What It Feels Like For A Girl

Ever since the news about CEO of Penguin Canada, David Davidar's, departure came out, I've been thinking about making this post. About how much I could say, and whom it would implicate, and what would happen. In the end, I need to write this post, because it turns out a lot of women are silenced in publishing, by the small nature of the industry, and by the fact that most of the execs are men. I'm not in the industry any more, and I'm not going to name names. I am going to write about it.

I worked in a very small office, with a male boss. When I interviewed with my female soon-to-be-supervisor, we talked job experience, qualifications. When I had my second interview with the Boss, we talked about what music I liked and what I did on the weekends. This set up the "good cop/bad cop" dynamic I would work under for three years. She was mean, he would soothe our wounds. He was our buddy, she was the task-master.

I worked in an office of all women, save for the two six-month terms the two males lasted. Other than Supervisor, we were all under 30 when we were hired, and for most of us it was our first real job in publishing, after school and internships.
The atmosphere at the office was very casual. We were encouraged to view each other more as friends than co-workers. We laughed, we talked, we all went out drinking together. As friends, we were expected to talk about our relationships. So many many meetings disintegrated into conversations about whom we were dating. Those conversations often led to discussions of our sex lives, sometimes in graphic detail; the exact sort of conversations you'd have with your friends. We were young, we were among "friends," and we thought nothing of it. I'd often joke about "Boss's harem," though I was more right than I thought I was.

I have anecdotes, and hearsay about what my co-workers have gone through, with that Boss. I won't relate them here, because those are their stories to tell. I will tell you that on several occasions, outside of work hours, I was propositioned by the Boss. Once, at a club after a work dinner, all of us drinking till last call, he leaned in and said "You are a very sexy woman." I laughed it off. Like I laughed off the time we split a cab home from a publishing party and he said "Hey! Let's fuck!" I babied him, stuck in my own stupid Stockholm syndrome. "Now you know that wouldn't be a very good idea. You're drunk, and high, and I know you're not in your right mind." I got out of the cab at the end of my street, and let him go home alone. He apologized the next day, laughing about it. I told him not to worry, I wasn't "going to sue or anything." It was all just a big joke.

I flirted back, when he'd flirt, and I'm ashamed. But I blame him. I blame the way he manipulated us into thinking it was all part of the job, the "culture" of the office. We were often told to "entertain" people at our parties, like we were geisha. Dress sexy, be the first ones on the dance floor, get drinks. Looking back, I feel like we were supposed to represent not the brains and talent of our office, but the tits and ass. Lucky for him, we were a smart, hard-working bunch of people, and we managed to make that place work. That made him look good too. You know, I'm still not sure really what he does, other than take buyers to lunch. His tales of business trips always involved a lot of drinking, eating, and weed-smoking. At Book Expo, he'd point out all the women he'd slept with.

Some of my old co-workers still defend him. I can't begin to imagine why. Maybe if my termination from that place -- and let me make it clear I assuredly was not let go for my failure to sleep with the Boss* -- hadn't happened, I'd still give him a lot of leeway too. Maybe I'd still think he was a nice, but screwed-up guy. Right now, writing this post, I feel like my termination was a gift, so I could have the clarity to look back and say "No. You were wrong. This was wrong." I have been at my current job almost two full years, and no one's asked me if I like it up the ass yet. I'm pretty damn okay with that.

Edit: I had anonymous commenting turned off, due to spam. I've turned it back on, for the time being, in case you want to comment, but don't feel comfortable doing so under an online identity. I went through and removed all pictures of myself from this blog after publishing this post, so trust me, I get it.

*Shit, maybe it was.

59 comments:

Kerry said...

Great post. I think of this sort of thing whenever people comment upon the women-dominated nature of publishing. I think the dynamics are rarely so straightforward.

Panic said...

I always refer back to that Q&Q thing I read in 2005 that said 80% of publishing is women, but only 3% of the executive.

Kitchen Geek said...

He asked you if you take it up the ass? Seriously?

I worked in the ad sales dept of a couple of big national magazines for a few months, and the atmosphere was very much like what you describe, at least among the sales reps. Hearing some of the crap that would come out of their boss' mouth after a few drinks was enough to make me glad I was in admin and not sales.

Panic said...

Repeatedly. It was a running joke. Which, like, with my pals? Ok. As I said, he set it up so we were all pals, not co-workers, so everything was in play. I am remembering now a couple girls who didn't play ball with this scenario. They didn't last long either.

Megan said...

AUGH.

Stevie said...

Wow, this sounds a lot like an office where I used to work...

And I think I can say, with confidence, that it is the same office, given that I worked there while you were hired. I want to thank you for writing this post, which is accurate in its portrayal of how very toxic and messed up this place really was, and likely still is, to this day.

The sad thing is that the higher-ups (men) at this company (the parent company, that is) know about the bad behaviour that took place in this office, though, I believe, they've chosen to turn a blind eye. (I was given an exit interview several years ago after I walked out; I know the man who runs this company has a fairly good idea about some of the sordid goings-on.) It pisses me off that so many young women have to suffer, while these idiot men are excused because they "just can't help themselves" or "don't know any better." And then there is the fact that a woman is often given the label of "trouble-maker" if she does speak up. I wish I had the confidence then that I have now. Things would have, and should have, ended differently. As it stands, I walked out of my first "real" job with zero self-esteem and a heap of shame. And this guy, for the record, still has the nerve to scowl at me when we cross paths at events. As if I wronged him. As if I betrayed him. If he only knew how little I divulged in the end (and I think he does know on some level), he'd be thankful.

Davidar and Penguin should be held accountable. Lisa Rundle should be praised. I hope this case plays out exactly as it should.

Panic said...

I was hoping you'd come across this somehow. I wish things had been different, for all of us.

Anonymous said...

Any idea how I add your blog to my Google Reader? I can't find an RSS feed button anywhere?

Panic said...

If you go to your Google Reader page, there's a button on the top, left-hand side that says "Add a subscription." Click, then put in the URL of this, or any, blog.
http://weareindebtetc.blogspot.com

And thanks for reading!

J said...

I was shocked when I heard this. Some months ago, I interviewed for a position under Lisa. I didn't get the job, but I thought she was one hell of a cool lady and found myself hoping that someday, when I managed to succeed in publishing, I might end up being a manager like her.
I don't know if she's still in publishing, but I still admire her, not only professional but now personally as well. I hope her willingness to speak up about what she's gone through inspires others to be as brave.

Panic said...

It sure as hell inspired me.

Anonymous said...

I worked in the satellite office of a major publisher in the U.S. that was run very similarly when I first started. Fortunately, our publisher had the sense to fire my boss, after much prodding from a friend who worked in another department. It's sad to find out that this is so prevalent in every industry. I interviewed for a job at Penguin when I lived in Toronto. I'm glad it didn't pan out; I'm in a very healthy work environment now and wouldn't trade it for any false pretense of career status.

Sonia said...

This is sick. But, I can understand the reality of it. Thanks for posting it. I started a part-time job 3 years ago at a popular retailer for home furnishings. At least 80% of the co-workers in my department were 24 years old and under and we had only two male co-workers. One was gay the other wasn’t.

I was friends with both male co-workers and attended the same university at as the straight male co-worker. I guess we bonded over that. He was what women would consider to be ‘the nice guy’ but you always got the creepy feeling that he wanted something more. It really didn’t help that he openly promoted his pathetic Asian fetish and singledom. Despite knowing that I had a long-term relationship with another co-worker for a couple years before starting this job. He actively pursued me and constantly solicited sex. It was disgusting. It got to the point when I got into an verbal tussle with my dad and left my parents’ home that he whenever I saw him he would say to come live with him or get an apartment near his place.

I put up with it for at least two years before going to HR. I later found out that he had done the same thing to at least 6 other co-workers of Asian descent. But, I was the only one who stepped up and reported him. I felt shamed throughout the whole process. I wish I had caught it early. But, fear and shame prevented me as well as not knowing what sexual harassment really is. I am glad my workplace has a strong HR department because they made the whole process relatively painless. But, there was one thing about the whole thing that broke my heart.

There was one girl who was not of Asian descent but got sexually harassed just like me but at a lesser extent. When HR pulled her in for investigation, she basically almost denied everything happening and refused to talk about it. Someone I considered a friend betrayed me and betrayed the other women who had suffered under him. I wasn’t sure how to react. But, this has really made me jaded.

Anonymous said...

I worked at a major publishing house in Canada too and the atmosphere was very much as you describe it - the numerous incredibly drunken social events (aka book launches) which inevitably ended with girls from the office (or their friends) making out or sleeping with the male authors. It was all part of the culture, and at most, people simply laughed it off. Just reeks of professionalism, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

This is an awful experience and I'm sorry you had to go through it but I just want to say that I have never come across this kind of atmosphere. I am 30, a woman, and have worked in Marketing and publicity at two different publishing companies for about 6 years. So it's not always like this, thank god.

Anonymous said...

This is an awful experience and I'm sorry you had to go through it but I just want to say that I have never come across this kind of atmosphere. I am 30, a woman, and have worked in Marketing and publicity at two different publishing companies for about 6 years. So it's not always like this, thank god.

Panic said...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it happens to everyone. But I bet it happens to a lot more people than anyone would think. I also think the culture in publishing -- and let's be honest, the culture at large -- makes it really, really difficult for women to speak out.

Anonymous said...

What strange timing that this all comes out just as I left a managerial position at a major publisher. Due to constant harassment (in the regular sense and sexual sense) and bullying, I left my position. On my way out, I went to the chief and expressed my frustration with the situation, to which he consoled me and told me that he would be sure to take action. Two months later and nothing happened to this person and they continue to intimidate people around the office. Luckily, I wasn't set on publishing as my lifelong career, so I moved on out and up, but now am seeking counseling for those past 6 months where work was unbearable....

Diana said...

I work in academia and about 15 years ago I had to flee a writing program that had a similarly toxic personality at the helm. This man would regularly threaten anyone who crossed him with physical harm-- I saw him punch holes in a student's wall at a party, I saw him throw silverware at students talking in the back of the room. He cultivated a gang of cronies and loved looking for ways to intimidate and bully people. He harrassed and threatened me constantly, about all sorts of things. Even after I resigned, for a few years, he and one of his cohorts continued to call department heads and awards committees to "warn" them about me. It was like having a stalker--only my stalker was a published writer with a graduate degree! Part of what made it so insidious was just as you described--the tendency to second-guess myself, to fear reprisal, to want to be a "good sport," to fear marginalization. Yeah, it's a big ol' downer to complain too often about being harrassed. Sorry to say it, but it seems like sometimes the best thing a woman can do is to flee the poisonous situations, and try to strike out for clearer, healthier grounds. I sure am glad I did.

Julian said...

what a horrible thing to have gone through.

you are powerful to written so clearly about your experience

i hope you help many other women who have been through these abusive situations

i also hope, purely for your own sake, that you can find a way to forgive that man

blessings to you - true feminine power

J
x

Panic said...

Julian,
He'd have to apologize first. Heh.

Julian said...

he's going to need a LOT of therapy then and true self-forgiveness learning how to apologize from his heart and on his knees. Repeatedly. To every woman he abused.

funnily enough I was part of a healing workshop where this was one man's healing. it ended with in truth and forgiveness with two victims.

I have no idea whether he went back to his abusive ways. Or publicly apologized. Or to others.

the same healing approach has worked well with First Nations healing in BC, Canada and that abuse needs a lot of healing and help from everyone.

from the stories I've heard in these healing environments men can get very abusive, men especially altho' it's not unknown for women display same. Nuns e.g.

as a man I can't imagine how it could have been for you but I can empathize with abused from what I've encountered in healing groups
(me addict)

good for you to write and help others

with love

Julian

Sustenance Scout said...

Powerful, indeed. And something we need to pass on to young women in all professions and walks of life: Abuse of any type is never OK. Be strong. So glad you were able to escape when you did. K.

Anonymous said...

I became a P.A. for one of the publishing industry's sleaziest bosses - it was pretty much my first job in publishing. I was massively naieve and so grateful to finally have a foot in the door that I turned a blind eye to all the boss's flirting and innuendo. He was always inviting me out for drinks and lunch and you can't say no to your new boss. After he tried to get me drunk over a lobster lunch on a table that was so small, he was practically on my lap, I started looking for another job. The sad part is everyone in the company knows he's like that and although they may feel sorry for his latest prey - the new work experience girl etc, they don't actually do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Twenty years ago, when I started in publishing in London (the UK one) your description of office life was the norm. It was toxic, frightening, abusive. I am very sorry you had to endure it too. It's not so much like that in London publishing how - at least I don't think it is - I left.

Anonymous said...

The 'Don Juan' boss existis in many countries. I've encountered a few in the Brazilian publishing industry in the past (not working there anymore). I think it's great that this is now being discussed more openly. Women shouldn't think this kind of behaviour is ok. The sad thing is that some women with low self-esteem actually feel flattered with the extra 'attention'. Some other times they are ambitious/fool enough to think that they can use this on their advantage (and get a promotion). I've seen this before and it doesn't end well. Most of the times, not responding to the flirting is the best policy. It often makes Don Juan to realize he is dealing with a professional woman who is not up for it. Of course there must be stalkers too who keep insisting no matter what... women should have support from the company to report such cases.

Panic said...

Anon 5:18
Isn't it interesting how many of us have this experience in our first publishing job. It's like women are actually PREY, and these guys know which ones are too new and unsure to stop things.

Anon 7:16
It sounds a bit like you're blaming the women, rather than the harasser. Bottom line, this is not acceptable workplace behaviour, and how women react to it is often a survival strategy.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, when I was brand new to the Canadian publishing industry, I went to a conference with our US counterpart taking place in the States. I was specifically warned by a friend not to trust one of the male executives in the US office. Nothing ever happened, and I never thought much of the comment until these allegations against Davidar. How common is this - not only in this industry, but in others as well? Scary.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Panic said...

If you come here just to insult me, and promote yourself in the process, you get deleted. NEAT!

Kerry said...

Very neat. Well played, Panic.

purplegrape said...

Thank you so much for writing this. It is so wonderful that people are speaking up about the wide-spread nature of this problem -- and that people are listening.It's so easy to brush off individual complaints; it's when we use our voices together that we can make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having the courage to post this. I'm not in the publishing industry, I'm a technical writer in the software industry. It is much the same in the companies I work with, except the male/female ratio heavily favors the males. And HR refuses to respond to complaints.

Technical writing is generally undervalued in software companies. Perhaps that's why technical writers are as well. We are treated like a stupid stepchild...asked to take notes, fetch coffee, make copies. And, of course, expected to submit to being the butt of inappropriate jokes about our age, gender, pay grade, and intelligence.

If you find a solution, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god. So many bells ringing. SO MANY. SO MANY.

And despite bending over, um, backwards, it still got me fired, harassed, marginalized, paid $10k less than my male colleagues at the same title level...

Working for a woman now, thank god. But I can't even tell you what I put up with because I thought I wanted to publish books. I'm ashamed, too. But also really, really angry.

Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

It breaks my heart to read this, and to read the comments. SO MANY women have experienced this. And here's one thing I've never understood, no matter how much people tell me otherwise: How come I feel guilt for someone else's actions? Because I do.

I had a similar situation, and it wasn't my fault, but that's why I didn't speak up. I have no idea how to solve this, but hopefully other women can gain strength by hearing the stories of others.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. You've provided a very good warning to those who suffer from the boss's insistence on friendliness -- and why it feels so slimy and gross AND why it seems like there's nothing to be done about it.

A good place to read about general workplace bullying is www.kickbully.com.

Panic said...

Anon 2:34 I have the guilt too. I've been replaying my actions over and over since writing the post, wondering how I could have let it happen, how I could have gone along with it. Usually I come back around to "It's not me, it's him." Esp. since I wasn't the only one in that office it was happening to. All at the same time.

Anon 2:37 Thanks for the resource!

Anonymous said...

In 2000, I worked for a very small film production company in Montreal -- my first job out of a post grad diploma there, my first job as a new immigrant in Canada. As you can guess, a really important job for me to keep in order to get my foot in the door in the Canadian workplace. It was a good cop/bad cop male/female scenario there too. I was told the sales people had to be blonde haired and blue eyed because skin colour sells. I was a marketing manager. The female boss insisted that all the women dress in oversize clothing, nothing fitted. She threw things at me if I emailed her her phone messages instead of writing them on the special piece of lined paper she specifically had some other junior draw up in MS Word.

The man, on the other hand would call me into his office. In my interview, he asked me if I had a boyfriend. He asked me how old I was. In the months to come, he told me that he thought I was very attractive and very intelligent, and that we could be good friends outside the office. Once, in a marketing meeting, in which I was trying to explain some marketing plans for an international launch of one of our films, he sucked on the wrist of his hairy hand, staring so hard at me that I couldn't even speak.

I cried every morning before I went to work. My friends urged me to leave, then gave up on me. I waited for my contract to end after nine months. He wanted to renew it, and I said no. For years after, I would think about doing something about it -- filing a suit, telling some authority, anyone. Their employee turnover was 250%. The employees would have secret monthly dinners, and we'd draw up a list of who had joined and quit that month. I kid you not. We even have a survivors' FB page. There was one woman who came into work at 8 am, and went out to lunch at noon, and never came back. Again, I kid you not.

I remained silent, because I needed the job. They paid me well. It was white collar Canadian work experience. I had other immigrant student friends burning their fingers from steaming jeans in factories, and I didn't want to do that. I think I had a nervous breakdown, but I'm not entirely sure. All I know is that I had to leave Canada for five months, go back home and build myself up again. I came back and started working in book publishing. My first boss asked me if I knew how to make chicken curry in my interview with him. I heard many awful things from him after that, but I never took it to heart, because he was just a big kid who lacked diplomacy on every front. My publishing boss after that was an angel. He's been a guiding light for me even after I quit and moved on to other things.

But I'll tell you a secret... the only thing that makes me feel less awful about that first job I had is this: a few months into being mistreated by good cop/bad cop, I had it. I couldn't speak up, but I could do something else. So every time they yelled at me to bring them a cup of coffee, I would. With a big dollop of my spit in it.

Anonymous said...

This post is silly.

Anonymous said...

sounds about right...I've seen some of those things go down, but its industry wide...

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear what the publicists in the industry have to say about the authors they work with in terms of these types of issues, too.

JJS said...

Thanks so much for this post, and thanks also to the many commenters. I find it so dispiriting that for so many of us, the end of the story about whichever incident(s) of sexual harassment - even when we do file complaints - is 'I left.'

Also that I'm sitting here having to really think hard about how many jobs I've had to leave because of it. ('That one, and of course that one, oh and you know, that one, and I have no recommendation from that one because my only recommender is now my stalker...' et cetera ad infinitum.)

I appreciate the openness of people here. Regardless of what any of us did or didn't do in response (and options in the moment are pretty damned limited for most of us), the fact that someone else harassed us wasn't our fault.

Anonymous at 4:08 - I hope you're not in publishing because your reading comprehension isn't very good.

Andrea said...

Thank you for writing this post! I am not in publishing, however I was bullied at my last job. And it was with a non-profit hospice, a place where they are supposed to help people! Your blog really helped me realize that I wasn't the one with the problem there. I've been having guilt trips as well, feeling like maybe I had done something to deserve being treated in such a fashion. But I didn't. I was very good at my job and I was treated very badly. Then when I complained I was 'restructured' out. I filed complaints and went through hearings and in the end they said 'thanks for your feedback'. I'm just glad to know I'm not alone.

Marion Gropen said...

I've been harrassed, when I was young and less strong than I am now, and I've been a manager in publishing. In the latter position, we had a lot of very young folks, very naive ones, in our ranks.

As a woman who had been victimized, and as a decent human being, I made it clear to everyone that any mistreatment could be brought to me, and they could expect that I'd do something about it.

Some of the complaints I got were just silly (bosses under stress who forgot to say please or thank you? Sorry, but that's not worth going over their head. Not good, but not a firing offense.)

Anything that was more serious was addressed vigorously. We didn't have any sexual harrassment, as far as I ever heard or could see, but we had other things happen.

I think the message got through when I frog-marched a threatening delivery man out the front door, without waiting for security. Just DON'T mess with my people. EVER.

On the other hand, I was never soft and cuddly. I was in charge of firing people, and turning around failing departments, among other things.

If you're a manager, and you're reading this: it's YOUR responsibility to make sure that the people working for you know that you will take action to ensure that they feel safe in their office.

It's a hard line to walk, but I'm here to tell you that the effort has to be made -- and that if you do, you can make a difference, no matter who you are, and no matter what other impediments stand in your way.

After all, what's the alternative?

Anonymous said...

It is not just in the publishing industry, unfortunately. After what I have endured and seen over the last 9 years working in the service/hospitality industry (under a well known American company that has venues around the country)...it runs the gamut. From intimidation, bullying, sexual harassment, gaslighting, wanting to do drugs/get drunk/have sex after work with management, being forced out or discouraged from remaining, not being promoted for speaking up and/or for not accepting advances, etc. I have done extensive research to help me heal and gain inner strength, and unfortunately I can see how it runs rampant in so many areas and industries. It disgusts me. To me, this needs to be addressed worldwide. It is treated way too nonchalantly, in my opinion; and is so unhealthy for us as people. This is not what I want my future sons or daughters to have to work in, or learn in, or even BE in.

Besides the last 9 years, I also look at my college years and can see it at my job there. Much more minor. Moreso 'just' sexual harassment, and the "let's be friends" outside of work attitude from management that could/would lead to more. But still, considering it was run by the university, it shouldn't have been there. ---I can also see it in my grade school to a point. Although, again 'minor'. Mostly bullying and intimidation from other students, and teachers...that wasn't dealt with effectively.

Thank you for having the courage to share your story.

Anonymous said...

It's true, it's not just the publishing industry. At times even a 'friend' or acquaintance might have said or done something totally inapproporiate and unacceptable. And of course we know the difference: when it's sleazy and gross. The interesting and sad thing is the guilt--how we often end up wondering, 'did i lead him on in any way?'; 'did i not give out the right signals?' It takes courage to speak out, take a stand and to cut off ties. Of course, it helps when one has a strong support system--either a fabulous HR team or even loyal family and friends.

Eric Riback said...

Amazing that this stuff still goes on more than 40 years after the birth of the modern women's rights movement. Still more consciousnesses to be raised and perhaps more lawsuits to be filed.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you wrote this. When the news first broke re: Davidar, many thoughts crossed my mind, including "outing" the Boss. And, yes, we are talking about the same Boss.

He is a dangerous man. And all women in the office suffered his advances and sexual overtures. The ones who didn't survive that long, rejected him or were too "straight" for him to prey on. Those who hung on longer were more complicit in his advances. And that is not to place blame on us. It is simply that we believed that this was the culture we worked in and we should be okay with it. Sexual favours were granted to the Boss. But there wasn't a lot of choice in the matter for us.

It was a poisonous environment and I will always feel terrible about my role in that. The head office people have very little knowledge of what really goes on because the Boss is the only one who tells them anything. And I can't think that he actually tells him that he propositioned employees A and B in one afternoon. Or that he pitted employee A against C because he wanted to cement his "I'm really your friend not your boss" role with C.

My exit from the company was long overdue, and while not on the terms I would have wished, was really the best thing that could have happened. I confronted him about what he was doing with another employee. I told him it had to stop and that it was he who was undermining the office as much or more than anyone else. I was told that I was making it up, that he never "played" with anyone. That what I know had gone on with B, C, D, E, F, etc., was all in my head. I know I'm not wrong. And I'm sorry that I didn't say anything to you or the others about it.

Cleo said...

Thank you for sharing this. My first job in Canadian publishing was almost my last for very similar reasons. I shook my head in sadness reading about your experiences, which were so close to my own. All the young women in our office would make jokes about "Boss's Angels". The Harem cracks came later and were less funny.

When we finally went to the head of our board with other complaints (I hadn't had the guts to voice my experiences with being propositioned and constantly touched/rubbed up against), the first thing he asked was "Has anyone been to see the sexual harassment officer?" It seems the board were well aware of Boss's "antics" and just wanted to save face. That enraged me enough to visit the sexual harassment officer at the parent company where our office was housed who listened to my story, had me document it and then informed me that, while my complaints were valid and what had gone on was wrong, I'd never win bringing charges against him.

To this day I regret not having gone ahead with charges, regardless of the officer's advice, although at the time, I had gone on stress leave and simply couldn't face it. I applaud Lisa for having the courage to come forward, especially in our little publishing community in Canada--there is too much silence already in the Old Boy's Club.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Panic. Hopefully more of us will be encouraged to speak out when we experience such wrongdoing. I am happy to say that I stayed with the industry, watched my Boss go down in flames (albeit tiny ones that probably wouldn't be noticed outside this branch of the community) and am happily ensconced in a harassment-free position--they do exist, I promise!

Anonymous said...

I worked at Penguin Canada many years ago, before Davidar was part of anything. I'm not surprised at this sort of thing in the least, many blind eyes were turned when numerous sordid goings-on were happening and it wasn't until the past few years the company's finally begun cleaning house. It's good to see they're finally taking this sort of thing seriously, it was such a joke to figure out who was doing when I worked there. Lack of self control or sense of shame, I don't know what it was, but the same "higher-ups" would wonder why people didn't respect them. They should have tried keepign the pants up/skirt down/booze in the pantry...

vasu said...

This sort of things happen in every industry.Recently,Citibank was in the news for firing a woman as the men couldn't control themselves as she was too curvaceous!

I have not heard what has happened in that case . The woman was punished -she is the victim & the perpetrators are free to victimize others as earlier .Maybe more as they have got away.

You are really brave that you have posted this-this will help others to come out in the open & speak up.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely in every industry this sort of thing goes on. The entertainment related industries do seem to tolerate it more, and even encourage it. Something about the culture of culture, perhaps.

My daughter worked in a music related business. She loved the challenges in her job--which was administrative rather than dealing directly with the creative people--but soon grew frustrated with the realization that the main criterion for promotion, if you were female, was whether you would suck to the boss. I only insert the preposition to make the wording decent for general consumption.

Young women must be given the freedom to say no in the workplace. At the same time, you must understand that it's part of your biology to ask yourself those painful questions like, "Did I lead him on?" Just as it's part of his biology to *want* to chase you. The decent human beings are the ones who'll be able to answer the question, "No, my behaviour was propriety to perfection." Because one has inclinations and instincts, one doesn't have to act upon them. Sadly, no one's perfect, and young people particularly suffer from the tendency to want to unquestioningly oblige authority figures, especially in these extremely competitive work environments, places where it's cool to be employed.

aa said...

Married a**holes sweettalk women, befriend them, lend an ear, then a shoulder to cry on and then graduate to lending other things...the vulnerable woman succumbs, and then it is like "oops, hot potato". Scrub their slates clean, paint the woman as a predatory, frustrated b**** to the wife and everyone else who cares to listen and get on with their pathetic lives.

Easier when you are powerful like Davidar. I am shocked at the media going soft on him. Even Bill Clinton was not given this treatement!!!

Well, now these ba****** have a great pickup line. "Hi, how about some coffee and consensual flirting?"

John Barber said...
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Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for Lisa Rundle. Any woman who complains about anything in CanPublishing is immediately ostrasized, not only by the male execs but by most of the publishing community.

I wonder if the women in publishing will have the guts to actually stand up for a change for another woman, take issue with the corporate culture of the male execs, and challenge the lack of human resource support for staff.

A point that many have not brought up is that publishing is often supported by grants (if not for the houses themselves, at least for the authors) or other kinds of subsidies and that this money should be used responsibly. And authors deserve much more for their hard work than "paying" for a work enviroment that eschews dignity and professionalism.

Lemon Hound said...

You think this is just publishing? It's just a tad more surprising when its in an industry that should be a little more enlightened.

Thanks for chiming in all of you. It's way, way, way too familiar.

I feel like it's time to have some kind of formula for assessing the health of a given organization, publishing house, etc.

Get it out in the open and don't reward that behavior.

There are plenty of organizations where this kind of behaviour doesn't happen...reward them. Ignore the asses.

Anonymous said...

I am following this blog and would like to add my bit. I used to work for newspapers in a country. I was invited by the editor for lunch cooked by him. I forgot about it and around 2pm received a call from him reminding me of the lunch he had made for me. I accepted the `you cook lunch for me`offer because we used to review food and restaurants and had articles written and edited for the paper. Off I went and he said his wife was away and that we could catch up on new restaurants and reviews. before lunch he showed me a percussion instrument he played on, he sang classical vocals, and then wanted to show me around. I said I would like to see the kitchen he had cooked the lunch in, he said, there are better and important rooms to see than kitchen, like the bedroom and the attached bath...
I wanted to throw that lunch and run away, I ignored and wanted to rush with the lunch and run. hurriedly finished lunch and excused myself quickly saying I had to file reports. But he did manage to kiss me on my cheek, he intended on the lips but I turned away quickly.

The second one was not physical, but mental and emotional. so severe, that it took me three years to actually understand I was being abused. Reason I am mentioning this form of abuse if because at one point he even tried telling me he was my only hope and that I should give in. believe it or not, I did think on those lines. But something held me back. I am not sure yet what

Anonymous said...

I am an Indian and had been reading about this for a long time. Only today did I find the time to really go through all the remarks posted here.

All said and done, Davidar appears to be a bas**** but this is only as far for the time he worked in the canadian industry. I just wonder how many womens lives he marred while working in India - where it is much more difficult for women to come out in the open on sexual abuse. There is hardly any awareness about counselling as an option - making these women lead stunted lives with a lot of self guilt and reproach.

As for his friends defending him, apparently if a person like him has good relations with 900 women and molests/ rapes/ harasses one, it is ok.

Anonymous said...
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