The past few weeks have put sexual misconduct into the mainstream of media. Each day brings disturbing revelations about men from every arena of public life. I know the women’s anguish. I’m a survivor.
My horror and dismay have left me reeling, searching for a way to bring context to the “allegations of inappropriate behavior.”
The personal pain of the women is unequivocal. How to account for the behavior of boorish men whose actions cover such a range of circumstance? Some seem genuinely apologetic and regretful. Regardless of corroboration and context, all of them are labeled for life.
Make no mistake: Their actions are deplorable.
Consider accountability: the owners and bosses complicit with “workplace misbehavior.”
Most worthy of outrage: men in positions of power who, for years, had careers patterned with heinous sexual exploitation.
Andrea Bolger, Minneapolis
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With all of the information coming out daily regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, I am wondering and hoping as well that the moral culture in the workplace will do a 180. Many years ago, I complained about a co-worker touching me and kissing me and went to my superiors. I was asked, “What do you want me to do?” I was taken aback that the person for whom I had worked for so many years did not offer any support. I am hoping that this “revolution” will do some good. I left that job because I was tired of the jokes, tired of feeling I had to laugh at them and definitely tired of not being taken seriously.
Marsha Wolk, St. Louis Park
GARRISON KEILLOR AND MPR
Unlike other letter writers, I’m glad Keillor got the ax
I support and commend Minnesota Public Radio for its decisions around severing ties with Garrison Keillor. Just because a person entertains us for decades doesn’t make off-microphone sexual harassment activities right. I’m sorry others feel MPR provided insufficient cause. I feel the opposite. I applaud MPR for protecting the victims, who have already suffered sufficiently, while making hard, but correct, decisions. I’m ashamed so many Minnesotans have written letters to the editor suggesting that Keillor is such a treasure that his offensive actions should be excused or that we should shed tears for him and not the assaulted. Really? No sexual harassment activities should be excused — that’s how we got to where we are in the first place. As a 57-year-old woman, I am indescribably heartened that 2017 is somehow the year when people are finally saying “enough is enough” and holding perpetrators accountable. Thank you, thank you MPR, for doing the right thing.
Anne R. Gabriel, Forest Lake
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Over the years, MPR has lost its soul in its pursuit of ever-increasing revenue. It eliminated WCAL, its classical music competitor, through secret negotiations with St. Olaf College to purchase the broadcast license for 89.3 FM, the only full-power noncommercial broadcast license in Minnesota that it did not already own. Now MPR perceives that an allegation of mildly improper conduct presents a threat to its public appeal (for dollars). There is no small irony that MPR reacts by eliminating the person whose program enabled it to achieve near-monopoly status in public radio in Minnesota.
Michael W. McNabb, Lakeville
• • •
Stop the madness. We’ve made our point. This crazy witch hunt needs to end. I am one of the bazillions of “MeToo” women, but it’s time to move on.
Why? Because it will never end. These stories make titillating headlines, but the fact that it’s a free-for-all for women to accuse is dangerous. I believe them, and yet it would be so easy to accuse someone because you don’t like them. And no one dares to question the accusers at the risk of being accused of excusing creepy behavior. No one should be fired. Firing will not change what happened. Even Roy Moore — his tenure ends when he gets voted out. Put Matt Lauer back at the desk. Give Garrison Keillor back his contract with the radio. But let them know — let them all know — this is the reckoning. They’ve been warned. Women stand up. Meeting with the boss? Put a tape recorder in your pocket. Challenge what you hate. Immediately.
JULIE TORGERSON, St. Paul
DEPICTIONS OF HARASSMENT
It was hits and misses in paper’s recent cartoons about women
I am very disappointed that the Star Tribune chose to run two political cartoons this week mocking the very real sexual harassment many women have suffered. First, the cartoon in which U.S. Sen. Al Franken must use rulers to extend his otherwise groping hands to take a photo with a woman. I fail to see the humor in the charges that five women have now made against Franken. Franken is seriously disturbed, not cute, if these charges are true. This is not normal public behavior of a senator.
Second, on Friday, the Star Tribune minimized the charges against Matt Lauer by printing a cartoon showing that only the pope and the Dalai Lama would be pure enough for NBC standards. Good Grief! Lauer allegedly locked women in his office to sexually accost them, exposed himself to others and physically forced himself on others. Allegedly, this type of sordid behavior went on for years. These charges are very serious, and I cannot understand why the Star Tribune finds them funny. Hopefully, the majority of men in this world show a little more respect for women than Lauer. His behavior is the exception, not the rule.
Vera Brady, Chanhassen
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Kudos to cartoon artist Jimmy Johnson for Friday’s “Arlo ’N’ Janis” strip, where he succinctly captures the too-common, small, but insidious annoyances women face. Perhaps this is a good, humorous clarification to those (mainly men, I am sadly finding) who can recognize only the gross, overt sexual harassment issues yet cannot realize how the pervasive undercurrent of frat-boy jabs and making suggestive cracks at women slime all around us. Not criminal, not actionable — but they leave a lousy feeling for that small time. Could the atmosphere change that quickly? Here’s hoping!
Judy Palermo, Shoreview
THE WIND POWER INDUSTRY
It’s nowhere without subsidies
Rep. Joe Schomacker undermines his own argument by claiming that “a careful examination of the facts will … show the value of making our state a leader in wind energy development” (“Wind projects blow new life into many Minnesota communities,” Dec. 1). In fact, the wind energy industry in Minnesota would disappear in the absence of both the taxpayer-funded subsidies and the substantially increased electricity rates that currently support it. Schomacker notes that researchers have found no negative health effects due to wind power in Australia and the U.K. However, he failed to note that large portions of southern Australia have experienced repeated blackouts due to overreliance on wind power and that “fuel poverty” (largely due to the high cost of wind and solar power) is becoming a serious problem for poor households in the U.K.
Peter D. Abarbanel, Apple Valley
THE GATEWAY DISTRICT
Minneapolis still needs to mourn
I can’t begrudge historian Larry Millett his exasperation (“Letting the Gateway go,” Streetscapes, Nov. 25). But let Minneapolitans keep mourning the destruction of the city’s historic center, however inevitable it may look in retrospect. Had city fathers held off, stirrings of preservation and rebirth were just around the corner, with new businesses like Fuji-Ya and Pracna on Main taking root at the riverfront, and national and local recognition of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and later the Warehouse District, which include parts of the old Gateway.
Chris Steller, Minneapolis