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Combating Harassment

Gretchen Carlson Speaks from Experience in Her Talk on Workplace Harassment

— November 10, 2017 — Keynote Trends
American commentator Gretchen Carlson delivers a TED talk on workplace harassment, in which she recounts her own experiences at Fox News, and more specifically, with her former boss, Roger Ailes.

She tells her audience of her desire to progress in her career, and the sense of entitlement that her boss felt that he had to her, as he responded to her concerns by asking for sexual favors. Before continuing, Carlson makes sure to clarify that sexual harassment does't discriminate, stating that a person can be young or old, wearing a short skirt or hospital scrubs, married or single, or anything else. In part, she says this is because sexual harassment is more about a control of power than it is about sex.

In 2016, Carlson came forward with her own allegations, unsure of what the response would be, and what exactly her future would hold. After she did so, a number of women came forward to share their experiences with her as well, many of whom were blacklisted from the industries they worked in for seeking help. It's these stories that pushed Carlson to do more about it, in hopes that women will one day be able to come forward without facing unjust repercussions.

By recounting her own experiences, as well as those from the women who reached out to her, Carlson shows the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, and how myths surrounding the women who come forward continue to hold progression back.

After pointing this out, Carlson highlights three steps that would help to prevent it. The first is to turn bystanders into allies, as it's rare that witnesses to these crimes ever come forward. The second is to change the laws, to give victims and witnesses the backing that they need to appropriately defend themselves. Finally, the third is to stand up and speak out, despite how scary it might be, so that sexual harassment in the workplace isn't left unchecked.