Patterico's Pontifications

11/9/2011

“Congress Shall Make No Law;” The Dark Side of Sexual Harassment Law

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:16 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing. Follow me on Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Strap yourself in, because this is a long one.

Today via the AP, we read about the complaint that Karen Krausharr, one of Cains’ accusers who has not given details (as of this writing), made against the INS when she was their spokesperson. Her complaint about not being able to telecommute after an accident is… interesting, but not ultimately very illuminating. But her complaint about a mildly sexist allegedly humorous email is useful at this stage of the investigation, because she is being coy with the details of her accusation against Cain. All we know is she considered Cain’s conduct toward her inappropriate, and thus it is useful to see where her threshold for “pain” is, and apparently it is very, very low:

The complaint also cited as objectionable an email that a manager had circulated comparing computers to women and men, a former supervisor said. The complaint claimed that the email, based on humor widely circulated on the Internet, was sexually explicit, according to the supervisor, who did not have a copy of the email. The joke circulated online lists reasons men and women were like computers, including that men were like computers because “in order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.” Women were like computers because “even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.”

Of course if she ever tells us what precisely Cain has allegedly done, then it won’t matter whether she has been quick to file a complaint in the past or not. But until we can independently judge the severity of Cain’s alleged conduct toward her, this evidence is relevant and provides some illumination as to what she considers worthy of complaint.

But I didn’t really want to talk about that. As you might guess from the title, what this article really brings home for me in a serious way is how far we have strayed from our Constitution in the laudable goal of workplace equality.

But first, I have to make you understand what sexual harassment law is about. Many people think it has to be about sex, as in the act or human sexuality. The other day, for instance, James Taranto wrote the following:

The presence of both sexes in the workplace makes necessary some combination of laws, policies and customs to regulate sexual behavior on the job.

But let me throw a hypothetical at you for a moment. Imagine a white employee goes up to a black employee and starts calling him n——, calling him a slave, saying he should be lynched, and so on. What would us lawyers call that?

Racial harassment (among other things). That is harassment directed at an individual because of his race. And if a Jewish employee approached a gentile and started calling him a damn Christian, saying everyone in his faith are perverts, and that he should be shot, that would be… religious harassment. And likewise there can be age harassment, disability harassment, and so on. Indeed, I have personally been the victim of disability-based harassment. So Taranto seems to think that sexual harassment law is about regulating our sexuality. It is not.

When we hear the word “sexual” in sexual harassment, our dirty minds think of human sexuality—the attitudes, acts, etc. associated with the act of sex. But that is not the meaning of the word in that context; in that context, “sexual” means “based on gender.” I have long told people that it is better to call it gender harassment so as to avoid this basic misunderstanding. Sexual harassment, therefore, is just one subset of a number of doctrines prohibiting harassment that has grown up under our civil rights laws.

The impetus behind the development of the law of discriminatory harassment seems pretty obvious, too. Surely when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed there were some people who thought they could hire equally, but then make black people (or any other group they dislike) feel so unwelcome (indeed often leading that person to fear for their lives and safety) that they would voluntarily quit. So you need a rule that prevents employers from actually harassing based on undesirable traits and even requires employers to prevent such conduct between employees. Thus the concept of harassment by hostile environment was born.

And of course applied to women a new problem started cropping up. When a man in says to a woman who is his secretary, “sleep with me or you are fired,” he obviously is not typically trying to drive women out of the workplace. I mean, I can imagine a situation where a man who just hates women in the workplace might require a woman to engage in sexually humiliating conduct as a way of driving her out, but let’s face it, it’s more often about horniness than anything else.

(No, I don’t buy the claim that sexual harassment is about power. Power is the means to the end, not the end itself. The goal is in most cases just to have sex.)

What the creepy boss is doing in my hypothetical, really, is trying to change the job description of his secretary, from the ordinary duties of a secretary to the ordinary duties of a secretary, plus the services of a prostitute. And if you are wondering how that is gender-based, well… ask your self this: would he do the same if his secretary is a man? The answer is almost always “no.”

(There was a case where a man claimed to be an equal opportunity sexual harasser. I never found out how that turned out, but let me say that is an extremely risky strategy even if it might theoretically work. You would have be truly equal opportunity in your harassment and the court might still find that it is gender-based because of the disparate impact of the facially equal behavior. Bluntly, don’t try it.)

And that is what we lawyers call quid pro quo, the promising of a benefit for saying “yes,” and/or retribution for saying “no.”

And all of that sounds well and good, until you think for a moment of the supervisor who sent around this email comparing men and women to computers. This was the INS, but I think every person who works for a private employer knows how their company would react. There would be investigations, there would be recriminations, and there would very likely to be at the very least a warning to this employee…

…for writing an email.

In other words, for exercising his freedom of expression. Now of course a private employer can voluntarily choose to be as much of a prude as he or she wants. But this is not typically voluntary on the part of the company. This is, “you idiot, you’re going to get us sued, cut it out.

Ordinarily when it comes to freedom of expression the court says that indefiniteness is intolerable. The courts speak of an impermissible “chilling effect” on protected speech when a law is vague. As Justice (Thurgood) Marshall wrote in Grayned v. Rockford:

[W]here a vague statute abut[s] upon sensitive areas of basic First Amendment freedoms, it operates to inhibit the exercise of [those] freedoms. Uncertain meanings inevitably lead citizens to steer far wider of the unlawful zone . . . than if the boundaries of the forbidden areas were clearly marked.

(internal quotation marks removed)

Now, let us take a moment to look at one of the seminal cases in sexual harassment, Meritor Savings v. Vinson. In it the Court drew the line between permissible speech and impermissible harassment. After explaining that the harassment must have the effect of altering a term, condition or privilege of employment, the court said:

Of course, as the courts in both Rogers and Henson recognized, not all workplace conduct that may be described as “harassment” affects a “term, condition, or privilege” of employment within the meaning of Title VII. See Rogers v. EEOC, supra, at 238 (“mere utterance of an ethnic or racial epithet which engenders offensive feelings in an employee” would not affect the conditions of employment to sufficiently significant degree to violate Title VII); Henson, 682 F. 2d, at 904 (quoting same). For sexual harassment to be actionable, it must be sufficiently severe or pervasive “to alter the conditions of [the victim's] employment and create an abusive working environment.” Ibid. Respondent’s allegations in this case — which include not only pervasive harassment but also criminal conduct of the most serious nature — are plainly sufficient to state a claim for “hostile environment” sexual harassment.

Let me be blunt folks. There isn’t a lawyer in America that can tell you what exactly that language means. There are cases where the line has been pretty clearly crossed. For instance, Mechelle Vinson alleged that her supervisor actually raped her, so that is obviously sexual harassment. And indeed all quid pro harassment is almost automatically sexual harassment. But in the close cases, where the behavior is merely verbal or written, it is very hard to know where the line is.

So the chilling effect takes effect. Employers often try to suppress any sexual discussion, at all, not because they wish to behave this way, but because of their rational fear of a lawsuit.

And if you want to see how quickly freedom of speech gets thrown to the wayside, I suggest you read the Lyle v. Warner Brothers. It is known among employment lawyers as the “Friends case” because it grew out of the television show. Apparently the show is written by horny teenagers, judging by the behavior involved. The writers for the show would openly discuss their sexual experiences, brag about conquests, and even ask the plaintiff about how good she was in bed with her boyfriend.

Now I am in the distinct minority among people, since I didn’t like the show. Mainly I liked their stories better the first time, when they were on Seinfeld and what wasn’t derivative was just annoying. So I don’t personally place too high a value on their speech. And the behavior they described among the writers is incredibly offensive. But, like it or not they are entitled to their crude, derivative speech, and while I am not absolutely certain that this conduct was necessary to their creative process, I think the courts are correct to err on the side of tolerance. So we should all breathe a sigh of relief that they won…

…in the California Supreme Court. Which means they had to fight their way all the way up to that level in order to protect their right to “free” speech. Now it appears that they would be able to recover attorneys fees and court costs, but as the case was going, certainly their lawyers would have recognized that this was quite a gamble they were taking. I admire Warner Brothers and their lawyers for recognizing just how important it was to win this, and not merely settle the matter cheaply as they almost certainly could have. But how many others would simply fold and have their speech chilled as a result? And indeed the court still left open many avenues by which the show still could have been sued—just not on the facts before the court at the time.

So I think sexual harassment law is in dire need of reform. Quid pro quo harassment can be left in place because it is conduct that is actually criminal in most states (as I keep saying, it’s solicitation of prostitution if unsuccessful, prostitution if successful). In terms of hostile environment I think the courts should draw a bright line: only conduct, and not mere words, can be harassment. Now I mean that as lawyers understand the term “conduct.” When two people form a contract, that is not considered speech, but conduct. The same is true of threats. So if you touch a person or threaten them, that is harassment that can be prohibited under the law. But not merely expressing an unpopular opinion. That is not to say I am okay with other crude comments, but we cannot ban everything that offends us—especially when that thing is merely words.

Besides, most employers will not allow that kind of conduct if only because it is unprofessional. And again, if private companies wish to be prudish,* there is no constitutional problem with that.

But the First Amendment says that Congress may not pass any law abridging freedom of speech or the press.** And as the Supreme Court has repeatedly said, the prohibitions of the Constitution do not apply merely to formal violations. The First Amendment does not merely prohibit laws that on their face state they are preventing expression, but laws that can be interpreted so that they have the same effect. It is not necessary in my mind to strike down the various Civil Rights Act that have by interpretation been extended to the point that they violate the First Amendment. Instead, it is only necessary that the courts stop interpreting them that way, recognizing that they were wrong to have extended the reach of the law that far.

And I say all that recognizing that the harm engendered by the proposed change in rules will probably fall more on women, minorities, and even the disabled. I know from personal experience how harassment can rob you of your opportunities. The road to this standing violation of the First Amendment was paved with good intentions. But it cannot go on.

———————————-

* Some of you will notice I am side-stepping the issue of how prudish public employers can be. That is because I am uncertain exactly how I feel about that. Perhaps I will write on this another day.

** Freedom of the press, in my opinion, encompasses every expression in written words, not just the institutional press. After all, the founders surely wished to protect Thomas Paine as much as the Pennsylvania Gazette.

Update: Minor edits for clarity’s sake.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

63 Responses to ““Congress Shall Make No Law;” The Dark Side of Sexual Harassment Law”

  1. “But let me throw a hypothetical at you for a moment. Imagine a white employee goes up to a black employee and starts calling him n——, calling him a slave, saying he should be lynched, and so on. What would us lawyers call that?”

    We would call it: MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

    MONEY.

    Cecil Franklin (4fc8ec)

  2. But let me throw a hypothetical at you for a moment. Imagine a white employee goes up to a black employee and starts calling him n——, calling him a slave, saying he should be lynched, and so on. What would us lawyers call that?

    Well, anybody who really knew things could tell you that.

    If you didn’t find any law that was on the point, look for another law that you can stretch or distort to cover it – and if judges are sympathetic, they’ll agree.

    And that’s indeed what happened with sexual harassment. There wasn’t any law or any well known tort against it. Even if there was a tort, it wasn’t well trod.

    Lawyers already had clients. Nobody was going to try to get Congress and state legislatures to enact a new law. It’s too hard and wouldn’t give the lawyers any fee.

    At least you wouldn’t do it until after getting judicial rulings, at which point you might want some law to nail it down, and the law would follow the court decision(s)

    They twisted newly enacted (1964) discrimination law to apply to this.

    The 1964 Civil Rights Act I think had included sexual discrimination.

    So it was argued that sexual harassment was a of discrimination on he basis of sex (!!?), since, after all, men were not subjected
    to it.

    Because this was the result of court decisions, the law was never carefully drafted.

    Sammy Finkelman (3a0ae4)

  3. *So it was argued that sexual harassment was a form of discrimination on the basis of sex (!!?), since, after all, men were not subjected to it!

    I don’t know if there ever was a separate law passed on this subject.

    Sammy Finkelman (3a0ae4)

  4. There’s another thing. A lot ofpeople are “at will” employees.

    That is, if somebody decides to fire them, fairly or unfairly here is no recourse.

    Now if people readily could get equally good jobs maybe that wouldn’t matter too much 9even though feelings would be hurt) but there’s a whole culture about going through all sorts of contortions to get hired and about keeping a job..

    There is recourse and yet it matters.

    Except

    1) If you have a contract. then it’s not an will.

    This can also be included a union contract. Protection from being fired unjustly is the biggest selling point of unions. Even for people with civil service protection maybe.

    2) If the reason someone was fired was something illegal. This could be, for instance, because your refused to break a law, but the most common is some form of discrimination law.

    So there are strong motives to make such claims or focus on them, in order to have some grounds to sue on, even if he real cause of being fired or not promoted, while maybe unfair, had nothing to do with what you are talking about. It’s the only hook to get a legal complaint that an “at-will” employee has. False promises, for instance won’t do it unless it rises to the level of a contract.

    Sammy Finkelman (3a0ae4)

  5. One of Cain’s accusers sued an employer for this email: http://tinyurl.com/7o2vy8n

    He stated how hurricanes at one time were given feminine names and how ships and planes were usually referred to as “she”. One of the students raised their hand and asked “What gender is a computer”?

    The teacher wasn’t certain which it was, so he divided the class into two groups, males in one, females in the other, and asked them to decide if a computer should be masculine or feminine. Both groups were asked to give four reasons for their recommendation. The group of women concluded that computers should be referred to in the masculine gender, for the following reasons:

    1. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.

    2. They have a lot of data but are still clueless.

    3. They are supposed to help you solve your problems, but half the time they cause the problem.

    4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have had a better model.

    The men, on the other hand, decided that computers should definitely be referred to in the feminine gender for the following reasons:

    1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic.

    2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.

    3. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.

    4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

    Looks like we’ll both be sued if you leave this comment up.

    Jack (6e27d9)

  6. Sammy

    there is no separate law covering male harrassment. the courts interpret the law as applying to harrassment of men and women, equally.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  7. Here’s the thing about “at will” employees: while they cannot (or should not be able to) sue for unlawful termination, they can — if the employer has not documented justifiable reason(s) for termination — collect unemployment, which costs the employer out-of-pocket.

    Icy (d29113)

  8. In fact, one of the Supreme Court decisions which undergirds modern sexual harassment law involved a bunch of men sexually harassing another man on an oil rig.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oncale_v._Sundowner_Offshore_Services

    aphrael (5d993c)

  9. “If you didn’t find any law that was on the point, look for another law that you can stretch or distort to cover it – and if judges are sympathetic, they’ll agree.”

    Sammy – I have terminated “at will” employees for embezzlement and other forms of fraud or theft only to have them turn around and allege various forms of discrimination, age, sex or race to see if they could claw some money out of the organization. Sometimes threats of prosecution make those threats go away. Sometimes I would negotiate a separation agreement with a non-disclosure clause, involving a mutual release of claims.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  10. “if the employer has not documented justifiable reason(s) for termination”

    Icy – Always paper the file.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  11. Way to get after it, Sammy! I bet you left claw marks in your mother’s womb.

    ColonelHaiku (09a0f9)

  12. Comment by Aaron Worthing — 11/9/2011 @ 12:15 pm

    Sammy

    there is no separate law covering male harrassment. the courts interpret the law as applying to harrassment of men and women, equally.

    I know that, even though it’s a little bit like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. When did I say different? But the initial cases were about women.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  13. Comment by aphrael — 11/9/2011 @ 12:28 pm

    In fact, one of the Supreme Court decisions which undergirds modern sexual harassment law involved a bunch of men sexually harassing another man on an oil rig.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oncale_v._Sundowner_Offshore_Services

    That case dates from 1998. Only then did the Supreme Court rule, per the Wikipedia article, that a male could be discriminated against by members of the same sex under Title VII and that a district court was wrong.

    Important point here: In order to be actionable agvainst the employer, the employer has to acquiesce. So we get all kinds of company rules I guess, which at least theoretically should protect the company against the lawyers.

    Comment by Icy — 11/9/2011 @ 12:18 pm

    Here’s the thing about “at will” employees: while they cannot (or should not be able to) sue for unlawful termination, they can — if the employer has not documented justifiable reason(s) for termination — collect unemployment, which costs the employer out-of-pocket.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  14. My comment there is that unemployment insurance which has been around since the 1930s, used to be old deterrent against wanton firing. That night be why comnpany’s try to get people to resign. Firing too many people will raise the premium.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  15. Comment by ColonelHaiku — 11/9/2011 @ 1:13 pm

    Way to get after it, Sammy! I bet you left claw marks in your mother’s womb.

    I am not sure what that means. My case was written up in a medical journal I believe.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  16. Sammy, don’t worry about it. When someone says ugly stuff 99% of the time, they just want to fight with you.

    Some of these clowns are attracted to a sex scandal because they actually want an ugly and bitter bicker-fest.

    God knows what these poor souls are really so angry about, and I’m fortunate I will never know.

    Dustin (cb3719)

  17. I think there should be a law against prudes. They make the workplace a drearier and more fearful place for everyone. Stress levels are already high enough without having to act as though everyone around you is a child.

    It is very difficult to see the need for harassment laws. If someone does something to lower productivity then that is incentive enough for the employer to take action. If they fail to do so then they are prone to lose business to more efficient operators. The government’s sole responsibility outside of normal laws against extortion, assault, rape etc… is to make sure that the barriers for entry are low enough that new competition is always coming on line. The rest will take care of itself.

    Yeah, some people will be put in some uncomfortable situations but right now EVERYONE is being put in an uncomfortable position. Luckily, where I work we all harass each other all day long because if anyone sued the business they would get about a buck-fifty. The pay isn’t much but the environment is fantastic. Several of us previously worked for one of the five biggest companies in the world and the amount of unnecessary stress due to things like this was unbearable.

    Voluble (740534)

  18. Freedom of the press, in my opinion, encompasses every expression in written words, not just the institutional press.

    Of course it does. What you call “the institutional press” is a shorthand for “those who use the press for a living”. It’s like calling professional public speakers “the speech”, or clergy “the religion”. Nobody would for a moment imagine that the first amendment’s guarantee of “freedom of speech” means professional speakers may not be arrested, or that “the free exercise of religion” means that clergymen don’t have to pay to use the gym! It’s obvious that everybody is guaranteed the freedom of speech to say whatever they like, and the free exercise of religion to practise whatever they believe God wants them to. Similarly, the “freedom of assembly” means that everybody has the right to gather together in public, not that factory owners may create assembly lines, or that school principals may cause their students to line up and sing the school song. So how can anyone imagine that “freedom of the press” means anything but the right of everybody to print whatever they like?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  19. In too many of these cases, I’ve seen it’s more important to see who’s behind the charges:

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=47438

    narciso (0fc95f)

  20. “That night be why comnpany’s try to get people to resign.”

    Sammy – Might could be.

    Company to employee – We can fire you for cause or you can resign. You decide.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  21. It is very difficult to see the need for harassment laws.

    ISTM, that falls under the same niche as “hate crime laws” – just another notch for someone to cut in their belt, as they fire you for not being a “good” employee, but with a lesser standard of documentation.
    It’s not that you were incapable of completing assignments, but that you were creating a “hostile environment” in the workplace.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b10a8d)

  22. The problem with these laws is not intent. It’s that they are open to exploitation by dishonest, money-grubbing people. And given the lack of common sense and the sad fact that so many people lack the ability – much less an interest – in discerning fact from fiction, is it any wonder we witness a constant stream of stupidity on parade?

    It’s the spectacle and the media has a vested interest in making it happen.

    ColonelHaiku (09a0f9)

  23. Without a rock solid definition of harassment all these charges are simply bs. And there will never be a definition firmer than jello because lawyers would lose clients and money. I am sorry for any real victims but I assume that all harassment lawsuits are for the benefit of shysters, and 99% of the time I’ll be right.

    Ken Hahn (f65a61)

  24. The problem with these laws is not intent.

    This – Intent – has become a systemic problem in jurisprudence, as so many laws today ignore mens rea, allowing the regulatory-state to criminalize the most mundane of behaviors.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b10a8d)

  25. “Quid pro quo harassment can be left in place because it is conduct that is actually criminal in most states (as I keep saying, its solicitation of prostitution if unsuccessful, prostitution is successful).”

    Assuming that the conduct is already illegal, why do we need a second law criminalizing it again? It seems cleaner to me to give the courts fewer laws to overbroaden.

    Stillzeal (53bfea)

  26. For instance, Mechelle Vinson alleged that her supervisor actually raped her, so that is obviously sexual harassment.

    Isn’t rape a criminal offense? For it to be sexual harassment doesn’t the employer have to approve of or allow rape?

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  27. still

    well, for one thing it ain’t illegal in nevada.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  28. Aaron – one of the underlying problems with this entire area is that we commonly use ‘sexual harassment’ to mean different things.

    On the subway last night, I saw a sign which told me that sexual harassment on the subway was a crime too, and that it wasn’t ok to grope people.

    Now, I totally agree that one shouldn’t be groping strangers on the subway. But that’s a different meaning of ‘sexual harassment’ than the one used in the Cain case.

    Unless everyone is very specific about *what* they mean when they use the term ‘sexual harassment’, people who aren’t paying attention are going to come away from situations like this thinking people like Cain groped their subordinates – whether or not that’s actually what’s being alleged.

    aphrael (701749)

  29. aphrael – You are quite right. One of my complaints regarding the Cain situation is the considerable amount of imprecise language thrown around to describe what is alleged to have happened. Aaron describes what is actionable under the law. Companies or organizations may have their own policies. The media and public may have completely different language and view of what is appropriate or inappropriate without reference to the former.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  30. Aphrael that is true.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  31. Too long Aaron. Bottom line, sexual harassment cannot be proven. Except on a video or pictures. Asides from that it’s your word against his or hers. Or you have a hidden witness. So in the case of Cain, we will never know what really happened or didn’t happen. But at the end this whole thing has achieved its diabolically aim: discredit and distract Cain’s campaign. In that case, mission accomplished.

    The Emperor (9ae02a)

  32. “Too long Aaron.”

    Shorter Lovey – You made my brain hurt.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  33. I thought lovey’s motto was/is “no brain, no pain”

    JD (2c2b3f)

  34. Where is the daily lecture from EPWJ about Cain rapes?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  35. Lovey’s motto is-I kissed a guy and I liked it.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  36. Dohbiden’s motto is- can I touch your pee pee? You can touch mine..

    The Emperor (03864d)

  37. “Too long Aaron.”

    Shorter Lovey – You made my brain hurt.

    Comment by daleyrocks
    But you have to agree that the purpose of the post was almost lost in the tedious and unending length of it. Lol!

    The Emperor (03864d)

  38. Talking about sexual harassment, I think I know what it is like to actually experience it. I was sexually harassed and abused by our female househelp way back when I was barely 5 years. She must have been about 20 then. I remember scenes in my mind of terrible things she did to me. Touching my little pee pee. Forcing me to finger her vagina. (it was a horrible experience). She would force her large breast to my mouth and force me to suck her nipples. Which I did. It was terrible. And she would warn me never to tell on her. And I never did cause I was scared. Yes I was violated in the most horrifying manner. :(

    The Emperor (03864d)

  39. Lovey – You 1% liberal victims are all a bunch of whiners.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  40. The Emperor,
    If that happened to you, that is quite awful and I am sorry for you. You will understand my — let’s call it confusion — at your statement today, given not only your appeals, but also your joking about rape, in that old thread about Roman Polanski, who took advantage of a child not much older than in the situation you describe.

    My statement is not a very intellectual one. It’s more of a moral thing. Come on. Who really cares what happened thirty two yeas ago? The girl in question should be what? 45 years by now? The man lost his wife violently. A lot of stuff has happened since then. Besides he has produced some really nice works. I am sure the victim may have moved on beyond this. So should we. We all make mistakes.

    Comment by The Emperor — 10/11/2009 @ 4:22 pm

    It is, you have to admit, not at all typical for sexual abuse victims to not only go to bat for convicted rapists but then also blithely joke about their being raped in jail.

    no one you know (325a59)

  41. Ah, NOYK. I think you have identified a certain unsavory whiff of, well, trolling taking place.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  42. Brava, noyk.

    JD (9f5519)

  43. Mindless Leftists (the illustrated dictionary contains a pix of Lovey) have very selective criteria for their morality and indignation;
    or, as in this case, they just make it up as they go -
    sounds like many of those on the Left in Congress, doesn’t it?

    AD-RtR/OS! (0345ac)


  44. Now I am in the distinct minority among people, since I didn’t like the show.

    Check out Coupling, a UK series (they made an execrable attempt to port it to the US) that, I have no doubt, was an attempt to make a UK version of “Friends”.

    It’s much more lax in its sexuality, thanks to UK standards being much less strict (another reason the show was doomed when brought to the US, its frankness had to be heavily bowdlerized), but does a remarkably good job of being both intelligent (much more so than Friends) and funny.

    I’m sure it’s available via Netflix

    Smock Puppet, Jingle Rewriting Expert (2fb1c2)

  45. Hey. Am the victim here. Show some compassion y’all.. :(

    The Emperor (03864d)


  46. I don’t know if there ever was a separate law passed on this subject.

    One could probably argue for the ERA being related to it, and, although it never succeeded in getting passed nationally, it did get defacto passed in many states via either their state constitutions or legislative action.

    Smock Puppet, Jingle Rewriting Expert (2fb1c2)

  47. Hey. Am the victim here. Show some compassion y’all.. :(

    Comment by The Emperor — 11/10/2011 @ 12:51 pm

    We certainly do have compassion for victims. What I’m wondering is why you seemed to reserve much more of your own compassion for a rapist than his 13 year old victim, given what you say was your own experience. That isn’t normal for sexual abuse victims, and it is baffling.

    no one you know (325a59)

  48. Lovey is winging it, just like Eric Holder.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)


  49. 1) If you have a contract. then it’s not “at will”.

    Yes it is, since most contracts have sections allowing you to be fired pretty much at will anyway. They have to dress the reason up in fancy language and/or make up some fake excuses for it, but its still easy to do.


    there is no separate law covering male harrassment. the courts interpret the law as applying to harrassment of men and women, equally.

    Aaron, this is one of those technical truths that, in actual fact, a casual examination of the statistics shows is utter and absolute crap…. kinda like the idea that child custody isn’t sexually discriminatory in every state of the nation. “Yeah, right. ull the other one”

    The idea that women don’t abuse their sexuality in the workplace is preposterous. Yet the number of court cases even brought alleging it is miniscule, because the rules are designed in such a way as to make it almost impossible to get any kind of standing for suit.


    Yeah, some people will be put in some uncomfortable situations but right now EVERYONE is being put in an uncomfortable position.

    Dude, this is liberal heaven/utopia. They either want to share the wealth or spread the misery. The idea that some, if not many, people are self-responsible for either one and thus deserve that condition doesn’t cut it.

    well, for one thing it ain’t illegal in nevada.

    Aaron, excuse me if I’m wrong, but don’t rape laws in all states pretty much ack the idea of any form of extortion for sex as being a form of rape?

    And isn’t “have sex with me or I’ll fire you” a form of extortion?

    So you now have the boss up on two crimes — extortion and attempted rape. Who needs prostitution laws?

    Smock Puppet, Victim of Gender Discrimination. Yes, I am. (2fb1c2)

  50. At noyk, have you ever been sexually harassed?

    The Emperor (03864d)

  51. At noyk, have you ever been sexually harassed?

    Comment by The Emperor — 11/10/2011 @ 1:24 pm

    Emperor,
    Have told you before that my privacy is extremely important to me (hence the screen name, and other things). So (and to remain civil and on topic wrt this discussion) I will tell you just this: I know how victims of sexual abuse, and sexual harrassment, usually behave.

    And, much as I am inclined to believe people when they report such things, you have not posted in the past at all like a victim of sexual abuse typically does. Think I’ll leave it at that.

    no one you know (325a59)

  52. You are being a clown, lovey. Stop.

    JD (9f5519)

  53. Oh. I didn’t sexually abused folks have a pattern of behavior perculiar to them. Didn’t get the memo. Or maybe it’s because I don’t like to wallow in my victimhood and get all self loathing and bitter about it. yes it happened but you don’t see me trying to seek vengeance. What she did was wrong but am not gonna let that define who I become and dwell in the past. That’s my point.

    The Emperor (03864d)

  54. I didn’t know

    The Emperor (5647ed)

  55. By the way leftards why is government running healthcare always the answer to everything?

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  56. By the way leftards why is government running healthcare always the answer to everything?

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  57. Oh. I didn’t sexually abuse folks…

    Comment by The Emperor

    Emperor… what you perform is known as self-abuse… which, to be clear and to use the vernacular that you’d understand is “spanking your monkey”… or, “loping your mule”… or, “flogging your flounder”.

    ColonelHaiku (09a0f9)

  58. But you and all the other trolls sexually abused yourself.

    DohBiden (ef98f0)

  59. Comment by no one you know — 11/10/2011 @ 1:43 pm

    NOYK, you should have responded:

    You mean by other than you, at this moment?

    AD-RtR/OS! (0345ac)

  60. Some made a general observation that prostitution was legal in Nevada which is true in special circumstances. It is allowed in certain counties and only in the brothels in those counties and the brothels must be licensed and inspected. They are also heavily taxed plus they put out a lot of cash to maintain good will that is just shy of extortion.

    dunce (15d7dc)

  61. AD AD AD….(shaking my head)….*deep sigh*

    The Realist. (b45a1d)

  62. Very interesting essay, Mr. Worthing. You sound as though you’ve got some expertise in these matters. Thanks for your analysis! I’ll remember your points when next I hear about “sexual harassment”.

    Just Some Guy (36b595)


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