Sutton leaves CERA: Avoiding a harassment complaint 101

Yesterday Roger Sutton announced his departure from CERA in a media event designed to show him in the best possible light and minimise his victim’s experience.

Today Andrea Vance nailed it in a Stuff column:

Instead of supporting the victim, the SSC stage-managed Sutton’s exit with a press conference. He was given a platform to shrug off his behaviour as mere hugs, eccentricity, folksy terms of endearment…

Yesterday’s performance was not contrition, it was about salvaging his reputation.

On Twitter, some were so taken in by Sutton’s performance that they spoke movingly of the “fear” that men face of being the victim of a “false complaint”. This complaint was not false. It was upheld by the SSC, and clearly involved more than the “hugs and jokes” he tried to minimise it as. Sutton sexually harassed a staff member. No amount of press conferences can make it not true.

Sutton was not censured for his behaviour – just publicly held to account. For other men afraid of being similarly held to account, I offer this time-worn piece of feminist advice:

How to avoid a harassment complaint
1. Don’t harass people.