#MeToo Movement Takes Down Moonves

Yet another powerful man has been credibly accused of a long-standing pattern of sexually abusing women whose careers he controlled.  Invariably, such men and their allies deny the allegations and say something similar to CBS CEO Leslie Moonves’ recent statement: “Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me.”

Mr. Moonves may well be wrongly accused (although that seems increasingly doubtful).  But let’s put to rest forever the notion that if he was a serial sexual harasser, his friends surely would have known.

My religious tradition teaches that we are all both saints and sinners.  We are all capable of great acts of kindness and generosity; yet we are capable of evil deeds as well.  People who sexually harass and abuse others are no different.  They might serve as dynamite little league basketball coaches and give lots of money to the food bank.  They might support feminist politicians and spoil their granddaughters.  But none of that is necessarily inconsistent with a man who abuses his power at work.

Just as bank robbers do not steal from every bank they encounter, men who sexually harass women never sexually harass all women.  And the fact that someone walks past a bank without robbing it is not relevant to whether he’s robbed other banks.

Let’s put the focus on whether the guy did it—not on whether he was “capable” of it.  If we’ve learned anything from the #MeToo movement, it should be that it’s hard to predict what otherwise nice guys do behind closed doors.

Paige Fiedler is the managing partner of Fiedler Law Firm, P.L.C.