Sexual harassers and those who condone them are being yanked out of the shadows and plopped right into the spotlight left and right.
Although most of the #MeToo and #TimesUp stories have exposed men for assaulting women, there have been instances of prominent women being called out for knowing about these behaviors and turning the other cheek.
Former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is the latest woman to be condemned for keeping a senior adviser on her 2008 presidential campaign who had been accused of sexual harassment, The Daily Beast reports.
Burns Strider was “repeatedly sexually harassing a young subordinate,” and despite being advised to fire him by her campaign manager, Clinton chose to keep him on staff. He received a pay cut and was ordered to undergo counseling. Meanwhile, the woman he allegedly harassed was “moved to a new job.”
Strider served as Clinton’s “faith adviser” in 2008 and later led Correct the Record, an independent group that supported Clinton’s second presidential run in 2016. However, he was ultimately fired from that group for “workplace issues,” which included allegations that he harassed a young female aide.
Clinton joins the likes of Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey — who were criticized for working with and being friends with Harvey Weinstein despite ongoing, longstanding rumors about his conduct — and Mira Sorvino, who was called out for hypocrisy for working with accused child molester Woody Allen and failing to denounce him, all the while speaking out against her own abuser, Weinstein.
Streep addressed the criticism by insisting she didn’t know about Weinstein’s behavior, and Sorvino quelled her backlash by penning an open letter to Dylan Farrow — Allen’s former stepdaughter who he is accused of molesting — in which she expressed regret for dismissing the allegations and working with him.
“I confess that at the time I worked for Woody Allen I was a naïve young actress,” Sorvino wrote in an essay for HuffPost. “I swallowed the media’s portrayal of your abuse allegations against your father as an outgrowth of a twisted custody battle between Mia Farrow and him, and did not look further into the situation, for which I am terribly sorry.”
In Clinton's case, it can't be overlooked that she has a long history of standing by her own husband, former President Bill Clinton, who was accused by several women of sexual harassment, and of course, the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal in which he engaged in sexual acts with her while she was a White House intern.
With this history in mind, it comes as no surprise that she would shield another male close to her from sexual misconduct accusations.
Alas, the overarching issue of women who continue to support accused men — which also includes our current first lady Melania Trump — sheds a spotlight on how women can and do play a role in perpetuating rape culture and should be held accountable in the same way that the men who actually commit the acts are.