sexual harassment | KUOW News and Information

sexual harassment

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/

Kim Malcolm talks with Crosscut reporter David Kroman about his investigation into the work culture at the city of Seattle's Human Resources department.

File photo
Flickr Photo/Modes Rodríguez (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

At the end of 2017, we posed a question to KUOW listeners on Facebook: Have you experienced increased anxiety or depression this year due to world events and stories in the news?

The responses poured in.

Washington lawmakers are taking steps to address sexual harassment at the state Capitol. The House passed a resolution Thursday to establish a task force on sexual harassment. Members will include lawmakers, lobbyists and staff.

The stories of sexual assault and harassment that emerged last year seemed to touch every industry — Hollywood, hotels, restaurants, politics and news organizations, including this one. Many of those stories focused on what happened, but most didn't or couldn't get to the question of why: Why do some people, mainly men, sexually harass their colleagues?

Psychologist John Pryor has been thinking about this for more than three decades, and he has created a test in an effort to measure a person's tendency to harass someone. It's called the "Likelihood to Sexually Harass Scale."

I shared my #MeToo for my daughter

Jan 7, 2018
Lauri Hennessey (top), Mimi Mahoney, Senator Bob Packwood, Julia Brim-Edwards, and Bobbi Munson. Shortly after this photo was taken, Hennessey joined Packwood's personal staff.
Courtesy Lauri Hennessey

There goes Hollywood again, leading from behind.

It's really funny how the entire world is now jumping on the Harvey Weinstein bandwagon (or off it, as it were). Yet Hollywood knew for many, many years about Weinstein's behavior. It was condoned. Again and again.

Lauri Hennessey was one of many anonymous women who accused Oregon Senator Bob Packwood of improper conduct in the 1990s.
Courtesy Lauri Hennessey

A powerful senator and public champion of women is accused of sexual harassment. As the number of accusers mounts, his fellow senators urge him to step down. Eventually the pressure is too great, and he resigns. 

We're not talking about Al Franken. We're talking about former Oregon senator Bob Packwood.

Public records released by Central Washington University this week show professor and GOP state Rep. Matt Manweller is barred from contacting past or present students while the school investigates allegations of sexual harassment against him.


A Washington state representative denies sexually harassing anyone, but has resigned from his leadership position.

Do the results of the Alabama special election mean voters are turning away from Republicans? 

Updated at 9:48 a.m. ET

PBS will no longer distribute Tavis Smiley following what a spokeswoman called "multiple, credible" allegations of sexual misconduct uncovered by a recent investigation into the late-night show host's behavior.

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe that "a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment is essential to bringing about change in our society."

At a time when partisan opinions are so polarized on a range of issues, Republicans and Democrats are relatively similar in believing that society should crack down hard on sexual harassment, a new poll from Ipsos and NPR suggests.

The long and growing list of high-profile men losing their jobs amid sexual-harassment allegations speaks to a big cultural sea change. But is that shift driven by generational differences in how sexual harassment is viewed, or by bigger changes in the workplace?

Seattle executive consultant Kim Arellano has taught classes on generational differences, and says sexual harassment makes for the liveliest discussions.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, center, looks at election returns with staff during an election-night watch party at the RSA activity center, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala.
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, and others were swiftly fired after allegations against them broke. But Roy Moore came within 1.5 percent of being elected to the U.S. Senate. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is still on the bench. And Donald Trump is still in the White House, as was Bill Clinton following his own transgressions.

When it comes to claims of sexual misconduct, why are media figures being held to a higher standard than public officials?

Seattle writer Ijeoma Oluo
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke talks to Laura Kipnis, author of the book "Unwanted Advances," and Ijeoma Oluo, Seattle writer and editor at large of the Establishment, about  power, behavior and how you change the culture around sexual harassment. 

Reporter, broadcaster, and author Dan Rather in the KUOW studios on December 8, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Dan Rather knows exactly what question he’d ask President Donald Trump in an interview: What are you so afraid of?

Rather told Bill Radke he’d start this way: “Mr. President, of what are you afraid? You have indicated by word and deed that you are very afraid of something."

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, left, playfully interrupted Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez as Juarez spoke about the renovation of KeyArena, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Seattle officials have approved plans for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena. Many people are hoping the redesign will attract a new professional sports team to the city. City Councilmember Debora Juarez led the legislation. She was also among the female council members targeted by venomous comments and threats when they denied plans for a separate sports arena in the Sodo neighborhood. 

This story has been updated

Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller has been placed on paid leave from his job as a professor at Central Washington University pending an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct.

The university released no details of the allegations, but said in a statement that the investigation will be conducted by an outside investigator and “will be thorough, objective, and fair."

Previously Manweller has been accused of sexually harassing and even propositioning females students at the university—allegations he denies.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is stepping aside from directing his restaurants and taking leave from his TV cooking show following reports of sexual misconduct over a 20-year period.

The move was apparently spurred by a report published Monday morning on the dining and food website Eater, in which four women allege that Batali touched them inappropriately:

Week in Review: Friday, December 8, 2017

Dec 8, 2017

This week, Senator Al Franken said he'll be resigning his Senate seat over accusations of sexual harassment, and some liberals are not celebrating. They want Democrats to resign only when President Trump does. What's the right thing to do?

A fiery top Republican in the Washington Legislature is facing renewed scrutiny over allegations he sexually harassed students as a professor at Central Washington University.

Senator Patty Murray in the KUOW offices, Jan. 2016.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Minnesota Senator Al Franken said today he'll resign in the coming weeks. He's repeatedly apologized as several women accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior.

Updated at 7:51 p.m. ET

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., plans to announce his resignation on Thursday, a Democratic official tells Minnesota Public Radio. The official spoke to Franken and key aides, MPR News reports.

Franken's office, however, says that "no final decision has been made."

Bill Radke talks to the New York Times' Gender Editor Jessica Bennett about the fact that so many of the high-profile men who have been accused of workplace sexual harassment and assault also decided what stories we all had access to, from movies and TV to news coverage. Bennett has been writing about this in her newsletter for the NYT, The #MeTooMoment.  

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan’s first week in office saw housing help for low-income families, a study of the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and a proposal for two years of free community college tuition for public high school graduates. We’ll look ahead to the challenges to come.

Pramila Jayapal
Flickr Photo/Joe Mabel (CC BY SA 2.0)/

Kim Malcolm talks with Rep. Pramila Jayapal about why she believes Sen. Al Franken should step down from Congress. On Tuesday, Jayapal also called for Rep. John Conyers to resign. Both men face multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Women who signed a “Stand With Us” anti-harassment letter to Washington legislative leaders in November say they want a “safe, neutral space” to formally and informally report allegations of misconduct.

Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET

Garrison Keillor, the creator and former host of A Prairie Home Companion, has been accused of inappropriate behavior with someone who worked with him, according to Minnesota Public Radio, which has announced it is cutting ties with Keillor and his production company.

Courtesy of Lily Loofbourow

Bill Radke talks with Lili Loofbourow, culture critic for The Week about The Myth of the Male Bumbler.

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken is facing a second allegation that he groped a woman without consent while her husband took a photo of her with the senator at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.

Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor has announced he may be leaving the hit Amazon series after two women accused him of sexual harassment.

Tambor continues to deny the allegations leveled this month by one of his co-stars on the show and by his former assistant. But the actor intimated his departure from the show, in a statement provided to NPR, due to a recent "politicized atmosphere" on the set.