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Column: Power and Silent Complicity

Silent All These Years

Claims of sexual harassment and abuse have been free-flowing in the last few weeks in the entertainment and fashion industry. We have to ask ourselves, are others just as guilty from their silence?

The Serial Shopper is Salute Magazine’s  weekly column authored by Fashion Editor Money Jensen. The Serial Shopper is a weekly look into the mind of our quirky and eclectic Fashion Editor and her thoughts on the state of the fashion industry, fashion influencers, and controversial topics within.

Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Terry Richardson, Kevin Spacey; these are just a few of the names that have been outed in numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. In the entertainment and fashion industries, there is a hierarchy of power, unlike many other industries.  The phrase “casting couch” has been around for eons, and in these two particular industries, the situation men and women have been put in to decide the success of their livelihood is more often than not seen and not spoken about.

As we hear these stories come out from actors, actresses, models and the like, we are upset and disgusted by the predators that take advantage of the dreams and aspirations of impressionable young creatives, hungry to succeed. But what about those who knew and said nothing? What about the lawyers, agents, assistants who silently wrote non-disclosure agreements and checks? The casting agents who knew the kind of men they were sending young impressionable girls to audition and shoot with? The assistants who were in the room or nearby when they knew very well what was happening behind an adjacent closed door?

As much as we think about personal survival in the workplace, at what point do you sell your soul? In life, I have been harassed, and I know many, who have been attacked, assaulted, and raped. To know that there are people within these industries who knew full well what was going on, or what may happen when these people walked into the lion’s den, and say NOTHING, it makes me question their humanity.

The power vacuum is significant in the entertainment and fashion circles and at the top are a small few who hold the keys to the gates. For these reasons, many of the people privy to the gross actions of misconduct, along with the victims stay silent. But I say this, is your career worth your soul? Is it worth someone else’s? Is it worth your dignity? Is it worth someone else’s?

To be knowingly SILENT is to be COMPLICIT. Until we all as people realize that we have the power by opening our mouths and calling out these predators for what and who they are, this type of abuse will continue to happen. This thinking goes for everyday life and in business. Men and women alike need to stand up and protect the others around them, if not, we will continue this cycle of madness.

No matter what the industry, being a brilliant creative does not negate responsibility for gross abuse of power and degradation of your fellow humans.

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