Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 | 2:02 a.m.
Full disclosure. I am a Herman Cain supporter and active in his Nevada campaign. These comments are my own.
We accept that sexual harassment in the workplace is wrong. But do we agree on what constitutes sexual harassment?
A friend who was an airline pilot once found himself flying with a female co-pilot. Female pilots were relatively new at the time and the airline had issued detailed guidelines about sexual harassment. My friend asked the co-pilot how she defined sexual harassment. “It’s whatever I say it is. If it makes me uncomfortable, that’s harassment.”
From an enforcement viewpoint, that’s a very vague — and subjective — definition. But sexual harassment is a charge assumed true unless proven otherwise. It’s not uncommon for large organizations to settle such claims in the least expensive manner, usually a cash settlement, to avoid litigation.
Mr. Cain’s somewhat hesitant reactions may have fed the media frenzy. But after several days of intense coverage, we have not heard sources named, nor seen any of the alleged victims come forward, nor read any details of the allegations. But we have seen saber rattling by attorneys. We have seen evidence of involvement by political operatives. And we have seen character witnesses come forward in Mr. Cain’s defense.
I suggest we all take a deep breath, step back and look at Mr. Cain in totality. Are these charges consistent with what we see?