A pendulum swing too far?


Ever since Harvey Weinstein’s much-deserved fall from grace last October for alleged acts we don’t even want to repeat here, the “Me Too” movement has opened the eyes of so many to a way of living many women (and some men) should never have to experience.

And through this, we have thrown a number of other once well-respected names into the pit of disgust like Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., and Roy Moore — just to get us started. And now some are calling for Jeffrey Klein’s name to be tossed in as well after a former policy analyst, Erica Vladimer, accused the state senator of forcibly kissing her during an office trip to an Albany bar in 2015.

The pendulum toward greater equality has swung hard and swift, to the point there should be real concern that it’s gone too far. 

One of the key aspects of the “Me Too” movement is to listen, something few were doing for nearly all of these women before the Weinstein scandal. But something else we hear about a lot is that we should also “believe.”

We couldn’t even begin to understand the bravery required to come out  and share something so personal, so heartbreaking, for many people, unless we went through it ourselves. We couldn’t even begin to properly commend anyone who has taken that step. 

But as proud as we are for each victim’s openness, we also need to be allowed to ask questions.

Asking questions doesn’t mean you’re not listening. In fact, it says the exact opposite and then some — because not only are you listening, but you care.

We are a society founded on the principles of due process, and that’s something we absolutely have to provide to everyone, no matter how much of a monster they are in our eyes. It’s a fundamental human right, and having a chance to ask questions, to understand exactly what happened, and even to challenge claims that don’t quite sound right are vital to maintaining due process.

Otherwise, the “Me Too” movement can quickly morph from a meaningful, powerful movement to one that is dismissed, because we allowed it to become a weapon to pulverize everyone in its path, and didn’t do what we could to weed out false claims that could damage the movement.

That’s why due process exists — to ensure that those targeted have a fair chance to defend themselves just in case what’s being levied against them isn’t true.

We’re not saying that these claims aren’t true — it seems clear many of them are. But all it takes is one big claim to end up not being true, and that pendulum could fly right back to its original extreme position without a moment’s hesitation.

So much has been accomplished through the “Me Too” movement at this point. Let’s not let anything undo those achievements — let’s make sure everyone, good or bad, gets a fair shake.