The impact of a sexual misconduct settlement on #MeToo

A sexual misconduct settlement could threaten #MeToo progress at California Capitol

LOS ANGELES – When #MeToo began to gain momentum in 2017, many believed that it had gone beyond the fight against sexual harassment. It’s now widely considered that the best way to address systemic inequality and sexual abuse is to help men, particularly men from marginalized groups, feel comfortable coming forward.

A sexual misconduct settlement could threaten #MeToo progress at California Capitol

For this reason, #MeToo has taken on added urgency since allegations first surfaced by actor Ashley Judd and others that powerful men in entertainment, media, government and in business have sexually harassed or assaulted women and some men, as well as to keep women safe in the workplace.

The settlement of an allegation of sexual harassment on the job is a small but significant milestone in #MeToo’s story. In response to Judd’s allegations, Disney agreed to pay Judd and her attorneys more than $20 million.

California is one of several states where lawmakers have expressed concern about the impact of a sexual misconduct settlement on #MeToo.

“This is a good step, but it is also part of the larger problem of toxic masculinity and sexual harassment,” said Democratic Assemblyman Evan Low, R-Davis. He said that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the Legislature to be a part of a settlement until there is a national reckoning with sexual harassment — and that the Legislature has too many of its own problems to try to fix.

Low’s concern was echoed by California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who pointed out that some lawmakers who were involved in the sexual misconduct settlement are still in office.

“It would be a travesty for us to enter into a settlement for a sexual misconduct case that we are not aware of and have not been a part of,” Atkins said.

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, said he understands how important it is to settle.

“But let’s not rush into this. We have a huge problem with sexual harassment, and we can’t treat it just as an isolated issue.”

Rendon says he’s been in contact with Judd and she expressed no concerns about her settlement with Disney.

Atkins said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has been in contact with #MeToo complainant Ashley Judd, who faces $

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