sexual harassment

Lauer’s Lousy Weather


cjones12022017

Morning news shows like ABC’s Good Morning, America and NBC’s Today Show isn’t really my thing because they’re a bit too fluffy for me. I alternate between CNN’s New Day and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, depending on which one is annoying me less. Even though I don’t watch the Today Show and never had strong opinions pro or con about Matt Lauer, I still felt kinda bad about drawing this cartoon because I kinda sorta have friends at MSNBC (I’m far from being any sort of insider). Then, I read the details of the accusations against Lauer. I don’t feel bad about it anymore.

Matt Lauer is the latest casualty in the fast-moving national reckoning of sexual harassment in the workplace. He has been a fixture of the network’s most profitable franchise for over 20 years. On Monday, an NBC staffer met with executives and told them Lauer had done bad things. By Tuesday morning, Lauer was out.

I was watching Morning Joe when it was announced. I saw the clips of Lauer’s co-hosts from Today, and you could tell they were reporting the news before they had time to compress and absorb the information. But, after reading some details of Lauer’s behaviors, are they really that shocked?

Fox News caught a lot of grief for turning a blind eye and enabling, if not actually creating an environment for sexual harassment. They ignored the behavior of chairman Roger Ailes and their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, even renewing their contracts after settling lawsuits. The details of Lauer’s behavior make it hard to believe that NBC executives were totally ignorant of what was going on.

NBC News chairman Andrew Lack wrote in a memo to staffers, “while it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”

It wasn’t an isolated incident, and apparently, it wasn’t the first complaint. Later in the day, NBC received two more complaints and The New York Times spoke with one of the accusers. She explained in detail how Lauer intimidated her to have sex with him in his office, from which she even passed out (probably not because it was so good). She claims Lauer started harassing her during a trip to cover the Sochi Olympics, and after the incident in his office, he never bothered her again.

According to Variety, There were other details of Lauer’s sexist behavior around the office. He gave one female co-worker a sex toy as a gift along with a note about how he wanted to use it on her. He exposed his genitals to another co-worker and then reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.

Last year, he was heavily criticized after a debate in which he appeared to go easy on Donald Trump while asking aggressive questions of Hillary Clinton.

One interesting detail from all of this is when Lauer interviewed Bill O’Reilly  after he was fired from Fox News, and asked him if he’d ever sent lewd text messages to colleagues. Lauer said to O’Reilly, “they came forward and filed complaints against the biggest star they at the network they worked at. Think about how intimidating that must have been. Doesn’t that tell you how strongly they felt about you?”

Lauer must have known this topic well, as he had sent lewd text messages himself. And, when complaints were filed with NBC executives, they were ignored. That is, until Monday.

One of the many public men who is struggling with the aftermath of sexual harassment is Minnesota Senator Al Franken. Fellow Minnesotan, author, and radio host Garrison Keillor came to Franken’s defense in a column published by The Washington Post Tuesday where he argued against demands for the Senator to resign. By Wednesday, word came out that Keillor himself had sexually harassed a woman, and he was fired from Minnesota Public Radio.

We’re still waiting for this new no-tolerance attitude to hit politics. Donald Trump, the guy with accusations soaring into the double digits actually had the gall to tweet about Matt Lauer and NBC.

While famous men are being exposed, lesser-known men have been reflecting on their past behavior (and if they’re not, they should). I am one of them. I received a text yesterday, half-jokingly, from my very first editor asking if there was anything from back in the day he should know about. “Back in the day” was my first five years in the newspaper business and I worked for his newspaper from 1990 to 1995. Being married doesn’t seem to be a factor with a lot of these guys who are harassing women, but that, my shyness, awkwardness, and the fact I was actually a good boy back then prevented me from engaging in sexual harassment. That office was staffed mostly by women, and quite frankly, I would have been afraid of each and every one of them. Anyone who was present during that time can surely vouch for that.

If I was a bad boy in the past, it would have started around 1999. I was newly single, discovered bars and playing live music. I gained confidence and some obnoxiousness. Still, I hope I never went past any lines or disrespected any co-workers. Honestly, the most lewdest thing I ever experienced in newsrooms was language. If you ever worked in a newsroom for a daily newspaper, you better know how to curse and speak in sarcasm.

However, after much reflecting upon my past, I’m still looking back. I will continue to do so. I keep that in mind as I cover these topics. I wonder if Lauer had it in his mind while he was interviewing O’Reilly.

And, no. I don’t feel bad about this cartoon one bit.

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $40 donation will receive a signed print (please specify which print you want or I won’t mail one). All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

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Congressional Booty


cjones11282017

We do not send our representatives to Washington to use their positions to commit sexual harassment. And, when they do and have to settle their workplace disputes, we should not be the ones financing their settlements.

In the early 90s, there was a scandal over members of the House and Senate bouncing checks at the Congressional bank. Most of us weren’t even aware Congress had its own bank. The outrage was so loud that Congress eventually closed the bank. I believe this new information regarding a taxpayer-financed Congressional “shush” fund should garner more outrage.

While Democratic Congressman John Conyers’ settlement with a staffer accusing him of sexual misconduct came out of his own budget, it exposed that over $17 million of our money has been paid to settle workplace disputes, which includes cases of sexual harassment.

Do you know which lawmakers or their aides have settled disputes over sexual harassment? I don’t know either because it’s kept secret.

Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, testified that two sitting members of Congress, one in each party, have engaged in sexual harassment. She blames the Office of Compliance, which doles out the money. The Office of Compliance is complicit with sexual harassment because by paying these funds out secretly it doesn’t provide a warning for potential victims or punishment for the perpetrators.

Both chambers are now changing rules regarding sexual harassment. The House is about to pass a resolution requiring all members and their staffs participate in anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training, which the Senate has already adopted. A larger hurdle will be getting them to change the rules regarding secrecy. What do you want to bet there are more than two members who have paid out settlements? How many former members are there?

I want to know and I demand that right. So should you. We already know the House and Senate are full of shit weasels but do we have to finance them when they get gropey?

While Conyer’s settlement didn’t come from the “shush” fund, we still paid for it as it came out of his office’s budget. Should Conyers resign? Yes. While the charges against him may have been politically motivated, he still paid out a settlement, used our money to do it, and then kept it hidden. Yes, Conyers should resign. I will not be partisan when it comes to sexual harassment, especially when it’s combined with making us pay the toll for it. And, yes. It’s not fair for Conyers to resign while Trump is still in office but, one hurdle at a time, people.

Plus, if Conyers has to eat it maybe it’ll force those who legislate themselves to take this issue seriously. They need special training to behave like human beings instead of leeches and, they need to end the pattern of secrecy to protect themselves.

Settlements are often the only means in which a victim achieves some sort of justice. Unfortunately, these settlements are also used to silence the victims and protect the perpetrators. Using our money to silence victims is unjust and it should be criminal. Our money should not be used to protect the accused.

I want the accused named and I want it done now.

I haven’t been silenced about this and I intend to get very loud. Join me. Hold our elected representatives accountable.

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $40 donation will receive a signed print (please specify which print you want or I won’t mail one). All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

Me Too


cjones10172017

If you’re a man and you don’t understand what I’m talking about with this cartoon, stop and think about it.

There were several things I was going to discuss in today’s column, but I’ve reconsidered. Today, I’m gonna leave you hanging and let the dudes among you figure it for themselves. And, I’m not talking about the cartoon.

I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $40 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.

Bye Bye, O’Reilly


cjones04242017

The political world got a bit of a jolt yesterday when Fox News kicked their longtime ratings giant and right-wing pundit Bill O’Reilly to the curb yesterday over repeated charges of sexual harassment. I know. It’s tearing you apart.

There are many takeaways to this with the first for conservatives being, “but what about Bill Clinton?” Anyone who throws out the Clinton comparison over stuff that happened two decades ago proves they’re not concerned about ending sexual harassment in the workplace. They only care about political scores. The knuckleheads who bring up this point probably all voted for Donald Trump, the vagina grabber.

The main take on this is that Fox News did the right thing but not for the right reasons. They didn’t ditch O’Reilly because his behavior was too shameful for them or they were disgusted with him. They never had an issue with him destroying careers of those who wouldn’t give him what he wanted. They got rid of him because he became a liability. Advertisers were bailing from his show in massive droves. Fox News prioritized monetary over morality. Ironically, morality was a favorite subject of the hypocritical O’Reilly.

Fox News supported O’Reilly’s behavior. They paid out around $13 million to shut his victims up. They let big name talent like Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly get away after they accused harassment from the former chief of the network, Roger Ailes. Carlson was a loss they can deal with. Kelly’s departure hurts. Now their biggest star is Tucker Carlson.

Fox News hired a law firm to conduct an internal investigation. Reportedly what they found were recordings of phone calls where it sounds like O’Reilly is masturbating. Here’s a tip: If you engage in phone sex make sure the other party is with the program. Some people don’t like surprises, especially ones like craggly-assed old men whacking it over the phone.

Fox News has been under heavy pressure for three weeks since The New York Times published a report of the network’s payout. This week a new accuser, an African-American woman, claimed that O’Reilly called her “hot chocolate.” You would think that after decades of harassing women that he’d get better at it. Perhaps he offered to be her marshmallow.

O’Reilly’s departure does not mean the country or corporate America is moving forward in regards to sexual harassment in the workplace. It just shows that it’ll pay for it to a certain point. You can’t argue progress is being made when corporations will cover up for a big money maker and the rest of the nation voted for a man who bragged about assaulting women and who is on record dishing out sexism in the form of slurs and insults.

I saw several posts yesterday on social media from conservatives swearing they’ll boycott Fox News over this. One was from a conservative colleague of mine. These people exhibit that they don’t care about the treatment of women, especially if their infallible hero is exposed (hopefully not literally). I wouldn’t worry about their boycott as they’re not the faithful type. Several of these same people swore they’d boycott Breitbart over their treatment of a female reporter who claimed Trump’s campaign manager had grabbed her.  But within days they were sharing links once again from their favorite racist fake news website.

O’Reilly left the air to take a vacation and he challenged his viewers to guess where he was going. Many on the left guessed correctly that he was going to the curb of 1211 Avenue.

Don’t cry in your beer too much over O’Reilly. Like Ailes, who received a $40 million buyout, I’m sure Bill will walk away with a handsome check. O’Reilly went out defiant with a statement that the accusations are unfounded. He got to meet the Pope during his vacation (I hope he had some hand sanitizer available) and his biggest defender is Donald Trump. I’m also sure we’ll see him again on either One America News or The Blaze network. I wouldn’t be surprised if doesn’t start working for Vladimir Putin on RT. Go for it, Bill!

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