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Volume 31, Issue 1

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Wednesday, 24 January 2018 15:42

Crisis Communicators Face a Dilemma in Sexual Harassment Cases

Cautionary Tales from Morgan Stanley and the U.S. Olympic Committee


From big corporations to non-profits, from government entities like the U.S. Congress to schools and universities, all types of organizations are firing high-profile men for sexual misconduct. Whether the firings are justified or not is a big question, but either way, one of two crises will inevitably follow.

If the accused man is found to be innocent, the organization has trashed its own reputation and brand, showing itself to be unprincipled and dishonorable. After all, it recklessly almost succeeded in ruining an innocent man’s life. That’s crisis number one.

If, on the other hand, the man is found to be decisively guilty of sexual misconduct, particularly if it was found to have occurred over a prolonged period of time, that’s crisis number two: The firing organization will be investigated for possibly having covered up or ignored reports of the bad behaviors.