Showing posts with label Sexual/Crime/Predator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sexual/Crime/Predator. Show all posts

November 10, 2019

Trump's Flame Thrower Rep. Jim Jordan is Being Sued For His Involvement With Sex Abuser Dr. Strauss

It makes so much sense that Trump's defender in the Committee collecting evidence for a possible Trump impeachment, who yells about the law, unfairness, etc. is himself involved on disgusting allegations with a Doctor Richard Strauss who is in Jail now (A professional referee says in a lawsuit filed Thursday that disgraced doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him in a shower after a wrestling match at Ohio State University, and that he reported the encounter directly to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was then the assistant coach). To me, this Congressman with a salty tongue belongs to the man he is a defender to and who does not want to see him impeached.

    Jim Jordan

By Tim Marcin/ Vice and NBC
A wrestling referee alleges in a lawsuit that when he told Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that now-disgraced Ohio State doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him in a shower, Jordan did nothing. 
The pro referee is identified only as John Doe in court documents, reported NBC News on Thursday. In 1994, when Jordan was an assistant coach on Ohio State’s wrestling team, the ref alleges, Strauss performed the sex act in front of him in a shower after he worked a match.  
John Doe says Jordan shrugged it off. 
“Yeah, that’s Strauss,” Jordan and then-head coach Russ Hellickson told Doe, according to the lawsuit. 
Jordan — an extreme loyalist to President Donald Trump — has taken on an increasingly prominent role within the GOP amid the impeachment inquiry. Republicans are considering adding him to the Intelligence Committee days before public impeachment hearings are scheduled to begin, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. 
Jordan has repeatedly denied that he knew about the abuse carried out by Strauss. The longtime Ohio State doctor — who died by suicide in 2005 — abused at least 177 male students, according to a report from the university released in May. But the referee alleges it was an open secret.
“It was common knowledge what Strauss was doing, so the attitude was it is what it is,” he told NBC News. “I wish Jim, and Russ, too, would stand up and do the right thing and admit they knew what Strauss was doing, because everybody knew what he was doing to the wrestlers. What was a shock to me is that Strauss tried to do that to me. He was breaking new ground by going after a ref.” 
Former Ohio State wrestler Dunyasha Yetts was the first to state publicly that he told Jordan about Strauss’ behavior. Yetts said he told his coaches that when he went to see Strauss for a thumb injury, the doctor pulled the wrestler’s pants down.  “It’s good that people are starting to come forward and say the truth, which is that Jordan and the other coaches knew what was going on and they blew it off,” Yetts told NBC News.
Jordan claimed vindication when the report from Ohio State found no hard evidence he knew about the abuse. 
“It confirms everything I said,” he told reporters at the time. “If we’d have known about it, we’d have reported it.”
But the report did find that many in Ohio State acknowledged rumors of abuse were rampant and that Strauss went out of his way to shower with wrestlers. And team members who competed for Jordan in the ‘80s and ‘90s continued to say the former coach knew about Strauss’ behavior, the New York Times reported.
Cover: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, and, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., right, speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, near the area where the interviews for the impeachment inquiry are being held. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

August 17, 2019

Young Beautiful woman Spent Hours With Epstein in Jail (Who Runs That Show? The Feds, Dept of Justice}

                          Image result for jeffrey epstein

The day after he was taken off suicide watch, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein spent at least two hours locked up alone with a young woman, in a private room reserved for inmates and their attorneys, according to an attorney who was visiting the prison that day. 

"The optics were startling. Because she was young. And pretty,” said the visiting attorney, who asked that his name not be used because he didn’t want to create friction with the prison administration. He speculated the woman could be a lawyer—NBC News has reported that Epstein paid members of his team to sit with him in a room for eight hours a day for attorney-client meetings, allowing him to avoid his cell. 

The visiting attorney went to the Manhattan Correctional Center on July 30, a day after Epstein was reportedly taken off suicide watch and transferred into the Special Housing Unit (SHU). During the hours the visiting attorney was present, it wasn’t Epstein’s main lawyer, Reid Weingarten, or other named attorneys who visited him.  

“If I was him, I would have hired... an old bald guy,” said the lawyer, who said the young woman was in there with Epstein for at least two hours when he was there. He also pointed out that the room is locked when prisoners go in, after their handcuffs are removed, and unlocked only when prisoners leave and handcuffs are put back on.

Weingarten and other attorneys representing Epstein have not responded to requests for comment by Forbes.  

Michelle Obama’s Message To Students At Our Beating The Odds Summit: You Belong Here
Epstein’s daily occupation of the room in the SHU was a sore point for attorneys trying to visit their clients. Instead of waiting 15 minutes for a room, the wait could stretch for two hours, as it was that day. “They wouldn't move anybody until he got where he was going, which is what they used to do with El Chapo, too,” the visiting attorney said. There are 12 attorney visiting rooms at MCC, but only two are for attorneys visiting SHU clients. That means Epstein was monopolizing a scarce resource. 

It was unusual because “you meet with your lawyers as needed,” the attorney said. He added that it would be difficult for any other lawyer to monopolize an interview room every day if the lawyer didn’t have eight hours of work to do with a client. And in the visiting attorney’s experience, based on the early stages of Epstein’s case, he definitely wouldn’t need that much time every day with his lawyers. MCC has not returned calls about Epstein’s apparent access to the interview room. 

David Patton, executive director of the Federal Defenders of New York, a nonprofit that provides low-cost or free legal representation for people, said that spending eight hours a day in the MCC meeting rooms is unusual, and that attorneys typically couldn’t do that. “We don't have the ability to spend that kind of time on a single visit,” Patton said. Mostly, “the waits can be very long and aggravating.”

As for Epstein’s companion, the visiting attorney noted that she didn’t seem to have any files with her. He speculated that she could have been a first-year associate, and that she was dressed casually. “It was slacks and a blouse. ... Could have been jeans or another kind of pants,”  he said. “But, like, Sunday brunch attire.”

The visiting attorney said the treatment reminded him of Epstein’s lifestyle in Florida when he served 13 months on a prostitution charge in a much-criticized plea deal with federal prosecutors. Then, Epstein would leave jail and go to his office on a work release program for  up to 12 hours a day, six days a week. “It sounded to me like a replay of the Florida thing where he got to go to the office … and sit around rather than sit in the cell,” he said.

Using the interview room for so many hours would have a big impact on attorneys waiting to meet their clients, and a big impact on taxpayers, according to Patton. “Eighty percent of all federal defendants are represented by my office, or assigned private attorneys who are paid statutory amounts, and they are sitting there [waiting]. That's just taxpayers dollars ticking off the clock."

It’s understandable why Epstein would want to avoid his cell. Conditions inside MCC are legendarily bad—”miserable,” according to Patton—and Epstein had complained about rodents and bad food, according to multiple reports. At least the SHU meeting room would get him out of his cell. But the 1970s-era facility left a lot to be desired by both inmates and attorneys. Patton said the MCC isn’t as bad as more violent lockups, like Rikers Island. “But it's one of the worst in different respects: Incredibly cramped—the only 'outdoor' recreation is on the rooftop under heavy fencing,” he said.

As for the SHU, where Epstein was kept, Patton said the conditions are even harsher. Inmates are housed in their cells 23 hours a day, and there’s only a tiny window letting in a sliver of natural light. “It's a forbidding physical place to spend time. And it doesn't certainly help in terms of mental health, or people improving their disposition, or getting them prepared to eventually reenter society and be more productive than when they went in,” he said.  

Which is why any inmate would likely prefer to sit in a private room. Epstein, though, could afford to pay lawyers to sit there with him. As for the woman he saw sitting with Epstein, the attorney said, “I think she was there just to babysit him, and keep him out of his cell, and just keep him company for eight hours a day. Which is not supposed to be the way it works."

Additional reporting by Lisette Voytko.

The Contributing Editor, Investigations, for Forbes magazine — and writing a book about Bernard Madoff, to be published by Simon & Schuster. 

December 13, 2018

Top Advisor to The Pope, Cardinal Pell, Found Guilty of Historical Sexual Offenses

Australian Cardinal George Pell leaves the Melbourne Magistrates Court Oct. 6. 
(CNS photo/Mark Dadswell, Reuters)

Gerard O’Connell
American Magazine

An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of “historical child sexual offenses” that go back decades, according to various media reports and confirmed by America. The 12-member jury gave their unanimous verdict in the County Court of the State of Victoria in Melbourne on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
The judge decided that the sentencing will take place in early February 2019 and released the cardinal on bail.
Little is known about the nature of the charges on which Cardinal Pell has been condemned because the entire trial and a second trial that has yet to take place are covered by a strict suppression order issued by the presiding judge, Peter Kidd. The order prohibits reporting on the case in any of the country’s media until the second trial has taken place to avoid prejudicing his case in both instances. The judge has prohibited the publication of the number of complainants in either of the two trials as well as the number and nature of the charges, except for the fact that the charges relate to “historical child sexual offenses.” 
An Australian jury has found Cardinal George Pell, 77, guilty on five charges of historical sexual offenses. 

The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of such offenses, though he is not the third-ranking Vatican official, as some media have reported. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis, who placed great trust in him by nominating the Australian prelate to his nine-member Council of Cardinal Advisors (he was the only cardinal from Oceania at that time, and Francis chose one cardinal from each continent) and by appointing him as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy with a sweeping mandate to reform Vatican finances.
Cardinal Pell made great headway in those reform efforts, but he has not finished that work when he decided to return to Australia to respond to the allegations of historical sexual offenses. The cardinal has always maintained his innocence. Committal hearings were held in May at the end of which the presiding magistrate while dismissing some of the most serious charges, ordered him to stand trial on the other charges.
His lawyers and the Victoria State public prosecutors agreed to split the charges against him into two trials: one relating to alleged sexual offenses committed at the cathedral in Melbourne (the first trial known as “the cathedral trial”) and the other for abuse said to have been committed in Ballarat, reportedly at a swimming pool (known as “the swimmers trial”). Yesterday’s verdict comes from the first trial. That trial began in September but the jury could not reach a verdict, and so a new trial began in November which resulted in yesterday’s verdict. The second trial is expected to take place early in 2019, probably around mid-February or early March, after the sentencing related to the first verdict has taken place. 
Cardinal Pell’s conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to the Vatican and to Pope Francis. 

The Vatican has not commented on the news of the cardinal’s conviction out of respect for the suppression order. On Wednesday, Dec. 12., the director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, responding to a question at a press brief in the Vatican about whether the cardinal would remain as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy in the light of his judicial situation told reporters, “That is a good question.”
He then added, “The Holy See has the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities. We are aware there is a suppression order in place and we respect that order.”
Pope Francis told journalists in an airborne press conference earlier this year that he would speak only after the judicial process (which includes the possibility of appeal after sentencing) had run its course. Sources say the cardinal, who has always insisted in this innocence, will appeal.
The conviction of another Australian archbishop, Philip Wilson, was overturned by an appeals court, and sources believe the case of Cardinal Pell could follow suit. 
Pope Francis has said he would speak only after the judicial process had run its course.  

Pope Francis “granted Cardinal Pell a leave of absence so he could defend himself from the accusations” on June 29, 2017. Since then, the cardinal has been unable to carry out his responsibilities as prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, a senior position in the Vatican, and as a member of the pope’s council of nine cardinals advisors.
Prior to his leave of absence—when allegations became public and some thought the pope should have removed Cardinal Pell from office—Francis applied the principle of law known as “in dubio pro reo” (“doubt favors the accused”), insisting that a person is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. The pope did not remove Cardinal Pell from his Vatican posts then because he believed to do so would be equivalent to an admission of guilt. Francis explained his stance in a press conference on the return flight from World Youth Day in Poland, July 31, 2016. He said: “We have to wait for the justice system to do its job and not pass judgment in the media because this is not helpful. ‘Judgment’ by gossip, and then what? We don’t know how it will turn out. See what the justice system decides. Once it has spoken, then I will speak.” 
Pope Francis’ words make clear that he does not intend to speak until the judicial process, including a possible appeal, has ended. He has, however, terminated Cardinal Pell’s membership of the council of nine cardinal advisors, Mr. Burke, indicated on Dec. 12. Mr. Burke revealed that at the end of October, the pope sent a letter thanking Cardinals Pell, Francisco Javier Errazuriz (Chile) and Laurent Monswengo Pasinya (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) for their work in his council of cardinal advisors over the past five years.
Cardinal Pell could decide to hand in his resignation as Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, since it is unlikely that his second trial and an eventual appeal will have taken place by the time his five-year term as prefect expires on Feb. 24. The cardinal, who will be 78 in June, could also resign from his other roles in various Roman Curia departments and offices. Currently, he is a member of the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
Regardless, Cardinal Pell is not allowed to carry out any pastoral ministry in public until the whole judicial process has ended, and then only if the verdict is in his favor. 

September 6, 2018

The Story of Jimmy Bennett About Rape From Asia Argento Still Very much Alive


 In August, the New York Times  and adamfoxie blog reported that Italian actress and outspoken #MeToo advocate Asia Argento had reached a deal to pay $380,000 to actor Jimmy Bennett, a former co-star who accused her of sexually assaulting him in a California hotel room when he was 17 years old. (The age of consent in California is 18.) Argento later denied the claim and also alleged that her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain was involved with paying Bennett.


But soon after, photos and texts emerged that may contradict Argento’s statement. Bennett also spoke out, saying he had been “afraid and ashamed” to go public earlier. Eventually, Argento’s fellow #MeToo activist Rose McGowan revealed that the texts were sent by Argento to the person McGowan had been dating, model and activist Rain Dove — and that Dove turned the messages over to the police.
Now, in early September, “Page Six” reports that Argento refuses to pay the rest of the sum she agreed to give to Bennett. (He had already received $250,000.)
The entire case is incredibly complex. Here, what you need to know.

Documents seen by the New York Times show that Jimmy Bennett accused Argento of assaulting him when he was a minor.

According to the New York Times, Bennett, now 22, has known Argento, now 42, since he was a child — she starred as his mother in the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. The pair kept in touch over the years and met up in a California hotel room in 2013, when Bennett was 17 and Argento was 37. While there, Bennett claims, Argento gave him alcohol and sexually assaulted him.

Bennett’s attorney sent Argento a notice of intent to sue after she spoke out against Weinstein.

The Times reports that an attorney for Bennett sent a notice of intent to sue in November — just one month after Argento’s allegations against Weinstein were published by The New Yorker. “His feelings about that day were brought to the forefront recently when Ms. Argento took the spotlight as one of the many victims of Harvey Weinstein,” the notice reads. Bennett’s attorney said his client was subjected to emotional damage and lost wages as a result of the “sexual battery.”

Argento reached a deal with Bennett that included transferring over the copyright of selfies they took together.

The actress eventually agreed to pay $380,000 to Bennett over the course of a year and a half — with $200,000 paid in April. Argento’s attorney Carrie Goldberg wrote in a letter, as reported by the Times, that Bennett agreed to transfer over the copyright of several selfies he took with Argento on the day of the alleged assault. But the agreement did not include a nondisclosure agreement, as Argento reportedly felt it was “inconsistent” with her public messages against such agreements.

Two days after the report was published, Argento issued a denial of the claims.

The Times had stated that it repeatedly tried to contact Argento for comment. She did not respond to the Times’ requests. But finally, in a statement two days after the report was published, Argento wrote that she “strongly” denies and opposes the allegations in the article. She also alleged that she never had sex with Bennett. Her statement further reads:
I was linked to him during several years by friendship only, which ended when, subsequent to my exposure in the Weinstein case, Bennett – who was then undergoing severe economic problems and who had previously undertaken legal actions against his own family requesting millions in damages – unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me. 

Argento also claimed her late boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, paid Bennett himself out of “compassion.”

The Times reported that Bourdain helped Argento “navigate the matter,” and in her statement, the actress invoked Bourdain multiple times. She claimed Bennett reached out to her for payment with the belief that Bourdain had “great perceived wealth” and a reputation to protect. She further claimed that Bourdain “insisted the matter be handled privately.” Argento continued, “We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and gave it to him. Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions in our life.”

California confirmed that they opened a case into the matter.

The Times reported last week that California police are looking into the allegations against Argento. A captain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Darren Harris, said in a brief statement that the agency was aware of the alleged incident. Harris also said to the Times that officials had not yet “located any police report alleging criminal activity” but that they were reaching out to Bennett and his representative.

Soon after, published photographs and texts appeared to contradict Argento’s statement.

Last Wednesday, TMZ published photographs that appear to show Argento and Bennett together, as well as screenshots of texts in which Argento allegedly told a friend that she and Bennett had sex but said Bennett had initiated the encounter, and that she didn’t realize he was a minor at the time.

Bennett said he had felt too “ashamed” to speak out when the assault occurred.

Bennett spoke out for the first time since his allegations were published, telling the New York Times in a statement that he had felt too “ashamed” to come forward earlier. Per the Times:
“I tried to seek justice in a way that made sense to me at the time because I was not ready to deal with the ramifications of my story becoming public,” he said in a statement provided to the Times. “At the time I believed there was still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society. I didn’t think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy.”

Rose McGowan said in a statement that the released texts were sent to Rain Dove, and that Dove had handed them over to the police.

In a lengthy statement released Monday night, McGowan — who became close with Argento after their respective sexual-assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein went public — said that the texts that were released were actually messages between Argento and Rain Dove, a model and activist with whom McGowan had been involved. The statement reads, in part:
I received a phone call and series of messages from the being I’ve been dating- Rain Dove. They said that they had been texting with Asia and that Asia had revealed that she had indeed slept with Jimmy Bennet. Rain also shared that Asia had stated that she’d been receiving unsolicited nudes of Jimmy since he had been 12. Asia mentioned in these texts that she didn’t take any action on those images.  No reporting to authorities, to the parents, or blocking of Jimmy’s social media. Not even a simple message “Don’t send me these images. They are inappropriate.” There were a few other details revealed as well that I am not at liberty to mention in this statement as investigators do their job. 

Argento’s attorney said in a statement that she will not pay Bennett the rest of the $380,000 from the agreement. (He has already received $250,000.)

In a statement, attorney Mark Jay Heller denied that Argento had a sexual relationship with Bennett — instead, he wrote, it was a “long distance friendship over many years” — and that Bourdain had entered the agreement to pay $380,000 to Bennett. The statement continues:
 Now that Mr. Bourdain has passed away and is not able to comment on his desire to avoid potential scandal … Asia will not permit any portion of the balance of the $380,000 payment to be paid to Bennett who has already received $250,000 from Anthony Bourdain.

#MeToo activists have distanced themselves from Argento — and stated that her alleged behavior should not undermine the cause.

A number of #MeToo activists, including founder Tarana Burke, have spoken out since the allegation was published. Burke, for one, voiced support for the alleged victim and expressed a desire that this one case not be conflated with the rest of the movement.

                                          Having just touched down from several weeks abroad, I am reeling from the recent news. Although hoping against hope that it is not true, here are my current thoughts:

April 10, 2018

A Friend of Bill Cosby Says "Sometimes The Devil Makes Good Art" ~~Evil Must Be Identified



With the disgraced star's second trial underway, THR's columnist admits he can't watch his former friend's shows "without anger, guilt or shame" as he confronts what offenses are "great enough to condemn the art along with the artist."

Since the Oct. 5 New York Times article detailing the atrocities of Harvey Weinstein, a growing tsunami of outrage has washed through American culture. From celebrities, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey and Charlie Rose to political powerhouses Trent Franks, Roy Moore and President Trump, the list of infamy grows daily. But when that list includes names of beloved artists associated with social progress, such as Bill Cosby, Sherman Alexie, and Al Franken, we are shaken on an even deeper level. Our initial anger and sense of betrayal makes us want to purge their artistic footprints from our cultural identity, and we are forced to ponder: What do we do with good art from bad people?
On her Hulu show, I Love You, America, Sarah Silverman, in response to the accusations of sexual harassment against close friend Louis C.K., posed the question, "Can you love someone who did bad things?" Most people eventually have to come to some decision about that question in their personal lives. But when the offense is widely known and the offender famous, we struggle with that question in a public forum that doesn't allow much room for nuance or forgiveness. Instead, as Silverman said, "Some of our heroes will be taken down, and we will discover bad things about people we like or, in some cases, people we love." Despite our personal feelings, we must paint them with the scarlet letter for the good of the community.
In the aftermath of this public outcry, positive changes have blossomed, from more female-centric stories in entertainment to formalizing sexual harassment regulations to a general awareness of what we as a society have been doing wrong and how to stop doing it. But along with those overdue gains, American culture has had some serious losses. 
In 1965, when I was 18 and a senior in high school, I was struggling to find my identity as an African-American during one of the most tumultuous times in U.S. history. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed to violent protests, three civil rights workers registering voters in Mississippi were murdered, race riots swept the country, and I had just been called the N-word by my high school basketball coach. I felt not just marginalized in this country I grew up in, but actively hated. I saw a glimmer of hope appear in mainstream American culture when the 1965 fall TV season brought a new NBC show called I Spy, featuring a couple of buddy spies: one white, one black. Black? Never before had there been a black person in a starring role on a TV drama.
The black spy was played by comedian Bill Cosby. Improbably, he portrayed the smart one: a Rhodes Scholar who spoke numerous languages knew all kinds of science and was an expert in fine arts and martial arts. I was buoyed watching him week after week, knowing that many Americans were seeing all blacks with more respect. The show was popular, and Cosby went on to receive three Emmys as an outstanding lead actor in a drama series. His response to winning was defiant and exhilarating: "Let the message be known to bigots and racists that they don't count!"
When I moved to Los Angeles to play basketball for UCLA, Cosby was my friend and mentor. I ate at his home, listened intently to his advice, discussed racial politics and laughed with him over small things. The accusations by 59 women that he drugged, groped and/or raped them was a punch in America's collective gut. Yet, it was even harder for African-Americans because, for 50 years, Cosby had been our totem to white America that we were just like you. Now that friendly, fatherly face had morphed into that of a sexual predator, and we had to share his shame for having paraded him around so proudly.
His fall from grace was America's fall from innocence. But was I that innocent? Were any of us? Because, even though we find his actions despicable, we have to recognize that most men — and many women — colluded to maintain a social order corrupted by gender disparity. That disparity made women afraid to speak out whenever they were harassed. Every joke ever told about female drivers or ditzy blondes or man-eating businesswomen weighed them down in the eyes of society and made them afraid to speak out. We made Cosby and Weinstein possible by creating the environment in which they could thrive.
I'm confident that almost every male over the age of 20 can remember at least one incident from his past in which he made an inappropriate joke designed to embarrass a woman, an aggressive move meant to intimidate a woman or a physical insistence disguised as seduction. If you don't think you have, you're probably lying to yourself and have learned nothing from the society-altering #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
Cosby (left) and Robert Culp in the NBC series<em> I Spy</em>, which ran from 1965-68.
Everett Collection
Cosby (left) and Robert Culp in the NBC series I Spy, which ran from 1965-68.
I Spy and the even more popular Cosby Show have been exiled to a cultural Phantom Zone where we are in the process of sentencing the artworks of offenders deemed unworthy. But what we're all wrestling with is what constitutes an offense great enough to condemn the art along with the artist. And how should we judge whether an accused person is really guilty or the victim of a vendetta or a sincere misunderstanding? Jennifer Lawrence articulated all of our struggles when she responded to a question asking if she would talk to accused sexual harasser Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Oscars: "I don't know. I think it is scary, you know. He has not been to trial for anything. I am not a judge. I am not a jury … that is where this stuff gets tricky."
It is scary and tricky because shunning art for the actions of the artist opens a door to the kind of malevolent censorship that undermines democracy. We might soon include unpopular political positions, religious beliefs and social opinions. And what about art from accused people who deny wrongdoing and the evidence is inconclusive? Or collaborative art that supports numerous innocent people? We've come to some sort of social consensus that for the most part accepts the transgressions of dead artists — maybe because of a lack of urgency or laziness or because if we banned every sexist male artist, we'd have few men in our artistic canon.
The attempt to punish the art for the sins of the artist is not a one-size-fits-all remedy for bad behavior. Other factors have to be considered, including cultural and historical context and whether the art form is collaborative. Right now, we have dysfunctional and inconsistent criteria for punishing perceived wrongdoers — and for determining who they are. Jay Asher, the author of the novel Thirteen Reasons Why, and James Dashner, the author of the Maze Runner novel series, have been accused of sexual harassment and have faced a harsh backlash. Should we also not go to the movies based on those books, even though that choice damages all the people whose livelihood depends on those movies? 
What should we do? We definitely cannot rely on good intentions or the kindness of strangers. History confirms that every step of progress in a social movement is eventually met with a backlash to erode those gains. To prevent that, firm rules and definitions regarding sexual harassment must be in place in private business and government. Free legal aid must be available to accusers. Internal investigations must be conducted in a way that protects the privacy of the accuser and accused. More important, we have to continue to raise awareness, especially among our children, about what is appropriate and respectful behavior.
I can no longer watch I Spy without anger, guilt, and shame. There are other shows, movies, books, artworks, comedians and musicians I can no longer enjoy. In addition to the horrendous devastation to the individual women, we as a culture are severely damaged, afraid to embrace any art or artist lest they eventually are tainted by bad behavior. We are all trapped in this necessary but exhausting j'accuse cycle of condemnation and punishment, denouncing and renouncing.
Yes, it must be done. Injustices must be identified as a mandatory step in eliminating them. What makes those who speak out about abuse — whether women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants or others — so heroic is that the act of speaking out traps the accuser with the accused. It reminds me of the closing lines of The Line-Up, a poignant poem by Joan Swift in which a woman at a police lineup to identify her attacker ponders the double assault of the crime and being the accuser:
The walls come in. I am
captured him 
locked in this world forever 
unable to say run
be free
I love you
having to accuse
and accuse.
This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine

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