On Second Thought, I’ll Have The Kibbeh

by Belle Waring on October 23, 2004

I highly recommend this thoughtful post from hilzoy at Obsidian Wings about this wretched little column from Richard Cohen. In it, he heaps scorn on O’Reilly accuser Andrea Mackris for not bitch-slapping O’Reilly the minute he got out of line (and losing her job, no doubt). From Cohen:

Whether Mackris was aware of her power is impossible for me to say. But I can say that she never went to Fox’s human resources department to complain about O’Reilly. She never seemed to realize that by not complaining and, more specifically, by going to dinner with him, to his hotel room and then, upon returning to Fox News, accepting assignments and a salary increase not given to others, she was hardly telling O’Reilly that she found his behavior thoroughly repugnant, as she says in her lawsuit. I almost pity O’Reilly. Off camera, he must be a bit slow.

As hilzoy says:

…there is something quite odd about pretending not to understand in this case. People who have to deal with sexual harassment are already victimized, whether or not they are “mere victims”. I, for one, thought it was completely unfair that I had to walk through this minefield just in order to be able to talk to a professor about something I needed to know about. Most students did not have to do that, nor (for that matter) were they ever groped by professors at parties, or asked out by them. Lucky them. Unlucky me. I imagine that Andrea Mackris (if the allegations are true) found it unfair that she had to tolerate Bill O’Reilly’s repulsive fantasies in order to advance professionally. Most people don’t have to put up with that sort of thing at all; if the allegations are true, she did, and that’s unfair. It is unfair that what other people are able to achieve by normal means, victims of sexual harassment can only achieve by listening to their bosses’ bizarre sexual comments, or worse. But it would be doubly unfair to insist that victims of sexual harassment be prepared not just to sit through that stuff, but actually to do things that might cost them their jobs, before we will let them bring suit against those who harass them without writing snarky little columns about their complicity.

Word. I usually think that men who write this kind of thing are unaware of the unpleasant things a seemingly normal man might say in such a situation, but Cohen obviously doesn’t have that excuse. It’s clear that he’s never been in this situation, and had to make the careful calculations of whether to go see someone in his office, how to consistently turn down invitations to coffee, and what to say when things take a turn for the nasty. It’s also clear that he lacks imagination and empathy.



SomeCallMeTim 10.23.04 at 4:17 am

Let’s be honest. It sounds more like oblique self-justification for something that happened in his past.


Dan Simon 10.23.04 at 7:07 am

Actually, there’s a huge difference between the experience Hilzoy describes and the O’Reilly case. A college professor’s job includes the responsibility to act to protect students’ interests in many ways, only one of which, obviously, is to refrain from making sexual advances towards them.

Bill O’Reilly, on the other hand, was Andrea Mackris’ boss. Like bosses everywhere, he was a repulsive creep who made his subordinates’ lives a living hell. He had a million torments to choose from, of course, and any of 999,999 of them would have left Mackris with the stark choice of putting up with it or giving up her paycheck and finding a different job. Unfortunately for O’Reilly, though, he stupidly chose the one cruelty that, for obscure political reasons, puts him on the hook now for millions of dollars in damages.

If he weren’t every bit as much a buffoon as he is a jerk, he no doubt would have found a legally unactionable way to victimize his employees, and Mackris really would have been completely powerless.


abb1 10.23.04 at 11:53 am

Let’s say you know a poorly run supermarket. You go there, find a banana peel on the floor deliberately step on it, fall, break your leg and sue the supermarket for $10 million.

Is the supermarket owner blameworthy? No doubt.

Are you a crook? You bet you are.

Is it wrong to call you a crook? Not at all.

Is it wretched to almost pity the supermarket owner in this situation – especially if you’re in the supermarket business yourself? I don’t think so.


rea 10.23.04 at 2:39 pm

Good analogy, abb1. Of course, nobody deliberately breaks their leg, going through all the resulting agony and limitations on activites, in order to be able to sue somebody and MAYBE recover something years later (and $10 million is about 2 orders of magnitude high for even a good broken leg case). And nobody delberately subjects themselves to sexual harrassment in order to have a chance to sue, either, unless they’re an idiot.


Friend 10.23.04 at 3:08 pm


03-cv-1400 (Western District Pennsylvania)


The inability during the allotted discovery period to obtain information from a defendant regarding pertinent issues is obviously prejudicial to a plaintiff in his attempt to prosecute his claims and obtain prompt resolution of his lawsuit. See Adams v. Trustees, N.J. Brewery Trust Fund, 29 F.3d 863, 874 (3d Cir. 1994) (prejudice encompasses deprivation of information from non-cooperation with discovery as well as the need to expend resources to compel discovery).

The meritoriousness of a claim or defense is to be determined from the face of the pleadings. See C.T. Bedwell Sons v. International Fidelity Ins. Co., 843 F.2d 683, 696 (3d Cir. 1988); Poulis v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 747 F.2d 863, 870 (3d Cir. 1984). Here, the defendant never filed an answer to the Amended Complaint and thus have not presented even a facially meritorious defense.

Please note: On September 29, 2004, discovery closed without the defendant communicating any request, scheduling any deposition, and the like. Therefore, a motion for summary judgment is ripe for determination.


The defendant has acknowledged the following with its current attachment (Exhibit):

(1) This issue involves Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which states, in relevant part, that “[a] party may amend the party’s pleading once as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served….” Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). That is, a motion to dismiss is not “a responsive pleading.” Centifanti v. Nix, 865 F.2d 1422, 1431 n.9 (3d Cir. 1989) (holding that a plaintiff is entitled to amend his complaint because neither a motion to dismiss nor a motion for summary judgment is a responsive pleading under Rule 15(a)). See also Washington v. James, 782 F.2d 1143, 1138-39 (2d Cir. 1986)(stating that a party may amend the complaint while a motion to dismiss is pending); and Vernell v. united States Postal Service, 819 F.2d 108, 110 (5th Cir. 1987)(noting that “[a] motion to dismiss is not a responsive pleading and therefore does not extinguish the right to amend an initial pleading”).

(2) The defendant’s Motion to Dismiss failed to make any substantive argument and addressed only the original complaint (no answer to the Amended Complaint was filed).

(3) The Western District Federal court at Docket No. 03-cv-1400 has disregard legal precedent. That is, the Western District on at least four other occasions followed Gonzalez v. Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis, Inc., 493 F. Supp. 499, 501 (S.D. N.Y. 1980) and Taylor v. Abate, 1995 WL 362488 (E.D. N.Y. June 8, 1995) (stating that a motion to dismiss is mooted upon the filing of an amended complaint). See: Harford County v. Mid-State Bank and Trust, Docket No. 98-817 (West. Dist. Pa. Sept. 23, 1998); Ceiriog Hughes v. Halbach & Braun Industries, LTD, et al., Docket No. 97-1348 (West. Dist. Pa. March 3, 1998); Allegheny Environmental Action, Coalition, et al., v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation, et al., Docket No. 96-2178 (West. Dist. Pa. June 5, 1997); and Christopher Allen M.D., et al., v. Washington Hospital, et al., Docket No. 96-1950 (West. Dist. Pa. Feb. 20. 1997).


To recover on a guaranty of non-discriminatory instruction, the plaintiff must establish that he is the holder and owner of the guaranty, and that relief is due and owing on the guaranty. At issue therefore is the plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 claim.

Again note: The defendant failed to raise any available defense. That is, they failed to file an Answer to the Amended Complaint, and with one lone sentence (page 15) of their 25 page original argument they acknowledged the claim but failed to identify a defense.

As amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Section 1981 provides:

(a) Statement of equal rights

All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right… to make and enforce contracts… and to the full and equal benefit of all laws… as is enjoyed by white citizens…

(b) “Make and enforce contracts” defined

For the purposes of this section, the term “make and enforce contracts” includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.

c) Protection against impairment

The rights protected by this section are protected by non-government discrimination and impairment under the color of state law.


The elements of a Section 1981 claim are: (1) the plaintiff is a member of a racial minority; (2) the defendant had the intent to discriminate on the basis of race; and (3) the act of discrimination concerned one or more of the activities enumerated in the statute. See Main v. Conaldson Lufkin & Genrette Securities Corp., 7 F.3d 1085, 1087 (2d Cir. 1993); Green v. State Bar of Texas, 27 F.3d 1083, 1086 (5th Cir. 1994).

The first element of a Section 1981 claim is present; plaintiff alleges he is an African American. See Paragraph 11 Amended Complaint.

The second element is additionally present:

(1) He made application in Fall of 2000 to the defendant online law school, scored 14 of 15 correct on the entrance examination, passed the “psychological testing,” and was advised by a decision maker, Matt McClanahann (Director of Enrollment) that he was “accepted for an October 2000 start as a third-year transfer student.” See Paragraph 12 Amended Complaint.

(2) Soon thereafter, he received notice from the Administrative office (Matt McClanahann Director of Enrollment) that the law school “changed its mind.” That is, the defendant law school communicated specifically “race (African American) didn’t meet the planned demographics the administrative office wanted for the inaugural group of students.” See Paragraph 13 Amended Complaint.

(3) The “change of mind” party-opponent admission was also communicated to a third party. See attached affidavit. See also Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(A). That is, under Rule 801 (n1), an out-of-court declaration is admissible against a party opponent if the declarant was an employee of the party, he made the statement while so employed and it concerned a matter within the declarant’s employment. See Paragraph 14 Amended Complaint. And, because the statement was made by an individual in a management/supervisory position as part of his responsibility as liaison between the administration, tech folks, and the students (to “oversee what was done”), is an admission as to the corporate culture in which the decision to deny plaintiff the ability to make, perform, enforce, modify or terminate an educational contract (ability to enjoy the fruits of a contractual relationship) was made. See Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(A).

Allegations sufficient to support the third element are also present. That is, the online law school denied him the right to “make and enforce” a contract because his race didn’t meet the demographic the planned for the inaugural group of students. See affidavit attached to motion for Summary judgment. See also Paragraph 13 Amended Complaint.

Both the plaintiff and the defendant has introduced evidence demonstrating that the defendant:

(a) added an ex post facto attendance policy in October 2001 that directly impacted the plaintiff third-year of law study, but didn’t apply to the third year of law study of non black comparators: Paula Shaver, Roberto Lee, Elazar Harel, Laura Collins, John Jascob, Farzad Naeim, Patrick T. Reilly, Sandusky Shelton, Chris Zouboulakis, and Ellen Bowden;

(b) requested a “Waiver of Maximum Clinical Hour Limit for Correspondence Law Study” that changed the 2002 fourth-year curriculum directly impacting the plaintiff (violated his State Bar of California approved study plan) but benefitted non black comparators;

(c) held a “Fourth year Forum” at the Los Angeles Marriott in October 2001 with the comparators, but didn’t invite the plaintiff;

(d) offered a LEEP program and/or the mandated prerequisites for non black comparators but not the plaintiff;

(e) held alleged professor-led group chats for the 2001 Evidence course for non black comparators, but didn’t invite the plaintiff

(f) retaliated against the plaintiff (12 month suspension), removal of free speech writings from a public board, refused to share test results (what was marked correct and/or incorrect), and the like;

(g) didn’t adhere to the stated grievance procedure; and

(h) retaliated a second time (denied re- admission without comment).

See paragraphs 19 through 42 Amended Complaint. See also Defendant’s Exhibit “E” of the Memorandum Supporting the “pre-amended complaint” Motion to Dismiss, i.e., OCR Report.


The defendant failed to file an Answer to the Amended Complaint and thus have not presented even a facially meritorious defense. Because of the defendant’s failure to file an Answer (waiver of a defense), the court must accept as true the undisputed evidence that the plaintiff has provided in its Amended Complaint.

The plaintiff has unequivocally proved without any genuine and material dispute from the defendant, each of the essential elements for his 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 claim.

In regards to the “racial animus” link to the separate and unequal treatment that followed the Director of Enrollment’s racial comments, the Third Circuit has held “that discriminatory comments by non-decisionmakers, or statements temporally remote from the decision at issue, may properly be used to build a circumstantial case of discrimination.” Abrams v. Lightolier, Inc., 50 F.3d 1204, 1214 (3d Cir. 1995). That is, unequivocally the discriminatory (separate and unequal) treatment that followed the Director of Enrollment’s statements goes much further than “a failure to notify a student of certain instructional programs,” as suggested by the court.

That is, the Director of Enrollment’s undisputed “racial animus” proves a circumstantial case of discrimination (defendant created conditions that were not equal to that afforded the non black comparators: Paula Shaver, Roberto Lee, Elazar Harel, Laura Collins, John Jascob, Farzad Naeim, Patrick T. Reilly, Sandusky Shelton, Chris Zouboulakis, and Ellen Bowden). See paragraphs 19 through 42 Amended Complaint. See also Defendant’s Exhibit “E” of the Memorandum Supporting the “pre-amended complaint” Motion to Dismiss, i.e., OCR Report.

Because Mr. McClanahann’s statement(s) haven’t been disputed by the defendant, the court must find “no genuine and material dispute” of the essential elements of the 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 claim See also Josey v. John R. Hollingsworth Corp., 996 F.2d 632, 641 (3d Cir. 1993) (court may consider as circumstantial evidence the atmosphere in which the company made its employment decisions); Roebuck v. Drexel Univ., 852 F. 2d 715, 733 (3d Cir. 1988)(discriminatory remarks of University President admissible since he had a significant influence on the attitudes and procedures of decisionmakers).


1. The plaintiff has complied with the Court’s instruction (see October 5, 2004 order). He has requested relevant information.

2. Discovery rules are to be construed liberally in favor of the party seeking discovery. Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495 (1947).

3. Generally, discovery will be permitted “unless it is clear that the information sought can have no possible bearing upon the subject matter…” LaChemie Lacoste v. Alligator Company, Inc., 60 F.R.D. 164, 171 (D.Del. 1973).

4. In light of the averments of the Amended Complaint and the defendant’s own Exhibits (Exhibit “A” attached to the discovery response and Exhibit “E” of the Memorandum Supporting the “pre-amended complaint” Motion to Dismiss, i.e., OCR Report), discovery must be granted.

5. In the alternative, the plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment should be granted.

In conclusion, Kaplan Executives also lied to the court (filed false affidavits claiming no Title IV funding) to avoid constitutional claims that they couldn’t defend…..


abb1 10.23.04 at 3:09 pm

Nobody never-ever, huh. I guess this settles it once and for all and I shouldn’t believe my eyes when I read about this Mackris character.

You know, I dislike O’Reilly just as much as the next guy here, but let’s not go too PC-crazy on this. It really sounds like they deserve each other.


John Bragg 10.23.04 at 3:16 pm

On the one hand, it is damning that she went back to work for O’Reilly. That indicates that O’Reilly’s conduct was not a problem for her.

On the other hand, that O’Reilly recently reached a settlement indicates that she had tapes that he didn’t want to come out.

O’Reilly-trackers have made a decent case that he has more porn on his show than he has to. (I should be working, and I’m too lazy to google.)

I say this as a right-wing nutjob who doesn’t mind porn but can’t stand O’Reilly’s just-folks faux-populism.


bob mcmanus 10.23.04 at 4:07 pm

Cohen has Experience

A Free Republic link, but apparently the original article has disappeared.

“This idiocy will be refuted in a few lines, but let me say this about Richard Cohen. He was caught d… deep in Kati Marton, who at the time was Peter Jennings wife. This was a wee bit of a problem because noted bed partner to the famous Sally Quinn caught them. And, in a rare display of morals, would not lie for Cohen. So he had to fess up and of course, the oft-married Jennings was free to marry again.”…Steve Gilliard

On Cohen

Seems to be a name missing in Gilliard’s paragraph above, the witness. Ben Bradlee? Anyway, Cohen is a sleaze and the press world a cesspool.


mona 10.23.04 at 4:53 pm

Am I the only one who doesn’t get abb1’s analogy?

What are the elements to infer “this Mackris character” found an O’Reilly banana and decided to step on it? Like, she deliberately got him to harass her, just so she could sue him, so he’s the victim of a well-calculated and perfectly executed fraud? Or is O’Reilly the supermarket owner and the banana is… the phone? I’m lost.


reuben 10.23.04 at 5:32 pm

I too don’t get abb1’s analogy, nor do i support the implication in his/her other post that sexual harassment isn’t all that bad, so long as it happens to icky Republican types.

Of course, were it to happen to icky Republican types who argue against legislation protecting people from sexual harassment, maybe that would be different (or maybe not). But as far as I know, ‘this Mackris character’ doesn’t do that.

I also diagree with the notion advanced by John Bragg that going back to work ‘indicates that O’Reilly’s conduct was not a problem for her’. Maybe it was a problem for her and she still went back to work for him. Ambitious people make compromises all the time, even if it means working for true assholes, who aren’t exactly in short supply in the media industry. I suspect that ambitious women are forced to make unpleasant compromises far more often than men are.

Just because she’s driven and rightwing doesn’t mean we should suddenly decide that sexual harassment ain’t so bad after all.

And for anyone who thinks she should have just moved on or not gone back, isn’t that just shifting the problem to the next woman who works for O’Reilly? Until someone did something, he’d just keep getting away with making women’s lives miserable.


St. Doppleganger 10.23.04 at 6:23 pm

I think that we are all missing the biggsest points here. It’s fine and good to discuss current events. What we have to realize is that our discussions will not help anyone in the actual situation. So shouldn’t we be focusing on the issues this occurance has brought to light (yet again) Here are some suggestions:
1. We need to figure out and promote ways of helping women be more assertive.
2. We need to figure out ways to help potential obusers.
3. We need to find ways to help people be more aware that others are having these problems and how to help.
If we keep posting away and do nothing this whole string is a load of *&%#@. BTW I’m a guy, if it matters.


abb1 10.23.04 at 6:38 pm

Well, Mona, did you read the wretched little column? Cohen says:

It also seems true, though, that Mackris either skipped classes in common sense when she was at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism or was playing O’Reilly like the proverbial violin.

Seems pretty accurate to me. I guess you disagree, which is fine.

I am not saying that she deliberately got him to harass her, I am sure he didn’t need any help. But perhaps she used the opportunity. I don’t really believe that she is just plain stupid.

Anyway, sounds like it’s all over and she is now a couple of million dollars richer. And he’ll probably have to publish another self-righteous book to make up for the losses. End of story.


Winston Smith 10.23.04 at 6:47 pm

O’Reilly is a turd–a super duper turd, in fact–as are all sexual harassers.

But the following are also vices: (a) failing to stand up to bullies; (b) allowing someone (including oneself) to be abused.

I may not have the details straight, but it sounds like Mackris let herself be humiliated because she wanted to make even more money than she was already making (a considerable amount of $$ by my standards).

Is this “blaming the victim”? Well, that phrase conceals a confusion. Sometimes victims are guilty. If you beat me up in part because I’m just too much of a weenie to defend myself…well, then you are a bully and I’m a weenie. That is, we both suck. You are perhaps worse, but that’s a different point.


mona 10.23.04 at 7:36 pm

abb1, yes, I did read the column, and I also read the full 20-plus page of the court files on the Smoking Gun.

She might have made all that up, but then, the case being settled out of court leads me to think O’Reilly was the one who had more to lose if the case had gone ahead, and it seems like he acknowledged doing what he sees as “phone sex” (guess the concept it wasn’t appreciated doesn’t make a difference to him). So, if we agree that it’s true he did what he did and said what he is alleged to have said, how on earth does that make Mackris as bad as him? Because she settled for the money?

That’s what I don’t understand. Of course we can disagree, I’m not arguing to convince you. I just don’t honestly understand what makes you think that, I don’t even know what you refer to with the things you heard about her and why they would deserve each other. Just because she worked at Fox, doesn’t make any difference to me. It’s her job. I can totally understand why someone in her situation might put up with that crap until it becomes unbearable, and/or until she has enough to start a legal action, including settling for money, yeah, kudos to her for that. It doesn’t make his behaviour any more legal or ethical, does it? I mean, you either scrap the whole legal system that allows out of court settlements or financial compensation, or don’t blame the plaintiff for going through that system. Even if you see her desire to keep her job and take the pay rises, and her taping the conversations, as “using the opportunity”, it was still O’Reilly who behaved like a jerk and against the law. I see her actions as wanting retribution for something that has no excuses and is, incidentally, illegal. This idea that she played him like a violin is reversing the responsibilities. He played that violin all of his own.

I thought the post at Obsidian Wings said it best. I don’t see any other way to read the situation, unless other details come out that imply she ‘set him up’, by deliberately making him think she was flirting with him, but so far it doesn’t seem like that at all.


Laura 10.23.04 at 7:44 pm

Okay, some of you have obviously never been victims of sexual harrassment or known anyone who has been. Guilty because you didn’t stand up for yourself? Hello? Do you blame murder victims because they didn’t dodge the bullet or fight the knife? I know it’s not quite the same, but still . . . Sexual harrassment is generally a power play and who knows what might have been held over Mackris’s head. O’Reilly, who has more media power, might have suggested that he go public with some embarrassing comments or photos. In these cases, the victims usually find themselves in a bind. If they defend themselves or refuse advances, they’re led to believe that something worse will happen. Often, this doesn’t even have to be overtly stated. An employee might fear for his/her job even if the boss who’s doing the harrassing hasn’t overtly suggested that he/she will. Or sometimes, one thinks, well, if I just muddle through, I’ll be out of this situation soon and won’t have to deal with it anymore. Not necessarily the right response, but happens pretty often.


mona 10.23.04 at 7:53 pm

“If you beat me up in part because I’m just too much of a weenie to defend myself…well, then you are a bully and I’m a weenie. That is, we both suck.”

What’s that, Terminator ethics 101? Sheesh…

She put up with the verbal harassment because she wanted the job and the money, yeah. And she’s to blame as a hypocrite and a ‘weenie’ for that? That’s ridiculous. Lots of people in the world put up with shitty bosses to keep jobs and get pay rises. You can’t know which incident pushes them over the line in each situation. From her legal papers, it seems she felt she could tolerate it as long as it didn’t prevent her from working. It also seems clear that the protestations from FOX that she should have immediately filed internal complaints are pathetic, imagine telling anyone at Fox that their main star is a pervy old fart, first you’d be given an award for slowest female employee to get a clue, secondly you’d be kindly shown the door unless you agreed to keep it all quiet and put up with more of that crap. Come on people.

Anyway, I’m sure $2 million is just about enough money to not give a damn about what people think of you for daring to challenge poor, poor Bill O’Reilly of poor, poor Fox News. I just wish she’d leaked the tapes all the same.


Winston Smith 10.23.04 at 8:12 pm

Oh fer chrissake.

It’s not “Terminator ethics” to say that you have an obligation to defend the innocent (including yourself), nor to point out that you are especially negligent if you fail to do so in a case in which you have so little to lose.

*I’m* not the one offering the radical view of morality here…it’s those who suggest that victims have no obligations to defend themselves at all (and the corollary that we have no obligations to defend the innocent) who are.

Aside from the straighforward theoretical flaws in such a position, it’s a blueprint for learned helplessness.

My god, the claim seems to be that we (and women in particular) are so weak and fragile that we have no obligations to stand up for ourselves at all. O’Reilly wasn’t threatening violence, and M doesn’t seem to have been on the verge of financial ruin.

If no other argument resonates with you here, perhaps it will help to recognize that this is to “infantilize” us (and women in particular.)


Steve 10.23.04 at 8:26 pm

This is a serious question-not trying to be aggressive, or taking sides, or anything. But if you are all saying O’Reilly is guilty of sexual harassment simply because the woman says so afterwards, then what is the difference between sexual harassment and courtship? People in relationships have phone sex all the time. Apparently, people who are being sexually harassed do so also. I had always thought that the difference between courship and sexual harassment was that sexual harassment is ‘unwanted’ sexual advances. Well, the only way to determine whether a sexual advance is ‘unwanted’ is by the reaction of the recipient, isn’t it? And if the recipient both 1) makes no unfavorable response, and 2) is not obligated to make an unfavorable response, then how can the harasser know that he is engaged in harassment rather than a sexual relationship?
Again, no attempt to be snarky. In the real world (where we all work) people who work together engage in sexual relations all the time-sometimes leading to marriage, sometimes eventually ending. I can’t see how this could qualify as sexual harassment, and how to legally punish sexual harassment without the victim actually saying that she didn’t like it at some point, and practically, the only way to make such a theory enforceable would be to make all sex between colleagues illegal.




Winston Smith 10.23.04 at 8:40 pm


Your main point seems right to me–but if I’m not mistaken M *did* indicate to O’Liely that she was unreceptive to his advances and wanted him to stop.

But the main point seems plausible: if the patient in question doesn’t indicate displeasure, the agent can’t tell courtship from harassment.

O’R’s advances were a but *outre*, but to use that as grounds for determining the issues seems to be to “privilege” “vanilla” sex over other kinds. A PC no-no, no?

One suggestion: there’s got to be an active indication of receptivity in order for it to be non-harassment? Dunno. It this reasonable? Dunno.

Oh and: I hope you realize that this crowd is going to crucify you for that comment…


vik 10.23.04 at 8:57 pm

Why is personal responsibility so controversial here (outside of Abb1, winston smith, and steve’s posts)? i mean, sexual harassment cases clearly do depend on both sides’ actions just as all interactions between ppl do. Blaming someone for their own actions is perfectly legitimate. After all, if one leaves a car door open with one’s keys in the ignition in a high crime area knowing the prevalence of car thefts and then that person has their car stolen, should we not call the person a fool? Does this necessarily mean the guy who stole the car is not a criminal guilty of theft? The way ppl are responding to Cohen’s column is ridiculous–Mackris clearly was not born yesterday and knew what was going on and so her behavior is fair game for criticism. This does not necessarily mean o’reilly is suddenly exonerated and to pretend that this situation is some sort of binary choice is intellectually dishonest in the extreme…


Ethesis 10.23.04 at 9:18 pm

OCTOBER 13–Claiming that he was the target of a $60 million shakedown bid, … I think that was the problem that sets the editorialist off …

Anyone have a link to the settlement announcement? Did O’Reilly trade off his criminal claim as a part of the settlement?

You’ve got answers, all I have are questions right now.


Ethesis 10.23.04 at 9:25 pm

Oh, have to say that harassment suits are always difficult for everyone involved. I’m not sure that this suit is really a good topic for editorializing about.

A real question would be what role does the Fox HR department serve? Do they see themselves as facilitating and protecting management or some other role? That is an important question.



For a good example of an HR department that was a critical cog in a mass sexual harasment environment.


vernaculo 10.23.04 at 11:17 pm

Institutional misogyny is hard to distinguish without alienation. When you’re in the hustle it’s just the rules of the game. But to talk about the responsibility of the victim – to fight back or flee or whatever – is to view the situation as some kind of morally neutral natural phenomenon.
You could even say the rape victim should have maced her attacker twice instead of only once, or whatever tactical details your prurient interest brings to mind. The moral truth is men like O’Reilly act out the pathologies of the social construct they inhabit. Since we can’t attack or condemn or legally judge that construct as a whole, we have to work the individuals into the system.
Too much of the abb1/steve position is too close to that sickening moral prudery that creates the pragmatic stances of adolescent boys, that inverts responsibility, and excuses the rape of a prostitute because there she was, offering her favors on the street late at night, dressed-to-fuck, doing that “C’mon, c’mon baby…”.
We’re all forced to compromise to survive now, ethically, morally, strategically. Excusing the damage because the victim was in a compromised position is passive nihilism. It’s weak and void of compassion.
Compassion, at this juncture, being possibly the most subversive attitude available to any of us.
Whether his accuser is venal and duplicitous is less important finally than that she be given all the benefit of the doubt and more. Anita Hill comes to mind.
This little dramalette isn’t happening on a neutral stage, it’s happening in a stagnant tide-pool of patriarchal misogyny – from which some of us have begun, with great effort and a lot of support, to emerge.


Winston Smith 10.23.04 at 11:50 pm

One more comment and then I’m shutting up.

Gotta disagree, vernaculo. You’re treating this as an all-or-nothing matter. M may have been in a compromised position, but that’s human life. There are always forces working to undermine our autonomy. There’s absolutely nothing in the facts laid out so far that make it reasonable to think that the autonomy of an ordinary person would be catastrophically compromised under those conditions.

The average woman, of course, faces many more challenges in this regard than the average man, and that’s got to be taken into account. (Though not every woman is less powerful than every man.) But even doing so doesn’t seem to matter in this case, for the reasons already discussed above.

You attack a Straw Man…er…Person. I’m stunned that you would think that M freely going back to a known disgusting-but-not-physically-dangerous environment in order to make more money (far more money than I make, incidentally, or am likely ever to make) is like a woman being raped.

Acknowleging that some victims bear some responsibility for what happens to them is not devoid of compassion, it’s simply acknowledging the facts about some cases.

M certainly does not deserve “all the benefit of the doubt and more,” as that would mean convicting O’R on M’s testimony alone, giving him no opportunity to even respond to the charges. And sexual harassment charges are frequently false.

Oh, and *unbridled* compassion is not subversive, unless you mean of our humanity, as it is to treat us as if we were children or kittens. And it’s not humane to convince people that they are more helpless than they really are. That’s worse than showing insufficient compassion!

Still, for completely different reasons, I’m starting to think that I may have been partially wrong in comments above. If M knew what she was getting into and went back thinking “I’m gonna stand up to that SoB this time and settle his hash!” then although she’s responsible for ending up in the situation, I don’t think she’s in any way blameworthy.

And, of course, I hope she settles that SoB’s hash.


belle waring 10.24.04 at 1:00 am

Following up on winston’s last comment, what part of suing someone for millions of dollars and subjecting him to public scorn and humilation screams “passive victim” to you? Here were the choices: put up with some tawdry bullshit to further her career, or make sub-optimal career choices to avoid having an asshole boss. I have been in similar situations (though in the academic setting hilzoy mentions) and one thing to keep in mind is that you don’t know how bad it’s going to get. Some guys aren’t total dicks and are willing to back off after a certain point. You might not think her strategy a good one, but the following can work: mention a number of times that you don’t welcome the behavior, and then studiously and consistently ignore it, while minimizing contact to the best of your ability (consistent with being able to do your job). Like I say, it’s not a bad strategy. Often the guy will get bored and go find someone else to hassle if he doesn’t get enough of a rise out of you and you otherwise treat him with bored professionalism. So when this strategy failed, and her only other choice was to do something that would damage her career (ie, quit), Mackris said, fuck it, I’m taking this guy down. I’m getting him on tape. So what, again, is the problem here? How is she complicit in this? You might think, well, I would never put up with such humiliation, but unless you’ve been there, you just don’t know. Maybe you’re not as “tough” as you think, when toughness means deciding on the spur of the moment, under terrible pressure, that you will do something to cost you your job, right this second. Also, it’s hard to know how to react when someone so totally oversteps the bounds of polite behavior. It’s genuinely shocking and often puts you in a stunned state for e moment, while you think “could he possibly just have said that?” And then when he switches back into normal work/asshole boss mode, you’re kind of like “did that even happen?” I’m telling you, the lack of empathy I saw in the Cohen column is pretty fucking widespread in this thread.


vik 10.24.04 at 1:39 am

I think the lack of empathy might spring from her possibly demanding 60 million bucks in an attempt at extortion…after all that is is as probable as your beautifully constructed scenario for M…


bob mcmanus 10.24.04 at 1:55 am

What Belle said, but…

The rule is out there, it is considered absolute. You do do mess around sexually with those below you in the organizational chart. Or those over whom you have responsibility. It is there, like many regulations, to protect both parties. It can be seen here that O’Reilly took the larger risks and paid the greater price. The rule was there to protect him from false accusations and from his own foolishness.

Yes, the rule was violated at every organization I have ever been a part of. And while every violation did not cause problems, most did, and every organization had instances of serious problems.

Don’t screw where you eat, folks.


Pollie Anon 10.24.04 at 2:02 am

what bothers me about this belle is this idea that nothing has changed on the sexual harrassment front.

this isn’t 30 years ago. there are all sorts of things for women to do if they’re sexually harrassed.

and it’s hard to accept as as valid today an argument that would have been valid 30 years ago.

what i’m hearing from you is that all the changes have made no difference.

and what i see in the real world is that the changes have made a hell of a difference.

andrea m. had plenty of options and arguing she didn’t is arguing in a time warp.


Leila 10.24.04 at 6:29 am

To further this falafel-as-sexual-metaphor game, I must inform you that my Lebanese uncle uses “making kibbeh” as a very crude euphemism for sex. Before the advent of the Cuisinart, you made kibbeh, a sort of meat loaf, by pounding raw meat and reconstituted bulgur wheat grains in a very large mortar and pestle. The mortar is the size of a gallon pail at least. The pink meaty mixture, the sound of that pestle slapping meat, the ancient joke of pestle-as-penis – it’s quite a nastily accurate image. So Belle is being uncannily perceptive with her subject header “I’ll have the kibbeh.”

Traditional recipe with picture & description here:


My recipe, includes filling & instructions for baking, here:



Cranky Observer 10.24.04 at 8:34 pm

While generally agreeing with Belle’s analysis, the observation I have is this: the entertainment industry is designed in part (say 20%) to bring youngsters (including both women and men) into positions where they can be sexually taken advantage of by older men. Disgusting, but true. Has been for thousands of years at least.

Anyone who is thinking about working in the entertainment industry should be told this before accepting their first job. Anyone who has _left_ an entertainment industry job and come back to work for the same boss should by that time be informed about the industry and know that boss’ tastes (evil though they may be).

So I have a bit of a hard time understanding why the employee wasn’t able to foresee this and take some appropriate action one way or another?



mona 10.25.04 at 10:30 am

“this isn’t 30 years ago. there are all sorts of things for women to do if they’re sexually harrassed.”

Yeah, like going to court and sueing the asshole. 30 years ago you couldn’t do it because amongst other things there were no laws on sexual harassment at work.

What has *not* changed are the reactions like Cohen’s and others on this thread, the view that a woman who sues and gets a large sum in an out of court settlement must have cunningly set up the whole thing as a trap just to get the money, or even just nudged the asshole along to frame him (as opposed to get enough evidence to sue him) – nevermind if the asshole in question admits doing what he did (even if just by minimising it in terms of “doing something stupid”), nevermind if there’s tapes that force him to settle out of court, nevermind his unverifiable claim on the $60 million demand is obviously the last trick he can try, to pass her off as an opportunist, to pass legitmate legal action off as “extortion”. It’s very pathetic, more so because you’re all rallying around a guy who inspires less moral integrity than a drug dealer.

The notion of personal responsibility in that view is very very confused. No wonder people take a while to decide to go to court, if so many people are still finding all sorts of excuses for the harasser and heaping scorn on the harassed. Doh. I mean, all you people who commented on how she’s responsible for not, I don’t know, launching a nuclear war on him the very first time he made those remarks at her, you’re all proving exactly the point you’re trying your best to ignore.


mona 10.25.04 at 12:00 pm

Cranky: admittedly the line between *media* and *entertainment* is often blurred, but do you really picture, say, all CNN or BBC employees under 30 ready and willing to listen to their bosses wank on the phone to them just so they can get to cover the next Olympics?

Sure that’s what the entire media/entertainment industry is designed for?

And assuming it was and that’s exactly what happens in every media corporation in the world, then, what are the laws for, if there’s no alternative than quitting your job or even changing career altogether?

Seriously, can anyone provide even more bizarre ways of finding excuses for O’Reilly’s “stupid” behaviour? I don’t think we’ve heard them all yet.


Alison 10.25.04 at 12:59 pm

steve said
what is the difference between sexual harassment and courtship? People in relationships have phone sex all the time. Apparently, people who are being sexually harassed do so also. I had always thought that the difference between courship and sexual harassment was that sexual harassment is ‘unwanted’ sexual advances. Well, the only way to determine whether a sexual advance is ‘unwanted’ is by the reaction of the recipient, isn’t it? And if the recipient both 1) makes no unfavorable response, and 2) is not obligated to make an unfavorable response, then how can the harasser know that he is engaged in harassment rather than a sexual relationship?

This is a serious question and deserves a serious answer. Profoundly intimate activities, such as masturbating while talking to someone, should never be initiated unless you are completely sure that a very high level of intimacy has been reached, and the other person is happy with it. Seriously, steve, otherwise you are heading for a world of embarrassment. Lack of immediate and overt unfavourable response to such an activity is nowhere near a clear enough sign that it is OK to proceed.


Winston Smith 10.25.04 at 2:46 pm

Sounds to me like you’re attacking a Straw Man. No one here has tried to excuse O’Reilly.

This discussion seems to be divided between two sides, (a) the “O’R is scum and probably guilty, but she may bear some measure of responsibility for knowingly going back to working for a known sexual harasser” side and (b) the “O’R is scum and guilty and it is impossible for any victim of sexual harassment ever to be responsible for anything” side.

O.k., now there I just did it, too. Straw Man. But not by much…

Why distort the views of people who are honestly wrestling with a tough question? We may be dumb, but we’re not evil. Explain it to us if we’re wrong, but at least do us the courtesy of addressing our actual arguments.


mona 10.25.04 at 3:32 pm

Winston, Cohen in that article is most definitely and overtly finding excuses for O’Reilly, even ‘feeling pity for him’, and I can’t see how anyone who thinks that a victim of sexual harassment on the job can bear some “responsibility” for that is doing anything different, since that’s precisely the core of Cohen’s argument, that he believes O’Reilly has been duped and that she somehow set him up for that. Or didn’t quite stop him earlier or something. As if she provoked him. Possibly only to get the money. And the fame. Fame and fortune, that’s what sexual harassment lawsuits are for, yeah…

For the record, I obviously believe in innocent til proven guilty – but, amongst other things, the two facts of O’Reilly admitting to what he did, and him accepting to pay an expensive settlement out of court to avoid those tapes coming out, lead me to infer he is likely guilty of the allegations.

I don’t care if Mackris is the most scheming bitch ever to walk the planet. Or the most whiney “victimised” damsel that supposedly single-handedly sets feminism back 40 years (I genuinely don’t get that, but whatever). If O’Reilly did what he is alleged to have done, and if there is his own admission and evidence that cost him $2 million to keep out of the public eye, he is the one who did it all, it wasn’t Macrkis or her lawyer who drugged him up and put a vibrator in his hands and a phone in the other and nudged him to continue on and on, even after it was made clear to him his games and calls and “have dinner with me, I’ll take care of you” wink wink weren’t welcome. How on earth could she ever be responsible? Because she didn’t quit her job immediately and for good? Or go to Fox’s human resources where it’s oh so very likely that calling O’Reilly a perv would have gotten her lots of support and career opportunities?

She is guilty because she cared for her career and so actually managed to put up with that crap as long as she thought she could take it?

I’m not using straw men, I’m just baffled – but I’m not trying to be polemical for the sake of it, it’s just frustrating to find anyone defending Cohen’s view. It’s not just mysoginist and totally unsympathetic, as well as so disgustingly sycophantic to an egomaniac like O’Reilly, it’s also illogical.


mona 10.25.04 at 4:02 pm

PS – no, yours isn’t a straw man at all, because yes, it is 100% “impossible for any victim of sexual harassment ever to be responsible for anything” (where anything is limited to “the harassment”, obviously) – *if* she is genuinely a victim of sexual harassment, rather than someone who brilliantly executed a genius masterplan to produce fake evidence to incriminate the other person and ‘frame’ them, or to conceal all evidence that they were actually consensually enganged in a relationship, or something like that.

I don’t see any other scenarios in which the target of harassment is _responsible_ for the harassment.

I also don’t see what, short of severe neurological disorders, can prevent any person from recognising the clear line between harassment and consensual activity.

There’s people saying all this stuff, and worse, like Cohen – yet, it becomes offensive and insulting to express revulsion at this kind of view? I don’t think so.


Sally 10.25.04 at 5:15 pm

Cohen isn’t exactly neutral on the whole sexual harassment question: he was very publicly accused of sexual harassment about five years back, and he was forced to move his office so he wouldn’t be in the vicinity of any young female reporters. I found a little blurb from New York magazine about it:

‘The New York-bureau chief, Blaine Harden, passed along to management a complaint against Cohen made by Devon Spurgeon, a 23-year-old female special correspondent in the bureau. One Post insider says Harden and others in the bureau witnessed several instances in which Cohen made inappropriately sexual remarks to the young assistant. Management took the situation seriously enough to fly to New York to talk with Cohen on April 3, the insider continues, while Spurgeon was asked to take a paid leave of absence during the negotiations. Eventually, management decided that Cohen’s office would be moved. Cohen vehemently denies the charges. “There was, for want of a better term, a personality conflict,” he explains. “It didn’t involve sexual harassment — it didn’t involve sex, it didn’t involve harassment — and no disciplinary action was taken.”’

Frankly, this seems like something he should have disclosed before opining on a case in which a media figure is accused of sexual harassment.


Steve 10.25.04 at 5:32 pm


“Profoundly intimate activities, such as masturbating while talking to someone, should never be initiated unless you are completely sure that a very high level of intimacy has been reached, and the other person is happy with it.”

This level of knowledge about what someone else is thinking never exists and never has. One can infer it (by being married to that person, by having dated that person for X amount of time, by having slept with that person, by having done it before and gotten a favorable response?, etc etc). But ‘completely sure’? Categorically impossible. And that’s the point.



vik 10.25.04 at 5:33 pm

“I also don’t see what, short of severe neurological disorders, can prevent any person from recognising the clear line between harassment and consensual activity.”

Have you ever worked in a real workplace setting? Or even gone through a sexual harassment workshop and actually listened? The workshops will give you plenty of examples of the many many situations where the line is not so clear. We are not all automatons who only act in set patterns and both sides in any relationship may have feelings that change in the middle, conflicting thoughts/actions,, etc. that erase the ‘clear line’ you seem to think exists in your fantasy world.

Since you clearly want someone to attack for misogynistic attitudes and no one has yet given you any real material, here goes…Sexual harassment laws are very very vague and in some cases, the claims made under them are ridiculous (ex. a person tells a sexual joke to a colleague while on break and a coworker passes by who overhears it–that is sexual harassment on par with saying “Sleep with me or you are fired” according to the law). Now you seem to think that pointing out that sexual harassment claims are not as cut and dried as all of us would want and/or that real life doesnt always fit the villain/shocked damsel or evil boss/always professional underling schematic is akin to approving of o’reilly’s or other harassers’ behavior. That is absurd conflation.

Moreover, a settlement doesn’t always indicate guilt (though in o’reilly’s case, him being a scumbag leads me to believe otherwise); more often than not, it indicates good sense–there is nothing for o’reilly to gain by prolonging this and substantial amounts to lose. In addition, any feeling that Andrea Mackris is somehow congenitally incapable of seeing that here is a golden opportunity to make a lot of money very easily is highly patronizing to her intelligence and reveals a pretty flawed understanding of human nature. In that sense, Cohen’s article and ALL of our comments stop short of many of the observations that ppl less sympathetic to (and possibly more realistic about) sexual harassment claims would have made. Your attitude of judgmental condemnation to anyone who brings up the awkward issues surrounding sexual harassment cases is pretty unproductive…


Alison 10.25.04 at 7:41 pm

steve said he couldn’t be quite certain whether masturbation was welcome in the workplace

‘completely sure’? Categorically impossible.

In a sense of strict epistemology you are probably right. In the sense of knowing how to behave in mixed company, you may be missing the point.

But, in cases where you aren’t completely certain that such practices are welcome, the rule is that the risk is borne by the person doing the masturbating, rather than the bystanders.


mona 10.25.04 at 8:14 pm

vik: have you actually read the details of the allegations against O’Reilly?

Yes, of course the lines can be blurred when it’s stuff like one-off jokes or innuendos that can be meant with no intention to harass, but the line is drawn clearly in any case, even the most “trivial” one, when the person clearly and seriously makes her or his lack of appreciation known.

If O’Reilly really did what he did – repeatedly called this woman to subject her to his masturbation fantasies about _her_ and boasted about doing the same to other women and that he’d drag them down if they only attempted to call him on it, etc., everything as is detailed in the papers – then, there is no fucking way he didn’t know where the line was and that he’d crossed it very heavily. This is way beyond silly jokes. Your boss masturbating over the phone to you and explicitely saying if you sleep with him he’d take care of your career. I don’t see what’s blurred about it.

We’re not talking all the theoretical cases in which sexual harassment can be alleged when no harassment was meant – yes, in theory, I agree the laws – like any laws – can be abused.

We’re talking a specific case. With details that have come out. With an out of court settlement. With tapes that cost him $2 million.

I’m not in Mackris’s or O’Reilly’s head. I wasn’t there. But those public facts paint a picture that seems rather clear. It looks most definitely like harassment, and if you accept that everything that was alleged is true, there is no other way to interpret it and no other responsibility but O’Reilly. That is what I meant: if there is harassment, there is no other responsibility than the one who perpetrated it. No, I’m not looking for any mysoginists to attack. I am genuinely sickened by views such as in Cohen’s article (btw, interesting bit of background information, the one posted by Sally, don’t you think?). Any attempt to infer that O’Reilly was naively led into some trap or couldn’t really tell if her subordinate welcomed his behaviour or not and if she really meant it when she said he should stop and stick to professional talk and behaviour are really poor excuses for something that is clearly out of line. I don’t even think this is so much about sexism as power, really.

Gee, I’m so sorry to be so “judgemental” about some big megalomaniac hypocrite who stalked his employee with calls where he masturbated while boasting about his experiences with prostitutes.

Of course the settlement means O’Reilly had “nothing to gain by prolonging this and substantial amounts to lose” – because prolonging meant that all the details would come out in court hence in the media and on tv as opposed to on a website. Because as long as it’s just an allegation like now, he can dismiss it or say he was stupid or naive or duped – and can even imply he’s really proud of his sexual appetite, the worst that can happen to him is be subject of jokes on the Letterman show. “I just had a call from O’Reilly” is going to be a classic line for a while now. It can’t hurt his popularity among those who already worship him. It won’t add anything much to the dislike those who despise him already feel. But if he went to court, and if there are tapes to be heard, then that’d be a LOT more to explain or dismiss.

Compare to Michael Jackson. Again, innocent til proven guilty. But with the information available so far about him and his personality and habits as well as the lawsuits, do you honestly think settling out of court paints a more favourable picture of him? and an unfavourable one of his accusers? Another case of sly extortion? How? did they make it all up?

In addition, any feeling that Andrea Mackris is somehow congenitally incapable of seeing that here is a golden opportunity to make a lot of money very easily is highly patronizing to her intelligence and reveals a pretty flawed understanding of human nature

Oh really. Well, I actually said, kudos to her for asking for $2 million, actually, even if she’d asked for $60, it still alone wouldn’t be enough to invalidate her claims and the fact O’Reilly felt threatened enough to pay the money.

I’m sure she saw the opportunity for that. _After_ the harassment started. Unless you believe she really got him into a trap from the start, plotting all the way, and in theory that is always possible, but I don’t see it in this one case and from the publicly available facts about it. Do you? Are you suggesting she got him to believe she was very turned on by his behaviour, and that when she said “stop” she really meant “ah go on”? So her lawyers submitted false allegations? Or do you simply object to the fact she didn’t sue immediately? Or that she settled for money?

I’m not sure what you really object to in her behaviour, but settling for money out of court is allowed by the system. I personally don’t agree with that system, but that’s how it works, and I don’t see how people are to be blamed for doing something they’re perfectly allowed to do – settle for money instead of a trial – while those who did something illegal and unethical as well as unprofessional – harassment – are the victims. That’s turning the whole thing on its head.

Finally – yes, I have worked in a real workplace, thanks, and I have known people involved in real harassment cases, both sexual and non-sexual. Luckily nothing too heavy, but very unpleasant all the same. So yeah, that’s also why this whole thing enrages me so much. None of those cases I have had the closest experience of – and even witnessed, in one instance – ever went to court, and you know why? exactly because of the views perpetrated by people like Cohen. Those people didn’t have hard evidence and other people willing to back them up and most of all the financial resources to start a lawsuit, so they were definitely not going to have it that “easy” challenging someone more powerful and risking their entire careers and reputations, and they were not prepared to have people infer some scheming motive if they asked for damages from the company or university. So they put up with it or just changed jobs. I’m sure there’s also instances of those very scheming tactics by which people just make up allegations or plot to frame somebody for money, but going to court is not like firing a gun, it’s a risk. You can’t fool a court that easily if you’ve got nothing but fake charges and a thirst for money.

But again, in theory, everything is possible. Why not talk of the real actual case in question?


Steve 10.25.04 at 8:26 pm

You caught me. Immediately after I sent my email, I thought I had misread the issue.
The issue is not that “one can’t be ‘completely sure’ that the other person welcomes your sex talk” (as I said). The issue is really “How can one be ‘completely sure’ that the other person welcomes your sex talk, GIVEN THAT THE OTHER PERSON IS UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO RESPOND TO AN ADVANCE.” How can ANY level of knowledge of the other person in a sexual relationship exist, if the other person doesn’t (isn’t obligated to)respond to one’s affections? That was my original question.

The rest of your comment is just silly. If your standard of behavior in relationships is to be
‘completely sure’ of anything, then you have obviously never been in a relationship. Since I assume that is not the case, you are making an argument that you personally couldn’t possibly take seriously-just scoring points with the feminists on the discussion board.



mona 10.25.04 at 8:45 pm

There you go, it is getting more and more pathetic – search google news for all stories with the keyword “mackris” and you come up with some real gems, among which:

“Why the Left is targeting Bill O’Reilly”

“It’s really blackmail”

“Did Mackris Plot to Shake Down FOX?”

In which you’ll learn all about Andrea Mackris, nickname “Andrea Mattress”, and how she went back to Fox from CNN with a tape recorder and a brilliant plan to pay off her debts…

bq. On Oct. 15,… The New York Post published the headline, ‘Lunatic’ O’Reilly Gal Went Nuts In Bar,” over an article that described Ms. Mackris as having thrown “a hissy fit inside a tony Midtown hotel bar.”… Martin Dunn, deputy publisher and editorial director of The News, *suggested* in an e-mail message on Friday that The Post *_might_* be pulling its punches because the News Corporation owns both The Post and Fox. (The News runs Mr. O’Reilly’s syndicated column on its editorial page.) …Mr. Allan said that he felt no such pressure, and that neither Mr. O’Reilly nor his bosses had sought to influence The Post’s coverage…. “In general terms,” Mr. Allan said of his paper’s coverage, “it’s been pretty fair and balanced.” Having appropriated, however temporarily, the slogan of the Fox News Network, Mr. Allan then treated himself to a sustained laugh.

You can’t make this stuff up, it’s pure genius.


Alison 10.25.04 at 9:24 pm

The point steve, if I have to spell it out in full, is that the inevitable uncertainty that underlies human emotional relationships does not give you or anyone else carte blanche to perform sexual acts without invitation. That might make relationships tricky if you take a robustly literal approach.

I was making it into a joke, by pretending to take seriously your claim that you didn’t know whether to masturbate in front of other people or not. I thought you were playing along with the joke, but it seems you meant it in deadly earnest from the start. Right. (tiptoes away)


Winston Smith 10.25.04 at 10:47 pm

Whew, this discussion is getting too heated for me. I’m outta here.

But first, let me make it clear that the only points I’m really committed to are relatively abstract and as follows:

(a) One has at least some obligation to stand up for one’s own rights.


(b) If Mackris went BACK to work for O’R KNOWING what a scumbag/sexual harasser he is, then it isn’t clear to me that she bears no responsibility for her situation. This does nothing to detract from O’R’s scumminess.


mona 10.25.04 at 11:10 pm

Last attempt: *why* does someone who actually wants to keep a job on one of the main news shows of the country bear responsibility if her boss continues to be an asshole, in fact, behaves more and more like an asshole, thereby also infringing the law, in spite of repeated requests to stop that?

You have a boss who’s a scumbag. You have the job you want. The laws – as well as common sense – say that it’s the scumbag boss who has to answer legally, professionally and financially for being a scumbag, _not you_.

If nothing detracts from O’Reilly’s scumminess, then nothing detracts from it – not even Mackris failing to be a pure disinterested damsel in distress with no interest for money or career (as if wanting money and a career were flaws).


Steve 10.26.04 at 12:02 am

I know what you mean. This really is an academic blog. Academia is alot like the army; every few years I get nostalgic for one or the other, but it only takes about ten minutes in the presence of either one to remember why I left.



Jay 10.26.04 at 6:17 am

I know a young woman who found herself in a similar situation. She also tape recorded several conversations, including one she had with HR folks who told her she was wrong, the stuff she had recorded hadn’t happened. Of course, they didn’t know she had recorded any of it.

She then quit and sued. She had to fire two lawyers who wanted to settle out of court. But any such settlement would have entailed her having to shut up about it.

What she wanted is for them to stop it. Not just with her, but with the women who might come after her. And she wanted to be able to talk about it. Because she thought it was wrong.

I consider her one of the most courageous people I know, first for putting up with the crap, and second for nailing the bastards.

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