Alleged Sexual Abuse at CBS News, more on the #MeToo development in China, and Tarana Burke Stance on the Movement

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  • Ronan Farrow’s bombshell scoop in The New Yorker about the culture of alleged sexual abuse at CBS News arrived as the hit program 60 Minutes was on summer hiatus. As staffers returned to work this week, there was confusion over whether or not Executive Producer Jeff Fager and Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, will be remaining in their positions going forward. “In a way, the fates of Moonves and Fager are intertwined,” notes the Reliable Sources newsletter. “Because both men have been publicly accused of wrongdoing, several sources suggested it would be strange to see action taken against one, but not the other...” This week the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism temporarily suspended the use of Leslie Moonves' name on their media center.

 

  • The #MeToo movement transcended Hollywood. It has now permeated Washington, in the shadow of the mid-term elections, causing dozens of resignations at the national and local levels of American government. Still all too many – 25 alleged sexual harassers – have sailed through their primaries, some unopposed. “In Kentucky, for example, former House Speaker Jeff Hoover admitted to illicitly settling a sexual harassment claim by a former staffer,” Prachi Gupta writes for Jezebel. “Eight fellow House Republicans called for his expulsion from the House. Instead, Hoover was reprimanded with a puny $1,000 ethics violation fine and lost his position as House Speaker. In 2018, he is running for re-election unopposed in a Republican-heavy district.” Kentucky Governor Bevin has called for him to resign, but Hoover has refused. Unfortunately he is almost certain to win re-election as Kentucky has a 2-to-1 advantage in Republican voters.

 

  • China’s #MeToo is in full flower, despite government attempts to crush the movement. The Chinese government has been busy scrubbing social media mention of the movement. Those attempts have failed to stop news from getting out about sexual harassment allegations against one of China’s highest ranking Buddhist monks. “In a 95-page document submitted to Chinese authorities in July, two male monks at Beijing's Longquan Temple accused Shi Xuecheng of sexually harassing and assaulting multiple female nuns,” reports CNN. “It comes at a time when women in China are pushing back hard against widespread sexual abuse, in a manner similar to the #MeToo movement in Western countries. Xuecheng, who is the abbot of Longquan Temple, is a high-profile figure who heads the Buddhist Association of China and serves as a national political adviser to the Communist government.” On Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, the 51-year old priest denied the allegations. Buddhist monks in China take vows of celibacy. The State Administration for Religious Affairs has launched an investigation into the allegations.

 

  • #MeToo in China has also exposed moral corruptions on university campuses, the media, NGOs – even badminton coaches. “’There is no industry where this isn’t happening. These are not isolated cases,’ Yi Xiaohe told The Guardian. So far this week more than 20 high profile cases have surfaced, mostly on social media in China, and there is no sign of stoppage. “Encouraged by the movement, a number of women – some using their real names – have come forward on social media in recent days with accusations against more than a dozen men, and the number is growing,” writes Mandy Zuo of the South China Morning Post. “Among those facing allegations is environmentalist Feng Yongfeng, who is accused of harassing and assaulting a number of charity workers in recent years, and anti-discrimination activist Lei Chuang, who is accused of raping a former volunteer at his charity three years ago.” The South China Morning Post, it should be noted, has been doing excellent reporting on the #MeToo movement in China, which is not easy work especially when the government would rather the whole thing just go away.

 

  • What's next in the struggle to change attitudes about sexual assault and harassment? Tarana Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement in 2006, talked to Bryce Covert of The Nation. In the interview she likened sexual harassment to disease, and mentions that the end goal of the movement is finding and rooting out the sickness in society. “Burke also wants to remind the country that her work didn’t start to confront just sexual harassment in the workplace but sexual violence of all kinds and in all places, be it a child sexually abused in a home, or a college student raped in a dorm,” notes Covert. “’There has not been a lot of conversation about adult survivors of child sexual abuse. What about women whose rape kits have not been tested, what about statutes of limitation…. What about the lack of resources?’ she said.” Further, Burke has pushed back against the notion that #MeToo is a movement for elites, in Hollywood and in Washington DC. She stresses in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times that #MeToo is a “survivor’s movement,” insisting that the movement leaves nobody behind.

 

Cover photo via Variety