• Should Allegations of Sexual Abuse Be Taken Seriously?

    In the 1948 movie, The Adventures of Don Juan, Errol Flynn plays the infamous Spanish lover. When he is accused of making advances to a married woman, Don Juan/Flynn is defended by a courtier who testifies that the woman asked for it. “A man can only take so much,” says the eyewitness, suggesting that the don should not be faulted for succumbing to the aggressive moves of a seductive female. This movie sequence can serve as a metaphor for the current rash of sexual misconduct allegations.

    We have a similar accusation that President Trump pushed a woman “up against the wall” at Mar-a-Lago and “had his hands all over” her. I can say from personal experience that most men will not behave like this unless they have received positive reinforcement from a woman. In this case, we don’t know what provoked the alleged “pushing up against the wall” but you can take it from me that if Trump is guilty as charged—which I doubt, it is likely that the “victim” encouraged the behavior. Trump is insightful and socially adept, hardly the kind of man who would initiate unwanted sexual advances. So even if the allegation is true, a determination of wrongdoing cannot be made without taking into consideration the surrounding circumstances. Geraldo Rivera nailed it when he tweeted that the “current epidemic of sex harassment allegations may be criminalizing courtship and conflating it with predation.”

    And so we come to the main issue, the assertion by a group of women in the Congress that all allegations of sexual misconduct must be “taken seriously.” What they really are suggesting is that when a woman accuses a man of sexual abuse, he should be deemed guilty without proof or evidence of wrongdoing. The word of the accuser ought to be enough to convict even when the only evidence is, “I told my girlfriend 40 years ago.” This suggestion shows contempt for the guiding principle of our legal system that you are innocent until proven guilty. Many reputations and careers of successful men are being destroyed strictly on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations. This is a form of sexual McCarthyism and should be discouraged instead of defended by the court of public opinion.

    It all boils down to what behaviors are to be labeled as sexual misconduct. For example, a former Congressional aide complained that when she was 22, a congressman told her she looked great, then asked her to twirl around. And that’s all. He did not grope her, kiss her, fondle her, try to screw her, or ask her to watch him masturbate. It is the story of an older man paying a compliment to a young girl, and nothing more. Yet the media have agreed that this constitutes sexual misconduct. The infamous video of Trump talking about women is another case in point. He never says in the video that he forced himself on a woman. He says that when you are a celebrity, “they let you do” whatever you want. He is referring to consensual sex. His attackers claim he admits to being a sexual predator, an assertion that is not supported by the video.

    In the case of dismissed Fox News star Bill O’Reilly, none of the allegations against him has been proven. One accuser was upset because O’Reilly referred to her as “hot chocolate.” Another accuser was angry because he advised her to show more cleavage. O’Reilly may be guilty of coarse manners, but that does not make him a predator. A former beauty contestant experienced mental anguish because Trump allegedly “looked her up and down.” If she was so sensitive about being recognized for her physical attributes, what the hell was she doing in a beauty pageant? And what about the woman who said Matt Lauer asked her to unbutton her blouse? She did as he requested. If he didn’t force her, why did she do it? Why did she then have sex with him? Could it be that she used Lauer in order to advance her career? Geraldo Rivera and Pamela Anderson have been criticized for arguing that women need to take responsibility for their own behavior.

    An instructive example is the case of movie actress Salma Hayek, who wrote an indignant letter to the New York Times accusing Harvey Weinstein of terrible behavior, of treating her unfairly, of forcing her to do a sex scene in a movie, and of being a “monster.” Although I am not defending Weinstein, he did not rape Ms. Hayek. He was, quite simply, behaving badly. In Hayek’s case, a strong argument can be made that she deliberately accepted the Weinstein treatment in order to get what she wanted. In fact, if you Google “Salma Hayek” you will find dozens of photos of the actress in compromising positions that suggest her morals are not very different from Weinstein’s. Is Harvey responsible for the lurid photos of Hayek? I don’t think so. This is not some little angel we are dealing with. When you are willing to do anything to advance your career, you should think twice about accusing someone else of sexual misconduct.

    It must be acknowledged that all people experience unfair behavior. It is not pleasant, but it is not illegal. It is part of life. You deal with it as best you can and then you move on. Unfortunately, the “me too” lynchings ignore this fact of life. Instead, accusations of sexual abuse are being used as political weapons. It has just been made public that women’s rights attorney Lisa Bloom “tried to line up big paydays” for women who were willing to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct during the final months of the presidential election. According to The Hill, Bloom worked with campaign donors and media outlets to arrange compensation for the “victims” and a commission for herself when their stories sold to the media. In one case, an accuser was offered $750,000 to go public. These reports suggest that women are capable of fabricating their stories for personal gain or revenge. An eye-opening example is the case of Gemma Beale, whose false rape accusations led to the two-year incarceration of an innocent man in the UK.

    Should all allegations of sexual misconduct be taken seriously? Yes, but they should also be thoroughly investigated before we jump to conclusions and ruin the careers of admirable men…and women.

    Ed Brodow

    Ed Brodow (USMC Retired), author of the brand new book, Tyranny of the Minority: How The Left is Destroying America and a contributor to DailyCaller.com and DailySurge.com. Brodow is one of the world’s leading negotiation experts and a staunch advocate of critical thinking. SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt dubbed him “The King of Negotiators.” Forbes Magazine agreed, ranking Ed as one of the nation’s top dealmakers. He is the author of six books, including the business classic, Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals. For two decades, Ed’s acclaimed Negotiation Boot Camp® seminars have set the standard for “how to make a deal” in Corporate America. A nationally recognized television personality, Ed has appeared as negotiation guru on PBS, ABC National News, Fox News, Fortune Business Report, and Inside Edition. He is negotiation consultant to some of the world’s most prominent organizations, including Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Learjet, Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks, McKinsey, Philips, Zurich Insurance, the IRS, the GSA, and the Pentagon. As a keynote speaker, Ed has enthralled more than 1,000 audiences in Paris, Milan, Athens, Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, Sao Paulo, Bogota, and New York with his charismatic stage presence, infectious humor, and practical ideas. In previous lives, Ed was a U.S. Marine Corps officer, corporate sales executive, and Hollywood movie actor.

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