The Fall of Harvey Weinstein


I’m not an expert on teaching kids or mentoring adults.

I just mentioned it because this “cover your arse” mentality is quite pervasive.

I have seen various (small) business owners say they won’t even HIRE a woman now because they’re worried about a rape etc accusation destroying the business.

If I ran a business, if it was customer facing I’d hire loads of women! For the simple fact that in my experience people react better to a woman than to me.

For reference, I used to run a café/chocolatier and I run an airbnb currently. The last repeats itself again and again.

My partner and I run it and the reactions when she does the check-in are noticeably different to when I do it, and we’re reading from the same script (that I wrote!)
Now it occurs to me that there is a far easier, tested solution to the mentor/mentee issue, which is simply to not be alone with the mentee if you are that worried about it.

If you can mentor one then why not mentor 2?

At the same time.


Not everything has to be one or the other. It can be both.

I worked with an attorney 20 years ago, long before “#MeToo.” He had a strict policy of never being alone with a woman client in his office. I knew the guy, he was as liberal as they come (he was a criminal defense attorney, and not one of the “men are falsely accused types,” just a big ole lib). He really did not want to take the risk.

But for many, like these corporate executives, there is also an element of petulant, pouty reaction, and punishment of those damn women who keep making things hard by trying to resist sexual assault. “Oh, so the poor little women are going to claim sexual harassment? Fine, I’ll just go nuclear and cut them out of the work place activities necessary for them to prosper. They brought this on themselves!”

The latter isn’t even from people who harass women. It’s from conservative nutjobs who are just upset that anyone dares get uppity and try to change things.


I have first hand experience, having a name that is predominantly female, and working in huge companies. If I’ve never talked with or met someone at work then they usually assume I’m female. And it generally seems they’re more helpful and friendlier as part of that assumption.


People who say they won’t hire women because of the “risk” are either total idiots or misogynists. They’re also opening themselves up to a lawsuit just for saying that (see the “total idiot” part).

The world is not overrun by women falsely accusing men of harassment. It’s just hard for some people to believe that it really is that pervasive.


It is not. And yet, it is a thing that does happen that is reasonable to take reasonable steps to insulate oneself against if one is in that sort of position.

“Reasonable,” of course, is a lot more “don’t get into poorly documented or potentially compromising situations one-on-one with a woman who works for you” than “don’t hire women because you might get accused of harassment.” The latter is rightly mocked for being absurd.


Is it? Are you more likely to be struck by lightning?


Do you walk around in thunderstorms holding a golf club over your head? I think @Adam_B is saying that it does happen, even if rarely, and there are non-harmful ways of mitigating risk.


I think this is part of HR culture. Companies and organizations are trying to protect themselves from liability. There aren’t any morals about it. If they have a policy in place, they can say “we aren’t liable, and if that did take place, it was in breach of our conduct policies, and entirely the fault of the accused”

It is, in a sense extremely immoral and heartless, but legally defensible.

And stupid.


But this generally isn’t HR making the decision. It’s individual, high powered men, who I think again, in many cases want to teach women a lesson. Complain too much, and you’ll just get cut off.

They’re trying to deny that is the reasoning, but a lot of it is just that basic.

It’s really fucking childish - it’s kind of the adult equivalent of, “Oh yeah? Well I’m gonna take my ball and go home.”


I dunno. I spent 30 years in corporations, had over that time literally dozens of female direct reports, and mentored a number of them, and I don’t recall ever worrying that if I were to spend any time alone with them (which I did) that I ran the risk of being accused of assaulting or harassing them. And I can’t recall a single such accusation of others during my career that turned out to be false. I, for one, would like to see some evidence that it happens any more frequently than fatal lightning strikes before granting the point.

To me, this is of a piece with other male business practices. The boys play golf together, the boys go drinking together, the boys go to strip bars together, the boys ogle the female staff together and speculate about them sexually. The boys bond, and are promoted, and the women remain on the outside,


The key words in both of our posts were “reasonable” and “non-harmful” when it comes to sexual harassment precautions. Obviously, not mentoring women or not taking any one-on-one meetings with women is neither of those.

I’m glad you’ve never dealt with false accusations in your work, but I have. Not directed at me, but at one of my subordinates. After a months-long investigation, the woman accuser admitted she made the harassment charges up to mitigate her own problems in another unrelated investigation. (This was in the Army.) She was appropriately punished and the innocent soldier was returned to his regular duties.


That women are a black box to men is such a trope and yet seeing this play out in real life policy is astonishing.

Have you seen ads on Youtube at some point? One of the more recent ones had a guy thinking (paraphrasing) “How do I manage Cynthia?" and then a quick pan to a young woman with RBF and a lion growling in the background. Somehow it seems adjacent to post #metoo and maybe i’m reading in to things, but it had a lot to say in like two seconds, something about inscrutability of the feminine to men.

Personally I see men keeping themselves away from women alone is less of a worry about women than a worry about themselves, as if they wouldn’t be able to stop, or be unable to distinguish, when the kind of locker room talk they use about women in the company they normally keep, would or would not be appropriate with women they were unfamiliar with. Of course in their own minds they frame it as a THEY rather than a ME problem.


Sure, that’s fair enough. My objection is to the original story, where people treat it like the chance of a false accusation is a greater harm than the actual harassment that occurs.



Things like being afraid to mentor women or otherwise avoid helping women succeed and/or presenting them the same opportunities as men are unreasonable and totally fair game IMO for lampooning and consequences.

Furthermore, doing something like IDK asking women what makes for comfortable, non-threatening one-on-one meetings with male (or any, but let’s be honest that we’re talking about situations that are almost exclusively male manager -> female employee) management that put everyone in a position to not have to worry about harassment is probably the jam.


That’s because it’s insane and objectionable.


I don’t see how one can be greater than the other. Both sexual harassment and false accusations cause catastrophic damage and can ruin lives. How can you say that one victim “suffers more” and is “more important” than the other?

#MeToo may have had a positive outcome in raising awareness but a good outcome does not excuse any wrongs committed to attain it. The ends (better awareness) do not justify the means (trial and punishment by media).


Here’s a simple policy for managers when giving feedback to a woman in an office alone, keep the door open or don’t close the blinds… solved. I mean these are simple ideas that are in practice today and were in practice prior to MeToo too. It’s not a requirement to walk on water.

Oh and don’t do stupid shit that seems to be common in some industries like requiring men and women to share hotel rooms. Purchase separate rooms for each of your employees.


I can’t imagine this ever happening. What industry? When?


Apparently the gaming industry based on a few articles about issues there. It would not happen in my industry (well maybe smaller companies might be that… iffy). It’s idiotic. I have heard some industries might have the same gender share though, for larger conference. Every event I have ever gone to was a private room and even the thought of sharing with someone of the same sex and I knew made HR nervous. It’s a liability.


Because one happens all the time, and the other doesn’t? Because ‘someone sexually asssaulted you’ is a greater harm than ‘someone said some bad stuff about you?’ Because there have been no practical consequences for assaulting or harassing women for most of recorded history, and it is only now that there are that we’re hearing about the terrible ‘harm’ of false accusations? Which suggests it’s just whatabouism designed to suppress accusations or taking them seriously? Is this a trick question?

Which is the greater harm, being murdered, or the chance that you might be falsely accused of murder?