those accusers is making it up,” McKenna said.
A single accusation may turn out differently. Take the case involving Rep. Al Green as an example. After allegations of sexual misconduct were made, they were withdrawn when Green counter-sued his accuser. This all happened about 10 years ago, but Green opted to release a statement now due to the current climate.
McKenna says some much-needed reform could come out of the numerous harassment claims; especially where public officials are concerned.
“That will be a lasting benefit from this current torrent of cases,” he said.
Listen to the entire conversation here.