Crews among the many to speak out against Hollywood sexual harassment
Los Angeles, CA – The house of cards that is Hollywood’s sexual harassment culture is dying, not with a whimper but a deafening scream. Since the tweet that took down Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein has been ousted as the modern representation of Hollywood’s dark sexual history. As a result, many artists have come forward with stories of the sexual harassment that they had suffered at the hands of Hollywood executives, both male and female.
One of the more surprising accounts comes from Terry Crews, star of Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Crews, the 49 years old retired NFL player, took to Twitter to tell the story of being sexually assaulted by a high powered Hollywood executive. According to Crews, just last year, he was at a Hollywood function with his wife when a high level Hollywood executive groped his privates.
Crews’ story is especially shocking because he doesn’t fit the stereotype of a survivor of sexual assault. Standing at 6 foot, 3 inches, weighing every bit of 245 pounds, the former NFL player is far from the we would expect as a target for sexual assault. However, Hollywood is a very different beast. Here, executives hold the weight of an individual’s career in their hands. Because these executives act as both supervisor and gate keeper, an executive sexually harassing an aspiring actor, or an established TV star, is more than common place. These sexual predators often use their positions of power to carry out their twisted sexual desires.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 employers are prohibited from discriminating against their employees on the basis of their gender or sex. Anyone who signs your checks in is an employer, however, to be held liable under Title VII, the employer must have at least 15 employees. Fortunately, many States have passed laws to fill in the gaps created by Title VII’s narrow definition of an employer. For example, under New York State Human Rights Law, any employer with at least one employee can be held liable for sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex based discrimination under Title VII. Sexual harassment comes in two forms, quid pro quo and a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is defined as an employer, most often a supervisor, predicating job benefits, including having a job, on the employee’s acquiescence to that supervisor’s sexual advances. Hostile work environment sexual harassment is defined as an employer’s sexual conduct becoming so severe that a reasonable person would consider the conduct hostile.
Hollywood suffers from both. The executive who harassed Crews would be liable for a hostile work environment sexual harassment when he groped Crews. His conduct was so severe that you would be hard pressed to find anyone, let alone a reasonable person, that wouldn’t consider grabbing an individual’s penis without their permission hostile. Weinstein, himself, often predicted career advancement for aspiring actresses on accepting his sexually harassing behavior.
The issue of sexual harassment doesn’t stop with Crews or Weinstein, rather it a systemic problem that pervades the movies sets of Hollywood. Hollywood is not unique in this regard. Many industries are finding it difficult to navigate the current political climate after years of their sexual harassment and gender discrimination going unchecked. Even employers who expound on the virtues of gender equality find themselves in court as a result of their sexually harassing behavior. The days of being a fox in a hen house are over as the chickens come home to roost.
The New York City sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have years of experience litigating claims of sexual harassment and employment discrimination. Working closely with our Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys, we have recovered thousands on behalf of the survivors of sexual harassment. If you feel you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, please give us a call at (800) 807-2209 for your free consultation.
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