With the news that NBC has fired Matt Lauer, citing "inappropriate sexual behavior," Variety now reports a detailed account in which multiple women shared their experiences of being harassed by the former "Today Show" co-host.
Lauer joins the long list of men who have been accused of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct in recent months. On the same day that the Lauer story broke, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) severed ties with Garrison Keillor – the creator and former host of "A Prairie Home Companion"– after accusations of sexual misconduct. His company owns the rights to the name of that show, which is now hosted by Chris Thile. MPR plans to rename the show.
The question remains: What can be done to shut down this behavior as it happens?
The organization Women in Film is offering an answer. On Dec. 1, the non-profit group, which works to bring gender equality to the entertainment business, will launch a telephone help line to provide legal aid, counseling and advice to people experiencing sexual harassment.
This is the statement from Women in Film on the creation of the help line, which was financed by the talent agency William Morris/Endeavor (WME):
Since early October, the world’s attention has been focused on the unfolding story of countless allegations of sexual harassment against many powerful men in the entertainment industry. In response, Women In Film is launching a Sexual Harassment Help Line — an integrated program to refer victims of harassment to designated mental health counselors, law enforcement professionals, and civil and criminal lawyers and litigators."
Anyone, regardless of gender, can access the Sexual Harassment Help Line at 323.545.0333. The Help Line will go live beginning FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1 at 10am PST. It will be open M-F from 10am-5pm.
WME generously provided seed funding for the Help Line.
The help line was one of the solutions discussed at a recent event in West Hollywood that included a panel with lawyers, actresses, and a casting director, moderated by Women in Film president Cathy Schulman.