If there's anything we've learned in the last few months, it's that there are right and wrong ways to respond when someone is accused of sexual harassment or assault. There's the wrong way, which is to stand up for the person who has been accused, which minimizes and silences the victims while making excuses for predatory behavior. This is best exemplified in the recent letter from the female writers of Saturday Night Live, who voiced their support for former SNL writer-turned-senator Al Franken when he was accused of sexually assaulting a radio anchor.
Then, there's the right way: believing the victims because there is very, very rarely a reason for women to lie about this. They gain nothing telling their stories and to come forward to share their allegations takes a great deal of bravery. Believe. Victims.
Gayle King is a prime example of believing women who allege they've been sexually assaulted. On the show she cohosts, CBS This Morning, where she's worked with Charlie Rose since 2012, she said she's "reeling" from the news that eight women have come forward to accuse Rose of sexual misconduct.
We begin this morning with news affecting all of us at this broadcast and this network. @CBSNews has suspended our co-host @CharlieRose over allegations of sexual misconduct. https://t.co/XAuPjnxSzW pic.twitter.com/zyoJ4zZgEP— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) November 21, 2017
"I got one hour and 42 minutes of sleep last night," King said. "Both my son [William Bumpus Jr.] and my daughter [Kirby Bumpus] called me. Oprah called me and said, ‘Are you OK?’ I am not OK. After reading that article in the Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read."
She continued, "I think that we have to make this matter to women — the women that have spoken up, the women who have not spoken up because they are afraid, I’m hoping that now they will take the step to speak up too and that this becomes a moment of truth."
“I really am reeling. I got 1 hour & 42 minutes of sleep last night, both my son and my daughter called me. Oprah called me and said, are you okay? I am not okay. After reading that article in the Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read.” - @GayleKing pic.twitter.com/EQoEBHFkUr— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) November 21, 2017
She also addressed her friendship with Rose and how that's not going to affect the way she views the allegations made against him.
"I’ve enjoyed a friendship and a partnership with Charlie for the last five years. I’ve held him in such high regard," she said. "That said, Charlie does not get a pass here. He does not get a pass from anyone in this room. We are all deeply affected. We are all rocked by this."
Soon after King made her comments, it was reported that Rose had been officially fired by CBS. King's comments about Rose and the women coming forward are instructive to everyone (but women especially) on one of the better ways to react when new allegations of sexual assault come to light. Take her lead.
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