I haz questions.
Why is this necessary?
Has #MeToo become so powerful that somehow all men are in danger and now in need of protecting?
Have the playing fields been leveled and for generations women have been equal to men and had equal treatment and opportunities and somehow I missed it?
Have we gone for hundreds of years with the trend of sexual harassment being taken seriously by families of victims, friends, confidents, mandatory reporters, doctors, and law enforcement and I Rip-Van-Winkled it?
Are females in the workplace suddenly safe and respected everywhere? Encouraged in their aspirations with no sexual demands made of them for advancement? Have all the rape kits been tested?
Did I miss the part where women earn the same salaries as men, even the women who are brown and black? And this has been going on for decades so that it is firmly established as a matter of course, and no one questions it?
Have the tables turned, and now women have subjugated men for millennia, controlling their bodies, dreams, roles in society? Have women systematically limited a man's ability to speak for themselves, participate in government, manage their own finances, and walk down the street without a smile on their pretty little faces? And now the men are fighting back against their own oppression because they have suffered for so long?
Am I on the Starship Enterprise?
Nope. It's just plain ole 2018 in the U.S. And a powerful, beloved man in the media has been accused by two woman of sexual harassing them. And this is such a threat, such a crime to suggest a man may have behaved this way that women all over are still stockholm-syndromed into building cheerleader body-pyramids around him to protect him.
This letter. Filled with "He has always been good to me," and "I've never seen him behave that way," -type statements.
Again, my questions. Why say these things? What bearing does the way he has behaved towards you (nicely) have on the possibility that he may have acted badly towards another? (Possibly two?) What could shutting up about it cost you? Your friendship with him?
All your letter does is make things harder for other less powerful, less famous women to come forward. All your letter does is identify you as unsympathetic to victims of abuse and bad behavior. All your letter does is show Tom Brokaw that his responsibility is to protect himself only, and not consider ways in which his behavior might have impacted others over the years.
Good people can do bad things. People with integrity can behave in atrocious ways. If they have true integrity, they will absorb the accusation and reflect before lashing out. Reflect and wonder about the nature of their power, on the imbalance of the power that existed, and about potential veracity of the less powerful person's accusations. And if his friends have integrity, they will help him do that. Not help him deny it.
How refreshing would it be if these powerful media women made a collective statement in support of the accuser? Imagine:
"We know Tom Brokaw to be a man of decency and integrity. While shocked at these allegations, we understand sometimes we are all capable of causing harm. We are here for Tom as friends and non-judgmental colleagues if he needs help processing these events and whether or not his behavior might have felt benign to him, but harmful to the other party involved."
That might have sent a message of support to Tom Brokaw AND his accusers. That these accusations will be taken seriously and not dismissed simply because they did not happen in front of their eyes.
I have a very strong feeling that if these accusations are proven false, Tom Brokaw will be just fine. In fact, even if they aren't, I think he'll be fine. I mean, his marriage might suffer, and that is a personal and private pain not to be diminished. But just look at Charlie Rose - rumors are floating around that he's pitching a talk show where he'd interview the men "taken down" by the #MeToo movement. If this horrendous idea doesn't take shape in this form, it will surely take shape in another. Maybe Brokaw can be the one to make it fly.
In the meantime, powerful women of media - please stop protecting the men. They are doing just fine without our help.