Celia Rivenbark: No Joke, We’ve Been Dealing With Harvey Weinstein’s Our Whole Lives

By Celia Rivenbark
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and humor columnist who frequently writes about politics. In this column she shares a few of her experiences during her career where men simply acted like jerks.

Tribune News Service

I remember the first time it happened to me.

The man who signed my paycheck sent me to look for some supplies in his office. But when I opened the bottom drawer, it was a stack of pornographic magazines greeting me instead of the payroll ledger he’d requested.

I whirled around at the sound of his voice, the door softly closing behind him. “You like what you see?” he asked.

I was embarrassed, ashamed, confused. So I did what I’ve always done when I’m nervous. I laughed it off.

Because humor is how I deal with all the tough stuff. It’s my armor, my sword and shield, my sanity saver.

I giggled like a fool and scurried around him and out of the office. Later, I discovered that was a typical hazing of a new female employee. It was just accepted as normal. The other women in the office laughed it off as No Big Deal. But it didn’t feel normal. It felt dirty. I felt dirty. Decades later, I still feel dirty.

There would be plenty of similar incidents over the years. During an interview with an actor, one I had respected and researched for my job as a film reporter, I suddenly felt his bare foot cruising up my leg as we sat at a waterside table for the interview.

He looked at me, a dot of cocktail sauce clinging to his lip. “I want to taste you,” he said simply. The very first thought I had was that I had done something to encourage this. But what? It was a straightforward interview, no flirting, just questions about his career goals and some lunch chatter about the beauty of the Intracoastal Waterway. What signal had I given this man that I was ready for a romp? That I would even tolerate being talked to like that? What had I done?

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