Margot Robbie plays a fictional character in the upcoming movie about sexual harassment at Fox News. In the trailer for “Bombshell,” her co-workers glance at her as she heads to the elevator. Her hand shakes as she presses the button for the second floor C-suite.
Then, Gretchen Carlson, played by Nicole Kidman, gets in, head high, but struggling to smile. Eventually, Carlson blew the whistle and sued Roger Ailes and Fox News for sexual harassment. But not before she collected evidence of the misbehavior and contacted a lawyer.
Women (and to a lesser extent, men) who speak out about sexual harassment or improprieties face the usual challenges as whistleblowers. They are fired, shunned by co-workers and personally attacked – very personally. Unlike IRS and SEC whistleblowers, they usually have no path to compensation unless they sue. It’s difficult to maintain anonymity.
This week, two cases emerged that highlight the nightmare of blowing the whistle on gropers, flashers, rapists, and pedophiles. The revelation of secret funding from Jeffrey Epstein has tarred the mighty MIT Media Lab and brought down its super-smart, well-respected director. And, a lawyer for Harvey Weinstein offered to “place” articles to cast accuser Rose McGowan as “unglued,” according to documents published in a new book.