Recently I was the MC at technology conference where my job was to keep the audience awake during speaker change overs. For fun, we had two raffles and I had asked one of the girls (a 20-something) who was working for one of the sponsor companies to come up and help with the drawing. The hot room was packed with a mostly male audience and the A/C was struggling to keep up, in introducing the girl I said, “well guys the I’m sorry the room is hot but to make the room a little hotter let me introduce XYZ to help with our drawing.”
The event went on and we had another raffle and again I called her up again for the raffle and again referred to her hotness (she’s really sort of average looking to be honest). The event continued and I was there at the back of the room and some dour old bitch came up to me how she “didn’t appreciate all the sexiest comments” and walked off. Realizing perhaps my comment wasn’t welcome I quickly found the girl (she’d been helping me for weeks with the event and we’d gotten on well) and profusely apologized.
Well as bitches do, one of girl’s colleagues at the event likely gets all excited about this sexual harassment or at best in appropriate comment and returns to the office complaining. Couple of days later, the CEO (someone I know) sends me a short note saying he had a complaint, while he wasn’t there, he felt it was inappropriate and basically told me to go fuck myself in them doing anything with me for the next 8 or 9 thousand years (your mileage will vary). Clearly he needed to ensure the damn bitch didn’t try and sue him in the litigation prone US (it’s all about money in businesses, don’t let anyone fool you).
Ironically, at lunch today with another CEO (who wants to hire me) he’s explaining to me how they have extra sensitive people (whatever that means) and how they recently hired a woman who had complained about woman harassment (not sexual, just a work place against women in general) at another large tech company by no less the CEO. Long story short – that CEO was forced to resign.
I’m talking to Scrappy about all of this. Women love him, every women turns into a fag hag around him. He denoted I do lack sensitivity sometimes but he remarked about what level of discrimination I might face as a 50-something homo with kids/family and a now 31 year old brown hair stylist partner. Indeed, most of my life is submerged. If I go way public, no one would say a thing, but no doubt I might find few opportunities. I often wonder what is said behind my back (not that I care all that much).
Now before you start writing a nasty comment. My off the cuff comment to this poor girl was wrong. It was inappropriate in any setting and particularly a public setting. No excuses. I’m guilty. More concerning is we (mainly in the US) go to DefCon 1 perhaps too quickly.
While the gay world has made great strides. Plenty of people remain uncomfortable and downright hostile toward the gay community. Gays in the work force suffer a silent harassment.