Gretchen Carlson turns spotlight on harassment victims outside of Hollywood

Gretchen Carlson is choosing to be positive.It's Friday when she calls for her interview about her ne...

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 2:50 AM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 2:50 AM

Gretchen Carlson is choosing to be positive.

It's Friday when she calls for her interview about her new Lifetime documentary premiering Monday night, and the end of a long week marked by a mixed bag of news for anyone holding the #MeToo or Time's Up shields in the battle for gender equality.

#MeToo movement

Arts and entertainment

Celebrities

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Demographic groups

Discrimination

Females (demographic group)

Feminism

Gender equality

Gretchen Carlson

Movies

Population and demographics

Sex and gender issues

Sex crimes

Sex discrimination

Sexual assault

Sexual harassment

Sexual misconduct

Societal issues

Society

Time's Up movement

Violence in society

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Media industry

Movie and video industry

The good news has been really good: Susan Zirinsky, a 46-year veteran of CBS, became the first woman appointed to run the network's news department. The rest -- like ousted Pixar chief John Lasseter's new job at Skydance -- is decried by activists, including Time's Up.

Still, Carlson says, she prefers an optimistic view of the progress that has taken place since her own sexual harassment case and the heightened awareness of the #MeToo movement.

"I look at it more big picture," she says. After all, women are finally being listened to, accusers are admitting and apologizing and some have seen consequences.

"If you examine how now, when women come forward, their cases are handled completely different than the way in which my case was handled when I came forward...that's huge," she says.

In 2016, Carlson went public with accusations of sexual harassment against then-Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.

"As irritating as it is that alleged perpetrators can make a comeback quickly, the way I like to answer that is: What about all the women out there who aren't working anymore simply because they had the courage to come forward?" she asks. "Really, we should be talking about hiring back all these women who didn't do anything wrong who are no longer working, and yet we sort of seem to have this fascination with whether or not these alleged perpetrators who are men will make comebacks."

It's a good point and just one of the many she's been trying to stay vocal about in the aftermath of her case, which left her with a $20 million settlement and an insomnia-inducing desire to help other women, particularly ones like those who reached out to her in the days after her experiences became news.

"When I started hearing from all these women across our country, a lot of them basically told me that they couldn't, literally, afford to come forward because they were single moms working two jobs just to make ends meet, and they were being harassed," she says.

"Gretchen Carlson: Breaking the Silence" is part of Carlson's ongoing mission.

The women featured in the documentary have varied career backgrounds, from the fast food industry to Spanish-language media. They all share accounts of surviving workplace sexual misconduct.

"For every story that I feature in the doc, there's about 10,000 other people that are just like them, if not more," Carlson says.

As Carlson sees it, "these women's stories are as important, if not more important than famous Hollywood actresses."

Over a six month time period, the documentary shows several of the women turning their experiences into activism.

Watching survivors evolve into advocates, Carlson admits, puts a smile on her face.

She's done the same. Carlson became a vocal proponent for the elimination of forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts. The clauses, she and many experts say, allow for more sexual harassment to take place undetected.

The film, too, puts an emphasis on employers who are falling short of protecting their employees.

"What I hope people will get out of the end of this doc is that companies need to really be introspective and they need to sit down internally and say, are we doing enough? Because the reality is that most are not," she says.

The ways Carlson and some of the women featured in the documentary have chosen to fight gender-based harassment are different, but rooted in the same survivor-fueled determination.

"Once you have gone through this kind of experience, it's almost like you don't have to say anything when you meet another person who has, because you have this shared understanding of not only the pain and the emotions that come with it, but the surviving aspect of it," she says. "I think that that's why they felt trust in me to share their stories and be so open and upfront."

Hollywood will soon take on Ailes's ouster in two separate projects, for which Carlson is not allowed to be as open about.

Due to the conditions of her settlement, she is unable discuss the upcoming Showtime limited series starring Naomi Watts as Carlson or the film, in which Nicole Kidman is set to play her. She boils her hopes down to one word, however: accuracy.

"All I can hope for is that they do their research and that they in that they get the story right," she says. "Oftentimes, when you do movies, they kind of say that they're dramatizing it. And when something is this emotional and raw and real and took so much courage to do, I hope they don't dramatize too much. I hope they stick to the facts."

Another fact: Carlson isn't as peeved about the casting as some were led to believe from a now-deleted tweet.

"It's nothing against Nicole Kidman or Naomi Watts. They're amazing actresses, and the idea that if they even know who Gretchen Carlson is unbelievable," she said with a laugh. "Talk about a surreal thing. But, you know, any dialogue that I've ever had about this was always with the intention that I want accuracy."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42772

Reported Deaths: 1542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13697791
Ramsey5313234
Dakota275396
Stearns253619
Anoka2458111
Nobles16946
Washington130641
Olmsted130220
Mower9872
Scott8994
Rice8928
Clay62038
Kandiyohi5951
Blue Earth5862
Wright5475
Carver5002
Todd4042
Sherburne3725
Lyon3512
Freeborn3140
Watonwan2720
Steele2501
Benton2423
St. Louis23816
Nicollet20712
Martin1755
Winona15015
Cottonwood1420
Goodhue1428
Le Sueur1361
Crow Wing11512
Otter Tail1151
Pine1150
Chisago1111
McLeod1030
Dodge990
Carlton940
Polk903
Unassigned8838
Pipestone864
Isanti830
Murray830
Chippewa811
Waseca800
Itasca7612
Douglas740
Morrison691
Becker680
Meeker661
Faribault610
Jackson580
Sibley572
Beltrami550
Pennington540
Brown492
Wabasha430
Mille Lacs412
Renville373
Fillmore360
Rock350
Swift351
Grant320
Houston320
Yellow Medicine310
Roseau280
Lincoln250
Redwood250
Koochiching221
Wilkin223
Norman210
Cass202
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
Wadena180
Aitkin160
Marshall160
Clearwater150
Mahnomen131
Pope130
Stevens110
Hubbard100
Lake90
Traverse70
Lac qui Parle50
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35534

Reported Deaths: 754
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7611185
Woodbury334944
Black Hawk253459
Buena Vista173811
Johnson14878
Dallas141531
Linn141083
Marshall110019
Scott109810
Dubuque100023
Story8778
Pottawattamie84113
Wapello71631
Muscatine69545
Crawford6813
Sioux5050
Tama48829
Webster4295
Wright3991
Louisa36713
Jasper35717
Plymouth3535
Warren3371
Cerro Gordo3291
Dickinson3073
Washington2559
Hamilton2041
Boone1751
Clay1511
Clarke1453
Clinton1391
Allamakee1384
Mahaska11917
Shelby1190
Carroll1171
Bremer1167
Franklin1130
Poweshiek1128
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1022
Emmet970
Cedar961
Henry933
Hardin920
Cherokee851
Marion840
Floyd822
Guthrie814
Taylor810
Benton781
Monona780
Jones741
Butler702
Osceola690
Sac680
Jackson670
Buchanan651
Calhoun652
Iowa631
Jefferson630
Hancock621
Harrison620
Lyon610
Humboldt601
Fayette590
Delaware581
Madison562
Lee542
Mills530
Palo Alto530
Monroe527
Clayton503
Winneshiek500
Grundy470
Mitchell470
Winnebago440
Davis431
Kossuth430
Union430
Howard370
Lucas354
Unassigned350
Chickasaw310
Greene310
Cass300
Worth270
Appanoose243
Keokuk241
Ida230
Page220
Van Buren211
Audubon181
Adair170
Ringgold161
Montgomery152
Decatur130
Fremont110
Wayne110
Adams80
Rochester
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 69°
Mason City
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 72°
Austin
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 70°
Charles City
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Slight Risk of Severe Storms Tuesday as a Cold Front approaches
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Dave's Main 6:30 Weather 7-14

Image

Sean's 10pm Weather 7/13

Image

Albert Lea council considers Covid response

Image

Rochester Police Policy Conversation

Image

Training the area's best basketball stars

Image

Pandemic Positive: A decline in air pollution

Image

Sen. Smith Highlights Health Inequalities

Image

School district weighs back to school options

Image

Reopening Day Services for people with disabilities

Image

Mask Policy at Mason City airport - encouraged not required

Community Events