Go #MeToo! …. but not on Social Media
I applaud the movements of #MeToo and #Time’sUp for trying to bring an end to gender bias, harassment and discrimination. As a woman, moreover, I get it — I really do. At one of my earliest jobs in a plaintiff’s employment law firm, I dealt with a junior partner who routinely was sexually inappropriate. I reported him to the senior partners; they treated it as a joke. I eventually sued them for gender discrimination. So yes, I get it, one hundred percent.
Two problems arise with reporting these accusations as news on social media. First, those harassed are trying their cases in the court of the streets instead of a court of law. Our legal courts have standards of proof, statute of limitations, and requirements; social media does not. I understand the empathy factor is far better and the satisfaction is immediate, but these cases, all too often, are missing facts, evidence and law. Yet we treat these claims as automatically true. That is not how American jurisprudence works. The second problem is “news exhaustion.” People are deluged by the numerosity of these claims, and they’ve tuned out. The message is getting lost now.
At the end of the day, we clearly have a national problem with gender bias and harassment and we need improvement. The solution, however, is not to sidestep the law.
For more information, check out Deirdre Kamber Todd’s Op Ed piece on the #MeToo movement from the Morning Call.