Only In Hollywood Can an Anti-Sexual Harassment Organization Have a Sexual Harassment Scandal

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Hey, they are working on fixing problems with other outfits, not their own…

One of the main reasons covering Hollywood is so great is how much of the industry defies logic and common sense. Failing up, flushing fortunes, talent-free superstars, and economic fiascos are all part of the matrix of the business, and now comes another facet that fits right in with the dysfunction in that town. An organization focused with the removal of sexual harassment issues in the industry has seen a mass resignation taking place in its ranks — due to a sexual harassment scandal.

Time’s Up, a social activist group with celebrity backing that targets sexual harassment and other issues of predatory behavior towards women, is seeing a major sexual harassment scandal flaring up within its ranks. The amazing part is not that an example has occurred, but there was a seemingly apathetic treatment of it by the senior members. This has led to loud opposition within its staff, as 18 members of the Time’s Up Healthcare sector have resigned within days of each other. It is as confounding a case as you might find.

Last November Christian Toto detailed some of the financial problems found with the group, and now greater issues spring up. At the offices found at the Oregon Health and Science University a charge of sexual harassment was filed by a woman declaring a well-known doctor was preying on her. A lawsuit was filed in late February alleging that Dr. Jason Campbell, who had become famous during the pandemic, was repeatedly harassing the plaintiff. What has shaken the group is that the matter was brought to Dr. Esther Choo, a Time’s Up board member and co-founder of the group. Choo has been demonstrably lacking in compassion and action on this matter.

It appears — in a sign of a severe paradox to the goals of this group — that the leadership has prioritized protecting valued individuals over the plight of victims. It is believed that Campbell was regarded as an important face who benefitted the organization, and then criticisms of Choo have led to the upper management taking a defensive stance on her behalf. Time’s Up President Tina Tchen released this evasive statement on the matter.

 “Providing support and counsel to those who have experienced the trauma of sexual harassment and abuse, especially in the workplace, can be hard. There is not always a clear path for advice and counsel, especially when centering the survivor’s wishes and ability to make decisions for herself in that moment … I do not agree that standing with the survivor and in support of her pursuit of justice requires that we walk away from Dr. Choo and her leadership.”

This very positioning, and others, has led to a mass walkout by members. Also, following some public statements from the aggrieved members of that healthcare division, members of another Time’s Up committee were issued non-disclosure agreements. It is a head-shaking move that only underscores the imbalanced thinking of this outfit leading to a mass resignation of about one-third of the workers from the healthcare division.

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein rape story, a number of groups were formed to address the related issues and the structural problems that fed into the rampant sexism seen in the entertainment industry. While the #MeToo movement became a catchphrase, also springing up was Time’s Up Now, an actual organization that involved numerous top-flight celebrities. Oprah Winfrey and Gloria Steinem were the primary backers in launching the organization, which drew in a number of celebrities and journalists to its cause.

Time’s Up became focused on addressing the toxic culture in the entertainment industry, and it became so successful in growing in importance that it has branched out to other sectors. The group has developed its own foundation as well as setting up a Legal Defense Fund in support of cases women file against employers. Recently the group has targeted the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group behind the Golden Globes, pushing for racial reform in that group. It also has a social welfare arm, where the healthcare division is centered that now consists of battling sexual harassment in that industry — except for those erupting within its own confines, it seems.

It is baffling to see an organization specifically designed to combat harassment, assault, abuse, and discrimination turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the plight of one of its own workers victimized by these actions. The entire thrust of Time’s Up was to combat the institutional abuses, yet here the outfit is resorting to the very systemic inertia in addressing an abuse claim when it involves its own people. The issuance of the NDA is another notable outrage, since those very legal documents are something they have fought against in the avowed protection of victims.

What is more revealing in this dizzying hypocrisy is that looking through its list of board seats — with prominent names like Shondra Rhimes, Valerie Jarrett, Ana Navarro — and the membership itself with noted feminist celebrities — such as Roseanna Arquette, Alyssa Milano, Brie Larson, Anita Hill, etc. — is what you do not see. The poisonous stain of toxic masculinity is nowhere to be found. The entire body of Time’s Up Now is composed solely and entirely of females, from the president on down.

Yet here is this organization resorting to the very base behavior they are allegedly pledged to combat. We have been told it is the patriarchal institutions that lead to the abuses seen in the entertainment industry, and elsewhere. The reason the Harvey Weinstein examples were brought up is that they were said to be caused by the inflexible structures men have built over generations. Men fostered the behavior, and they shielded it with the protective framework of their industry.

Now we witness that an entity created by women, for women, and with women as its central focus has lapsed into the very behavior that is injurious to female victims. It defies processing with common sense, with the only explanation being that this is something that springs out of the Hollywood industrial complex; it is probably inevitable that it too should be exposed as being just as flawed and corrupt as the industry it was pledged to repair.