Before I get into the grit of this post, I must say I have been blessed to work with some of the most talented, kind and generous men in the TV business. Those who were not threatened by a woman in what had usually been a man's business. To the men I worked with, who taught me things about the work and allowed me to grow as an artist, I say thank you.
There is a dark side to TV business. I was never seriously harassed. Probably because I either walked away from it, or fought back. When I worked on Cosby, I had one experience that at the time I found funny. In the light of today, I wonder. We were rehearsing a scene that Mr. Cosby was not in. I was looking in my viewfinder when someone smacked me on the butt. Now, my reaction is to turn and slug whoever did that. I turned with fist raised and saw Mr. Cosby. I paused and he laughed and walked away. I pondered. When time came for a crew break, I walked to the exit where Mr. Cosby was standing talking to someone. As I passed him, I smacked him on the butt. He turned and looked at me and laughed. He never bothered me again and in fact was very nice to me for the next five years.
For me, it was not so much harassment I dealt with, but a sexually charged workplace in some cases. Now, I can be as bawdy as the next person. There is a time and place for such shenanigans. On headsets at a sporting event is not the place. I remember listening to the men on headsets at one baseball game. The language was so foul, the shooting of women in the stands was so crude, and the requests for it to stop were ignored or joked about. I ended up taking my headset off during commercial breaks, but the talk went on during the show. By the end of the game, instead of returning to the remote truck, which was our policy at the time, I retreated to a ladies room in the stadium. I sat in a stall and cried. I was there for maybe 15-20 minutes. The stadium emptied and I walked out to my car. There in the parking lot was the director waiting for me. He was pretty sheepish and apologized for all the bad behavior. I told him it had to stop. Did it? No. Most days I just turned down my headsets, sometimes missing direction because of it. I didn't care. What I will say to all the ladies who read this, if you go to a sporting event, know that cameras are roaming the crowd looking for a sexually charged shot. If you wear low cut blouses and the camera is over your head, they will shoot down your blouse. If you wear a skirt and the camera is below you, they will shoot up your skirt. The most innocent of movement can be made to look sexual on the playback machines by either speeding it up or slowing it down. And guess what? Playback operators keep their own private tapes of all these clips to share with other venues. It's absurd. There is much more to this, but since I am in the process of writing a book, I will save those stories. Just be aware, that I used to keep a note pad at my camera and wrote down many of the comments made by males on the headsets.
For all the charges made recently against men for sexual harassment I say, you go girls. Enough of the locker room mentality. Enough of those in power, or in larger numbers making women feel like dirt. We have a job to do and it has nothing to do with providing you sexual pleasure. And once again, to all the talented, kind, gentle men I have worked with, thank you. Thank you for not being a boar. Thank you for looking at talent and not a body to abuse.