November 12, 2017, 10:22 pm
Okay. I think everyone needs to step back and define some terms. "Sexual harassment" happens when someone with power can deny something to someone else unless sexual favors are performed or flirting is endured.
For instance, let's say there's a boss who flirts with an subordinate, and the subordinate fears for her or his job if she or he asks the boss to stop. That's sexual harassment, and it's a moral failing—and in some places, a crime.
"Sexual assault" is when someone commits a sexual act against another person who has not consented to that action—even if the 'sexual act' is as seemingly innocuous as a hand brushing a breast or an ass.
For instance, say a dude is dating a girl, the dude thinks there's a go-ahead sign for sex and runs his hand up her body. The woman, however, is under no such impression that there is a 'go-ahead' for sex. That is sexual assault, and it's a crime. Consent needs to be explicit, not implicit.
Here is something that isn't a crime or a moral failing: One person asks another person for sex. The askee says "um, no." The asker says, "OK" and goes on about his or her way. That is not sexual harassment (assuming the asker isn't in a position of power over the askee). That is not sexual assault. It's just a person asking, getting rejected and moving on about his or her life.
Most of the politicians and Hollywood creeps who have been accused in the recent rash of sex harassment and assault cases are ostensibly guilty of one of the two crimes I just mentioned. Some, however, are not.
Louis CK, for instance, asked several women if he could show them his genitals. Creepy? Yes. Also, what a dumb move, because never in the history of ever has a woman been shown a man's genitals and thought "I have to have him right now." But is it harassment or assault? Neither of the women were his employees, or otherwise under his power. They were in his hotel room. He creepily then masturbated in front of the women, who consented to stay and watch him. Again, and I can't say this enough, creepy.
But there was no crime there. In his mea culpa, CK said "the power I had over these women is that they admired me." Okay, but ostensibly any person who is naked in front of another person in a hotel room or other private area with that other person's consent is admired by the person they're naked in front of.
He's lost millions of dollars over this, and if you're just going by creepy factor, good. But if you're going by legality, he did nothing wrong. The women consented. And he didn't touch them. And didn't have any tangible power over them, other than them admiring him.
Let's be real. I really like George Takei, but if he did what a lot of men seem to be accusing him of (grabbing their genitals without consent), he deserves to lose revenue and face legal consequences. But does Louis CK? There are a lot of creepy people out there. Being creepy isn't a crime. Let's not confuse crimes with things we don't agree with.
Same with someone such as Kevin Spacey. If he's groping people, that's a crime. If he's denying them employment opportunities for rejecting his advances, that's a crime. But simply propositioning people isn't a crime, assuming he's not in a position of power over them.
Last example: President Trump grabbing women "by the pussy," as he admitted doing, is a crime, because he touched women without their consent. Louis CK being creepy to consenting adults isn't a crime. Both are creepy. One is a criminal. And also, president.