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Looking back at the sexual harassment media stories that dominated coverage this year

****File Photos** Movie mogul HARVEY WEINSTEIN is taking a leave of absence from The Weinstein Company following the publication of a New York Times article depicting the film producer as a sexual harasser. Weinstein issued an apology for his past behaviour after the allegations of decades of inappropriate sexual advances broke on Thursday (05Oct17). 

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) – The allegations of sexual harassment of more than three dozen women by film producer Harvey Weinstein caused a media firestorm that asked a greater question about how women are treated in the workplace.

No long after, actress Alyssa Milano started the hashtag #MeToo on Twitter that went viral. Many women both in and out of the entertainment industry shared personal stories of sexual harassment through social media.

Here is a look back at some of the sexual harassment accusations that dominated the media coverage this past year.

Bill Cosby – (2004)

In early 2004, Andrea Constand accuses Bill Cosby of sexual assault, she claimed the alleged incident took place at his home in Pennsylvania. She then files a civil suit against Cosby in 2005. By 2006 the civil suit with Constant is settled.

Ten years later, Comedian Hannibal Burress calls Cosby a rapist during a stand-up performance.

“People think I’m making it up. I’m like ‘Bill Cosby has a lot of rape allegations,’ (they reply back) ‘No, you do’ ….That sh*t is upsetting, if you didn’t know about it trust me. Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’”

In November 2014, Barbara Bowman pens an essay for The Washington Post claiming she was raped by Cosby. In addition, Joan Tarshis accuses Cosby of two sexual assault incidents in 1969 when she was 19. Later that same month, Janice Dickinson claims during an interview with "Entertainment Tonight" she was also drugged and raped by Cosby in 1982.

(Warning: This video contains strong adult language and may be disturbing to some viewers)

National Public Radio then interviewed Cosby and his wife about an art collection they donated to the Smithsonian Museum. NPR host Scott Simon questioned Cosby about the allegations made against him. However, Cosby did not respond vocally and Simon just narrated his actions stating he was “shaking his head no.”

More women come forward accusing Cosby of sexual misconduct, several opening a defamation suit against him. In July 2015, court documents reveal Cosby admitted to obtaining Quaaludes to give to women he was interested in having sex with. The district attorney in Pennsylvania reopens the Constand case considering the new information. Cosby then files a counter defamation suit in December against seven of the women who made allegations against him. He is formally charged with sexually assaulting Constand and released from jail on $1 million bail.

On May 16, 2017, Bill Cosby interviews with Michael Smerconish on SiriusXM and explains he will not testify during his criminal trial.

“I decided that I think it’s time for me to do something so that the people who still have faith in me, the people who are still wondering what I sound like as opposed to The National Enquirer, which is very interesting reading when they write about me," Cosby said.

The following month on June 17, 2017, Cosby’s aggravated indecent assault case results in a mistrial.

Roger Ailes (July 2016)

On July 6, 2016, Fox News Channel anchor, Gretchen Carlson, files a lawsuit against Chairman and CEO of the network, Roger Ailes. The same day she also announces her departure from the channel.

“Ms. Carlson, the Former co-host of “Fox & Friends,” was terminated on June 23 – the very day her latest contract expired, even though her current program, “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,” was the leading cable news show in its afternoon timeslot,” according to a statement. “Her complaint alleges that the firing was the ultimate retaliation against her after she rebuffed Mr. Ailes sexual advances and also tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues.”

Fox News Channel then hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations of misconduct. On July 8, 2016, the Los Angeles Times published a story that Ailes’ legal team had filed a motion with the federal court in New Jersey to move Carlson’s harassment case moved to arbitration.

On July 19, 2016, New York Magazine reported that anchor Megyn Kelly admitted to investigators that she was harassed by Ailes about 10 years before Carlson’s complaint. When other Fox personalities jumped to Ailes defense, Kelly was silent on the issue. Two days later, Roger Ailes resigns as Chief executive of Fox News Channel. The announcement came just a few hours before the final night of the Republican National Convention.

After the announcement of Ailes departure from Fox News Channel, several additional employees stepped forward with reports of sexual harassment. Ailes went on to work with President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Ailes lawyers did issue a statement denying harassment claims made by Megan Kelly in her book “Settle for More.”

He died May 18, 2017, at 77.

President Donald Trump and Billy Bush tape (October 2016)

During a filming of “Access Hollywood” in 2005, Trump and host Billy Bush made sexually aggressive remarks about women. The video of the incident was obtained and released by The Washington Post during the 2016 presidential elections.

(Warning: This video contains strong adult language and may be disturbing to some viewers)

Trump is heard graphically explaining how he makes verbal and physical advances on women that are not his wife.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump can be heard saying in the video.

The Post’s report explained that Trump en route to a guest appearance on the daily soap opera “Days of Our Lives” when his mic was on.

Trump issued a formal apology that evening in a Facebook post.

“I said it, it was wrong and I apologize,” Trump said. “I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down.”

Trump’s apology came one day before he was set to debate Democratic nominee Secretary Hillary Clinton for their second presidential debate.

By Oct. 17, 2016, Billy Bush was fired by NBC, according to a report by The Associated Press. On the same day, Anderson Cooper released a video clip of his interview with Melania Trump on Twitter where he questioned her about her impressions of the “Access Hollywood” tape. Melania told Cooper she thought her husband might have been egged on by Billy Bush.

“I said to my husband that you know, the language is inappropriate, it is not acceptable. And I was surprised because that is not the man that I know and as you can see from the tape the cameras were not on. It was only a mic and I wonder if they even knew that the mic was on,” Melania said.

On Friday, when asked about sexual harassment charges made against president Trump, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said: “we’ve been clear on that from the beginning, and the president has spoken on it.”

Charles Payne (July 2017)

On July 6, The Los Angeles Times reported that Fox Business host Charles Payne was suspended from the network while parent company Twenty-First Century Fox investigated allegations of sexual harassment made against him.

Payne on Twitter said he was prepared to fight against the accusations of sexual harassment.

Payne returned to Fox Business Channel in early September after the company’s internal investigation cleared him of the allegations.

Bill O’Reilly (April 2017)

The New York Times releases a report on Fox News Channel anchor Bill O’Reilly claiming that the network or O’Reilly paid $13 million to address harassment claims made against him. The report claimed to have found “five women” that received payment. According to the Times, not all the allegations were of a sexual nature, others were filed claiming the anchor verbal abused them.

By April 5, The Associated Press reported that 20 advertisers pulled ads from O’Reilly’s program, including “Mercedes-Benz, Bayer and Allstate.” President Trump came to the anchor’s defense during an interview with The New York Times and said he “shouldn’t have settled” and that O’Reilly is a “good guy.”

During the airing of “O’Reilly Factor April 11, the anchor told viewers that he intended to go on vacation. On April 19, Twenty-First Century Fox issued a statement announcing O’Reilly’s departure from the network.

After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” the statement read.

On Oct. 21, The New York Times reported O’Reilly struck a $32 million agreement with Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl in January.

(Warning: This video contains strong adult language and may be disturbing to some viewers)

Bill O’Reilly denied allegations of misconduct, according to The Associated Press. O’Reilly now hosts a daily “No Spin News” analysis program on his website and recently published a book. However, he was recently dropped by his literary agency William Morris Entertainment Thursday.

Eric Bolling (August 2017)

On Aug. 4, 2017, the Huffington Post reported that Fox News Host Eric Bolling, co-host of “The Specialists,” sent lewd photos to co-workers several years earlier. A day later, Bolling was suspended from Fox News Channel.

Bolling took to Twitter to deny the accusations made against him.

On Aug. 10, The Associated Press reported that Bolling filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Yashar Ali of the Huffington Post, who first reported on the accusations against Bolling.

Harvey Weinstein (October 2017)

On Oct. 5, 2017, The New York Times released a story detailing allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein dating back decades. Ashley Judd was the first of many actresses to go public with her accusations. Weinstein issued a statement and apologized for his actions and the way he behaved with colleagues.

“I’ve brought on therapists and I plan to take a leave of absence from my company and to deal with this issue head on. I so respect all the women and regret what happened,” Weinstein said.

The report also claimed that at least eight settlements had been reached with women. Weinstein took a leave of absence from his company and his attorney Lisa Bloom left his legal team.

By Oct. 8, Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Co. and the next day, the company announced its intentions to change their name. During this time, more actresses come forward with accusations, detailing their experiences with Weinstein.

Following the release of The New York Times report, at least three dozen women came forward with tails of sexual harassment. On Oct. 10 Weinstein's wife, designer Georgina Chapman, announced to People magazine she was leaving her husband.

By Oct. 14, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revokes Weinstein’s membership and the following day, Producers Guild of America votes to expel him as well. Three days later, Weinstein leaves the board of his company.

Then on Oct. 19, the Los Angeles Police Department announced they have interviewed a potential sexual assault victim and there is an ongoing investigation.

Weinstein is currently a sexual addiction rehabilitation facility in Arizona.

James Toback (October 2017)

On Oct. 22, 2017, the Los Angeles Times published a story claiming they had interviewed 38 women claiming they were sexually harassed by Oscar-nominated director James Toback.

According to the report, the women alleged Toback promised to advance their career when meeting with them in New York City. The women claimed he asked inappropriate sexual questions and even masturbated in front of them.

Toback denied the allegations made against him to the Los Angeles Times. He also spoke candidly with Rolling Stone magazine to refute the claims made against him.

On Thursday, Rachel McAdams and Selma Blair accuse the director of sexual harassment in an interview with Vanity Fair.

George H.W. Bush (October 2017)

In a Oct. 24 Instagram post, actress Heather Lind, claimed former President George H.W. Bush touched her from behind sexually assaulted her from his wheelchair during a promotional event. She Lind deleted the post.

Since Lind made her accusation, two additional women have come forward accusing the former president of similar actions. On Wednesday, the president’s representative, Jim McGrath, released a statement to CNN.

“To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke -- and on occasion, he has patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely," the statement read.

Mark Halperin (October 2017)

On Oct. 25, CNN reports five women have come forward accusing journalist Mark Halperin of sexual harassment while he was at ABC News. Halperin worked at ABC News more than a decade ago. His former employer issued a statement to CNN claiming no charges or complaints were made against him while he was at the network.

The following day, NBC News suspends Mark Halpern as a contributor. Shortly after, Halperin issued a formal apology.

“I am profoundly sorry for the pain and anguish I have caused by my past actions, I apologize sincerely to the women I mistreated,” the statement read. “Towards the end of my time at ABC News, I recognized I had a problem. No one had sued me, no one had filed a human resources complaint against me, no colleague had confronted me. But I didn’t need a call from HR to know that I was selfish, immature person, who was behaving in a manner that had to stop.”

On Oct. 29, Showtime drops Halperin from the show “The Circus.” In addition, the book he was co-authoring with John Hielemann was canceled by Penguin Press, according to The Associated Press.




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