Me Too – Famous Athletes and Civil Rights Lawyers
When I was young and beautiful, I earned money to put myself through college and graduate school by working for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball organization.
I have nothing but good things to say about the actual organization and my superiors, one who was a minor celebrity in his own right. I was on the Phillies Girls promotion team and wore hot pants – my boss was a guy nicknamed Wheels, who everyone knew. I guess some people thought that made me a sexual object and I had harassment coming to me, but I was just trying to work my way through my education with the most lucrative job I could find. Sigh.
I did not mind fans ogling me, snapping a photo with me, flirting with me. I did not consider it harassment unless they crossed a line, which they seldom did. I was friendly and I held myself up to be respected, and mostly, I was respected.
By now if you are a regular reader, you have heard of my “incident” of harassment with a baseball MVP with the initials K.H. who later became an actor. He of course was not the only one.
Most of the Phillies players were kind, and decent to me. They knew I had a significant other and I made it clear I was not there for the extracurricular activity of being a baseball groupie.
One though, was just awful. He was a handsome member of the all-star team, very married. (one initial B) He invited me to his bedroom and when I politely declined, he insisted angrily and was quite furious with me. He thought he was entitled. I continued to decline and he reported me to Wheels, saying I was “rude and disrespectful to him.” When I explained what happened to Wheels, he kept me on the promotions team because he understood the player crossed the line. In those days, most women did not complain of sexual harassment in these kind of situations.
What’s ironic though, is that I simultaneously worked for the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights in those days, post college graduation, and while I attended Temple U grad school. I was investigating claims of sexual harassment and well knew my own rights. I was even in a local newspaper when I found a local college dean guilty of a class action sexual harassment action by a large group of women students.
The lawyers I worked with who checked my work and my “findings” of fault that broke the civil rights laws of the time, also had a problem of roving eyes. The flirting was incessant, and one head lawyer crossed the line with me a time or two. (In short, since travel was part of my job, he requested to go on a traveling case with me and “share a hotel room.” He was married.)
Yes, you heard that right, a civil rights attorney working for the US government was a would-be sexual predator too.
I never did anything about it, being very career conscious, but I really should have done something. I avoided him from then on and shortly afterwards, I moved to Texas and left the position.
It wasn’t the end of guys I worked with trying to cross the line with me, but since just about every woman on Facebook is Me Too, meaning they have experienced sexual harassment or assault, this was a standard and almost accepted practice – the norm.
Hollywood, of course, is much worse and we have ALL known that for a long time and have chosen to ignore it. I am glad it is being examined, but I don’t think it is the end.
Let me hear from you on this.
As usual, a thoughtful and well-written expose about the time before “Me-Too”. You wore hot pants; I wore a nursing dress. Both the stuff of male fantasies. Imagine being a nurse, as I was, and the utter nonsense and sometimes humiliating experiences that I endured in the hospital, clinic and then the pharmaceutical industry. I once tried to report a co-worker/predator and was told to forget it, which I promptly did as I needed the job and income. I know I’m not alone.
I’m glad you reported the guy who was bothering you! Also, I see the irony in a civil rights attorney trying to sexually harass you! I agree with what you say about many females being a “me too”, because I know I am!
THe numbers are astounding.
#metoo. In fact, 2 bosses who were physically repulsive and yet had unbridled, undeserved swag. They made it very clear I had to accompany them out of the office on dates if I wanted to continue working. One, esp disgusting, only hired young very pretty women. The office looked like a sorority house. Needless to say, I moved on quickly. I recently read about one, JB, being a pillar in his community. He must be in his nineties and lost some verve. I remember him asking me to make a reservation at Plato’s Retreat in NYC and to accompany him. I thought it was a restaurant until I contacted a friend in the city who explained. I quickly made an appointment with a client to avoid it. And left the job soon after. Both bosses were married.
Thanks for writing. Isn’t it horrific, the sheer numbers of all of us?
Yikes. I know who you’re referring to in the second scenario and I’m shocked that that happened to you. I always thought you were friends. Pigs they’re all pigs.
It is far from the end Arlene. Unfortunately, so many assumptions about women’s rights and equality are being rolled back now, along with everything else. It us up to us to fight back and make it clear that this genie won’t fit back in the bottle.