The collapse of liberal consulting firm Fizgibbon Media last week stunned many in the progressive movement, but the reasons behind it didn’t surprise a tragically large number of women in the field. Founder Trevor Fitzgibbon — a Big Name in the progressive communications world — turns out to have been a “serial sexual harasser,” as a former Fitzgibbon employee put it. More than harrassment, too, since his behavior included outright assault in some cases. What a creep!
But not an isolated creep. In fact, many women in the progressive activist space are coming out with similar stories of harassment from colleagues, bosses, clients, members of Congress and other men in positions of power. But few are willing to use their names so far, out of the obvious fear of retaliation, subtle or otherwise.
Enter Strength In Numbers, a Tumblr blog founded by two people close to Epolitics.com: Beth Becker and Sarah Burris. They’ve created a public online space where women (and men!) in the movement can tell their stories anonymously, and the first posts are sobering. The editors are now sorting through DOZENS of similar submissions to remove personally identifiable information, so expect to see many more accounts of profoundly wrong behavior soon.
This. Has. To. Stop. Harassment is a bad thing anywhere, but in this case, it’s a deep betrayal of the values of equality and dignity that underly liberal philosophy and the the progressive movement. As a community, we have to open our eyes to what’s going on. As men, people like me need to look at ourselves and be honest about times where we might have crossed a line — and make sure it never happens again. I’ll ask our conservative friends to do the same…Fitzgibbon’s acts have pointed a spotlight at a dark secret on the Left, and I can’t imagine it’s any better in Republican circles. This ain’t right, folks, and we’ve got to stop it. Otherwise, what the hell good is all of our lofty talk?