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Jury of Mostly Men Decide NY Reporter Was Not Sexually Harassed Even When Pictures of Her Breasts Were Posted

April 27, 2010

Sounds absurd, doesn’t it?  How is it not sexual harassment to have one’s breasts altered with Photoshop and place up for all to see?  And isn’t it enough of a reprimand when the supervisor doing it gets told he shouldn’t?  Apparently in the surreal world of NY 1 journalism, that’s the way the ball rolls, and the way they like it too.

Reporter Adele Sammarco had sued tNY1, but apparently at NY1, if you “don’t have talent,” it’s all about fostering a climate of sexual harassment:

Some former news assistants had testified that Paulus liked to talk about which female employees had hot bodies, while current employees said they were never harassed.

The station did not deny that Sammarco’s former colleague, Jeff Simmons, enhanced a photo to show her with big breasts and posted it in the newsroom.

But it insisted the juvenile episode was properly handed with a verbal reprimand of Simmons.

Allegations that male news assistants called Sammarco “Big Butt Booty” and mocked her with an outtake video of her pants zipper getting stuck were hotly disputed.

In the end, the heart of NY1’s defense was that Sammarco was a drama queen and a complainer – and not a very good journalist.

The lone female juror thought there was a basis to Sammarco’s claims, but didn’t do anything about it:

One juror, Marie Gorini, said outside Brooklyn Federal Court that “there might have been some element of truth” to Sammarco’s claims – but that wasn’t enough evidence to support a verdict in her favor.

I don’t know how forcefully kissing someone against their will and putting up photos of her breasts is “not enough evidence” of sexual harassment, but obviously since the network gets to act like the jilted suitor-turned-ugly (comment from her boss below):

After the jury’s decision, Paulus said Sammarco “never should have brought this case.”

“It’s hurtful,” he said. “I tried to be good to her.”

instead of a reputable news organization, it seems that all seemed fair to the male jury.  Nothing like a jury of someone else’s peers to make for a fair trial, don’t you think?  Who managed jury selection anyway?  Was Sammarco’s lawyer really helping her with that sort of selection?

Ah yes, and why shouldn’t a pretty girl turn down a kiss from some groping asshole boss just because he likes it, right?  And why should some woman complain when her male colleagues digitally alter photos of her body and post them, with a slight “no-no” response to those men?  I mean, we aren’t talking about adult men, are we?  We aren’t talking about professional men, are we?  Just some good ole boys having fun with a woman’s body at her expense at work?  No, that certainly doesn’t constitute a hostile work environment, no evidence for that, even if they do hold her down to kiss her.  What?? She didn’t like it?  NY1 says all victims deserve it if they “don’t have the talent”?  Oh, maybe NY1 doesn’t say that?  Well, what exactly, do they say?

Guess it’s clear, Dear Readers, if you want to work at NY1, be sure to show up ready to hear comments about your body, be forcefully kissed by other men, reprimanded if you complain, fired if you push it and roundly told you were no good anyway, so good riddance should anyone say anything about it.  Sounds an awful lot like the “blame the victim” scenario in rape cases, doesn’t it?  NY1, does anyone here 1910 calling?  Women couldn’t vote then, and businesses were segregated; maybe you would feel more comfortable going back there.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2010 1:58 pm

    Women are either unaware they have rights to assert or they blend into the demands of their social life and family set up, thereby not raising their voices to fight for causes that really matter for their own well being and dignity in life. Laws, however broadly interpreted, may not be able to change this trend or mindset. Ultimately, women have to explore their strengths and resolve to be bold in questioning such experiences, not with fear or shame, but with the knowledge that they are right in doing so.

    • brokeharvardgrad permalink*
      April 28, 2010 2:25 pm

      I find it odd that the NY1 reporter’s attorney didn’t do a better job with jury selection. Sammarco was sexually harassed, and yet other men found the behavior acceptable. Since most laws are written, enforced and lobbied by men, I am not surprised that women are left out of these equations. The NY1 company comes across as a bunch of cave men, and the lone female juror sure didn’t have the guts to say anything.

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