It’s no secret that stitched into the cultural fabric of American society is a well illustrated reality in which women are routinely objectified, and their sexuality blatantly commoditized. The reasons for this are largely superficial, easily identifiable, and frankly speaking, rather simplistic. Nevertheless, it’s possible that as a society we have been negligent in our consideration of the moral implications. Existentially speaking, there is most assuredly a price to be paid that negatively effects how our society functions and everyone who wishes to function in it. While it’s true that each individual in our culture unwittingly shares in this cost, also true is that far too often, the price that women in our society pay is not only disproportionate and burdensome, it’s also dangerous.
At the root of most any human issue is respect. The more you give the more you get, but before you get into any of that, you need to have it. A commodity can be a variety of things, all of which imply ownership. At times throughout history, the morally bankrupt have attempted to commodify human beings. It’s abhorrence can be traced to hubris, arrogance, human and cultural disrespect. This is why it never works out. Commodities are not burdened with souls. As such, there is no moral imperative for a human being to show respect to crude oil, silver, or soybeans. Human beings are different. For humanity to prosper and evolve respect is required, and by extension mandatory. How important is human respect? History instructs us that in one form or another, a lack of basic human respect can always be identified among the root causes of disharmony.
As parochial as this might sound, the following should be noted. There is no silent majority of Women who appreciate feeling threatened. Not physically. Not emotionally. Not ever. Nor do they appreciate becoming exasperated and/or feeling vulnerable via acts coercion. Not at any point. Not at any hour. Not on any day. Period. Being born into society as a member of the ‘fairer sex’ should not condemn females to a lifetime of occasional, periodic sexual terrorism … or it’s threat.
The health and vitality of any society and culture is directly correlated to the overall health and vitality of its women. It’s as simple as that. Our evolution as human beings on this earth and beyond, demands respect for women. Respect for our mothers. Daughters. Sisters. Nieces. Cousins. Wives. By extension, everyone elses as well. To be sure women certainly deserve the opportunity to exist and contribute to this world without the hideousness of sexual coercion, subjugation, exploitation, and/or the implicit threat of any of them. The longevity and success of humanity requires that decency in our consideration be routine, and not exceptional. This is true not only with regards to women, this is universal. However, perhaps improvements on how we treatment women in society overall, is necessarily where emphasis should be placed.
It is inefficient to itemize the condemnation of men and their terrible sexual behavior. This is true whether its men of power and influence or those inhabit the baseline average. Without considering the environment that makes said forms of behavior possible, the correct prescription is not likely to be found. Indeed, our society seems willing to discuss sexual misconduct only through the prism of collective outrage. Those instances when the sexual behavior(s) of some, cross universally accepted lines of propriety for all. The reality is that there is an insidious quality to even the smallest, seemingly benign form of sexual disrespect. As Americans, if we allow this abject behavior to proliferate behind closed doors, and metastasize throughout our culture, then frankly we are all guilty. Common sense explains that death by a thousand cuts … is still a death. It’s just painful, agonizing and slow. Please enjoy the article.
SEXUAL PREDATOR HALL OF SHAME
The intention of this expression isn’t to unduly ‘pile on’ these persons, although as you will see, the vast majority would be deserving if we did … ‘pile on’. Nor is this expression meant to provide any material aggrandizement of the individuals featured. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The persons who appear on this list are well-known personalities in American Popular Culture, whom havealso done some pretty awful things and engaged in fairly despicable criminal sexual behavior. American jurisprudence maintains that all accused persons are presumed innocent. This is true even in the event that the allegations and subsequent testimonial evidence might overwhelmingly point towards probability of guilt.
AmericanPop: ‘Sexual Predator Hall Shame’ is finite in scope and does not presume to provide a full accounting of the stunning volume of men and women in American life who have been credibly accused of sexual malfeasance. However, this is our inaugural induction class, it is a virtual certainty that there will be more individuals to come, and stranger criminal behavior to behold.
For the better part of two decades Matthew Todd Lauer was a respected journalist and popular morning anchor of NBC’s extremely profitable show ‘Today‘. A program which has long been one of American pop culture’s most popular. That notable, even celebrated part of Mr. Lauer’s life and career, suddenly came crashing down around him in ways analogous to shattered crystal. NBC’s decision to terminate Matt Lauer marked the inevitable conclusion to a corporate policy of zero tolerance for sexual harassment. The fact that Mr. Lauer was not only credibly alleged to have consistently harassed women, but also alleged to have committed sexual assault, technically left NBC brass no discernible choice in the matter. Matt Lauer had to go.
Indeed, Matt Lauer’s abrupt network dismissal sent shock waves throughout the continental perimeter of the United States, immediately followed by resounding echoes which had become a familiar, albeit disappointing, refrain heard all throughout the days and nights that made up the ‘Me Too’ summer of 2018. To be sure the ‘Me Too’ movement started building to a crescendo with the first of comedian Bill Cosby’s two criminal trials and reached eardrum piercing pitch following the shocking allegations and subsequent revelations regarding the abhorrent exploits of Hollywood power broker Harvey Weinstein. The subsequent tidal wave of allegations of sexual misconduct against some of America’s highest-profile individuals was just shy of dizzying, if not nausea-inducing.
Executives at NBC News came to their decision to fire Mr. Lauer after lengthy interviews with the first woman who had leveled the most severe and damning allegations against Lauer. Allegations which included a 2001 forcible rape of a subordinate behind the closed-door privacy of Mr. Lauer’s office. A short time later, additional women came forward with disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse at the hands of Lauer. NBC quickly took action in firing Lauer despite a 20 year human resource file devoid of any previous allegations. Nevertheless, the victimization that Matt Lauer was accused of committing was credible and certainly included actions whose severity dictated immediate dismissal. Sexual assault is a serious crime. Sexual assault of a subordinate within the context and confines of a workplace is a despicable crime.
ANTHONY WEINER Age: 53
In his lifetime prior to May 27th, 2011, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner had done what was necessary to smartly position himself to achieve his goal of rising to lofty political heights. Indeed, Mr. Weiner had both eyes set on a bright future in the world of American Politics. Unfortunately, rather more to the point, tragically, Anthony Weiner’s predilection for sending sexually explicit photographs of his shirtless torso, in concert with exhibitionist photos of his male genitalia, became the catalyst, but only for rank embarrassment. This of course precipitated a remarkably swift, and stunning fall from grace, and would eventually land Anthony Weiner inside the walls of federal prison.
Presumably, Mr. Weiner had an unhappy marriage, although this cannot be confirmed. What stands as fact is that Anthony Weiner had an obsession with using his the social media applications on his cell phone (Twitter ) to indulge, compound and advance sexually perverse behavior which was directed towards young women citizens in his internet universe. Women who were neither his age nor his wife, whom he did not personally know, living across the United States and beyond.
May 27th of 2011 became the point of demarcation and/or the beginning of the end of Mr. Weiner’s political career, as well as the secrecy behind his now very public form of sexual malfeasance. For this was the day that Rep. Anthony Weiner was outed. Busted. In an attempt to mitigate the public relations damage, Weiner hastily arranged a press conference in which he expressed in less than articulate fashion, his mea culpa. In this press conference, Rep. Weiner admitted that he had indeed “Exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.” Yes, indeed he had. By then it was a virtual certainty that the entire world had seen the photos.
OnJune 16, 2011,Rep. Anthony Weiner announced that he would resign from Congress effective immediately. His career was presumed dead, and he was its murderer. Yet, Mr. Weiner’s problems would not only persist but devolve. Almost six years to the day later, on the morning of May 19th, 2017, Anthony Weiner surrendered his person to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Agreeing to plead guilty to a single charge of ‘Transferring Obscene Material to a Minor’. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Mr. Weiner was on the hook for a prison sentence ranging anywhere from 21 to 27 months (2 Years) with an additional 3 years of supervised probation. Moreover, Mr. Weiner will be compelled to register as a Convicted Sex Offender. On September 25th, 2017, Mr. Weiner’s presiding Judge Denise Cote sentenced him to 21 months in prison. A term of incarceration which began on November 6th, 2017. Anthony Weiner’s life now inhabits the land of harsh reminders in the city of cautionary tales.
DARREN SHARPER Age: 42
Some readers may find the following details even more disturbing than normal. Details which contain the almost unbelievable, certainly criminally brazen exploits of the former 5 time NFL Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl XLIV Champion, named Darren Mallory Sharper.
Public opinion during the halcyon days that predated O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, and the ‘Me-Too’ movement, would’ve likely considered fall from grace to be monumental, rather than how it is typically viewed today, as another man of pop culture privilege, notoriety, and upper tax bracket wealth, having been busted for sexual criminality. Indeed, the former All-Pro NFL Safety engaged in post career criminal malfeasance which would demand that he trade in access to bright lights and adoring crowds … for an orange prison jumpsuit.
Darren Sharper’s descent into the abyss of sexual deviance, necessitated a perp walk along the road leading to the gray bar hotel. A road which began in Miami, Florida and extended into 4 states over 3time zones. Sharper’s well documented troubles began in and around March 15th of 2011. Events during that time instigated the March 18th 2011 arrival of two women at the Miami Beach Police Department feeling victimized and ready to file criminal complaints. These criminal complaints detailed elements of sexual assault committed by Sharper and were alleged to have occurred in the wee hours of a post nightclub weekend morning, at Sharper’s Miami Beach condo the previous week.
Interestingly, at the time, the Miami Beach PD abruptly decided not to pursue the investigation and inexplicably destroyed the submitted rape kits submitted by the two women on March 18th 2011. It wasn’t until nearly 2 years later, on February 2nd, 2013, when another woman went to Miami Beach PD alleging that she had been raped by a man named Brandon Licciardi. Mr. Liccardi as it were, was a close friend of Mr. Sharper, and it was Sharper who was alleged to have facilitated the rape. Specifically, it was alleged that Sharper had supplied the ‘date rape’ drug(s) used to incapacitate the victim. It was at this point when Miami Beach PD opened an investigation on Darren Sharper, and kept it open.
On August 31st, of 2013, Darren Sharper allegedly raped a woman in New Orleans. On September 23rd of 2013, Sharper and his accomplice Brandon Licciardi allegedly drugged and raped two additional women in New Orleans. A week later, it was alleged that Sharper and an accomplice named Erik Nunez, drugged and raped two women, with one of the two victims, filing a report with the NOPD. There was no observable law enforcement movement as a result of this report … yet.
On October 30th of 2013, Darren Sharper took two women to his Los Angeles hotel room where he allegedly drugged both women, subsequently raping one of them. The following week, on November 7th of 2013, one of the victims filed a complaint with the LAPD. On January 14th of 2014, Mr. Sharper met two women at a club and proceeded to escort them to his hotel room, where he applied his modus operandi by allegedly drugging both women, raping one of them. This time both victims underwent a medical examinations and filed complaints with the LAPD.
On November 20th of 2013, Darren Sharper still on the loose, and steady prowling, met up with three female University of Arizona students. He proceeded to drug all three of them, sexually assaulting two of the three. The victims sought medical attention and reported the incident to law enforcement. No arrest warrant was issued.
On January 14h of 2014, Mr. Sharper was in Las Vegas, still a free man, and still engaging in his abhorrent sexual criminality. That night he met two women and their male friend. In exceedingly brazen fashion, Sharper proceeded to drug both women as well as the male. He then allegedly sexually assaulted both women. These sexual assault victims would be the first two of the eventual four women that Sharper would assault between January 14th and January 16th of 2014.
THE LONG ARM of the LAW CATCHES UP with DARREN SHARPER
The end of Darren Sharper’s nationwide spree of sexual criminality finally, mercifully came to an end upon his January 17th, 2014 arrest by the LAPD, in the city of angels. At the time of his arrest, Sharper was charged with just 2 counts of sexual assault. However, the proverbial dominoes were about to fall as the full breath and scope of his crimes became clear. On February 14, 2014, Mr. Sharper was charged with 2 additional counts of rape, with the use of narcotics. In addition, he was charged with 5 related felony counts. Concurrently, the attorney general for the State of Louisiana announced it’s investigation into sexual assault claims filed against Darren Sharper. On February 27th New Orleans Parish filed charges against Darren Sharper, as well as his accomplice Erik Nunez. Both men charged with 2 counts each of ‘Aggravated Rape‘.
On December 12th of 2014, Orleans Parish indicted Darren Sharper on 2 counts of ‘Aggravated Rape’. That same day, the US District Court for Eastern Louisiana brought a 2 count indictment against Mr. Sharper for ‘Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance’. Then on March 12th of 2014, the State of Arizona came after Mr. Sharper hard with multiple sexual assault charges. A year later on March 20th of 2015, the State of Nevada stepped into the fray ready to exact the obligatory pound of criminal flesh from Mr. Sharper. He was charged with 2 counts of ‘Sexual Assault’.
On March 21st of 2015 Darren Sharper and his attorney claimed to have reached plea agreements to resolve the balance of outstanding charges hanging over his head in 3 different states. 3 days later Mr. Sharper appeared in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom to enter a remarkable number of guilty pleas. An Arizona judge by way of video-conferencing, immediately sentenced Sharper to 9 years in prison, no parole. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor then sentenced Sharper to another 20 years in prison. Although, it should be noted that Darren Sharper’s plea deal provides the caveat of his having to serve only 1/2 of the sentence, plus time served.
SERIAL RAPIST DARREN SHARPER GETS THE BOOK THROWN AT HIM
On May 29th of 2015, Darren Sharper entered a guilty plea on his Federal Narcotics Charges. His guilty plea included allocution for ‘Conspiracy to distribute Alprazolam‘, ‘Diazepam‘, and ‘Zolpidem’, with the intention of committing rape. Plus 2 counts of narcotics distribution for the same purposes. Mr. Sharper had to accept a Federal sentence of 15 – 20 years per Federal Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo.On August 18th of 2016, Darren Sharper was sentenced to a grand total of 220 months (18 years and 4 months) in prison. To be followed by 3 years of supervised probation, plus a $20,000 fine. Official Court Records have 9 victims nationwide, however, according to Judge Triche-Milazzo there may be as many as 16 victims in total.
GEORGE and STEFAN SPITZER Age: 60
In life there are occasions when our culture is presented with definitive examples of exemplary human behavior. Perhaps the reason for this is to inspire the custodians of our souls, our better angels as it were. To satisfy the universal law of balance, on occasion society is also presented with definitive examples which illustrate humanities capacity for abhorrence. Perhaps to serve as a cautionary reminder, about the very real potential moral hazard when the natural balance between grace and indecency becomes warped, then corrupted. If we are to entertain this as true, then perhaps the deplorable exploits of twin brothers George and Stefan Spitzer aka ‘The Roofie Twins’ aka ‘Roofie Romeos’ serve as both reminder and cautionary tale.
As you may have inferred through observation of the Spitzer twin’s dubious nickname, these men embarked on a reign of terror marked by depravity, defined by sexual deviancy, and promulgated through the use of the so-called ‘date rape drug’ Rohypnol, pointedly manipulating the drug’s ability to effectively anesthetize (black out) its victims. In effect, rendering their victims mentally lethargic and physically impaired. Indeed, for over a decade the Spitzer twins victimized no less than 26 women, those women whose cases prosecutors were able to document. There is certainly an unofficial total of victims that exceeds 26, but will likely never be known for certain. Interestingly, ‘Rohypnol’ was once a legally prescribed sedative. Often used as a powerful sleeping aid. In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration banned its use in the United States.
The Spitzer twins modus operandi was remarkably simple. Basically, efficient criminality through pharmacology. The Spitzer’s would go out to west-side Los Angeles bars and nightclubs, to ‘hunt’, as it were. Picking up unwitting women through the use of charm and refined ‘casanova-esque’ techniques. Once these women entered the twin’s condo, they were dosed with Rohypnol in one way or another, but typically via ‘spiked’ drinks. Once these women were barely conscious and/or physically incapacitated, the Spitzer’s had their way with them, in any way they desired, and clearly without consent. Rape. Sodomy. Worse still, in a stunning exhibition of callous disregard and depravity, the Spitzer’s proceeded to videotape their victims, documenting their perversions in real-time, in pseudo pornographic fashion. For their part, the victims would typically regain a relative state consciousness the following morning. Often sickened, confused, anxious, with deep seeded feelings of dread that they could not explain, from actions they could not remember. This form of sexual criminality is about as diabolical as it gets, short of murder.
Following the Spitzer twins arrest in August of 1996, investigators uncovered 7 unopened cases of Rohypnol, presumably for use in future victimization. Moreover, investigators located nearly 2 dozen home-made pornography videotapes ‘starring’ their unwitting sexual conquests. These tapes featured dozens of women, all of whom were clearly drugged, and virtually incoherent. Oddly, none of the women who testified in the 1998 criminal trial and aided in the Spitzer’s conviction, appeared on the seized tapes. An unsettling fact to be certain.
In 1998, George Spitzer was convicted of 8 felonies including sexual battery, forced sodomy, and 5 separate counts of rape. His twin brother Stefan Spitzer was found guilty of 7 felonies including penetration with a foreign object, rape, sexual battery, and sodomy. In total the Spitzer twins were convicted on 15 felony sexual assault counts. George (Gino) Spitzer was sentenced to 60 years in prison. His twin brother Stefan (Julian) Spitzer received 37 years … plus 2 months. Their victims received justice, and the citizens of Los Angeles received peace of mind.
ROGER AILES *Deceased 5/18/17* Age: 77
My father was a man of few words, and exceedingly efficient with those that he chose. His teaching tools came in the form of philosophically themed quotes, proverbs, and/or axioms … regarding this thing called life. Among his favorite sayings was (paraphrasing) ‘A bad deed can’t hold its breath underwater forever.’ Meaning, sooner or later bad things hidden and/or bad behavior submerged, will be revealed and/or come up for air. Over the years, this has proven to be true, with prolific frequency, and as a consequence, impossible to quantify. This notion becomes germane in consideration of late Fox News impresario, Roger Ailes.
For the better part of two, approaching three decades Mr. Ailes kept a tight lid of secrecy around a workplace culture and/or modus operandi, specifically in relation to women, that was frankly speaking, detestable. At best. Simply god awful, at worst. Three decades was a considerably long time to keep an abjectly sexist and hostile (to women) workplace culture secret. Nevertheless, as my father advised, that fateful day did arrive. The sun did rise, and Roger Ailes’s morally deficient behavior was forced to the surface. Directly into the disinfectant glare of sunlight. The vehicle of truth came in book form. Indeed, the ink and typeset organization within author Gabriel Sherman’s 2014 unauthorized biography (aka ‘tell all’), relayed explosive stories. Sherman’s book was titled, (aka the ‘thumb in the eye’ of brevity), ‘The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News – and Divided a Country’, was complete with revelatory truths that landed with the force of a neutron bomb. Exposing in great, albeit lurid detail, various incidents that would come to be known as Fox News’s version of ‘sex, lies, and videotape’ and/or ’30 years of sexual/close encounters … of the political newsroom kind’.
Sherman’s book issued repeated bombshell anecdotal allegations. virtually all of which independently verified, testified and acknowledged. Included among these allegations were instances in which Roger Ailes propositioned potential employees, including television producers with overt ‘play for pay’ sexual overtures. As distasteful and perhaps grotesquely illegal, as this behavior might sound today, the truth is, this wasn’t exactly uncommon for decades leading into, and including the 1980’s. That said, the tackiness of negotiating work for sexual favor, is apparent in any era. So to are repeated sexual propositions, advances, innuendos. All behaviors that Mr. Ailes was alleged to have engaged in …Ad nauseam, for 30 years. For their part, the Rupert Murdock owned Fox Network took the position that the book was not credible, largely a fictional work.
Indeed, Roger Ailes and Fox’s News division denied, deflected, and deftly attempted to dismiss Sherman’s expose as if the ‘cat out of the bag’ was ‘rabid’ … and in serious need of quarantine. However, by June 2016, Roger Ailes and Fox News’s defense was teetering on implausible. In July of 2016, their defensive position would prove manifestly untenable. Almost, immediately following the public announcement that former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Fox corporation. Moreover, Carlson’s suit alleged and identified Fox Chief Roger Ailes as the ‘you’ve been a very bad boy’, perpetrator in question.
The lawsuit was explicit, detailed and certain in its terms. Chief among them was Gretchen Carlson’s pointedly supercharged accusation that she had been fired in retaliation by Mr. Ailes. The stated reasons for dismissal were flimsy, and dubious. Transactional, and carefully crafted for legal cover. Carlson charged that this was entirely fictional for purposes of aesthetics, than truth. The truth, as charged in the lawsuit stated unequivocally that Carlson was terminated in retaliation. A transaction with vindictive intent as its reasoning, simply because Gretchen Carlson had purportedly refused and rebuffed, once too often, the barrage of Roger Ailes sexual advances, propositions, and suggestive communications. Mr. Ailes’s attorney Susan Estrich was largely unsuccessfully in spinning the media. The court of public opinion, even among ardent Fox News devotees, was all but ready to convict.
Exactly, 3 days following the lawsuit filing and subsequent announcement, Gabriel Sherman’s 2014 ‘tell all’ resurfaced with a vengeance, dominating the news cycle. In addition, America was made aware of 6 additional former Fox News employees, each allegedly sexually harassed and/or victimized by Roger Ailes. Fox News continued to hold the line, although noticeably less vociferous in their denials. Within 10 days of these revelations, New York Magazine published a scathing expose of Roger Ailes and the harrowing, sexist culture inside Fox’s news division. Details in the expose where corroborated by then Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who stated on the record during her interview, that she too had experienced more than a few instances of “unwanted sexual advances” from Mr. Ailes. This proved to be the proverbial straw that breaks backs.
Indeed, 5 days later, July 21st of 2016, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes officially resigned/was fired/ permanent vacationed from Fox News. His reported but unsubstantiated severance payout (aka Golden Parachute) was estimated to be $40 million. If true this could easily be argued as tone-deaf, corporate malfeasance, if not wholly morally abhorrent.
WILLIAM JAMES O’REILLY Age: 68
Full disclosure, AmericanPop never had any discernible affinity for former Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly. Reasons for this reality are varied, complex, and largely political in nature. That said, his documented history of paying off victims of his undesirable sexual overtures, and unwanted sexual advances against females in his employ, as well as his broadcasting peers, was not only deplorable, but obscenely expensive … for the Fox News division. In fact, Mr. O’Reilly’s inappropriate workplace behavior was approximately $13 Million worth of expensive, the cost of 5 settled sexual harassment lawsuits. Indeed, O’Reilly’s predilection for sexually harassing his female co-workers wasn’t novel or interesting. It was at best a deplorable variation on this age-old workplace problem. This situation was brought to public light courtesy of a New York Times expose that would serve as catalyst for Mr. O’Reilly’s eventual ouster.
Among the carousel of 5 lawsuits, was the lawsuit, countersuit, ballroom line dancing performance given by Mr. O’Reilly and former ‘O’Reilly Factor’ producer Andrea Mackris. In a stunning show of hubris and lack of self accountability, on October 13th of 2004, Bill O’Reilly, decided to file suit against Andrea Mackris, who had accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment claiming that it was he who was the real victim … of extortion. Mr. O’Reilly asserted that Mackris had continually threatened lawsuit remedies unless he paid her ‘hush money’ totaling in excess of $60 million. Not to be undone, on the same day Mackris filed an official lawsuit against O’Reilly for sexual harassment, looking for the aforementioned $60 million in damages. Legally and in view of the public. In her complaint Mackris alleged that O’Reilly had advised her to use a vibrator and had repeatedly informed her about sexual fantasies he had been having involving her. In addition Mackris claimed that O’Reilly used the threat of professional retribution from O’Reilly’s boss and litigation attack dog, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes. Specifically, “Roger Ailes… will go after you… Ailes operates behind the scenes, strategies, and makes things happen so that one day BAM! The person gets what’s coming to them but never sees it coming.” (end quote)
On October 28th of 2004, O’Reilly and Mackris came to an agreement outside of the courts. Andrea Mackris dropped her sexual-assault suit, and Bill O’Reilly dropped his extortion suit. The terms of the agreement were undisclosed at the time although later in 2017 the New York Times was able to report that Fox and O’Reilly had agreed to pay Mackris some $9 Million with the caveat of having to admit ‘No wrongdoing whatsoever.’
Ironically, if not disturbingly, even after Roger Ailes was dismissed for cause, Fox News continued to settle sexual harassment claims against Bill O’Reilly. To wit, an agreement was reached with former Fox host Juliet Huddy, after Huddy alleged that O’Reilly doggedly, and inappropriately attempted to pursue an extracurricular romantic relationship, and then attempted to have Huddy fired when it became clear that she had rejected his numerous sexual advances. According toThe New York Times the settlement reached with Juliet Huddy was said to have been worth north of $1.5 million. By 2017 it became public knowledge that O’Reilly had settled no less than 5 sexual harassment lawsuits going back as far as 2002. After the litany of settlements were reported, the O’Reilly Factor ship quickly started taking on bad press water, and as such eventually lost more than 1/2 of its advertisers (around 60 of them) in just one week. Finally on April 11th of 2017, Bill O’Reilly announced a two-week vacation/hiatus, claiming he would return to the program. He would never return to the air. On April 19th of 2017, Fox News announced that Bill O’Reilly would not be returning to the network or ‘The O’Reilly Factor’. Suffice it to say that Bill O’Reilly was an absolute pig of a man.
DR. LAWRENCE G. NASSAR Age: 53
If there is one thing more obscene than a man with a predilection for sexual predatory behavior, it would have to be a man who does so after being entrusted to look after the physical health and welfare of his victims. Worse still, is when that person is a ‘Doctor’ working under the ethical auspices and moral imperatives of their sworn professional ‘Hippocratic Oath’. Moreover, those depths of depravity go ever deeper when the victims are basically children and we are dealing with a bona fide child molester.
Dr. Larry Nassar, was sworn into the profession critical notion of ‘At first do no harm’. Not only did he violate this oath, he did so in stunning fashion, brazenly and with stomach turning prolific regularity. As of this writing, his tally of declared victims has reached a total of 250 adolescent girls and young women, and at least 1 credible accusation from a young man. Many of his victims were U.S. Olympic Gymnasts and Olympic hopefuls, with details of reported abuse dating back as far as 1992. The former team doctor for the USA Gymnastics National Team, was working as an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University.
There is a despicable quality to all the persons profiled on this list, however, Dr. Larry Nassar’s malfeasance is indicative of a special brand of morally abhorrent. To wit, quite literally all of his accusers were adolescent grade school age, up to post adolescent collegiate aged. Innocent kids who went to see the ‘good doctor’ for treatment of a variety of ailments including leg, back, hip and other specific injuries. The recurring theme among these allegations is that Dr. Nassar’s ‘treatments’ typically involved vaginal and/or anal penetration without their consent. As uncomfortable as that might be to imagine, it’s difficult, if not impossible to imagine how horrifying it must have been for these victims. To date the now convicted former Michigan State doctor, is staring at 9 lawsuits. Plaintiffs which include, 6 different Michigan law firms, and a California law firm. All of the allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar span the years 1992 to 2016 (22 years). In July of 2017, Dr. Larry Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for after a guilty plea on various counts of child pornography. In January of 2018, Dr. Nassar additionally sentenced to a terms of 40 to 175 years in a Michigan state prison following a guilty pleas on 7 counts of sexual assault (minors). If there was ever an appropriate time for a proverbial ‘good riddance’, the case of Larry Nassar is most certainly it.
WILLIAM H. COSBY Age: 80
If you are a reader who grew up and around the ‘Cosby Show’ era in American pop culture, you probably groaned, in unison, with the rest of the nation, following the revelation that William Henry Cosby Jr, aka ‘America’s Dad’, was a credibly accused, serial ‘quaalude rapist’. ‘Say it ain’t so Dr. Huxtable’. Indeed, many Americans have marveled at the astonishing heights ascended, and subsequent depths descended by the now 81-year-old Cosby. Over the past few years the oft dismissed whispers started turning into audible accusations, by the multiple dozen. Serious allegations of sexual misconduct, including assault and rape. With a great many of these having gone unreported and dating back several decades. As a result, in most cases, the statute of limitations for prosecution, had long expired … But not all.
The court of public opinion was swift in its guilty verdict, as accusations of sexual assault from over 50 women proved indicative of a prolific serial rapist. A distinct departure from the assumed character of the former world renown comedian tuned television star, who during the height of his powers in the 1980’s, had America’s #1 television show for 5 consecutive years, ‘The Cosby Show‘. As incredible as this reality has been to digest, so to has it been difficult to witness the destruction of a talented man’s legacy. The reduction of imposing legendary stature to a stature which rivals that of abject social pariah. To think of the multiple dozens of lives that Cosby’s malfeasance has negatively altered, insists that society rightly saddle him with the virulent albatross imposing label of a convicted sexual deviant. His first trial for alleged sexual malfeasance ended in a hung jury. The would turn out to be the last of his luck available luck of which to run out. Bill Cosby was convicted of the sexual assault of Andrea Constant, at the end of his second trial in April 2018. As sad as this might be, any sympathy should be afforded to Bill Cosby’s many victims. Pop culture history will remember the remarkable fall from grace of a transcendently talented man, who at one time meant so much to so many.
HARVEY WEINSTEIN AGE: 65
What could have been now exists as prologue. In a multitude of observable ways, Harvey Weinstein’s rise to the rarefied air of Hollywood power broker, complete with virtual unfettered dominance, is a noteworthy story. A success story featuring the son of a modest Jewish diamond cutter from Flushing, Queens, which unfortunately forfeited any inspirational claims, in favor of the auspices of cautionary tales. Indeed, it is highly likely than Mr. Weinstein’s legacy will bear the scarlet letter of hideousness. Detestably abhorrent behavior of imbued with all manner of destructive consequence.
Assuming that the accusations from upwards of 60 women (likely more) exist with the clarity and gravity of truth, then it should be noted that Mr. Weinstein has behaved in monstrous fashion. Behavior that has inflicted walking in daylight nightmares. Stolen peaceful sleep. Kidnapped and held for ransom, a litany emotional hostages. Multiple dozens of women, for multiple dozens of years. If the notion of redemption for the length, breath, consequence and severity of this behavior is possible, I would be very interested to witness it.
It’s more likely than not, that at some critical point in his life, Harvey Weinstein came to a behavioral crossroads, and made a fateful decision. The reasons for this decision are known only to Harvey Weinstein. Nobody else on earth would be, nor could be involved in this decision, but Harvey Weinstein himself. His repeated decision to abuse his power and victimize women, speaks to an attitude in which women were not afforded the respect of their humanity, rather they would rarely, if ever, be considered anything more than a sexually objectified commodity, for his personal sexually explicit benefit. There was a moment in Mr. Weinstein’s life in which he made the decision, and formed his attitude. The outsized power of his influence and celebrity likely served to shield his vision from the escalating distortion of his behavior, as it eventually obliterated his moral character.
NEW YORK TIMES HARVEY WEINSTEIN ARTICLE OCTOBER 5TH 2017
At the moment the ‘Gray Lady’ (aka The New York Times) published their blistering expose/article written by Jody Kantor and Megan Twohey hit newsstands and web browsers nationwide on the morning of October 5th of 2017, those with intimate knowledge of Weinstein’s carnage immediately understood that finally, the day that they had hoped, albeit never dared out loud, had come. The Times article gave voice to truths that too many people knew, yet could only whisper, or remain mute. Those voices transformed into roars, when 5 days later, on October 10th, 2017 Ronan Farrow’s explosive investigative expose was published in The New Yorker. Indeed, Farrow’s article added 13 additional victims, whose stories concurred, reinforced, and basically substantiated in vivid detail, the various grotesqueries of Mr. Weinstein’s decades long malfeasance.
RONAN FARROW’S WEINSTEIN EXPOSE IN THE NEW YORKER
Those roars then reached audible levels akin to a sonic boom, complete with the failure to honor the impulse to close one’s eyes, and/or cover one’s ears. The shocking allegations issued by over a dozen women, some of them pop culture celebrities, detailed behaviors which ranged from detestable to the unspeakable. Indeed, among the litany of horrific accusations were repeated forms of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and/or textbook rape. Allegations which detailed Weinstein’s gross sexual misconduct and abject abuse of power wielded with impunity over the past three decades. In hotel rooms. In the offices of Miramax Films. Within the clandestine walls of the Weinstein Company.
In a move that hindsight would argue came a decade or more late, on October 8th of 2017, Harvey Weinstein was finally fired … from the successful production company he founded. Ironically, this was 2 days before the October 10th New Yorker piece went live. Moreover, Mr. Weinstein was also summarily expelled from the Academy of Motion Arts and Pictures. Then his wife of 10 years designer Georgina Chapman walked away and filed for divorce. In the days and weeks since, many prominent figures in American life in general, and in Hollywood specifically, many have come forward to denounce Mr. Weinstein. As of this publishing the NYPD, LAPD, the F.B.I and the London Metropolitan Police have all opened investigations into Mr. Weinstein. Thus far, official charges have been filed in the State of New York. Statute of limitations have expired in many cases.
As human beings, our innate defense mechanisms usually tempt us with rationalized notions that attempt to minimize the gravity, residual consequence, and distance that appalling behavior can travel. Our instinctual hope is to avoid the unpleasantness of terminal conclusions. However, sooner or later we are all forced to confront the reality of victimization. Also true is that unfortunately, guilt, shame, and anger are all emotions that can have extended shelf lives, and the ability to travel quite well, typically without any additional effort.
At some point the men on the list above decided that they were going to skip the soul bound train to moral propriety. Choosing instead to patronize the clandestine car service of sexually destructive behavior, with boorish delusions of impunity, in the trunk. It’s no more a secret today, as it was yesterday, that power can corrupt. Indeed, power can allow for flexibility in views of moral imperatives. It’s true that power can move this, and shake that. Yet, at the end of the day, for those humans in positions of power over others, there is but one relevant question that requires an answer, and that is … will they choose to wield that power in moral, or amoral fashion.