It’s easy enough to enjoy some righteous indignation when the Roy Moores of the world are accused of sexual harassment, but I have a different reaction when people I admire like Garrison Keillor, Louis C.K. and Al Franken are the accused. But in the final analysis, if they have done the deeds they are accused of, they too must suffer the consequences.
John Huston was one of the most important directors in Hollywood in the 1940’s and 50’s. He became friends with a well-known jockey for a time, but then somehow lost interest in his new friend. When the jockey didn’t take the hint, Huston went out of his way to insult and humiliate him. Eventually, some of Huston’s friends became so uncomfortable with his cruelty towards someone who only admired him that one asked Huston why he acted in such an ugly manner. Huston’s reply is one we should remember– “Because I can!”
The only way to end our epidemic of predatory acts against women is to make it clear that they will be punished no matter who is the perpetrator. There can be no “good guy” exception.
Keillor is a special case in that he denies the allegations. Even a rudimentary concept of fairness requires that he be allowed a forum to show his innocence. And, even if he is guilty of the acts charged, we do not have to stop admiring the work of people like Keillor, C.K., and Franken, nor should it prevent us from wishing them well in their new lives.