Sexual harassment is a problem that bedevils most major corporations in America. This fact should not come as a surprise to anyone, regardless of political affiliation. But for those with progressive political beliefs who tend to see mega-corporations as nefarious entities that promote greed and privilege, this fact should hardly threaten your worldview. Progressives have historically been critical of corporations. Nearly a decade ago, when the protest known as "Occupy Wall Street" was launched, progressives made the issue of corporate influence on American politics their primary bugbear.
Then-comedian Stephen Colbert, on his satirical show The Colbert Report, play-acted the part of a corporate shill ironically looking to profit off the Occupy movement’s success. His entire comedic bit was an exercise in gaslighting, of course, since the Occupy Wall Street movement was merely an astro-turfed response to the then-popular Tea Party. Yet, even so, Colbert’s segment highlighted one of the important assumptions of political progressivism: that profit-seeking corporations are evil. That assumption seems to have changed.
Today, mega-corporations like Apple, Google, Twitter, Netflix, and many others enjoy widespread public support among political progressives who see these companies as instrumental in promoting progressive ideas. The latest company to be deemed acceptable by the political Left is the primarily male-focused razor company, Gillette. What assured this corporation a spot in the progressive pantheon was a politics-saturated advertisement that attacked "toxic masculinity."
Not even a full year ago, a manager at Gillette’s parent company, Proctor & Gamble, was involved in a lawsuit due to the fact that he had repeatedly sexually harassed several female employees to the point of exposing himself and demanding sexual favors. This was Harvey-Weinstein-level stuff. But does any of it affect the opinion, among progressives, regarding the nobility of the Gillette brand? Of course not.
One could argue that a single case of sexual harassment, no matter how awful, is not enough to condemn an entire company. And that’s fine. But is there any evidence that employees working for Gillette are more virtuous than those at other companies? Is there any data that indicates that female employees at Gillette are treated better than their counterparts working elsewhere? Has anyone even bothered to look up such statistics? No. Because no one cares.
For some, how a corporation treats its female employees is far less important than the fact that it puts a progressive political message in its advertising. Heck, if a harassment incident happened to a Gillette employee tomorrow, the mainstream media would probably bury the lead, and progressives would likely begin explaining away the story’s significance.
I thought the #MeToo movement would change all this. It was not supposed to matter that Harvey Weinstein was a high-level Democrat operative; the fact that he was personally immoral meant that he must be taken down. But, apparently, in our culture, corporations are judged not by what they do, but only by what they say.
What happened to the Left? Since when do progressives immediately jump in bed with a corporation based solely on a single, profit-motivated advertisement?