A secret online spreadsheet authored by women in Texas politics lists creeps in the Texas statehouse.
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The spreadsheet, created roughly a year ago, lists 38 men in Texas politics and their offenses, which range from groping to sexual assault to pay discrimination, according to the Daily Beast.
The offenders include campaign workers, legislative staffers and lawmakers; some have been taking advantage of their position for over two decades.
The list surfaced as yet another installment of the scandals surrounding sexual abuse and assault by men in positions of power, exemplified by the Harvey Weinstein allegations. The accusations surrounding Weinstein triggered a backlash from women in the entertainment industry, including an anonymous “shitty media men” list outing creeps in Los Angeles and New York.
The ‘Burn Book of Bad Men’ is also anonymous, and lists both Democrats and Republicans among the accused. However, the Daily Beast does note, “Most of the women who contributed to the list and circulated it early on worked for Democrats, so most of the accused men are also Democratic officials or staffers.”
The reputation of the predators predates the online spreadsheet. Before it existed, women passed this kind of warning to each other in “whisper circles,” keeping things silent for fear of retaliation.
The creator of “The Burn Book of Bad Men,” who’s name was changed by the Daily Beast to protect her identity, said she worked in Texas politics for two years but left because of how “toxic and horrible” the environment was towards women.
“It’s a signal for men to understand that we’re keeping tabs on this stuff and we’re talking about it. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum and these aren’t isolated incidents. We’re putting them on notice that you’re not going to be able to get away with this stuff without it being shared,” the list’s creator said in an interview.
And it isn’t just women in politics who get harassed and sexually assaulted. Journalists covering politics can get the same treatment.
One reporter recounted an instance of being trapped against a bar and groped by a “low-level Republican representative.” When she left that night, after others noticed what the man was doing and dragged him away, he called, “Bitch I’m not done with you yet!” The reporter didn’t file charges because she was afraid it would make her job more difficult.
With the exposure of these offenses to the public eye, one can only hope for a change in the climate and an environment of accountability, not only in entertainment and politics, but everywhere.