Daily Video

October 30, 2017

Harvey Weinstein, sexual harassment, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

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Note: Today’s Daily News Story discusses sexual harassment and assault as they pertain to allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein. You may want to consider inviting your administrator or a representative from human resources to your class during this lesson. 
Key terms:

Before watching the video, you may want to review these key terms with your students:

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is against the law to harass an employee or applicant in the workplace based on that person’s sex.

The EEOC states, “Harassment can include ‘sexual harassment’ or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” For more explanation of sexual harassment, visit the EEOC’s page here.

Sexual assault “refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim,” including unwanted sexual touching, attempted rape or rape, according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).

Video summary:
  1. Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, was fired on October 8th from the film company he founded after The New York Times detailed three decades of sexual harassment allegations against him from many women who worked for him. Weinstein had reached at least eight settlements, according to the Times’ report.
  2. Since then, dozens of more women have come forward to share incidents of times when Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them. At least three actresses told The New Yorker’s Rowan Farrow that Weinstein had raped them. Rose McGowan alleged over social media that Weinstein raped her in the mid-1990s. Since her announcement, McGowan has also been critical over those in power throughout the Hollywood media industry for being complicit and ignoring her claims.
  3. Weinstein acknowledged the sexual harassment allegations in an apology letter and blamed his behavior on the time period of the the 60’s and 70’s when rules about behavior and the workplace were different and said he planned to work with therapists to deal with his issues. Weinstein has denied any allegations of unconsensual sex.
  4. While sexual assault or sexual harassment may take many forms, it is important to always keep in mind that it is never the victim’s fault.
Discussion questions:
  1. Essential questionWhat effects might the Harvey Weinstein revelations of sexual harassment have on workplace culture?
  2. What is sexual harassment? How is sexual harassment different from sexual assault?
  3. Why do you think women as well as men who have been sexually harassed do not report it to human resources or tell their supervisor?
  4. What are some ways that workplaces could make it safer for people to come forward if they have been sexually harassed?
  5. Power dynamics often play a key role in incidents of sexual harassment and assault. HBO executive Sheila Nevins, who experienced sexual harassment in the film industry in the 1960s, told PBS NewsHour that she is optimistic that the Weinstein revelations will change society for the better and that ‘women are not alone anymore.’ Do you agree with Nevins? Explain your answer.
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