I’ve got sex on my mind today. It’s not because I’ve suddenly morphed into a 13 year old boy. It’s because there are a lot of headlines today about sex, which also made me think about missing sex headlines and false sex headlines.
First, of course, the Herman Cain sex headlines: Back in the 1990s, two women accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment when he was working at the National Restaurant Association, and the NRA subsequently settled the claims for five figure amounts. I have several thoughts on this subject. First, this story is not the same as the Anita Hill charges against Clarence Thomas. Hill did not make her charges contemporaneously. Instead, she emerged out of nowhere at just the right time for Democrats to conduct a high tech lynching against a high profile black conservative. In this case, the charges were made at a time when Cain was just another executive. The report is therefore more credible than Hill’s claims.
Peculiarly enough, though, at least from my lawyerly point of view, the fact that the charges date back to 1990 makes the charges less, rather than more, damning in my eyes. Why? Because the 1990s were a wonderful time for plaintiffs’ attorneys bringing sexual harassment charges. Why? Because the Ninth Circuit had just handed down a decision vastly expanding the definition of workplace sexual harassment.* Suddenly, the claim made each lawsuit akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Your female client didn’t get promoted? Sexual harassment. Your female client got fired? Sexual harassment. Your female client found the office “uncomfortable”? Sexual harassment. Your female client was caught embezzling? Sexual harassment.
Panicked executives (and their insurance companies) settled left and right. Some of the claims involved genuine sexual harassers, but these legitimate claims were lost in the flurry of easy-money lawsuits. Executives, their corporations and their insurance companies were simply loath to start rolling in the litigation mud. The lawsuits (and I defended a few) were absolutely awful. The executives were accused of heinous misdeeds, their every action was scrutinized, the corporation had to bear the burden of having every employee and every piece of paper in the corporation scrutinized, and the suits often morphed into class actions, which invariably primarily benefit the attorneys. Valid claims (and I know there were valid claims) got lost in a sea of what amounted to legal blackmail. So did Cain harass two employees? Who knows. The accusations are meaningless, as are the settlements.
The charges against Herman Cain got me thinking about the sex claims the major media is ignoring. That would be the assaults that seem to be part and parcel of the Occupy movement. So far, only the New York Post seems to be paying attention, both to the stories and to the cover-up. Here’s just one example from a rash of similar stories:
A sex fiend barged into a woman’s tent and sexually assaulted her at around 6 a.m., said protesters, who chased him from the park.
“Pervert! Pervert! Get the f–k out!” said vigilante Occupiers, who never bothered to call the cops.
“They were shining flashlights in his face and yelling at him to leave,” said a woman who called herself Leslie, but refused to give her real name.
She said that weeks earlier another woman was raped.
“We don’t tell anyone,” she said. “We handle it internally. I said too much already.”
You would think that a story that’s all about sex would be front page, top of the news stuff, but it’s not. The media knows its place, and its place does not include bad-mouthing the movement its president fomented.
My mentioning the president here isn’t a random, drive-by attack against Obama. I was thinking of another series of alleged sexual attacks that took place when another president was in office. As you may recall, when Hurricane Katrina struck, we were told that, within a mere three days of the disaster, New Orleans’ citizens weren’t just raping and murdering each other, they were eating each other too. The MSM couldn’t get enough of reports about sexual assaults on Bush’s watch. (Never mind that the City was officially under the aegis of Democrat Mayor Ray Nagin). As far as I know, very few of those claims were true, and the cannibalism one was definitely a canard.
Sex sells, but as far as the media is concerned, it’s a product they want to market only when it can blacken Republican eyes.
*I’m pulling a complete blank right now on the standard the Ninth Circuit created, but when/if I remember, I’ll update the post to add that information.
UPDATE: Rick, at Brutally Honest, remembers another sexual harassment charge that the media conveniently ignored.
UPDATE II: Indigo Red figured it out:
Would the case you are blanking on, Book, be Ellison v. Brady (924 F.2d 872 (9th Cir. 1991) in which the 9th Circuit decided that it doesn’t matter if the alleged harasser intended to be harassing or complimentary rejecting the “reasonable person’ standard used by the trial court instead opting for a “reasonable woman” argument in which the alleged victim perceived the conduct severe and pervasive enough to change the work environment so as to create an offensive environment from which sexual harassment can be found?