Women Say a “Rigged” System Allows Wall Street to Hide Its Sexual-Harassment Problem

There is little doubt that finance has had just as many cases of sexual predation as other industries, and perhaps more. Finance is a male-dominated industry and the few women who manage to enter it, and to climb its ranks, often become the targets of the men who work there.

.. Renée-Eva Fassbender Amochaev, a broker who successfully sued Smith Barney for gender discrimination in a subsequent case when it was part of Citigroup, told me that the way Wall Street firms resolve sexual harassment cases continues to protect perpetrators and firms. Large settlements are paid, but the men who either committed the bad behavior or who effectively condoned it, often remain. “No one gets fired,” she said. “Everyone on the inside knows the system is rigged.” And, because the settlements are confidential, the incidents are kept quiet.

.. members of her department went to Scores, a topless dance club in Manhattan, to celebrate a colleague’s promotion.

.. Managers placed all the women’s desks together, and that part of the floor was known as the “pink ghetto.” The rest of the office was decidedly more masculine. “It was a locker room,” she said. “It was horrible, but I just sucked it up for a year.”

.. Carnoy said she thought about suing Bear Stearns because what went on there was so “despicable,” but then she thought better of it. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I can sue them but I want to be in this industry for the next thirty years’,”

.. An executive’s annual bonus can be in the millions of dollars and if a woman experienced egregious harassment or criminal sexual assault on Wall Street, the settlement would also be in the millions.

.. Pao told me that she thought part of the reason might be because that while women had won a few legal victories—and had received cash settlements—their careers had stalled afterward.

.. the broader #MeToo moment is strengthening an “underground” movement, or whisper network, where women who work in finance help each other. “What Wall Street still underestimates is that the ‘underground’ is still alive and well and growing stronger with this new movement,” she said. “These women find me, contact me, call me—for twelve solid years now. We plot, we organize in secret and effect change through an underground, which is how you, and countless women, have found me. It’s all we have right now.

If Hollywood stars really want to fight harassment, here’s how they can start

Gadot, whose Wonder Woman is the lone real breakout superhero of the DC movie franchise, reportedly declared that she wouldn’t sign for future installments unless the movies were no longer financed by RatPac-Dune Entertainment. RatPac is co-founded by director and producer Brett Ratner, who has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault by a number of women.

.. Actors in Hollywood work on contract. Often, that makes them vulnerable: By preventing a woman from getting cast in new projects, super-producers such as Harvey Weinstein can start a slide that derails her entire career. But the reverse is also true.

.. So for those with power in Hollywood who want to make a difference, here are some places to get started:

1. Transparency around sexual harassment cases and settlements:

.. his behavior stayed a secret because of the non-disclosure agreements his lawyers wrote into those settlement contracts. If Weinstein hadn’t been able to do that, maybe his alleged victims wouldn’t have received financial compensation. But his misconduct also might have come to light much sooner.

.. what if actors asked that productions provide a full accounting of whether anyone in a supervisory position on a production has been charged with, sued for or paid a settlement involving sexual misconduct? That wouldn’t just protect people at the top of a production; it would let folks in every department on set know whom they’re working with.


2. A reverse “key man clause”: Roger Ailes, the former chief executive officer of Fox News, tried to entrench himself at the network with something called a key man clause in his stars’ contracts. That legal language meant that if Ailes left the company, other people who worked at Fox News would have an opportunity to renegotiate their contracts, and it was intended to create a disincentive for the network to force Ailes out.

.. But maybe stars could negotiate clauses that, rather than protecting them from being fired, allow them to walk off a production without penalty if one of their colleagues reports being harassed or assaulted, or if an independent outside monitoring group says that harassment is happening on set and victims are being blocked from making reports.


3. An end to arbitration and confidentiality clauses

.. Big stars such as Gadot could not only refuse to sign contracts that force them into arbitration and require them to keep silent about anything that happens to them on the job. They could also refuse to work on any project that requires any employee at any level to abide by such provisions. By doing so, they’d preserve their co-workers’ right to sue if they were harassed and make it harder for studios and directors to hush up misconduct.

.. If an actress can progressively raise her salary, that gives her more leverage in future situations, more financial independence from a director, producer or studio head who might try to sexually harass her, and more ability to sign with a new agent should hers misbehave.