When a celebrity, an artist, a person whose work we admire falls from grace there are a lot of ways to excuse their behaviour.
One of the most common is to blame the person making the accusations by saying that they should have SPOKEN UP in the moment.
They should have said, "Hey, that makes me uncomfortable."
"Hey, no I don't want to see you masturbate in front of me."
"Hey, don't put your hand up my skirt. That's not okay."
"Hey, I have zero interest in you kissing me right now. Or ever."
"Hey, why don't you fuck off already."
The burden of moderating the unwanted behaviour is on the receiving end rather than the actor.
That man is inappropriately hitting on you. You must be a bad woman.
You got raped while wearing a revealing dress. Shouldn't have worn that dress, right?
You got hit on by your boss for a year. Well, you should have quit if you didn't like it.
Oh, hell no!
That's not how this works, people.
The burden of moderating behaviour is on the ACTOR. Not the receiver.
Oh, sure you can tell the BIG BOSS to go screw himself.
And then you can get fired. Or shamed. Or ostracized. And yes, we DO need to do that. We do need to be BRAVE. But sometimes we also need to SELF PRESERVE. Sometimes we need that job. Sometimes we are tired. And we just don't feel like being Police Woman #1 when we never signed up for that role in the first place.
So yeah, when people with power, ANY POWER, act without decorum, without respect, without care, without kindness, without checking in on the receiving end of their comments or behaviour, then it is THEIR BAD.
And yes, we do get to place the full force of the blame on them.
We're all adults here.
We're all responsible for our own actions. Oh sure, we might have had crappy childhoods. We might have grown up in a different time with different cultural norms. But grow up already! You have eyes. You have ears. You can CHECK IN with the way the world is moving. At the very least you can check in with the person you're talking to. See how what you're doing is making them feel.
The beauty of being human is that we are incredibly sensitive.
We can tell how someone feels without even having to think about it. All you've gotta do is look. Just look. That's it!
So the people who consistently make enemies by treating people in a manner that is disrespectful are CHOOSING NOT TO LOOK. They are choosing not to pay attention.
Or, or, or...
Or maybe they are choosing to pay attention, and they like what they see.
They like making people feel uncomfortable because it makes them feel POWERFUL.
Yes, moving forward.
But let's not be innocent about this.
Humans may be amazing. But we're also broken. We're a broken species that is disconnected from our essence. From nature. From who we really are. And that means we like to wield power over other humans. Because we're broken.
Let's not excuse bad behaviour.
Oh, he didn't mean. Oh she didn't mean it.
He wasn't being sexist.
She wasn't being racist.
Nope, they were.
They most definitely were.
Nobody made them do it. And they knew what they were doing. Of course they knew! Just like when you bullied that kid in middle school. You knew what you were doing. You wanted to hurt someone because you're were hurting.
We can be generous in our forgiveness, but let's not be generous with the blame.
There is one person and one person only responsible for an adult's actions. The actor. End of story.
And one more thing: if the bar that you're using to measure your conduct is whether or not people protest, then your bar is really freaking low.