Sorry, but Karen just doesn’t do it for me — and neither does The Rock. But there are more than two sides to this and it gets rather tedious seeing men cast as the predators in every situation. Whenever women and men work together there will be problems, because people are different, and not all women are shrinking violets. I once worked alongside a manager who was accused of harassment because he didn’t make advances to a woman who had a huge crush on him. She was believed, he was suspended (and I had to do half his job as well as my own for three months.) When both had undergone counseling the case was dropped, she admitted making a false accusation because she felt humiliated by his rejection.
Another story involves me, working as a project consultant, I was due to see the HR manager one day to talk about her department’s needs. On entering the office and introducing myself I was greeted by an attractive Jamaican woman, late thirties-ish, with the words, “I’m Ian Thorpe,”
“So you’re the heartbreaker,” she said with a very Jamaican suggestive twinkle.
“Heartbreaker Toni, what have I done?” I asked.
“Lester on your team is my brother, he’s been telling tales on you. One of the help desk girls, Nikki, is head over heels in love with you. But you ignore her.”
“I’d noticed she pays me a lot of attention, and I have noticed she’s lovely,” I said, “but she’s twenty and in a junior position, I’m forty four, married, and an external consultant, you see the potential problems. And I’m not in a hurry to get moved off the project.”
We laughed, Toni told me she couldn’t believe I was forty four, I said if the carried on like that she could make me fall in love with her. And later she had a quiet word with Nikki.
For the record, when my project ended I took Nikki for dinner in a very good restaurant, apologised for seeming to ignore her and explained that my position was not that of a colleague but a representative of the consultancy which had a strong business relationship with the organisation she worked in. We had a good time, I saw her home and said goodbye with a chaste kiss.
But the credit for resolving that situation goes to Toni, the HR manager, who showed class and professionalism (qualities often lacking in corporate managers — and in Hollywood it appears,) in the way she handled the situation with humour and maturity.
From what is being reported about the Harvey Weinstein case now, it seems his behaviour towards women was widely known and was laughed about in Hollywood. If he was so terrible why did women not speak out sooner? One thing the Hollywood luvvies do actually have talent in is jumping on bandwagons. We had several cases in Britain following the exposure of DJ Jimmy Savile and singer / childrens’ entertainer Rolf Harris as paedophiles, of somebody accusing a celeb of harassment and many more people crawling out of the woodwork saying, “Me too.” In most of those cases it was found the complainants were attention seekers.
I’m not saying all complaints are unfounded, I had to fire a man once for ‘sharing’ the stash of porn he kept in his desk with female staff. But let’s not forget the presumption of innocence and deem all men guilty on the basis of how a few behave.