Spacey’s Cards Collapse: The Consequences of Sexual HarassmentGreg Garner
The house of cards has fallen for one of America’s greatest actors. Kevin Spacey faces more than 30 accusations of sexual harassment. In November 2021, a judge ordered Spacey to pay nearly $31 million dollars to the production company for House of Cards.
The consequences of sexual harassment are becoming more and more severe. If you want to combat sexual harassment in the workplace, you have to understand the consequences of harassment charges.
How can harassment impact a person’s health? How does harassment affect a survivor’s career path? What are the legal penalties that Spacey and other harassers are facing?
Answer these questions and you can create a productive and safe workspace in little time. Here is your comprehensive guide.
Health and Wellness
Sexual harassment can have a devastating effect on a person’s health. In order to understand the full consequences of harassment charges, you must understand how harassment has both mental and physical effects.
Sexual harassment comprises a wide range of behaviors, including verbal ones. Everyone sustains different effects from harassment. As such, any description of the effects of sexual harassment is incomplete and does not cover all cases.
Depression is not just feeling down. It is a significant mental health disorder that includes intense feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in work and hobbies. Sexual harassment can trigger depression or make it worse.
Anxiety disorders involve intense feelings of dread that affect a person’s daily life. Someone may avoid social situations so they do not feel their anxiety.
Someone who experienced sexual harassment may become anxious around the person who is sexually harassing them. They may suffer from panic attacks when they are in the same room as them. They may also feel anxiety when exposed to media depictions of sexual harassment or during company meetings about harassment.
Some people blame themselves for the harassment. This can cause their self-esteem to plummet, which can lead to suicidal thoughts or worsening depression.
Other people develop negative impressions of their own bodies. They may fixate on what to wear, what to eat, and how to present themselves in order to avoid harassment.
People who have been sexually harassed can have full and active romantic and sexual lives. Yet some survivors may feel less satisfied in their ongoing relationships. They may delay finding a significant other, or they may break up with their current partner.
Several survivors of Kevin Spacey’s harassment report significant psychological effects. Tony Montana has accused Spacey of groping his genitals in a bar. He has stated that he has developed PTSD from the experience.
Depression and anxiety disorders are mental health problems. But they can have substantial impacts on the body. A person may experience heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and blurred vision.
Any act of sexual harassment can cause insomnia. A person may have vivid dreams of the harassment they experienced, causing them to wake up in the middle of the night. Their mind may raise, preventing them from falling asleep.
Groping can cause bruising, muscle strains, and nerve damage. The genitals contain many nerves, so groping of the genitals can induce significant pain.
Forcible kissing can cause the gums to bleed or knock a tooth out of place. Someone may grab the back of someone’s head in order to kiss them, which can lead to a head injury. In rare cases, a person may experience broken bones after a sexual assault.
Rape can cause a person to become pregnant, which has its own significant health effects. It can also spread sexually transmitted diseases from one person to another. A disease may spread from a survivor of the sexual assault to the person assaulting them.
In order to gather evidence of a sexual assault, doctors may need to take swabs of a person’s body. This process can make bleeding or bruising worse and it can feel invasive in and of itself.
A person who has experienced sexual harassment may come to work less often. They may be dealing with mental and physical pain, and they may be trying to avoid their harasser.
When they come to work, their thoughts may wander. They may avoid assignments that put them in the same locations where they were harassed. Someone may find it hard to concentrate while another person is verbally harassing them.
The person harassing other people may work less. They may waste their time harassing other people, or they may select unimportant assignments that put them in contact with employees they want to harass.
Witnessing sexual harassment can hurt someone’s productivity. The misconduct can distract them or cause their mind to wander. It can also induce a sense of shame if the witness does not act to end the harassment.
Spacey harassed people in numerous office environments. Many survivors of his misconduct reported feeling distracted and concerned at work. The final season of House of Cards was cut to eight episodes, and critical reception for the show went down significantly.
Most people want to escape from their harassment. If avoiding employees and areas does not work, someone may decide to leave their job entirely.
Some people may leave the industry they worked in. Many aspiring actors who were harassed transitioned out of the entertainment industry.
Retention becomes very difficult when the harasser is a major official at the company. Spacey was an artistic director for the Old Vic theater in London for 11 years. Many people left the theater because they associated it so strongly with Spacey’s actions.
If word gets out about harassment in a company, fewer people may feel inclined to apply for jobs at it. Employees at the company may discourage potential applicants from applying.
Many companies will take extreme measures to try to retain employees. They may require harassment prevention training, or they may create a helpline so people can report harassment. Survivors of misconduct may see these gestures as being too little and too late, and they may not help resolve the problem.
Some companies are so concerned about employee retention that they decline to fire harassing employees. They may keep an employee because they are productive, giving them minor punishments for their harassment.
A company may also choose to focus on sexual harassment training for managers. Yet an employee in any position may harass anyone else. A company’s neglect can make harassment worse and encourage survivors of misconduct to quit.
Even one case of sexual harassment can have devastating effects on a company. It challenges a company’s image of being conscientious and responsible.
The internet has made it easy to find out about sexual harassment. An employee may use a service like Glassdoor to write about their experience. They may send an anonymous email to a news agency about what they have been through.
Once a story of sexual harassment is on the internet, it is hard to take down. Clients take stories of sexual harassment seriously, and they expect a company to respond to an accusation right away. A delay or a poorly worded statement can make the branding problem even worse.
Spacey’s conduct has impacted numerous companies. A charity he founded in the United Kingdom shut down after allegations against him came to light. Netflix, the Old Vic, and other institutions issued public apologies for his behavior.
A sexual harassment lawsuit can result in a massive settlement. A survivor can claim a long list of damages, especially if the harassment prevented them from receiving a promotion.
Many harassment cases are settled out of court in order to expedite the legal process. Yet settlements are often enormous, with some companies paying seven figures to bring a case to a close.
An employee with many accusations of sexual harassment may need to pay several separate settlements. The $31 million settlement that Spacey must pay to Netflix is just one payment. Spacey is facing other lawsuits for millions of dollars.
The punishments for sexual harassment can be extensive. Touching someone’s arm or stomach can count as a misdemeanor assault. Rape is a felony in all states, and statutory rape has its own legal consequences.
Yet many people who commit sexual assault do not go to prison. Very few sexual harassment survivors come forward with their stories, let alone file charges with the police. The presumption of innocence makes it hard to prove someone committed harassment.
But judges are serious about sexual harassment. A person may go to jail for weeks for groping another person.
Spacey was charged with felony indecent assault in Massachusetts, which carries up to five years in prison. The case was later dropped, but Spacey came close to being sent to jail.
The Extreme Consequences of Sexual Harassment
There are numerous consequences of sexual harassment. Someone may develop an anxiety disorder and experience physical pain after an assault.
An employee’s productivity may decline as they try to avoid being harassed again. They may opt to leave a company and tell others not to apply to it.
Many harassers pay millions of dollars in legal damages, including Spacey. In rare cases, harassment can lead to incarceration.