December 16, 2017 9:00 am
Updated: January 17, 2018 3:35 pm

Roy Green: Gentlemen, don’t be a Weinstein

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein appears in a file photo.

YANN COATSALIOU/AFP/Getty Images
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In recent weeks we’ve become re-acquainted with names like Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and Al Franken.

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Re-acquainted, because these men, away from their carefully crafted public personalities, are members of an expanding list of accused sexual predators likely so self-infatuated they shared a common view.  If all these allegations are true, it seems these accused men feel that no woman would possibly decline their leering, groping, sexually harassing and/or assaulting behaviour.

READ MORE: Harvey Weinstein strongly denies Salma Hayek sexual abuse claims

Some men named on the predatory list have attempted clumsy apologies to being outed by women who for far too long felt the weight of power and its intimidation forcing their public silence.

The power and intimidation proved an illusion and these accused sexual bullies have been summarily convicted in the court of public opinion.

A real courtroom may yet appear on their personal horizons.

I have spoken with male friends who tell me they’re reliving their lives and attempting to determine whether they may have engaged in questionable behaviour toward women.  Not one says he has done so, but some wonder if a common phrase, a joke, touching a woman on the arm or standing too close while talking to her is a crossing of the acceptable gender interaction line.

Is offering to help a woman with putting on her coat, or opening a car door itself open to a definition of sexual harassment, particularly if a woman has clearly expressed, “I can do that for myself. Thank you.”

READ MORE: Employers becoming more sensitive to inappropriate behaviour at office parties: expert

Most men of a certain age will perhaps feel compelled to act in a manner our parents taught us defines gentlemanly behaviour.

It wasn’t long ago saying lady was not viewed as condescending. In fact, referring to a woman or women as lady or ladies was expected, whether in the company of other males or in mixed company (when is the last time you heard that term?).

Men have been taking a bad rap recently, and to those who have confessed to egregious and sexually harassing behaviour,  ugly chatter and even uglier behaviour may define their personal stamp of masculinity.

READ MORE: Majority of employees don’t report sexual harassment in workplace: Poll

However, for the vast majority of men, decent and considerate interaction with women is the least of what they expect of themselves.  That’s not an attack on gender equality.  It’s not a throwback to days women were referenced as the “weaker” or “fairer” sex.  It is simply civility.

There will forever be boors for whom boorishness is the default approach.  There clearly are men who consider all those around them to be little more than chattel who should be grateful for their attention.

The scorn heaped on those publicly named should and hopefully will correct anyone inclined to engage in aberrant and degrading behaviour.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Corus radio network

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