A couple of days ago I mentioned David Davidar's termination from Penguin Canada as a result of a sexual harassment case brought on by one of his coworkers. Well, the story just got juicier, and a tad more depressing.
This week, an "anonymous" blogger from Canada who worked in the publishing industry up until her recent termination discusses "What It's Like For A Girl" within the world of publishing, and it's not pretty: "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. " And yes, the him she is referring to is her boss.
I'm not going to get into how painfully obvious it is that this girl worked under a man who may or may not have been recently let go from a major publishing house in Canada because of sexual harassment accusations, but I will say that as a girl whose career aspirations revolve around the publishing world, this woman's post gave me a slap on the face. I'm sure (and hope) these office dynamics aren't synonymous to every publishing office, but knowing to what extent this woman was harassed in an industry that is supposed to represent brainy, well-read intellectual women is depressing. That this blogger believes she was meant to represent the "tits and ass" is heartbreaking to me. Utterly heartbreaking.