“Are we really going to have only capital punishment?,” IAC chairman Barry Diller asks Maureen Dowd in 3.24 N.Y. Times profile. “Because right now, that’s what we have. You get accused, you’re obliterated. Charlie Rose ceases to exist.”
I was going to say something along these lines, but I was afraid of the Robespierres. Sexual harassment and misconduct are really bad things, and should never be waved away. But so is driving under the influence, which flirts with destruction and death and all kinds of horrible. If you’re busted for D.U.I. you’ll get fined, your license can be suspended for up to six months and you could go to jail (48 hours to six months). But if the D.U.I penalty was the same as that for sexual harassment or misconduct, the inebriated offender would be taken straight to the hanging tree.
Barry Diller, as pictured in the 3.24 Dowd profile.
Sexual offenders should receive stiff or even harsh punishment, depending on the particulars, but I don’t think their throats should be slit like chickens. After a suitable penalty and/or period of discomfort they should be allowed to show contrition, to demonstrate their remorse and willingness to grow and transcend, to show that they’re not arrogant hooligans. The punishment, in short, should be stern but not overly savage.
“I see it in our companies, where the relationships between people are changing,” Mr. Diller says. “We recently had a formal complaint made by a woman who said that she was at a convention with her colleagues and she was asked to have a drink with her boss. Period. That was the complaint. And we said, ‘Here’s the thing. Anybody can ask you anything, other than let’s presume something illegal, and you have the right to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ If it’s ‘Yes,’ go in good health and if it’s ‘No’ then it’s full stop.’
“But the end result of that is a guy, let’s presume he is heterosexual, and his boss, heterosexual, and guy asks guy for a drink and they go have a drink and they talk about career opportunities. And the boss says, ‘Oh, this is a smart guy…I’m promoting him.’ A woman now cannot be in that position. So all these things are a-changin’.
“God knows, I’m hardly a sociologist. But I hope in the future for some form of reconciliation. Because I think all men are guilty. I’m not talking about rape and pillage. I’m not talking about Harveyesque. I’m talking about all of the spectrum. From an aggressive flirt. Or even just a flirty-flirt that has one sour note in it. Or what I think every man was guilty of, some form of omission in attitude, in his views.”