Photo by Luis Sanchez
By Luis Sanchez
Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, spoke at Stony Brook University’s “My Life As” talk on Wednesday evening about sexual harassment in the workplace and how she has become a voice within the #MeToo movement.
The Student Activities Center hosted Gretchen Carlson’s My Life As speech, which was led by Marcy McGinnis. Due to the settlement Carlson received from 21st Century Fox, she is not permitted to mention the network. Carlson opened up the discussion with the different instances of sexual misconduct she had encountered during her career. Roger Ailes, founder of the Fox News Channel, was the big part of the discussion due to Carlson’s lawsuit. McGinnis mentioned the challenging years Carlson dealt on “Fox and Friends” and the sexist and inappropriate comments she received from co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade.
“The movement has gained so much steam because the American public, [as we] started seeing these allegations from Weinstein and on down, and Americans were horrified,” said Carlson. Currently with the MeToo movement, powerful men are losing their positions because of harassment in the workplace. Carlson believed that if it was not for her, many women would have not come out and spoken about sexual harassment.
The settlement between 21st Century Fox and Carlson led to a 20 million dollar compensation. McGinnis talked about how rare it is for major companies to respond to sexual harassment. “That was extraordinary,” said McGinnis. “I don’t know if you all know how extraordinary it is to get a public apology from a major corporation because of sexual harassment.”
President Trump was brought up during the discussion due to the recent sexual assault accusations and whether or not he is fit to serve in office.
“In private companies, we can fire people based on sexual harassment; in the political world you can’t, and voters elected President Trump even knowing about these accusations, so they will have to make that decision next time around,” said Carlson.
In the beginning of the discussion, Carlson talked about how she is working with senators on issues regarding harassment.
“Her talk was contradicting at times, and I knew her answer would be soft on Trump,” said Lorri Smith, a teacher from Hicksville. Throughout the talk, Carlson discussed about how political figures should be involved in harassment, but noted “[s]exual harassment is apolitical and everyone should care about it.”
After the lecture, more individuals felt that Carlson’s views on sexual harassment and politics conflicted. “President Trump is not fit for office, and this is a political issue,” said Alissandra De Sousa, a 19-year-old sophomore health science major.
While the #Metoo movement is still an ongoing issue, some say that politics should not be involved with it.
“You have to separate administration, the policies of the United States and sexual harassment,” said Ralph Curd, a 66-year-old from Hicksville. “It’s absolute ridiculous if people would believe that he is not fit for office.”
Gretchen Carlson was one of the first women to speak about sexual harassment and will be part of its history. “I think sexual harassment should be a required course for college campuses,” she said, while adding “I have great faith in your generation.”