Okay, we are going to dance as close to "the line" as possible today. Please excuse my vitriol.
The Story of Harvey Weinstein is sending shockwaves throughout the nation, and specifically, in Hollywood. Well, maybe not in Hollywood. The Harvey Weinstein story, in a nutshell, is that he was a man in power, he harassed women for a generation, and then got caught by the New York Times. Now that all of his "buyouts" have hit public knowledge, NOW there's repercussions to be had.
But the New York Times just performed some good ol' fashioned journalism. The secret is that people close to Weinstein have known about these episodes for years. The rumors were so thick and prevalent about Weinstein, jokes about him harassing women even made it onto 30 Rock in 2012. No one held Weinstein's feet to the fire until someone went on the record with the allegations.
Not unlike the Bill Cosby case, as soon as the situation went public, accusers started coming out of the woodwork. Cosby currently has over 60 women who have gone on the record saying he raped them. Don't forget, it wasn't a newspaper that went public for the Cosby case, it was comedian Hannibal Burress.
We can site recent example after recent example, but the American way is rich, powerful men have lawyers to make things go away when they're bad and people fear their power. I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying that is reality. FoxNews covering the Harvey Weinstein story is humor wrapped in irony. I don't know Harvey Weinstein and I don't know Bill Cosby, so this is where I stop talking about them, because everything I know is second-hand.
What we are going to do now, is tell the story of Ray and after reading about Harvey Weinstein, I'm pretty sure every corporation in America has a Ray in their building....
....back in the year 2001, the company I worked for, Arcus Data Security officially became part of (Corporation X). The manager in charge of Arcus at the time, Lena, was a tough old-republican bird, but she was versed in the magical ways of Arcus. Ray was the short, slimy, used-car salesman with hair plugs who was the new, sleek corporate manager who was to lead and transition the team into the magical ways of Corporation X. Out with the old and in with the new.
Ray came in with bluster, my way or the highway, for the men. My way or the highway, for the older women. My way or, well, we can talk about this in my office for the ladies under 30. Did I witness him having sex with anyone? No. Did I witness him giving shoulder rubs, sitting on the secretary's desks, hugging specifically young women only. Nearly every single day.
Did I, Fred Hunt, ever say anything? Of course I did. At first I mentioned it to a few male co-workers. They noticed it too, but everyone was afraid to be fired. I mentioned what I had noticed to one of Ray's sycophants and I was called an instigator. Just because I wasn't a "hugger," didn't mean Ray was doing anything wrong. I apologized, I must have misunderstood Ray's friendliness. It was true then and it's true now, I'm not a hugger.
Roger. Roger was a hugger. Roger was a middle-aged man who loved Jesus. Not only loved Jesus, but he lived the ways of the Bible. He was a local youth minister when I was a teenager who might have been the closest thing to a living apostle that I have ever met in my life. If you had just a minute, he would tell you about the glorious gifts that the Lord Jesus Christ has given you. He was so real and genuine in his love of Christ, it was inspiring. One of his personal philosophies, though, was that the sense of touch was part of Christ's ministry and he hugged everyone. I think he might of hugged me once and I recoiled in horror. I. Am. Not. A. Hugger.
So I can't remember the setting, but I clearly remember Roger was hugging everyone, boys, girls, women, men, everyone. When I noticed he hugged a beautiful 16 year old girl, I was jealous. I horribly thought to myself "maybe that's Roger's scam. No human being can be that good." Then I remember Roger turning to the girl's grandmother, who was in a wheelchair and honestly looked like she had leprosy, and he gave her the biggest hug of the day. I cringed. Then I went to the bathroom and washed MY hands. I mean, c'mon, she had open sores all over. I need to take a typing break just to go wash my hands again.
Alright, I'm back. Anyhow, that shows you that Roger lived what he preached. He tried to touch everyone. I'm more of a talker. Just as an aside, I wonder what ever happened to Roger?
Editor's Note: Through the wonders of the internet, we looked him up. He looks great and is retired.
Ray was upwardly mobile. He had his sights on getting promoted as soon as possible. And he was about to be promoted again when, surprise surprise, he sexually harassed a twenty-something year old stunner. He was in the vault with her and offered to hold a ladder while she climbed up. Somehow, despite his hectic, hectic schedule, he was always there to offer up a helping hand to the young ladies. When she was at the top of the ladder, he let an inappropriate comment "slip out" and that girl stepped right down the ladder and straight into the human resources office. Unbeknownst to Ray, that specific young lady wasn't all that naive. Her previous job was at a law firm.
Then, according to Ray, a "witch hunt" occurred. Poor victim Ray. The other managers circled the wagons and sides were chosen. Shortly thereafter, Ray was gone.
Ray's right hand man was quickly promoted and he threatened everyone's jobs equally, men and woman alike. But then something funny happened, about 3 months later, Ray was back at Corporation X, just at a different building a few miles away. As employees, we assumed that he was fired for sexual harassment. There was a shut down of information in relation to all things Ray. How could he be back? When I asked a manager how Ray could be back the answer was "you've got to get to know Ray, he's a good guy."
Fred: "Yes, but he was fired for sexual harassment."
Manager: "You don't know, for a fact, why he left here."
I thought to myself "left?"
So putting together the puzzle, I assume that Ray's corporate buddies allowed him to resign before they were forced to make a determination whether to fire him or not. After his new gig didn't work out, they let him come back 'cause he was such a valuable asset to the company and since the No Rehire box wasn't checked on his termination papers, no problem, right?
Eh, we should mention that the young lady was still at Corporation X. Within a few weeks, she was uncomfortable with the "bullshit" and quit to return to her previous job. Everyone of those managers that conspired to reintegrate Ray were all promoted. Every. Single. One. After all, he was a good guy.
A few years after the fact, I spoke to that human resources manager that first dealt with the situation. She was in her late 50's and I asked her off the record, did Ray ever hug you? And she laughed and said "no, I wasn't in his age range." I knew what the score was. She knew what the score was. And management knew what the score was. All the cheaters had won and there were no avenues to pursue the matter any further.
It was 2008 and I saw a demoted Lena in the hallways. She looked sad and was carrying a picture in her hand. I asked her what was going on and she showed me the picture from 1998. It was the year that Corporation X had bought Arcus and the photo was 25 people drinking from champaign glasses. Everyone was happy because they were going to get big raises and cash in when the buyout finally took place. 25 White Collar Workers. "Yeah, but why are you sad, did someone die?" I asked. Lena replied, "because over 10 years, they got rid of 24 of my friends and I'm the only one left."
I, personally, was hired on during the transition, so I had missed some of the transitional politics. So I asked her, "I thought Ray was part of the transition team." She corrected me. "Ray had nothing to do with Arcus. He has his own team that he quickly installed and he has his own team now."
Today, in the Fall of 2017, the metropolitan area is still populated with the Corporation X managers who never stood up to Ray, and Ray himself still draws a 6 figure salary. Ray wasn't stopped by anything but circumstances. Corporation X is 80% male in the region. If he had his own studio and young actresses all around? Oy vey.
(So how did Harvey Weinstein get away with it? I've seen it with my own 2 eyes, it's not that hard if you're in the corporate world. There's a set of rules for "you," and then there's a set of rules for the ones who control the "$$$$$.")
If you work for a multi-national corporation,
I bet you know one manager who fits the description of "Ray."
For insiders of Beacon of Speech: The Password is Steve.