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With over 25 years of experience in the media industry at companies, such as Condé Nast, Lionsgate, CBS, Viacom, Discovery and Hasbro, Joanna Dodd Massey, Ph.D., MBA is an experienced C-level communications executive and Board Director. She has managed brand reputation, corporate turnaround, crisis communications and culture transformation. Currently, she serves as a consultant, who advises clients on communicating with Millennial and Gen Z employees, consumers, and investors. She is a corporate speaker and trainer, as well as author of the upcoming book, “Culture Shock: Surviving Five Generations in One Workplace” (in stores on May 19, 2020).
In 2017, two explosive articles in the New York Times and The New Yorker chronicling the sexually abusive, predatory behaviors of filmmaker Harvey Weinstein opened the flood gates for the #MeToo Movement to arrive on the national stage. More than two years later, some industries have seen a reckoning, while others continue to allow white, male privilege to prevail.
While Hollywood, fashion, sports and media have seen major celebrities and influential executives lose their jobs, other industries, such as finance and politics, continue to enable and allow sexual harassment to go unabated.
What’s the difference and why?
This is a complicated and layered discussion, but it comes down to two things: Money and power. And, frankly, money is power, so it comes down to just one thing...
A 2019 Bloomberg BusinessWeek article put it most succinctly when it quoted Jeanne Christensen, a partner at the employment law firm Wigdor LLP, whose clients have fought major banks and hedge funds. She said, “The primary difference for women that speak out on Wall Street vs. other industries is money. And money is power, and Wall Street has the most. ... Going up against them is not the same.”
Washington and Wall Street still pay off victims, still insist on NDAs, and still allow the accused to keep working while the accusors are marginalized or forced out.
But those who are willing to risk it all (that’s a big ask) have a voice today thanks to social media. The gatekeepers used to be HR, the lawyers and the media, who decided whether or not they found the story impactful and credible enough to report on it. Today, anyone with a smartphone and a social media account can post photos, videos and personal accounts of being harassed.
This does not stop harassment from happening; however, it gives victims a voice and credibility that they did not previously have.