In an article for the Boston Globe, Katz, Marshall & Banks partners Debra Katz and Lisa Banks shared their thoughts on the impact of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony during the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, and the tangible difference that the #MeToo movement has had on how employers respond to accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment.
The article, “Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers see progress in the #MeToo movement,” discusses how societal views towards sexual misconduct have, and have not, changed in the two years since the #MeToo movement began, and in the one year since Dr. Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sharing a positive perspective, Ms. Katz addressed how #MeToo has brought to light a major issue that was largely ignored and trivialized for decades. “I do believe that the movement has done a great deal to educate companies, employers, etc., about how corrosive it is to ignore these kinds of credible allegations because the person is perceived to be a high wage earner, mission critical, too important to fail.”
In just the past month, the firm’s representations of two clients have exemplified the accountability that the #MeToo movement has brought. Ms. Katz and Ms. Banks are representing a woman who alleges that professional football player Antonio Brown acted inappropriately when he hired her to paint a mural for him, and then threatened her when the story appeared in Sports Illustrated. They also represent Patricia Wulf, who has accused renowned opera singer Placido Domingo of sexual misconduct. Brown was cut by the New England Patriots, and Domingo has resigned his position as Director of the Los Angeles Opera and has withdrawn from numerous scheduled performances.
Unfortunately, victims who speak up still face incredible scrutiny. “What we have always seen and what we continue to see is retaliation, backlash, threats, and intimidation against women who stand up and accuse powerful men of sexual misconduct,” said Ms. Banks.
In the end, Ms. Katz sees a simple result of #MeToo: “People are held accountable and that’s a good thing.” While there’s still work to be done, the momentum is in the right direction.
Read the full article here.