OK, this has elements of unequal power, misinterpretation of power, and failure to speak up - it's a situation where both parties may be seeing the same situation very differently and may not involve malice on the part of either. I'm going assume that is the case when commenting although of course if some additional corroboration comes to light my opinion may be revised.
Rogue 9 wrote: ↑
She says on May 16, as the show was just about to wrap up production, Tyson invited her to join him in his apartment for wine in the evening after work.
OK, while a woman SHOULD be able to accept an invitation like this without an expectation of sex women should know that this is a potentially difficult situation. One possible solution is to say "you know, I'm not comfortable with going to your apartment what with you being my boss - could we meet elsewhere? I don't want either of our reputations to suffer because people are gossips." That probably won't help with a Harvey Weinstein, but it will help with a decent man. And frankly, men really do need to pay more attention to how things look to others in our changing social climate. It's no longer just the woman's reputation that can suffer.
Instead, she says, he put on music by Nina Simone, opened wine, and began pulling cheese from the fridge. She recalls that he had taken off his shoes and was wearing a tank top. "I remember thinking, 'This is a lot of skin for me to be seeing on my boss,' " Watson says. "The vibe was just kind of weird." She says Tyson spoke of the stresses of his job, and how he needed a "release."
Later, as she was leaving, she says Tyson said he wanted to show her a Native American handshake that involved feeling each other's pulses and staring into each other's eyes to make a spiritual connection. Watson says she did this for about ten seconds, but was extremely uncomfortable and says she thought to herself, "You're supposed to be very smart, why can't you pick up that I don't want to touch you right now?"
And I'm thinking, lady, why don't you tell him
that you're uncomfortable with this? In plain words. You know "Look, Mr. Tyson, we've had a professional relationship up to now and I just don't feel comfortable with touching." Does that carry a risk of losing your job? Um.. yeah, it does. Not doing it also carries risks.
I've worked and played in predominantly male areas quite a bit over the years. In general
most men have been OK when I said "hey, this is getting a bit too close, I'm not comfortable". Men are not mind readers (neither are women, for that matter). Men need to act less creepy and women need to speak up.
She also says he put both hands on her shoulders and told her that he wanted to hug her badly, but if he did, then he would just want more. Watson says she was shaken by the interaction, but felt like she needed references and recommendations so she planned on just working the last few days of the Cosmos filming.
And this is why a boss should never put himself in possibly compromising position in regards to staff - because the levels of power aren't equal. It might be that Tyson had no nefarious intentions, that he misinterpreted the situation, that if she had said "no, I'm not comfortable with this, I don't want to be touched" he would have still given her glowing recommendations but because he had potential power over her and her future she was afraid to speak up. Even if a boss doesn't use it, he or she always
has more power than the underling and that makes such situations fraught with potential pitfalls, even more than interactions between equals.
The more powerful and more famous the man the more intimidating he is and the harder it is for women to speak up, for fear of consequences. I think some of these men know this and exploit it (Weinstein, for example) and some are unaware of just how much of an impact this has in their interactions with people.
In his statement, Tyson said he invited her to his place as a "capstone" to their friendship, and said he had no idea she was uncomfortable.
The sad thing - this may even be true. The problem is that he should have expressed such things AFTER her employment with him ended and references had been sent/solidified. Then the power imbalance wouldn't exist and the accusations less likely to happen.
Part of the problem is that in the past it would be the woman's reputation that would suffer and not the man's. Now, both of them can get dragged through the mud. Yeah, the rules changed. They probably should have changed decades ago.