As the #MeToo movement has redefined “acceptable” conduct in every sphere of society—from the workplace to the university, from Hollywood to the Supreme Court—reputation and crisis management consultancy Temin and Company has logged 810 high-profile figures from Cosby to Kavanaugh accused of sexual harassment. This creates a comprehensive database of those accused of #MeToo-related conduct since the arrest of Bill Cosby in December 2015.
Among the 810 Temin’s #MeToo Index has tallied are: 234 in arts and entertainment; 192 in politics and government; 159 in business; 114 in media and broadcasting; and 63 in colleges and universities. “Every sector has been affected,” says Temin CEO Davia Temin, in a news release. “And leaders—CEOs and board directors—are looking for insight on why, why now, and how we can address the reputational risk of toxic workplace cultures.”
Weinstein was the watershed
“We are at a pivotal moment when several aspects of the movement, and its pushback, are converging,” Temin continued. “As the nation is fixated on the Kavanaugh hearings and FBI investigation, as well as Cosby’s sentencing as a ‘sexually violent predator,’ October 5 also marks one year since the explosive revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual misconduct. Our data tells us that these revelations opened the floodgates and set off the spike in allegations around the world.”
Accusations averaged 6 per month between Cosby and Weinstein, and jumped to 78 in October 2017, 119 in November, and 103 in December. The average in 2018 is 42 per month. “We are seeing the public impact of these accusations in real time, and the power they have to marshal public sentiment, outcry, and action,” she added.
No one wants to be a “#MeToo Company”
As allegations around sexual misconduct and toxic culture increasingly dominate the news cycle, the consequences for organizations have risen exponentially. An SEC filing by CBS on September 28 revealed CBS has received subpoenas from the New York County District Attorney and the NYC Commission on Human Rights, as well as a request for information from the NYS Attorney General’s Office regarding allegations against Les Moonves, “CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS.” “A dramatic shift is occurring in organizations everywhere, and corporate boards—especially women board members—are paying serious attention,” said Temin. “No one wants to be a ‘#MeToo company’ today.”
Metrics bolster narrative
“Personal narrative, fueled by social media, has transformed the #MeToo movement into a powerhouse very quickly,” Temin said. “But I believe it takes narrative combined with metrics—with research—to put the issue in context and fuel its next wave. One person’s story on social media, even anonymous, strikes a chord with others who have experienced the same thing, sometimes perpetrated by the same individual. Victims may have felt alone before, but then recognize that they have been part of a pattern. They then post their stories, sometimes anonymously as well. Their stories attract others who do affix their names, and a powerful trajectory of truth is begun.
“But you can lie with narrative as well. We all know that. It is the wise combination of metrics, personal narrative, and pristine due process that will bring us closest to long-hidden truths that have damaged women’s progress forever. That is why I started this Index.”
#MeToo Index: Highlights
Compiling data of allegations around sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, workplace misconduct, and other related behavior, the continuously updated Temin #MeToo Index defines “high-profile” accusations as receiving at least seven mentions in the popular media. The database includes over 25 information fields, ranging from the accused’s age, industry, date of accusation and resolution, to political party. Highlights from the Index include:
- A steep explosion in numbers of public accusations occurred after Weinstein revelations in the New York Times – October 5, 2017:
- June, 2017: 10
- July, 2017: 10
- August, 2017: 9
- September, 2017: 11
- October, 2017: 78
- November, 2017: 119
- December, 2017: 103
- After the spike in accusations following Weinstein, the number of accusations per month has held relatively steady over the last 6 months:
- April, 2018: 28
- May, 2018: 39
- June, 2018: 24
- July, 2018: 39
- August, 2018: 41
- September, 2018: 35
- Entertainment, politics, and business draw most accusations:
- Arts & Entertainment: 234
- Politics & Government: 192
- Business: 159 (including 40+ in finance)
- Media & Broadcasting: 114
- Colleges & Universities: 63
- Final resolutions of cases (many still pending) include:
- 75 Arrested (Some before or after being fired)
- 18 Deceased (3 committed suicide)
- 146 Fired
- 211 Resigned
- 18 Retired
- 53 Suspended/Are on Leave
- 104 Lost Work (including entertainers or sports figures)/Other
- 221 No Repercussions
- 56 CEOs are the subject of accusations to date. 21 CEOs of public companies and 29 CEOs of private companies have had accusations revealed in the media, in addition to 6 nonprofit CEOs. In the nonprofit sphere, there are also 20 CEO-equivalents, including directors, founders, and presidents of prominent, heavily-funded national and international organizations, who have come under fire, with all 20 leaving their positions, although one was re-elected after being exonerated of the charges.
- Accusations of sexual misconduct cross party lines fairly evenly. For those in political office accused of misconduct, the split is fairly even between Democrats and Republicans: 76 Democrats vs. 70 Republicans.
- 97% of accused are male. Asia Argento captured media attention by being on both sides of the #MeToo debate—accuser and accused—but 787 of the 810 alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment or assault on the Temin #MeToo Index are male.
- The time between accusation to resolution has been growing shorter. As #MeToo begins to be seen as a real reputational risk, organizations are paying attention to and acting on complaints more quickly. Some are even announcing the resolution of a complaint at the same time they announce the accusation.
And, separately, in the business sphere:
- M&A deal risk: Financial impact in the M&A space came with the arrival of the “Weinstein clause” in mid-summer ’18, mandating additional due diligence of executive conduct in target companies and allowing acquiring firms to pull out if they found something they didn’t like.
- Asset management flight: Investors are seeing firms with sexual harassment complaints as an investment risk; some portfolio managers are staying away and others are questioning company management about their workplace culture issues and how they are dealing with sexual misconduct.
- Corporate investigations into company culture: “The best organizations are conducting deep dives into their corporate culture to better understand how sexual harassment is tolerated, and the dynamics at play in their workplace. Boards themselves are also more involved in addressing cultural insufficiencies in their companies than ever before – a role that used to belong almost exclusively to management and HR.”
“We are at the tip of the iceberg as more and more organizations continue or begin investigations into their cultures in general and #MeToo incidents in specific,” said Temin. “More incidents will come to light. Different sectors are reacting on different timelines, and with different levels of seriousness, but this is a movement toward fairness and safety that will not be stopped. It is inexorable.
“Organizations seeking to create cultures not only of safety, compliance and security, but of mentorship, innovation, purpose, and excellence, are demanding zero tolerance for this kind of misconduct and are demonstrating greater willingness to mete out consequences when required.”