Matt Lauer and the Unearned Redemption of Terrible Men
Celebrities disgraced during the #MeToo movement want forgiveness despite making zero amends.
People Magazine has published a simpering new profile of disgraced morning anchor Matt Lauer one year after he was fired for alleged sexual misconduct. According to sources, “It has been hard for him. He went from being a super busy person to having nothing but time on his hands. He is not doing well.”
Pity the jobless multi-millionaire and alleged sexual harasser who now has all the time in the world to spend with his (gasp!) children. Social media quickly took the magazine to task for such a fawning puff piece for a man accused of sexual assault and harassment:
NO ONE ASKED FOR THIS
“Inside Matt Lauer’s Life 1 Year After Sexual Misconduct Scandal (Exclusive)” pic.twitter.com/AozH3vtoVK
— Jenny Yang 👲🏼👲🏼👲🏼 (@jennyyangtv) November 29, 2018
I’m curious to know how the women he harassed and took advantage of (and possibly raped) are doing. https://t.co/rAk8lTFzfD
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) November 29, 2018
1. Matt Lauer is lucky he’s not in prison.
2. No doubt he’s doing better than his victims. https://t.co/03Y35Bsukr
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) November 29, 2018
The article is indicative of a larger problem that has come in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement: accused men demanding acceptance and forgiveness despite putting zero work into redeeming themselves. The pattern is clear: lay low for a few months, then slither back into the public eye and hope no one remembers you were a creep.
But what would redemption even look like for these men, who have miraculously evaded arrest and prosecution for alleged sexual misconduct? There is no cultural blueprint for the reckoning of men like these, because this behavior has always been condoned, even celebrated. Even more frustrating, these men have now made themselves victims and have convinced the media to go along with their “woe is me” stories.
The fact is, redemption can take a lot of different forms. For men like Lauer and C.K., the easiest one is financial: pay up. Donate money to nonprofits for victims of sexual assault and violence. Sacrifice a small portion of your already massive wealth to help those in need. Another step in the path towards redemption is issuing an apology. Not a mealy-mouthed, vague whiff of an apology, but a sincere expression of regret and remorse.
Part of what is so frustrating about these men returning to the public eye is that they have done zero work to get there. They treat their brief shunning like time in the penalty box, when they should be examining their own behavior and dismantling the toxic masculinity that made them this way. But these men don’t want to put the work in. Why? Because they aren’t sorry for what they did. They’re sorry they got caught.
(via Celebitchy, image: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
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