Double Standard When It Comes to Sexual Harassment Reporting

As noted on 'The Ingraham Angle,' one publication has insisted on full exposure of alleged violators — but not within its own house

The Boston Globe on December 8 published the results of a self-examination of its corporate culture in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Curiously, although the examination uncovered a recent instance of alleged sexual impropriety that resulted in the resignation of at least one reporter, the publication declined to name that reporter — describing the scandal as a “confidential personnel matter.”

This same organization has gone after the Catholic Church for sexual impropriety and abuse by priests — with demands for transparency from the church over sexual abuse allegations lodged against several priests.

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“The Ingraham Angle” on Monday night took the Globe to task on the hypocritical stance. Host Laura Ingraham noted that the Globe’s reasoning for choosing not to reveal the name of the reporter included the fact that the incident did not involve physical violence.

But program guest Catholic League president Bill Donohue suggested that leadership at the Globe review the law before using that tired excuse. “Massachusetts law defines sexual harassment as verbal as well as physical conduct,” he said.

“These people are phonies. They’re rank hypocrites … One standard for the Globe, and one standard for the Catholic Church,” he said.

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Liberal analyst Cathy Areu, founding publisher of Catalina Magazine, disagreed. “The Boston Globe doesn’t need to reveal who its accused, alleged harassers are,” she said. “I don’t see a double standard at all.”

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The victim in the alleged incident was a 20-year-old co-op at the Globe. She alleges that the now-resigned, unnamed reporter — whose likely name was unearthed last Thursday morning on WEEI-FM 93.7, according to a report in New Boston Post — propositioned her for sex with his wife and used vulgar language. The incident occurred in March of this year, per the Globe’s self-reporting.

But because the incident did not involve physical contact, threats, or persistent harassment, the Globe declined to reveal the reporter’s name. Ingraham pointed out that additional allegations have emerged since the story broke. She wondered if the conduct might extend to other employees.

“It seems like a question of whose ox is gored here. They now want the confidentiality, and they championed this idea of full transparency back in 2003 or 2002,” said Ingraham, referencing the time period during which the Globe was demanding transparency from the church over sexual abuse allegations.

“They’re not going to destroy a person’s reputation and life based on an accusation,” Areu said, defending the Globe’s decision and the media’s role as a watchdog. “It’s America. You’re innocent until proven guilty.”

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Donohue described an interaction with a CNN reporter in which the reporter insisted the church publish the names of all priests who had been accused of sexual misconduct on the website of their respective archdioceses. In response, Donohue turned the tables on the reporter. He presented a hypothetical situation. If he had reported the woman to her superiors, accusing her of sexual harassment, would CNN post her name on its website? Donahue said that got his point across.

“I guarantee you the Catholic League will pay for an army of lawyers to look at the Boston Globe to see if there is any more of this kind of stuff going on,” Donohue said.

“I’ve never seen such phoniness in my life outside of Hollywood,” he said.

He noted that in the Globe story referenced above, the paper trotted out an incident of sexual misconduct in the newsroom from the ’70s along with only one recent incident. He was not buying the idea that there was little to nothing between those two dates.

“I’ve never seen such phoniness in my life outside of Hollywood,” he said.

Ingraham encouraged the Globe to “let the light shine in at home,” referring to the publication’s attempt to shield its own reputation by refusing to release the name of the accused.

Michele Blood is a freelance writer based in Flemington, New Jersey. 

(photo credit, homepage image: The Boston Globe, CC BY 2.0, by Tony Fischer)

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