JERUSALEM, May 4, 20013 – Emanuel Rosen, a well-known political commentator, was fired from Channel 2 a few years ago, after a complaint of harassment was lodged against him by a junior staff member.
Every time a case of sexual misconduct hits the headlines, the public is treated to yet another round of heated debate on the issue. The trouble is that nothing new is ever introduced into the discussion.
The exposure this week of broadcast journalist Emanuel Rosen’s alleged history of abusing women at the workplace is a case in point.
Instead, the veteran commentator was hired by Channel 10, where his career – and, apparently his bad habits – continue without let-up or interference.
All of this was taking place during a decade in which president Moshe Katsav was forced to resign due to allegations of rape and sexual harassment, crimes that ultimately landed him in prison.
Throughout the process, Rosen was on camera, providing reportage and analysis on the affair. This was hypocrisy on Rosen’s part. But equally problematic has been the behavior of the media as a whole.
Indeed, one of the scandals that came to light when the Katsav episode erupted was that most members of the media had known about the president’s penchant for using his previous positions of power to lure female underlings into bed.
The main reason the press gave for not having done its job of investigating the politician’s purported wrongdoing was that none of the women he had seduced, manipulated, intimidated or brutalized had been willing to come forward and file a complaint.
Ditto with regard to Rosen, at least according to those of his peers who claim to have been aware of his reputation yet did nothing about it. This is a feeble excuse; the fact that Rosen was actually fired for sexual misconduct would have justified a closer look by his subsequent employers and by the rest of the media community.
In an act of “better late than never,” a group of women journalists, among them ones who claim to have been victimized by Rosen, banded together and began a Facebook campaign that gained traction two weeks ago.
Then, last weekend, Rosen “took a leave of absence” from his jobs at Channel 10, Educational Television and Radio 103.
The matter is now in the hands of the police department, which is examining evidence to determine whether an official investigation or arrest is warranted. This is more relevant than all the talk-show blah-blah about “women’s rights” or on “why victims of molestation are afraid to speak up.”
To be fair, there are a few female journalists who oppose the social-network lynch of a colleague and warn against portraying someone as guilty before he has even been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime. Their point is that professionalism demands they not use their press platform as a kangaroo court.
There is integrity in this attitude, just as there is legitimacy to the assertion that a woman whose boss is bothering her is at a disadvantage. This is because subservience is already required as a result of her being an employee, and due to her worry about jeopardizing her livelihood.
It is precisely this built-in imbalance that causes us – and the legislature — to treat sexual relations between a superior and a subordinate as less-than-consensual, even when the latter accepts the advances of the former.
Herein lies what is always missing from the conversation. What nobody dares bring up is the strong attraction that women usually feel towards men who command authority.
Fame and fortune can also have an aphrodisiacal effect.
So many of the women initially enter into dangerous liaisons because they feel flattered by the attention of someone they look up to. It is only later – when they discover, for example, that the prince charming in question is actually a frog who has no intention of leaving his wife for them, or who sweet-talks anyone in a skirt – that their humiliation hits hard.
And a woman who feels betrayed by her own fantasies is unlikely to want to file a formal complaint, other than maybe to God.
But months or years after the fiasco, when other women who have been in the same boat emerge, she is able to join their class-action outrage and seek legal recourse.
It is the height of irony that the sexual harassment laws in this country take this concept into account better than the feminists behind the stringent legislation.
If Rosen is indicted and found guilty, he will be penalized. But as long as political correctness prevents honesty about the nature of men and women – and the different moral and ethical responsibilities each must assume – the jails will continued to be filled with predators and the fruitless debate will go on ad nauseam.
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