5 women sue Monster Energy over abusive and discriminatory culture

Yeah, 'Monster' sounds about right. Five women are suing beverage maker Monster Energy over a workplace culture where discrimination and sexually abusive behavior by male executives proliferated with impunity. Read the rest

Matt Lauer had a button under his desk to lock his office door, according to this detailed report

Variety is reporting that the desk recently-fired TODAY anchor Matt Lauer's desk was rigged with a special button:

His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up. This afforded him the assurance of privacy. It allowed him to welcome female employees and initiate inappropriate contact while knowing nobody could walk in on him, according to two women who were sexually harassed by Lauer.

The detailed article also reports that Lauer was "fixated on women, especially their bodies and looks," according to 10 current and former employees:

He was known for making lewd comments verbally or over text messages. He once made a suggestive reference to a colleague’s performance in bed and compared it to how she was able to complete her job, according to witnesses to the exchange. For Lauer, work and sex were intertwined.

“There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that’s still a problem because of the power he held,” says a former producer who knew first-hand of these encounters. “He couldn’t sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he’s Matt Lauer and he’s married. So he’d have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn’t ever complain.”

Matt Lauer Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women (EXCLUSIVE)

(Consequence of Sound)

screenshot via TODAY

Previously: NBC fires Matt Lauer over "inappropriate sexual behavior" Read the rest

Katie Couric on Matt Lauer in 2012: "He pinches me on the ass a lot"

News came out this morning that NBC has fired Matt Lauer over "inappropriate sexual behavior." NBC News chairman Andrew Lack says, "While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

You can bet it's not an isolated event. Here is a video from 2012 that shows Katie Couric telling Andy Cohen that Lauer's most annoying habit is that he "pinches me on the ass a lot."

Image: Joella Marano Read the rest

Sen. Al Franken Accused of Forcibly Groping Radio Host Leeann Tweeden

Al Franken, Democratic senator from Minnesota and a former comedian, admitted groping radio host Leeann Tweeden who wrote of her experience at his hands for 790 KABC. He apologized to Tweeden and invited the Senate to place him under investigation, but claimed no recollection of her more serious claim: that he forced a kiss on her during rehearsals for the 2006 USO Tour performance. Read the rest

Notes from the #MeToo march: thoughts and prayers can't right what is wrong

I met Jackie Fox of the Runaways in 2015 after I wrote an article on Boing Boing in response to her rape disclosure and the treatment it was getting in the press. Jackie was drugged and raped in front of a large group of people at a party. Jason Cherkis, an investigative reporter for Huffington Post, wrote an exhaustively researched piece about the rape, interviewed many witnesses, and outlined the complex reasons Jackie was coming forward 40 years later. Her story was not only rock solid--she had witnesses. Still, her former bandmate, Joan Jett, put out a statement essentially calling Jackie's rape part of a "bizarre relationship."

I was angry watching the public tide turn against Jackie after Joan's dismissive statement was released, especially as a fellow assault survivor. Around the same time, more Cosby women were coming forward, and I was disgusted with the default reaction of seeing women doubted, disparaged, and denigrated. I wrote the piece, Neil Gaiman tweeted it out, and people took note. And so, my friendship with Jackie Fox began. It was coincidental that I was also the bassist in an all-female band, Babes in Toyland, but it gave us a natural camaraderie.  

So when Jackie invited me to go to the recent #MeTooMarch in Hollywood, I was honored to join her. The #MeToo movement had sprung up amid the Weinstein scandal after actress Alyssa Milano encouraged others to share their sexual abuse, assault, and harassment experiences with the hashtag #MeToo, and rightly credited Tarana Burke of Just BE Inc., founder of an advocacy organization for girls of color based in Brooklyn, for the original use of the phrase. Read the rest

Testimony: Bill O’Reilly's contract virtually allowed him to sexually harass women, unless proven in court

Jacques Nasser, a director of 21st Century Fox, testified in a proceeding that Bill O'Reilly's contract had a provision stipulating that “could not be dismissed on the basis of an allegation unless that allegation was proved in court.”

From WaPo:

As part of the review, Jacques Nasser, a director of 21st Century Fox, gave testimony on the company’s inner workings.

And what astonishing workings: As Nasser told the story, there was a quick reaction to the accusations against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who was sued by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson in July 2016. After a review of Ailes’s conduct, he was quickly ousted.

Such a lightning response, however, wasn’t possible in the case of O’Reilly, Nasser told CMA, because of O’Reilly’s contract. Requiring sexual-harassment allegations to be proved in a court of law before dismissing the accused party — that’s a steep requirement. Analyses have shown that well above 90 percent of all civil cases are settled or dismissed before they reach a trial. Not only that, but a wealthy man like O’Reilly can use his assets to ensure that he’d never face a proven claim of sexual harassment.

“He would never let a claim go to trial where he would even have the slightest chance of losing,” says Lisa Banks, a partner at the employment law firm Katz, Marshall & Banks.

It sounds similar to Harvey Weinstein's contract, which stipulated that "the board of his film company could not terminate his employment over sexual harassment claims if he paid off women to silence them – as long as he paid out the money himself, according to reports." (Telegraph) Read the rest

Kevin Spacey made 'House of Cards' set 'toxic' with sexually 'predatory' behavior, sources say

Eight current or former "House of Cards" employees claim they were sexually harassed and/or physically sexually assaulted by Kevin Spacey. Read the rest

Sexual Harassment: Women accuse David Corn (Mother Jones, MSNBC) of touching, rape/violence talk

What a huge bummer. David Corn is the guy who broke the 'Steele Dossier' story, and did a great job of it. Read the rest

NPR top news editor accused of sexual harassment by multiple women

“The worst part of my whole encounter with Oreskes [was] the fact that he utterly destroyed my ambition,” says one victim.

Michael Oreskes is now NPR’s Senior Vice President of news. He is accused by two women of sexual harassment dating back a number of years, including “unwanted physical contact with them” while he was employed by another news organization “nearly two decades ago.” Read the rest

20 or more fired at Uber after internal probe into sexual harassment and discrimination

Various sources this morning report that Uber had an all-hands meeting in which staff were told more than 20 employees are being fired as the result of a company investigation into claims of discrimination and sexual harassment. Read the rest

Watch: Tennis player keeps trying to embrace and kiss reporter on live TV

Ew. While a reporter interviews tennis player Hamou on live TV, he keeps pulling her in with a one-arm embrace and kissing her. He even wraps his arm around her neck at one point. She tries to pull away as she continues to interview him. What she needs to do is clobber him over the head with her mic. Read the rest

Ex-Fox News host: when I filed a sexual harassment claim against Ailes, the company hacked and stalked me

In a federal complaint against Fox News, former Outnumbered host Andrea Tantaros claims that after she filed a sexual harassment claim against the former CEO Roger Ailes, Fox News contracted with a psyops team to set up a "black room" to run a hate campaign that targeted her by cyberstalking her, implanting malware on her computer, and libeling her on "fake news" sites. Read the rest

Fox News dumps Bill O'Reilly. He is officially out.

Boom. Read the rest

To stop street harassment, show them your Jedi mitten

This Finnish PSA never gets old, because it has everything: awesome music, great acting, edgy graphics, and brilliant practical advice. Watch this street cretin back down under the power of her mitten-encased palm! Read the rest

After sexual harassment account, Uber exposé shows aggressive, unrestrained work culture

After a former Uber engineer detailed her account of sexual harassment while working there for about a year, New York Times reporter Mike Isaac dug into the story and got the goods. His exposé describes an amoral Ayn Randian meritocracy filled with aggressive jerks, in which one could absolutely imagine impunity for sexual harassment being an accepted norm. Read the rest

Ex-Uber engineer describes her year of being sexually harassed at Uber

Susan J. Fowler joined Uber as a site reliability engineer in November 2015. She was sexually harassed at work and Uber's human resources punished her for reporting it. She says other women at Uber have had similar experiences and that many have quit in disgust.

After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn't. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn't help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.

Uber was a pretty good-sized company at that time, and I had pretty standard expectations of how they would handle situations like this. I expected that I would report him to HR, they would handle the situation appropriately, and then life would go on - unfortunately, things played out quite a bit differently. When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man's first offense, and that they wouldn't feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to.

Read the rest

Former Uber engineer alleges sexist abuse in workplace, CEO Travis Kalanick responds

Updated with response from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, below.

Susan Fowler Rigetti, a former engineer at Uber, describes in a blog post her experience in a workplace where sexual harassment takes place with impunity, and people who are abused at work are further abused by the organization for which they work. Read the rest

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