WTVM Editorial 12/4/17: Shame should be a deterrent - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

WTVM Editorial 12/4/17: Shame should be a deterrent

(Source: WTVM File) (Source: WTVM File)

(WTVM) - When Matt Lauer was fired for sexual transgressions at work, where he anchored NBC’s Today show, he released the obligatory apology statement the next day.

Lauer’s statement was virtually identical to all the other accused sexual harassers or assaulters brought down by women coming forward to tell their stories of abuse.

Lauer’s statement mimicked apologies by another famous network anchor, Charlie Rose, or actor Kevin Spacey, or even the first and most prolific assaulter, Harvey Weinstein – the former movie mogul who has been accused of multiple actual rapes and dozens of other sexual assaults.

The statement always goes like this: he regrets the shame he’s brought upon his family, now that he’s caught.

As Lauer said, “Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and I’m committed to beginning that effort.”

Who wouldn’t regret doing something so wrong and selfish and destructive and in such a publicly humiliating way?

Lauer should feel shame. Shame used to be a stronger deterrent to immoral behavior.

These days, the accused release their statements and go through the motions we have come to expect from all who have made a stunning fall from grace.

If the abusers, from Weinstein to Lauer are so “committed” now to beginning a process of rehabilitation, where was their commitment not to abuse their power in the first place?

Women should always know their employers are committed to proper workplace behavior from the very beginning, not just giving assurances after the fact to changing bad behavior.

At the first hint of sexualizing the workplace by any employee, a fair investigation needs to happen, followed by swift and harsh punishment for the documented inappropriate sexual behavior of any kind.

Sorry Matt, sorry Harvey. Your apologies carry no weight. You should have known better.

We hope these stories help all employers to take a close look at their work environment to make sure employees feel secure in coming forward the first time they experience sexual misconduct.  


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

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Columbus, GA 31906

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