Where in the World is Matt Lauer

Not at 30 Rock:

NBC News said Wednesday that it has fired Matt Lauer over “inappropriate sexual behavior,” making the “Today” show star the latest high-profile man to become embroiled in workplace harassment allegations.

In a staff memo, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the network received “a detailed” complaint about Lauer Monday night. “It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards. As a result, we’ve decided to terminate his employment.”

Lack added: “While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

Lauer, 59, joined “Today” in 1994 as its news anchor. He became co-host of the morning program with Katie Couric in 1997 after Bryant Gumbel stepped down.

His current co-host, Savannah Guthrie, read Lack’s statement on the air on Wednesday’s program.

Still time for him to get residency in Alabama and primary Richard Shelby, I suppose. Just work on his bible thumping a bit.








And While We’re Fucking At It

If any fucking Republican says shit to you about Al Franken, just point to this:

Sexual misconduct by powerful men has all but taken over the news, with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and senatorial hopeful Roy Moore (R-Ala.) among the politicians on this growing list.

Trump vociferously has taken aim at accused Democrats, while apparently giving a pass to Republicans. Moreover, it was only a year ago that similar accusations against Trump dominated the headlines, with more than a dozen women accusing Trump of improper conduct or sexual assault. Many of the accusations surfaced after the release of a 2005 tape of Trump speaking graphically about kissing and groping women uninvited.

During the second presidential debate, Anderson Cooper asked then-candidate Trump point blank whether he had “actually kiss[ed] women without consent or grope[d] women without consent?” Trump asserted that “nobody has more respect for women” and Cooper pushed him, asking, “Have you ever done those things?” Trump denied that he had, responding: “No, I have not.”

The president has held this line, telling the New York Times, when asked the same question: “I don’t do it. I don’t do it.”

But it’s not as simple as that. Many of the women have produced witnesses who say they heard about these incidents when they happened — long before Trump’s political aspirations were known. Three have produced at least two witnesses.

That’s one of the things that makes this so maddening. The Repubicans never ever ever pay a fucking price for anything.








And Conyers

Another shoe drops:

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.

We need to see all of them, and now.



He Has Reached Rock Bottom, And Has Started To Dig*

In case you had any question as to just how skeevy — more, how fundamentally grotesque — was and is Roy Moore, here’s his reasoning on why sodomizing a child does not constitute “forcible rape”:

The Alabama Supreme Court had the opportunity to hear the case of one Eric Lemont Higdon, a man accused and convicted of two sodomy charges due to sexual assault against a four-year-old at Mama’s Place Christian Academy in Clay, Alabama.

 

Higdon had been convicted of both sex with a child under twelve years old, statutory rape, and of “first-degree sodomy by forcible compulsion” which requires that the victim face a threat, overt or implied, of  “serious physical injury.” That second forcible rape charge was overturned on appeal, and the question that Moore and his fellow state supreme court justices faced was whether that appellate decision was correct.  Almost all of the court had no problem working that one out:

Eight of the nine justices on the panel found that the appeals court had erred. Their legal logic was such that a 17-year-old’s sexual assault of a four-year-old was enough to produce in the mind of the four-year-old, an “implied threat of serious physical injury.”  The decision was reversed and remanded and Higdon’s conviction was reinstated.

Who dissented? That godly man Moore, of course:

“Because there was no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury…or of an implied threat of death, Higdon cannot be convicted of sodomy in the first degree “by forcible compulsion.”

Four Years Old.

No implication of serious physical injury when a seventeen year old assaults a pre-schooler.  I wanted to put that last more bluntly, but I can’t. My stomach turns itself into a Klein bottle when I try.

What kind of man do you have to be to conceive of the scene between that youth and that little child and see no threat?

Roy Moore is not who we thought he was.  He’s much, much worse — and anyone who rises to his defense shares in his stain.

*From this time-honored list of British military fitness reports.  My favorite has always been “I would not breed from this Officer” — which, according to my uncle, a career man in the Royal Artillery, was known to refer to a fellow from a Guards regiment.  Posh don’t mean smart.

Image:  Diego Velasquez, Las Meninas1656-7.

This picture is not, perhaps, precisely on point with this post, but it knows the chords and is, in any case, a simply magnificent painting.



As the daughter of a father…

It’s good that women are naming and shaming highly placed sexual harassers / predators in the entertainment and media sector. But I don’t think it will change anything.

The reactions make me pessimistic. Several conservative media figures showed how clueless they remain by suggesting the solution is to further constrain the behavior of victims — e.g., “Wish you’d followed the Pence Rule now, huh, libtards?”

Others, like WaPo’s Dana Milbank, are horrified to learn they were oblivious to the hostile environment their female colleagues confront, but they’re still clueless about how their own oafish behavior contributes to it:

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.”

That would be Dana “Mad Bitch Beer” Milbank. His co-sketcher, Chris Cillizza, seems to bob to the top of the media tank somehow, like a particularly buoyant (and untalented) turd. And his takeaway from the Weinstein scandal was that Hillary Clinton allowed X number of days to pass before speaking about it publicly. Hey, maybe y’all are part of the problem, even if you keep your paws off your coworkers’ boobs?

The disheartening thing is that, for the foreseeable future, we are doomed to live in the world these schmucks built. Rebecca Traister published a powerful piece making that point in New York Magazine. An excerpt of “Our National Narratives Are Still Being Shaped by Lecherous, Powerful Men” follows:

In hearing these individual tales, we’re not only learning about individual trespasses but for the first time getting a view of the matrix in which we’ve all been living: We see that the men who have had the power to abuse women’s bodies and psyches throughout their careers are in many cases also the ones in charge of our political and cultural stories…

And while it may feel cathartic for some women to finally get to say things they’ve been waiting years to say, this does not undo the damage. We can’t go back in time and have the story of Hillary Clinton written by people who have not been accused of pressing their erections into the shoulders of young women who worked for them.

We cannot retroactively resituate the women who left jobs, who left their whole careers because the navigation of the risks, these daily diminutions and abuses, drove them out. Nor can we retroactively see the movies they would have made or the art they would have promoted, or read the news as they might have reported it.

This tsunami of stories doesn’t just reveal the way that men have grabbed and rubbed and punished and shamed women; it shows us that they did it all while building the very world in which we still have to live.

Yeah, what she said. It’s really not surprising Trump could get elected in such a world, when you look at it from that perspective.



File This Under Rape Culture

A NY teenager was arrested and handcuffed by NYPD cops, allegedly raped, the cops claim it was consensual (which is impossible when you are under arrest), and the NY Daily News then writes it up and adds a picture of the raped teen but not a picture of the two NAMED cops.

Awesome work, media. Obligatory “Why don’t women come forward more often…”



Heroes Are Important

There’s a new movie out: “Battle of the Sexes.” Seen it yet? I haven’t, but I plan to.

Martha Crawford, an eloquent psychotherapist, did see the movie and shared her childhood recollections about the event the film depicts on Twitter. It made for an incredibly powerful story.

I’ve rendered Ms. Crawford’s tweets in paragraph form below the fold… Read more