#UsToo: A letter from a mogul

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Recently, I have been accused of sexual misconduct. I write this letter to apologize to everybody who considers themselves affected by my actions. I am sorry that this has become such a media storm. I am sorry that new standards of behavior have sprung up that contrast so markedly with the world I, and countless others, had grown accustomed to.

 

You would struggle to find a more adamant defender of women’s rights than me. I love and respect women. My organization employs women of all ages – though mostly young women, because it is my experience that younger women feel more at home in a modern workspace than middle-aged and old women. I respect that: A woman’s priorities change as she ages and begins to focus more on her husband and her children.

 

I have watched in shock as countless women and men much less powerful than I have gathered on social media under the now infamous #metoo slogan. I wanted to say to them: how about people like me? Have you considered us at all? This is not just about you, it is about #ustoo.

 

Feminist extremists have succeeded in creating an environment of fear and uncertainty. At this point, regular guys like me dare not even talk to women anymore. At any moment, we are made to understand, a veritable witch hunt against us could begin, scrutinizing our every past interaction with the fairer sex. Are we no longer allowed to be friendly with women? I wish the tone of the debate could be a lot less shrill and much more focused on intent. Yes, I look at my assistant’s breasts while she talks me through the business schedule of the day. It is my way of wordlessly communicating my appreciation of her as a woman, a professional, and a colleague. Should we never again let a woman know that we consider her desirable? I find it difficult to believe that the females currently succumbing to the hysteria of mass outrage would really want such a dull and sexless world.

 

What so many people fail to understand is that our societal norms have changed. When I was young, it was a different time. In the fifties, sixties or seventies, when I first made my mark as a successful businessman, standards for male behavior were different. Nobody batted an eyelid if you patted your secretary’s bum lovingly as she brought you coffee. You could walk up to strangers in public and silently start undressing them. As long as they were female and you were assertive and well-dressed, nobody cared. We may be afraid to admit that today, but it was a simpler time. When I was a kid, my father would spank my mother every evening for her inevitable transgressions and silliness, and then he would spank my siblings and me while she cooked dinner in silence for him and his mistress. I have to tell you that, deep down, we were all comforted by this continual display of manly forcefulness.

 

Let’s be honest: Men and women are just not the same. When you get down to it, it’s about biology. Sometimes a woman wants a man to buy her a drink, compliment her figure, and lead her to his hotel room under false pretenses. We all know that women like to play hard to get. They pretend that they are not interested. When I tell an employee that she will never work in this industry again if she doesn’t get down on her knees and unzip my pants right this moment, I remove the need for her to act coy. And you know what? Nobody has ever complained.

 

I can’t recall a single instance when I have acted inappropriately, but as a young man I did struggle with my sexuality and it is only now that I am brave enough to openly be who I am. I can only hope that those who have attacked me recently will be patient while I work through the implications of a changed world with new rules for the interaction between men and women.

 

***

Any resemblances between the imaginary author of this letter and the comments of real, famous men are, of course, coincidental.

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