The passing of Roger Ailes was a surreal turn of events. Just a few months ago he was on top of the world leading Fox News to outstanding viewer ratings compared to the competition. The man was a true news entrepreneur, talent scout and man of the people. He came from modest beginnings and was deeply aware of the inability of lower socioeconomic Americans to be heard by their government. Ailes was an advisor to many important politicial leaders over the years including several U.S. presidents.
Then the floodgates opened. Ailes was a sexual predator according to a number of women who worked at Fox. He allegedly used his vaulted position to seduce, or try to seduce, females that worked for his company. He attempted to trade compensation, greater exposure on TV and advancement at Fox for sexual favors. Historians will mostly remember Ailes’ sexual proclivities not his media genius.
It’s stunning that so many powerful men are incapable of controlling their libidos. The list of great men who self destructed because of their sexual drive is seemingly endless. You know the cast of characters. They include a president, titans of industry, politicians, athletes, holy men and many more.
Americans are up in arms about the non-stop accusations by women about their male bosses and co-workers. They think it’s about time these men get what they deserve, not a roll in the hay, but a lawsuit and a pink slip.
The backlash by women is certainly warranted in situations like Ailes’. He attempted to have sexual relations with scores of females, women who he managed. Many came forward, and it ultimately cost Ailes his job and tarnished his legacy. Who knows how many other women have remained silent fearing reprisals from the predator’s lackies?
The male-dominated corporate structure in our country makes it difficult to combat sexual misbehavior. When large producers (of revenues) at a companiess go off the rails it’s frequently swept under the rug. “Boys will be boys.” “He didn’t mean any harm.” “We can’t lose a good man because he’s frisky with the ladies.”
Sexual contact at the office has no upside for the participants or the company. Corporations that discourage fraternization of employees are wise to do so. Most of the regrettable things occur after hours with a cocktail in hand. Quite a few organizations prohibit office parties even during the holidays. CEOs want such affairs (no pun intended) off campus and without endorsement or financial support of the company. The litigation and business risks are too much to assume.
Another unfortunate backlash is that the reporting of sexual missteps is sometimes petty. The over response of women after centuries of abuse is perfectly natural. Now they can easily ruin a man’s career based upon one misguided and seemingly innocent comment- “you look really sexy today, Joanne.” Should a man lose his livelihood for such a dumb but otherwise benign comment?
It’s high time that women were protected against unwanted sexual advances, be they physical, verbal, visual or implied. The smart guys should run for the hills if a female colleague says she thinks he’s “gross” (because of an untoward comment) or a “predator” (because he asks a female colleague to have drink with him after hours).
Do yourself a favor, gentlemen, don’t socialize with the opposite sex at work.