HBO’s John Oliver last night duly noted a fresh compassion and concern over at Fox News Channel for victims of sexual harassment – all those poor male executives claiming to be too frightened to hire women.
Just two days after Ronan Farrow’s latest New Yorker expose – this one chronicling accusations of vile behavior by chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves and a toxic atmosphere at 60 Minutes – Oliver devoted Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight to the subject of workplace harassment and #MeToo, building up to an interview with Anita Hill.
Following clips of FNC’s Tucker Carlson and Jesse Watters fretting melodramatically over the suddenly precarious position of men in the post-Weinstein era, Oliver asked Hill whether men should be “terrified to be alone” with female colleagues.
“Not if they’re not harassing,” Hill said. “If you’re harassing you should be terrified. The whole idea of false claims is another one of those roadblocks that people throw up…it doesn’t mean that it that never happens, but it’s so rare. It seems to me we don’t need to make rules about things that rarely happen until we finish making the rules about the things that are happening regularly.”
Hill, of course, was a pioneer in the battle for workplace equality and against sexual harassment, having brought the subject to national attention in 1991 with allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee (now Justice) Clarence Thomas.
Having a rival network in the harassment spotlight doesn’t seem to have dampened the concern of some FNC stars for innocent men frozen by fear of being falsely accused.
“I think right now men are scared,” said FNC’s Jesse Watters, “and you could get to a point where women are denied opportunities to advance in corporate America because men don’t want to be alone with a woman, don’t want to be in same office as a woman.”
“I’m starting to be concerned that innocent people are afraid of being hurt,” said Tucker Carlson, “and that’s a bad sign. So the question is what are the rules? How do you find out what they are? How do you find out if you’re guilty?”
“That,” said Oliver, “is like saying Jeffrey Dahmer was just a victim of men and boys who walked around all day being too edible.”
Take a look at Oliver’s latest above.