How could I have been so stupid?I was amazed by the #MeToo outpouring by women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. So many women I know have been victims, and yet, I marveled, I had spent my career in charmed workplaces where such things didn't happen.But this week I learned that, earlier in my career, I worked in a place that was the very definition of a hostile work environment — a place that is now one of the most visible examples of the Harvey Weinstein fallout. Worse, one of my dearest friends was a victim — indeed, the one who first went public.
But here's what I did know:I knew that Wieseltier could be a bully. At editorial meetings, he would harshly cut down those he didn't like. I was advised before I took the job that if I wanted to get ahead at the New Republic, I needed to be on his good side. He would protect those he held in favor and sink those he didn't. I was one of those he protected. I think he liked me. I liked, and greatly admired, him.I also knew that the magazine was a boys' club and that most top editors were men. The real power was Wieseltier, by virtue of his close relationship with the absentee owner; no editor could remain in place without his blessing.
Snippage of Mr. Millbank being unable to resist a bit of Trump bashing, even here, even now. He continued:
I and many other male alumni of the New Republic, feminists all, are shaken by what we've learned this week. We weren't a conspiracy of silence, but we were in a cone of ignorance. My friend Franklin Foer, a former editor, recalls being uncomfortable with Wieseltier's lewd comments when he first arrived at the magazine. But "they just seemed accepted. I said nothing — and certainly didn't think hard enough about how those remarks would be suggestive of private behavior or created a hostile environment."
I'll add here that as we found out in today, the publisher was also doing it. Hamilton Fish V, publisher of The New Republic, was asked to "go on leave" because he's been getting handsy with the help, just like
"male alumni of the New Republic, feminists all," watched it happen day after day.
Because they are cowards.
There was no convenient "cone of ignorance" as Milbank says. There was cowardice. You don't need to SEE them do it to notice that the Big Cheese loves to push the women around. If the guy does that in front of you, you know damn well what he's doing when he catches one of the women alone. It isn't rocket science.
I've seen this shit before. There's always the Boys, and they always support the Big Dog. In hospitals it gets interesting, because the Big Dogs are women and the Boys are the Girls instead. This farce is exactly the same when played in reverse. Bullying, those who allow it and survive, those who don't allow it and get fired/leave/quit/whatever. That's what passes for a "career" these days. Selective blindness and a willingness to let other people take fire. Because when they're taking fire, you are safe.
If you're the dumbass that says "Hey! What kind of way is that to talk in front of a lady?" then you get fired. All environments are hostile when you're the guy that stands up. Or the girl, that happens too. You get fired. A lot.
But at least you don't have to write columns trying to cover over your disgusting cowardice.
Another "proud feminist" no doubt.