Sexual Harassment in Hollywood and the Workplace | Janice Ellis
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Sexual Harassment in Hollywood and the Workplace

sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace

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Is there anywhere that a qualified woman can just perform her job without being subjected to unwanted sexual advances? Sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace. What is the state of gender equality, gender respect in our culture? The fact is that gender inequality still rules the day in almost every aspect of American culture.

Unfortunately, the barrage of recent accusations from almost every corner of Hollywood—involving a powerful successful major film producer, a chef, a photographer—seem to have opened a flood gate of horrendous harassment, assault and abuse.

More revelations are coming from other areas of the employment landscape. There have been more new reports about major media personalities like Bill O’Reilly and now Mark Halperin. Many women are coming forth, joining the chorus of those who have experienced various levels and types of unwanted advances from men with whom they work or from whom they are seeking employment.

Some of the sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace happened decades ago. While revelations, large and small, have been coming to public attention for a while, they seem not be a deterrent even when millions of dollars are paid in settlements in an effort to buy silence.

sexual harassment in Hollywood, media, and the workplace

Sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace. Photo Credit:

Among the most recent woman to come out is Rep. Jackie Speier who tells of being the victim of sexual harassment as a Congressional intern. She even speaks about a culture of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. Also, several female reporters are speaking out about their reluctance or the safety measures they took when interviewing senators who had a reputation of being perpetrators of unwanted sexual advances.

Sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace. So, where isn’t there sexual harassment, in some cases outright sexual abuse and rape, occurring against women? Many of them unsuspecting and defenseless. Where are we when it comes to gender equality in every aspect of our way of life in America?

The “Me Too” campaign to get women—from all walks of life from the famous to the unknown—to speak out about their experiences is raising hope that this may be the beginning of bringing about real change for women no matter in what industry they work. More evidence of the prevalence of gender disrespect and gender inequality.

But, will it? Or, will the outcry fade or fall on deaf ears once the revelations move off the headlines of the day? Where will there be justice and refuge for the thousands, no doubt millions, of women who are subjected to sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace?

A sea change will require addressing real issues of gender inequality, putting strong policies in place  with rigorous enforcement, and executing swift justice when they are not.

It will take a sustained effort by women, partnering with caring men to bring it about. Maybe, at least the recent revelations about sexual harassment in Hollywood and the workplace will be a real beginning to address gender inequality.

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Sexual Harassment in Hollywood and the Workplace
Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, author, has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website under the headings of "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" and "Above & Beyond Race." Subscribe to the email Newsletter and get updates on the trending topics.


  1. Willie Anderson says:

    Hollywood is a unique workplace and is not typical in any way. The uniqueness comes from the fact that the workplace is not a monolithic location where a person works with the same people day in and day out. Instead, people are paid to pretend the are other people and to put themselves into emotional tempting situations where many of the emotions required to make a particular scene authentic can not be turned on and off like tap water. So it was and is commonplace for infidelity and immorality to go mostly unchecked because it was encouraged or welcomed under the guise of playing a scene in a movie. Movie studios seldom got personally involved in such matters unless the personal conduct of their top stars somehow adversely impacted their profitability. But Hollywood’s uniqueness allowed sexual exploitation to thrive. And I draw a clear distinction between sexual harassment and sexual exploitation. I would say there was not a whole lot of sexual harassment going on in Hollywood; but there was lots of sexual exploitation because there was such a wide disparity between the rich producers and the young unknown actresses from some small town looking to make it big in the movies. In many cases their choices were limited to starving or choosing to accept a movie role which required them to provide sexual favors to the various producers to get their careers on tract. The power differential between the producers and young actresses is the way the producers held sway over many young actresses who wanted to work in Hollywood. It has been a dirty little secret for many years. The actresses who have achieved some measure of financial success and independence have found their courage and their voice to speak up. But when economics are factored into the equation, most actresses choose to exercise their right to remain silent. Otherwise they don’t work. This activity is not unique to any one individual but is pervasive and it would be nothing less than amazing if anything is done to dismantle this den of vipers and their wanton objectification and abuse of young female actors. But like I stated earlier, Hollywood is unique from most workplaces and sexual exploitation is the currency that allows a nobody to become somebody. But she must sell her soul and her body and most of the time not willingly.

  2. Nicole says:

    It will only change when women are in power who do not want any part of that.

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