Gretchen Carlson Is Paving the Way for Women to Fight Fiercely in the Face of Sexual Harassment
“Women are labeled troublemakers, the B-word and they’re not believed when they come forward. It takes immense courage.”
Amidst the cascades of women coming forward in recent days to speak out against sexual harassment, former Miss America and Fox News host Gretchen Carlson has just released a new book chronicling her experience with sexual harassment.
Carlson, whose July 2016 suit against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes resulted in Ailes’ highly publicized exit from the company he co-founded 20 years ago, appeared on CBS News to talk about her book Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back and what consequences women face when choosing to come forward about their ordeal. Carlson reached a 20-million-dollar settlement and received a public apology from FOX News last September in the case against the Ailes, who passed away in May at age 77.
Photo Credit: (Carlson) Bryan Anselm, New York Times | (Ailes) Vanity Fair
“Women face an excruciating decision when sexually harassed,” Carlson told viewers. “Take the abuse or take on a culture where the odds are stacked against you. Women are labeled troublemakers, the B-word and they’re not believed when they come forward. It takes immense courage.”
The book’s release follows the sharing of stories on Twitter by dozens of women under the hashtag #metoo, their actions fueled in part by a New York Times article alleging sexual harassment by media mogul Harvey Weinstein, former founding member of The Weinstein Company. Since the story’s release, women have come forward in droves to report being inappropriately touched, fondled, or assaulted by Weinstein, including a recent account by British actress Lysette Anthony who said Weinstein raped her in 1982 when he was in London doing publicity for the movie Krull.
“He pushed me inside and rammed me up against the coat rack in my tiny hall and started fumbling at my gown,” said Anthony. He was trying to kiss me and shove inside me. It was disgusting. Finally I just gave up. As he ground himself against me and shoved inside me, I kept my eyes shut tight, held my breath, just let him get on with it. He came over my leg like a dog and then left. It was pathetic, revolting. I thought I should just forget the whole disgusting incident. I blamed myself. I’d been an idiot to think he and I were just friends.”
By continuing to speak out, Carlson said, both men and women alike can help disempower sexual predators, noting that the current climate vilifies women who choose to report their victimization. “Studies show that 70 percent of women never report workplace harassment,” said Carlson. “Every time a woman tells her story others discover they can too. Bystanders must become allies – anyone who witnessed sexual harassment has the power to help.”