At this point, I would not be surprised by a sexual abuse/harassment allegation against any man in public life whatsoever. No exceptions apart from, maybe, Mr. Rogers, and he’s been dead for nearly 15 years. Certainly not any man whose fame, money and power comes, primarily, from simply being a famous version of himself as opposed to having a specific skill set. The validation that being famous merely for who you are brings is, basically, “I am great,” which leads to “I can do no wrong,” which can obliterate any sense of impulse control or propriety. That’s why you’re seeing so much of this among famous Hollywood and media personalities. There will be more. There will be a lot more, including prominent sports media figures I suspect.
Of course, once we get past that initial shock — or schadenfreude — of another man losing his job, it’s probably a good idea to understand that that is merely a footnote to the story. The real significance of the story is not a famous man being “taken down” or however you wish to characterize it. It’s the harm he caused that led to his downfall. The women he drove out of the business either directly due to his acts or his retaliation or indirectly due to the clear message his acts, heretofore unpunished, sent regarding a woman’s place and safety in the industry. For each guy who makes the news with this stuff, there were a five or a dozen or a hundred women he degraded, abused or, at the very least, alienated, and the industry is the worse off for their absence.
Which is to say that sexual harassment and abuse is a serious matter. That, while some people may see fit to make a narrowly focused joke at the fate of a disgraced abuser, it is never OK to make light of abuse or harassment itself.
If you do feel compelled to make such “jokes,” however, maybe don’t do so in an unsolicited message to a reporter, like former Mariners second baseman Bret Boone did this afternoon in a message to Stephen Cohen of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Cohen will have to deal with not being able to play golf in Boone’s foursome . . . somehow.