In a (highly) misguided attempt to include yet another sympathetic male perspective into our cultural dialogue of sexual assault accusations in the workplace, CBS Los Angeles printed an article that’s being lambasted on Twitter.
In it, they attempted to bring to light men’s fear over proper workplace etiquette, for those incompetent employees who are unable to see the difference between sexual assault and simple social niceties. (When did the world become so complicated?)
Steve Wyard, who is basically the only person quoted in the article (who is described only as a "veteran sales associate for a Los Angeles company") expressed his perplexity.
He wondered, “have we gotten to the point now where men can’t say, ‘That’s a nice dress’ or ‘Did you do something with your hair? The potential problem is you can’t even feel safe saying, ‘Good morning’ anymore.”
Wow, Steve. You best check yourself.
Don’t know what you’re getting into in those back rooms while you’re stocking shelves, but clearly you’ve got some residual guilt to deal with in the deepest, darkest parts of your soul.
The article continued on, as the author resumed digging their own grave at breakneck speed with a high-caliber jackhammer.
They wrote, “After all, if Garrison Keillor, the gentle-natured former host of public radio’s ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’ can be fired for accidentally (he said) placing his hand on a woman’s bare back, could they get in trouble for something similar?”
The fact that he's "gentle-natured" isn't relevant here.
Wyard, who blunders more and more wildly with each quote (who wrote this thing?!) provides a brilliant solution to the fraught confusion of workplace etiquette. “Just treat everybody the way you’d want them to treat your sister.”
Not that your sister isn't probably great (and might be Beyoncé).
But if Wyard decided to read anything other than the Playboy sitting on top of his toilet, he’d remember that people already got pissed about this reductive perspective.
Writer Hunter Harris perhaps put it best in a piece for Vulture:
Only a sociopath needs a daughter — or a sister, a girlfriend, a wife, or even just a lady standing in front of him at Starbucks — to make him queasy enough at the thought of a sexual predator in his industry to do something about it.