Ever since Ronan Farrow’s work on Harvey Weinstein hit the New Yorker, cases of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior fall all day like anvils from the sky. There’s even a new “Family Guy” episode that aired November 21 and showed an awkward family dinner between Farrow, his real-life father Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn – awkward for what should at this point be obvious family reasons.
“Timing is everything in comedy, and joking about Ronan Farrow seems a bit misguided right now,” writes Zack Sharf for IndieWire. It also may be a bit misguided at your own family dinner, which is about to happen for some 49 million Americans traveling for Thanksgiving.
Maybe you know not to talk about Trump while you’re passing the mashed potatoes, and you may even know that climate change – no, not the Dallas Cowboys – has emerged in recent years to be one of the most divisive policy issues. So you probably don’t want to talk about that either, but what to do about sexual harassment?
You can take a page from the Family Guy critique and consider that it’s not a good time to argue with your grandmother about it. Yet with all the cultural chatter it’s probably inevitable that it comes up, so if you’re going to go to bat for That Toy Story Guy or defend That Alabama (or Michigan or Wisconsin or Ohio) Politician, at least be armed with a few facts about harassment as it’s experienced in America.
For that, there are insights from a new NPR-PBS-Marist poll released Tuesday – although to be clear, the survey was taken before PBS had their own story to tell about That Talk Show Guy Who Just Got Fired. So here’s what they found after doing phone interviews with more than 1,000 adults, 49 percent of them men and 51 percent women.
First, almost one in 10 men said they had experienced harassment or abuse. It was a little more than a third of women at 35 percent, so that may not be as many people as it seems if you just read Twitter all day. The majorities of men and women alike said their workplace does a good job of protections and it’s more likely that an accuser will be the one believed by their companies – but given those numbers, there’s a good chance someone at your table has a story and the topic probably should stay off-limits.
On the other hand, maybe it’s a good chance for some honest conversation.
Just not at the dinner table.
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