Timeline of sexual harassment allegations in 2017
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Allegations of sexual harassment have dominated the media headlines in 2017. Major personalities in entertainment, publishing, photography, politics, and journalism were named by accusers. Many lost their careers while others remain in their current positions.
Sexual harassment investigations by new outlets in 2017 have changed the dynamic of the media industry and cause lawmakers on capitol hill to change policy.
Here is a look back at some of the sexual harassment accusations that dominated the media coverage this past year.
Bill Cosby (2004)
In Andrea Constand accuses Bill Cosby of sexual assault the civil case was settled in 2006. Between 2014 and 2015 Several women come forward and accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct, several opening a defamation suit against him. In July 2015, court documents reveal Cosby admitted to obtaining Quaaludes to give to women he was interested in having sex with. The district attorney in Pennsylvania reopens the Constand case considering the new information.
He is formally charged with sexually assaulting Constand and released from jail on $1 million bail. Then on June 17, Cosby’s aggravated indecent assault case results in a mistrial.
Roger Ailes (July 2016)
On July 6, 2016, Fox News Channel anchor, Gretchen Carlson, files a lawsuit against Chairman and CEO of the network, Roger Ailes. The same day she also announces her departure from the channel.
Fox News Channel then hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations of misconduct. On July 19, 2016, New York Magazine reported that anchor Megyn Kelly admitted to investigators that she was harassed by Ailes about 10 years before Carlson’s complaint. Roger Ailes later resigns as Chief executive of Fox News Channel. Several additional employees stepped forward with reports of sexual harassment. Ailes went on to work with President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He died May 18, 2017, at 77.
President Donald Trump and Billy Bush tape (October 2016)
During a filming of “Access Hollywood” in 2005, Trump and host Billy Bush made sexually aggressive remarks about women. The video of the incident was obtained and released by The Washington Post during the 2016 presidential elections.
(Warning: This video contains strong adult language and may be disturbing to some viewers)
Trump is heard graphically explaining how he makes verbal and physical advances on women that are not his wife. Trump issued a formal apology that evening in a Facebook post.
“I said it, it was wrong and I apologize,” Trump said. “I pledge to be a better man tomorrow, and will never, ever let you down.”
Trump’s apology came one day before he was set to debate Democratic nominee Secretary Hillary Clinton for their second presidential debate. By Oct. 17, 2016, Billy Bush was fired by NBC, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Charles Payne (July 2017)
On July 6, The Los Angeles Times reported that Fox Business host Charles Payne was suspended from the network while parent company Twenty-First Century Fox investigated allegations of sexual harassment made against him. Payne on Twitter said he was prepared to fight against the accusations of sexual harassment. Payne returned to Fox Business Channel in early September after the company’s internal investigation cleared him of the allegations.
Bill O’Reilly (April 2017)
The New York Times releases a report on Fox News Channel anchor Bill O’Reilly claiming that the network or O’Reilly paid $13 million to address harassment claims made against him. By April 5, The Associated Press reported that 20 advertisers pulled ads from O’Reilly’s program. On April 19, Twenty-First Century Fox issued a statement announcing O’Reilly’s departure from the network. On Oct. 21, The New York Times reported O’Reilly struck a $32 million agreement with Fox News analyst Lis Wiehl in January. Bill O’Reilly denied allegations of misconduct, according to The Associated Press. O’Reilly now hosts a daily “No Spin News” analysis program on his website and recently published a book. However, he was recently dropped by his literary agency William Morris Entertainment Thursday.
Eric Bolling (August 2017)
On Aug. 4, 2017, the Huffington Post reported that Fox News Host Eric Bolling, co-host of “The Specialists,” sent lewd photos to co-workers several years earlier. A day later, Bolling was suspended from Fox News Channel. Bolling took to Twitter to deny the accusations made against him.
On Aug. 10, The Associated Press reported that Bolling filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Yashar Ali of the Huffington Post, who first reported on the accusations against Bolling.
Harvey Weinstein (October 2017)
On Oct. 5, 2017, The New York Times released a story detailing allegations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein dating back decades. Ashley Judd was the first of many actresses to go public with her accusations. Weinstein issued a statement and apologized for his actions and the way he behaved with colleague
By Oct. 8, Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Co. and the next day, the company announced its intentions to change their name. Following the release of The New York Times report, at least three dozen women came forward with tales of sexual harassment. On Oct. 10 Weinstein's wife, designer Georgina Chapman, announced to People magazine she was leaving her husband.
By Oct. 14, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revokes Weinstein’s membership and the following day, Producers Guild of America votes to expel him as well. Three days later, Weinstein leaves the board of his company. Then on Oct. 19, the Los Angeles Police Department announced they have interviewed a potential sexual assault victim and there is an ongoing investigation.
Ben Affleck (October 2017)
On Oct. 11, Ben Affleck issued an apology for a 2003 sexual harassment incident where he groped actress Hilarie Burton on the TV program “Total Request Live” (TRL). He issued that apology via Twitter.
Roy Price (October 2017)
Amazon Executive Roy Price was accused of sexual harassment on Oct. 12. The woman who worked as a producer on Amazon’s program “ High Castle,” claimed Price propositioned her with vulgar language in 2015. Price stepped down as the head of Amazon Studios after the allegations were made public.
Chris Savino (October 2017)
In an Oct. 19 report, “Entertainment Weekly” stated Nickelodeon Producer Chris Savino, “was no longer with Nickelodeon.” He created the networks “The Loud House” program. The report claimed that accusations against Savino went back for more than a decade.
Lockhart Steele (October 2017)
Vox Editorial Director Lockhart Steele was fired on Oct. 19 by the organization after a former employee accused him of sexual misconduct. The allegation claimed he had acted inappropriately with a Vox employee.
John Besh (October 2017)
Restaurateur John Besh was accused on Oct. 21 of making unwanted sexual advances toward a graphic designer he hired. According to Nola.com, Nine women approached them about with stories of similar conduct. Besh later resigned from his restaurant group on Oct. 23.
James Toback (October 2017)
According to the report, the women alleged Toback promised to advance their career when meeting with them in New York City. The women claimed he asked inappropriate sexual questions and even masturbated in front of them. Toback denied the allegations made against him to the Los Angeles Times. He also spoke candidly with Rolling Stone magazine to refute the claims made against him.
Terry Richardson (October 2017)
On Oct. 23, famed fashion photographer Terry Richardson was accused of sexually harassing models. Richardson has previously been accused of similar allegations. Was later banned by Conde Nast. Richardson admitted to interacting with models in a sexually explicit way but maintains that all of his actions were consensual.
George H.W. Bush (October 2017)
In an Oct. 24 Instagram post, actress Heather Lind, claimed former President George H.W. Bush touched her from behind and sexually assaulted her from his wheelchair during a promotional event. Since Lind made her accusation, two additional women have come forward accusing the former president of similar actions. On Wednesday, the president’s representative, Jim McGrath, released a statement to CNN.
“To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke -- and on occasion, he has patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely," the statement read.
Mark Halperin (October 2017)
On Oct. 25, CNN reports five women have come forward accusing journalist Mark Halperin of sexual harassment while he was at ABC News. Halperin worked at ABC News more than a decade ago. His former employer issued a statement to CNN claiming no charges or complaints were made against him while he was at the network. The following day, NBC News suspends Mark Halpern as a contributor. Shortly after, Halperin issued a formal apology.
On Oct. 29, Showtime drops Halperin from the show “The Circus.” In addition, the book he was co-authoring with John Heilemann was canceled by Penguin Press, according to The Associated Press.
Knight Landesman (October 2017)
The New York Times reported Landesman resigned after a lawsuit was filed against him. The lawsuit states that Landesman sexually harassed at least nine women over the past decade. Landesman is accused of sending vulgar emails and using his stature in an attempt to lure sexual encounters. After the accusations came forward, Landesman offered his resignation from Artforum Magazine on Oct. 25.
Ken Baker (October 2017)
Ken Baker was accused of inviting a former E! News employee to sit on his lap after he called her into his office on Oct. 26. The writer also allegedly made inappropriate comments and touched her in an uncomfortable way. Another former intern also alleged that Baker propositioned her for sex and wanted to give her a sex toy with his name on it. E! is currently investigating the incident and is keeping Baker off the air while the investigation continues.
Kevin Spacey (October 2017)
On Oct. 29, Anthony Amey came out and accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him when Amey was 14 years old. Spacey apologized for what he did and also came out the closet as a gay man. Since Amey’s initial allegations, a plethora of men have also come forward to accuse Spacey of harassing them. Spacey is currently checked into a sex rehab facility. It was also announced the Netflix hit television show “House of Cards” would end.
Jeremy Piven (October 2017)
Jeremy Piven is accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault by three different women on Oct. 30. Piven initially responded saying that he denies the allegations that were made about him. One woman says that Piven jumped on her and exposed his private area while holding her hands down and rubbing against her body. He removed his hands after ejaculating.
Hamilton Fish (October 2017)
Hamilton Fish resigned from his job as the president and publisher of The New Republic on Nov. 3 after allegations of inappropriate misconduct came to light in late October. Various employees of The New Republic sent a complaint to The New Republic after Harvey Weinstein’s own misconduct came out. It is unknown exactly what Fish is accused of.
Michael Oreskes (October 2017)
Oreskes quit his job at NPR on Nov. 1 after he was accused of sexually harassing women and the story broke on Oct. 31. It is reported that Oreskes made unwanted sexual advances in exchange for helping the women involved improve their career trajectory. While he was at NPR, Oreskes received an HR complaint about his behavior in October 2015 after being hired on March 15.
Andy Dick (October 2017)
The comedian was dropped from the independent film Raising Buchanan after being accused on Oct. 31 of groping, kissing people on set, touching other people’s genitals and propositioning at least four people for sex. The 51-year-old actor has denied the accusations saying, “I might have kissed somebody on the cheek to say goodbye and then licked them. That’s my thing.”
Brett Ratner (November 2017)
Seven women, including prominent actresses like Ellen Page and Olivia Munn, accused the director Brett Ratner of harassing them in various incidents. In one instance, he masturbated in a bathroom where an actress was. He also allegedly tried to coerce Page to have sex with another woman who was on set for a movie he was shooting. Page says that Ratner even outed her as gay before she had made any public announcement. Reports first emerged about Ratner around Nov. 1.
Dustin Hoffman (November 2017)
On Nov. 1, a former production assistant says the actor sexually harassed her when she was 17 years old. Dustin Hoffman was filming “Death of a Salesman” when the alleged harassment happened. He is accused of grabbing her butt, talking about sex with her and being flirtatious in a way she did not want. One time he was ordering breakfast and allegedly told her he wanted “a hard-boiled egg and a soft boiled clitoris.”
Ed Westwick (November 2017)
Best known for “Gossip Girl,” Ed Westwick has been accused of assaulting multiple women on including one person who says she was raped by Westwick. A police report has been filed against the actor in the case of the rape which allegedly occurred in 2014 since the statute of limitations have not run out. Westwick has denied that the allegations are true. Reports emerged of the allegation on Nov. 7.
Jeffrey Tambor (November 2017)
Jeffery Tambor resigned from Amazon’s "Transparent" after three people accused him of sexual misconduct. One of his accusers says Tambor forced her to kiss him while she was a makeup assistant and he was filming “Never Again.” A co-star of the series along with a former assistant on the most recent show Tambor was working on also accused him of harassment. The story regarding Tambor’s actions came out on Nov. 8.
Matthew Weiner (November 2017)
On Nov. 9, a story emerged alleging former writer on the hit AMC show “Mad Men” says that Weiner told her that she owed it to him to see her naked. After the incident occurred, she left the television business as a whole. Weiner told The Information that he did not remember this incident occurring and that he doesn’t think would say anything like this.
Roy Moore (November 2017)
While Moore was running for Senate in Alabama, he was accused of inappropriate sexual assaulting nine underage women on Nov. 9. Some of the women who were assaulted or faced inappropriate conduct were 14 years old. The age of consent in Alabama is 16 years old. Moore was 32 at the time he allegedly assaulted a woman who was 14. Many Republicans have called for Moore to drop out of the race but he has declined and the president of the United States will campaign for him.
Louis C.K. (November 2017)
Five women have accused Louis C.K. of misconduct. The first news of the allegations emerged on Nov. 9. The Washington, D.C. native admitted the allegations were true in a statement released the day after the allegations came out. According to The New York Times, the comedian forced women to watch and listen to him masturbate.
George Takei (November 2017)
A former model says George Takei assaulted him when he was 23 years old in 1981. Takei’s accuser says the assault was non-consensual. Takei denied the allegation put forth against him and said that the allegation was being made up by Russian bots. But that did not stop media companies who share their content on Takei’s social media pages from ending their partnership. First reports of these allegations were made against Takei on Nov. 10.
Richard Dreyfuss (November 2017)
On Nov. 10, actor Richard Dreyfuss was accused of exposing himself to a woman in the 1980s. The accusation was revealed after his son confessed to being harassed by Kevin Spacey. Dreyfuss sent a tweet supporting his son saying “I’m so incredibly proud of him right now” before being called out for his own allegations.
Steven Seagal (November 2017)
On Nov. 10, reports emerged that Steven Seagal was accused and sued for sexual harassment numerous times since the 1990s. The most recent allegation against him involved Portia de Rossi, wife of Ellen DeGeneres. She accused Seagal of unzipping his pants in front of her while explaining how important it was to have on-camera chemistry. Seagal was also accused of asking Jenny McCarthy to undress during an audition for "Under Seige 2" in the 1990s.
Al Franken (November 2017)
The Senator from Minnesota is currently under a Senate Ethics Committee investigation after multiple women have accused him of harassing them. Leeann Tweeden says that Franken forcibly kissed her while they were on a USO tour without her consent. The kiss was allegedly part of a skit. Another woman accused Franken of touching her butt while taking a picture with him at the Minnesota State Fair. Franken has apologized for his actions and is still serving in the Senate. Reports of the senator's conduct were published around Nov. 16.
John Conyers (November 2017)
Nov. 20 - The Senator from Michigan settled a claim with taxpayer money after a former staffer said Conyers sexually harassed her. Conyers denied the allegation saying that he deserved his due process but he has since been called out for and asked to resign by leaders in the Democratic party. A Senate Ethics Committee investigation is also happening for Conyers due to other allegations that have been brought forth.
Glenn Thrush (November 2017)
On Nov. 20, The New York Times White House reporter Glenn Thrush was accused of having inappropriate sexual behavior with various women over the past several years. Thrush apologized for his behavior and blamed his actions on alcoholism. He says that he currently seeking assistance for his drinking problem. The New York Times suspended Thrush in the harassment probe.
Charlie Rose (November 2017)
On Nov. 20, the host of his own self-titled show and “CBS This Morning” was accused by eight women of sexual assault. With some of the women, he would walk naked while they were at his residence. He also groped and made lewd phone calls to other women including some who worked with him at CBS. He was eventually fired from all of his jobs and apologized for his actions while saying that some of them were blown out of proportion, “I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate.”
John Lasseter (November 2017)
The Pixar founder John Lasseter and the Disney executive was placed on leave after making what was called “missteps.” It is not known exactly what he did but various news outlets have reported that he has a history of these acts. It is also not known how he will serve his leave of absence. News of the allegations broke on Nov. 21.
Nick Carter (November 2017)
Melissa Schuman accused the Backstreet Boys singer of raping her when she was 18 and again when she was 22, according to a Nov. 21 report. She was influenced to discuss her allegations after it was discovered that a fan confessed to being assaulted by Carter in 2006 when she was 20 years old. Carter has denied the allegations.
Matt Lauer (November 2017)
On Nov. 29 - “Today Show” host was fired after NBC News discovered Lauer sexually assaulted women throughout his tenure at NBC. Lauer had a button which could close his office from the inside while he was at his desk. According to one allegation, Lauer called a woman over to his office and forcibly had sex with her to the point where she passed out.
Garrison Keillor (November 2017)
On Nov. 29, the creator of “Prairie Home Companion” on public radio was accused of inappropriate behavior by a co-worker of his at Minnesota Public Radio. After the accusation was told to NPR’s member station, they cut ties with Keillor and his production company. Keillor told the AP that NPR heard "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard."
Russell Simmons (November 2017)
On Nov. 30, Russell Simmons announced he was stepping away from all of his companies after he was accused of an unwanted sexual encounter with screenwriter Jenny Lumet. He was reported with Lumet in 1987 and offered her a ride home but instead of going to her apartment, they ended up going to his apartment. She repeatedly said no but that did not stop the encounter from occurring. Simmons’ name has been removed from HBO’s comedy special produced by his production company.
Geraldo Rivera (November 2017)
On Nov. 30, Bette Midler reaffirmed her allegation of sexual misconduct by Geraldo Rivera toward her in the 1970s. In an interview with Barbara Walters Midler claims that Rivera and a producer pushed her into a bathroom shoved the drug Alkyl Nitrite under her nose and groped her. On Dec. 1, Geraldo Rivera issued an apology to Midler on Twitter.
Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. (December 2017)
On Dec. 1 The Washington Post broke a story that U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, used $84,000 of taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim with a former aid in 2014. The report stated that the congressional Office of Compliance dislocated a treasury department fund paid for one sexual harassment claim in the last five years. However, they did not name the Congress member.
Farenthold later said in a statement he would not confirm nor deny that that the settlement made by the Office of Compliance involved his office.
On Dec. 14 it was confirmed that Farenthold planned to retire and would not seek another term.
Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D- Nev. (December 2017)
U.S. Representative Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., was accused by a former campaign staffer of sexual harassment, according to a Dec. 1 BuzzFeed report. The House Ethics Committee launched an investigation on Dec. 15 and House Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on Kihuen to resign from office.
Kihuen issued an apology but said that he does not remember the events in the same way as his accuser framed them.
"As I've said previously, I intend to fully cooperate, and I welcome an opportunity to clear my name," Kihuen told the Ethics Committee in a statement.
Mario Batali (December 2017)
The online magazine Eater published a report on Dec. 11 alleging that celebrity chef Mario Batali of inappropriate conduct and touching. Four women came forward in the report citing a number of incidents spanning nearly two decades.
After the story broke, Batali, stepped down from running the daily operations of his restaurant empire. Later ABC would fire the chef from the television show "The Crew."
"We are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct," the network said in a statement. The network also claimed they were not aware of any inappropriate conduct by Batali.
Food Network has suspended pans to bring back his show. Batali later issued an apology to fans through his newsletter subscription, attaching a recipe for "Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls" at the bottom.
"I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility," Batali said in the newsletter.
Ryan Lizza (December 2017)
On Monday, Dec. 11 New Yorker magazine announced they fired well-known political reporter Ryan Lizza after allegations of sexual misconduct. Lizza claimed in a statement that the accusations and action by the magazine were a "terrible mistake."
However, the lawyer representing the woman making the accusation against Lizza, disputes his direction of their relationship.
Morgan Spurlock (December 2017)
On Dec. 13 Hollywood director Morgan Surlock wrote a blog entry about his "past indiscretions." He explained that he had been accused of sexual misconduct in the past. He stated he was "part of the problem" and admitted to infidelity on his partners and wife. His film Super Size Me 2" had its release canceled.
Gene Simmons (December 2017)
Billboard magazine reported lead singer of the band KISS, Gene Simmons is facing accusations of making unwanted advances on a radio and television personality during a Nov. 1 interview. The host filed a lawsuit against Simmons on Dec. 15 in the Los Angeles Superior Court
Simmons then issued a statement on Facebook denying the charges against him.
Tavis Smiley (December 2017)
On Dec. 13, PBS announced it would suspend Tavis Smiley's talk show following allegations of sexual harassment. Variety released an article claiming that the host participated in sexual relationships with a subordinate.
Smiley released a statement on his facebook and twitter accounts.
"I have the utmost respect for all women and I certainly celebrate the courage of the women who have come forth as of late to share there own truth," Smiley said. Let me also assure you that I have never groped, inappropriately exposed myself or coerced any colleague in the workplace ever in my 30-year career. "
Alex Kozinski (December 2017)
On Dec. 15, the Washington Post reported Judge Alex Kozinski U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circut Court was accused of subjecting at least 15 women to sexual comments or "touched them inappropriately." Kozinski issued a formal statement through his lawyer.
"I've always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike. In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable, this was never my intent. For this, I sincerely apologize."
His statement also announced his decision to retire.