Another Firing Over Sex Harassment: When Will It All End?

November 30, 2017

The firing this week of long-time NBC Today show co-host Matt Lauer over sexual harassment charges has significant consequences for his future, his family and his alleged victims, and it saddens many of us who have watched the show faithfully for years.

The firing is the latest in an ever-growing list of harassment charges against a long line of powerful men in politics, entertainment and sports. We’ve watched with dismay and anger as we learn about alleged inappropriate behavior by our elected public officials from Donald Trump and Roy Moore to celebrities such as Bill Cosby and Bill O’Reilly, and professional athletes.

These very public announcements must be devastatingly sad for their families and co-workers. How do spouses, children and co-workers deal with this new view of the person they love and thought they knew so well? How do you keep loving and supporting someone you care about while personally condemning their behavior? It is a struggle we see being played out every morning on the Today show as Lauer’s former co-hosts wrestle with the issue.

We can’t help but empathize with everyone involved in these life-changing situations. While never condoning the bad behavior, we must remember the biblical admonitions about casting stones and all the truisms about “hating the sin but loving the sinner.” It is a difficult balancing act to be sure.

Another observation: there’s a visible double standard between Hollywood and the White House. The entertainment industry, which has long been referenced laughingly as Sodom and Gomorrah, is actually reacting swiftly and decisively. The White House, on the other hand, has been alternatively evasive and defiant.

We thought many of these harassment issues were behind us based on the law, but the implementation of those laws and their application remains to be seen. And family law and family fallout will be the smaller stage where these issues play out on a very personal level.

The fundamental questions we need to address as a society moving forward are about the qualities of people whom we choose to represent us in Washington and whom we choose to watch and follow in the media and on the playing field. We aren’t just helpless viewers in all this. We can take a stand the next time we turn on any media or enter the voting booth.

Allen, Glassman & Schatz, LLC