On the Effects of Shaming Sexual Harassers in Hollywood and Tech

The movement happening right now regarding sexual harassment in Hollywood is pushing my emotions around.

First we had Weinsein get called out for what must have been decades of behavior that was simply unbelievable. Then we had multiple male friends, including people like Clooney and Tarantino, come out and say that the feel horrible because they should have done more to oppose him.

And now in tech it’s coming out that our own Robert Scoble, a fixture in the IT industry for many years, also has sexual harassment in his past. I just read his apology on Facebook a few moments ago.

I find the whole thing to be extremely cathartic. Not because it’s fixing issues for a few offenders that we’re hearing about, and giving voices to their many victims, but because it’s probably putting the fear of God into the thousands of other offenders who are just the same.

There are, right now, so many men in various positions of power who are thinking back to all the times they were inappropriate, thinking about their victims, and wondering if they’re going to be the next person being called before the public to be judged.

I think it’s beautiful.

It’s like we’ve crossed some sort of threshold with technology that it’s possible to be heard now, as a victim, and to have other peoples’ voices added to your own, in a way that gives you the courage to say something.

And would-be assailants are now hearing this message. It’s like everyone now has a force field around them preventing abuse. And the force field is technology. It’s the ability to combine voices with others to surface someone’s wrong-doings, and to do unbelievable damage to them as a result.

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Of course this will be abused, but the backlash against false accusations will be just as harsh. The true power of these accusations comes from corroborating numbers. When someone is this horrible in their behavior it’s so often just part of their character and likely to happen wherever they go. So for each person like this there are likely many people who have been affected but have never said anything.

There used to be so much pressure not to—that’s the thing. There was insulation. There was protection for the perpetrator. And the more powerful the man, and the more selective the industry, the more defense there was.

And now it seems that’s being dismantled to some degree.

The women won’t be as silent. The male friends of the perpetrator won’t look the other way as much. And collectively, as a group, we openly look down on people who abuse power in this way.

It’s major, this movement. In so many ways.

I’m really looking forward to a tech industry (I’m not in Hollywood) where this type of thing can’t happen nearly as easily, where perpetrators have to consider with every incident whether it will eventually come back around and be part of their exposure story.

I like there’s now something for them to worry about.

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