Conservatives Respond To Cain Accusations By Dismissing Sexual Harassment As “Meaningless”

Following a report accusing Herman Cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s, media conservatives are claiming that such allegations are often “meaningless” or used as “a political tool.” But studies show that victims often endure serious psychological and professional side effects as a result of the experience.

Conservatives Downplay The Legitimacy Of Sexual Harassment Claims

Limbaugh: “Sexual Harassment Is A Political Tool Of The Left To Get Rid Of People, Or To Score Money Gains.”From the November 1 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: You know what sexual harassment is? You know what it really is? It's a political tool. It is a political tool invented by the left. And -- for the express pur-- just like political correctness is a political tool of the left to shut people down, sexual harassment is a political tool of the left to get rid of people, or to score money gains, whatever is most desired.

How are ya, folk-- no, I'm not saying sexual harassment doesn't happen. I'm just saying that it doesn't happen a whole lot of times people admit to it happening. They'll make a settlement out of court rather than go to court to litigate it just to get rid of it. It's become an accredited way for malcontent women to score some money. There's no question about it. [Premiere Radio Networks,The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/1/11]

National Review: “Is There Anyone Who Thinks Sexual Harassment Is A Real Thing?” From a November 2 post by John Derbyshire on National Review Online:

Is there anyone who thinks sexual harassment is a real thing? Is there anyone who doesn't know it's all a lawyers' ramp, like "racial discrimination"? You pay a girl a compliment nowadays, she runs off and gets lawyered up. Is this any way to live? [National Review, 11/2/11]

Fox's Ingraham: “It Always Ends Up Being An Employee Who Can't Perform ... And Is Looking For A Little Green.” A November 2 Talking Points Memo article reported that Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham's reaction to the accusations against Cain was “to blame the women.” From the article:

Right-wing talk show host Laura Ingraham, a former Thomas law clerk, was also ready to blame the women. “We have seen this movie before and we know how it ends. It always ends up being an employee who can't perform or who under-performs and is looking for a little green,” she said on her show.

“How much money did it take for you to swallow your principles?” she continued. "'Oh, I was so offended.' So in other words, you lose the fact that you're offended if you're paid money? Does anyone understand that? If something was truly horrible, then why wouldn't you just stand up, 'I want to be known, my name -- I want my name to be out there.'" [Talking Points Memo, 11/2/11]

Fox's Gutfeld: Many Sexual Harassment Allegations Are “Inherently Meaningless.” On The Five, Greg Gutfeld said, “We're beginning to understand the ubiquitousness of sexual harassment claims and how because they're happening so often and they're everywhere, many of them are inherently meaningless, done to safeguard future reputation-damaging things, and you might not be guilty.” [Fox News, The Five, 11/1/11]

Fox's Tantaros: “Bob Threw A Candy Corn Down My Dress Yesterday, And I Didn't Sue.” On America's Newsroom, Andrea Tantaros laughed off the accusations against Cain, saying that her co-host Bob Beckel on The Five “threw a candy corn” down her dress, and she did not sue. From Talking Points Memo:

“But if you believe Herman Cain, the story that he told Greta last night, it was such a small deal, it wasn't anything that was sexual harassment at all. So he's right on that. I mean Bob [Beckel] threw a candy corn down my dress yesterday, and I didn't sue.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 11/1/11, via Talking Points Memo]

Fox's Hume: Superiors In The Workplace Are Now “At An Equal Or Greater Disadvantage” Than Their Employees.From the November 1 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier:

HUME: Years ago, subordinate employees were at a terrible disadvantage when subjected to unwanted sexual advances by their superiors. Today, those superiors are at an equal or greater disadvantage. Not only are unwanted advances now against the law, but so is conduct that may be found to create, quote, “an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”

The problem is that what is intimidating, hostile, or offensive to some may not be to others. Innocently intended compliments may be welcome to one person but may give offense to another. [Fox News, Special Report, 11/1/11, via Media Matters]

Effects Of Sexual Harassment “Can Have A Devastating Impact” On Victims

EEOC: Over 11,000 Sexual Harassment Charges Filed In 2010, About 16 Percent Of Which Were Made By Men.According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 11,717 sexual harassment claims were filed in fiscal year 2010, of which 16.4 percent of the claims were made by men. [U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2011]

National Partnership For Women And Families: "Sexual Harassment Can Have A Devastating Impact On Victims' Lives." From the National Partnership for Women & Families:

Sexual harassment can have a devastating impact on victims' lives. Victims of sexual harassment report greater instances of alcohol abuse and mental health problems. Harassment is also a devious way to keep women out of the workplace or in traditional “women's jobs” with low pay and few benefits. [National Partnership for Women and Families, 2011]

AAUW: “For Many Victims Of Sexual Harassment, The Aftermath May Be More Damaging Than The Original Harassment.” From the American Association of University Women:

For many victims of sexual harassment, the aftermath may be more damaging than the original harassment. Effects can vary from external effects, such as retaliation, backlash, or victim blaming to internal effects, such as depression, anxiety, or feelings of shame and/or betrayal. Depending on the victim's experience, these effects can vary from mild to severe.


Economical Effects
The most obvious effects of sexual harassment occur when the victim either loses his or her job or loses wages or other benefits. The simplest connection between sexual harassment and loss of work is when a worker is fired for refusing to comply with sexual demands of a supervisor or co-worker. Sometimes the firing is tied to another event but can be connected to the harassment. Other victims may be subjected to forced reassignment, denial of promotions, or demotion. [American Association of University Women, 2011]

Equal Rights Advocates: “90 to 95% Of Sexually Harassed Women Suffer From Some Debilitating Stress Reaction.” From the Advocates For Human Rights:

According to data compiled by Equal Rights Advocates, a women's law center in the U.S., 90 to 95% of sexually harassed women suffer from some debilitating stress reaction, including anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep disorders, weight loss or gain, nausea, lowered self-esteem and sexual dysfunction. In addition, victims of sexual harassment lose $4.4 million dollars in wages and 973,000 hours in unpaid leave each year in the United States. [The Advocates For Human Rights, 2003]