In an ever-changing world where one name after another is mentioned in allegations, one has to wonder what happened to due process in America. On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, upon urging from the rest of the Senate Democrats, announced he will down from office soon, amid allegations of sexual harassment.
His parting words were, “It has become clear that I can’t both pursue the Ethics Committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator.”
In three weeks’ time, Franken went from being initially accused, to looking for new work. In this day and age, women are much more comfortable coming forward with experiences and allegations of misconduct, which is a great thing. I would love to live in a world where it wasn’t necessary, but while it is the case, the more women who speak up, the better.
But where do we draw the line with people losing their jobs?
Is it when the Weinsteins of the world get 30 allegations, they should lose their job or career without a conviction? I believe so, but can see both sides of that argument.
Or, how about the case of Danny Masterson getting fired from his Netflix comedy show, “The Ranch,” because the CEO of Netflix is accosted at a park by one of Masterson’s reported victims? There have been no charges, no convictions and no evidence presented, police have even investigated the charges against him and found “no merit” to the allegations. But he joins Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Franken, and many others who’ve lost their jobs, long before any trial.
The court of public opinion is the only arena they have been seen in, only to have their lives ruined. And with all of those men losing their jobs, why not President Trump? Here’s a man with allegations against him that are much worse than the others, and not one GOP senator, to date, has called for him to lose his job for this.
Obviously, if a man is thought to be a predator, or even accused, appropriate precaution should be taken around him. But I don’t think that simply because a claim is made, someone lose their livelihood until they are convicted, or at least, formal charges are brought forward.
One sexual assault is too many. However, so is the case of a person being wrongfully accused and having his life ruined without due process. Do I personally believe the charges against these people? Absolutely – in almost all these cases. But some reported victims haven’t presented any hard evidence at all, while the men have had their credibility entirely shot without getting their day in court.
We are now living in a time where if you or someone you know dislikes a particular celebrity, politician or pretty much anyone in a high-profile position, you can hold a press conference, send out a press release, accuse them of something terrible and get them fired, exiled, and even divorced, within days.
It comes down to this: When it comes to destroying another human being, let’s make sure the pound of flesh isn’t taken from someone who isn’t deserving of it.