Reposted by LEI
Published on October 12, 2017
Public Safety Consultant – Government Relations Strategist
The Harvey Weinstein Matter: A Lesson in ‘The Code of Silence’
The 19th Century Idiom “speech is silver but silence is golden” may have been applicable a few hundred years ago, but it is not a timeless saying. As we all watch the Harvey Weinstein story unfold, and as more people come forward to expose the indiscretions of a lecherous entertainment mogul, the burning question is: “who knew what and when?” The victims will likely continue to come forward and we will probably be hearing about this for days, months and years to come. But this is not our first rodeo. This is a story that repeats itself again and again with different names and often similar circumstances. This, as the saying goes, is a “teachable moment.”
Embedded in this story of quid pro quo, sexual harassment, undo influence and narcissism is a valuable ethical theme. How can a person like this with so much influence and social involvement manage to keep his sleazy escapades silent? Certainly, the leverage of career advancement and financial gain are likely the main reasons this story did not get any traction until now. But the deeper issue is the fact that many people in Mr. Weinstein’s inner circle were probably aware of his proclivities yet no one said a word. This same dynamic can be replicated in the workplace, the family, government or anywhere else. People remain silent for various reasons, and certainly privacy is a valued virtue. But when this silence endangers the safety or security of others or impacts the sanctity of an organization or entity, it is then time to speak out. Being a Whistleblower is not a glamorous claim to fame, but to remain silent while the Harveys of the world continue to prey upon others and damage lives is unacceptable.
There is no benefit in covering up bad behavior or criminal activity. There is, however, honor and dignity in coming forward for the sake of others. We are an educated and civilized society, yet in some regards we are living in the stone age. Having the courage to speak up may not be popular at the moment, but the long-term benefit certainly outweighs the suppression of wrongdoing. As a society, we condemn deplorable and criminal behavior yet we contribute to its perpetuation by remaining quiet. Use the Weinstein matter as a frame of reference and ask yourself: “is there something I should be saying?” The truth will set everyone free…