Scandals Plague Hollywood and White House

In recent weeks, it seems that day after day the name of yet another man accused of sexually assaulting women appears in the headlines. We also see that our Commander-in-Chief, who is accused of sexual assault himself, will do anything he can to cover for his cronies, even if they are predators. Why is it that in Hollywood, big names like Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, and Louis C.K. are immediately cast out, yet politicians such as Roy Moore have not felt the effects of these very serious accusations? It all comes down to Donald Trump.

Before the Access Hollywood video that emerged during the 2016 presidential campaign of Trump bragging about assaulting women, several had come out accusing him of sexual misconduct. Walking in on Miss Universe contestants as they changed and groping a number of women, to name a few. He has nineteen formal allegations against him, and has failed to address them besides calling them “lies”, “fake news”, and a slew of his other default responses to those who realize the appalling truth of his actions. Frankly, it is disgusting. Trump taunted NBC after firing Lauer, accusing them of putting out fake news instead of praising them for acting on the accusations, he dehumanizes victims and intimidates them into silence, and defends these actions by calling it “locker room talk”. It is not surprising, considering he feels the need to remove a sexual assault prevention report from his administration’s website.

Trump is afraid. He is afraid of these allegations in the way that anyone would be when they know what is being said of them is true. Everyone saw it in Weinstein’s statement, using the era he grew up in as an excuse, and we are seeing it again in the actions of Roy Moore as he tries to pretend the problem isn’t there. These are all equally harmful ways of reacting. Although his actions were nonetheless as horrible as what other men have done, Senator Al Franken certainly responded to his allegations in a much more mature way, acknowledging his actions and sincerely apologizing for what he did. No excuses necessary.

So why have Moore and Trump not been ousted from politics altogether? Trump’s avid supporters believe every word he spews, so they take to heart that the women coming forward indeed are lying, trying to take down their beloved president. Trump then uses this control to help Moore the same way he defended himself, so Moore’s numbers have not faltered and he has not been forced to drop out of his race for Congress. This is where Trump’s fear gets the best of him once again–if an investigation was opened on Moore’s actions, it is likely a similar case would open on Trump.

At this point, we can only hope that this country will come to its senses. Franken’s Senate ethics committee hearing is a start, and perhaps that will get the ball rolling to look into the allegations against Trump. In the meantime, we must do everything we can to create an environment where men and women alike feel comfortable coming forward against sexual abusers. This is the first step in assuring that the rightful people will be torn down and removed from their respective industries, whether it be Hollywood, the White House, and anywhere in between.

– Chloe Zelch ’20

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