A Lot of Things Happening in the World

A lot of things are happening in the world today. Unfortunately, online abuse remains one of them…

There is a lot going on in the world today.

We are moving farther apart. Yet in many ways we are moving closer together.

In these times as we continue to look for ways to stay safe, come together, and meaningfully connect with one another, much of our lives have moved online. And, wherever people gather together there will always be greater opportunities for kinder, better interactions — but, sadly, also many openings for less kind ones…

Cyberbullying, harassment, and online abuse are real. And they can represent very real threats to individuals’ sense of safety, peace of mind, and well-being.

As we move forward, it is important to remember that we each have a duty to avoid unnecessarily harming others. But, we also have a right to insist on freedom from harm caused by others. This includes harm caused by online harassment and abuse.

Be kind. Always.

And never stop fighting for what is right.

Black lives matter.

Candice Blain Weighs In On Celebrity Sexual Misconduct for CNBC

Sexual misconduct allegations against celebrities has received much attention in the last few years.  And so, inevitably, many are now asking whether and when it is appropriate for celebrities that faced or admitted to allegations to return to the public eye.

I recently offered my opinion on what needs to happen in a piece by CNBC: How comedian Louis CK can get back on track after misconduct claims.

Louis CK has more to do.

As far as whether Louis CK is ready to make a comeback, unquestionably, there is more he needs to do.

That much is clear because in his performing his set last week, Louis CK was all too silent about his sexual misconduct.

Now, admittedly, his is a tricky line to walk—had he launched right into dismissively joking about it, we would (rightly) conclude that he was not taking it seriously enough.  But, insensitive jokes are a long way from outright ignoring what happened.  And on the spectrum of ways to deal with it, neither extreme is appropriate—and either approach shows he has more work to do.

I think it’s important to add here that as we collectively consider the appropriateness of Louis CK’s reentry onto the scene—as well as others who are preparing to do the same—we need to make an effort to understand that this discussion is not all about the person accused.  The whole discussion should not be centered on whether the public is “punishing” or “penalizing” him.  In fact, when we talk about these events, which one side experienced as abusive, we should attempt to do so with a focus on the victim—so How is the victim impacted? How can we serve the victim’s best interest? How can we prevent the creation of another victim?

If, on the other hand, we continue to examine every allegation of sexual misconduct with our lens squarely and exclusively on the accused, then we are not going to get far in terms of evolving our way of thinking.  We must move beyond considering everything from the perspective of the accused.

So, in terms of what Louis CK needs to do, I would say he needs to find a way to help.  And, I would add, since he has shown that he intends to return to the limelight—he should use his platform in service of that purpose.

Criminal charges matter—but they are not the only thing.

Assuming the claims against Louis CK that we already know about represent the entire universe of (or at least the worst of) the allegations against him, Louis CK is certainly, logistically, in a better position than celebrities facing criminal charges, say Weinstein.  By that, I mean a looming prison sentence can certainly interfere with a person’s comeback plans.

But, I think it would be a mistake to analyze whether a person is entitled to a comeback based on the existence, degree, or quantity of criminal laws violated or whether charges were pressed.

The simple reality is that Louis CK caused harm to others.  And his belated public admission of sexual misconduct did not undo it.  This is what should matter in the calculus of whether he now has room for a comeback.

Whether charges are filed has no bearing on whether sexual misconduct took place.  In some instances, a person’s reputation may be damaged due to an accusation, yes.  But that damage may actually be warranted, even in situations where no charges were filed.  The absence of a criminal charge does not necessarily mean innocence.

That being said, if a celebrity is maliciously and falsely accused of doing something—particularly if that something would make people hate or ridicule him—he/she certainly has recourse.  The laws in this country recognize that a person’s reputation is a thing of immense value.   This is why slander and defamation suits exist.

The focus should be on victims.

The problem with abuse like the kind alleged against Louis CK, is that a large part of what was taken away from these women is their dignity.  Even their spirit.  Those are not easily returned.

For example, one of Louis CK’s victims (Abby) reportedly said of her experience with Louis CK that it  “left her deeply dispirited” and “was one of the things that discouraged her from pursuing comedy.”

In the law, we talk about the goal being to put victims back to the place they would have been if the wrong had never been committed.  Presumably, Louis CK cannot give back what he has taken from these women.

What he can do, however, is through his work, help increase the chance that others will not find themselves having to choose between their dignity and their success or livelihood.

I would suggest that Louis CK put everything into working toward that.  

This is about Power.

In trying to understand what remains to be done and whether Louis CK’s comeback comes too soon, I think it is essential to remember what made his sexual misconduct possible.

The situations involving Louis CK that these women experienced as abusive were made possible, to some extent, because Louis CK had power; whether it came from prestige, fame, or money, he had power over them.

And now we know that, for whatever reason, Louis CK did not wield his power responsibly.  Instead, he abused it.

I believe everybody deserves a shot at redemption. And it is true that Louis CK admitted what he did.

But let’s not forget that not too long before Louis CK admitted it, when confronted with accusations, he denied it.  With full knowledge that these women were telling the truth, Louis CK publicly dismissed these women’s claims as being just “rumors”—and refused to address them claiming it would “make it bigger and . . . make it real.”  This is the kind of lie that causes great damage to victims, to their reputations, to their spirits, and to their lives.  What Louis CK did was wrong, and extremely harmful.

So Louis CK had power. And with it, he harmed people.

That is what this conversation is about.

We could talk about it in terms of what he still owes, and whether he has done enough, and whether he deserves to be shunned, but that would be missing the point.

Given what we know about what Louis CK did with power, we need to be asking whether it makes sense to give it back to him.

Revenge Porn is a Crime in Georgia

Revenge porn is a crime in Georgia – it is illegal.

O.C.G.A. § 16-11-90 states:

(1) Electronically transmits or posts, in one or more transmissions or posts, a photograph or video which depicts nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult when the transmission or post is harassment or causes financial loss to the depicted person and serves no legitimate purpose to the depicted person; or

(2) Causes the electronic transmission or posting, in one or more transmissions or posts, of a photograph or video which depicts nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult when the transmission or post is harassment or causes financial loss to the depicted person and serves no legitimate purpose to the depicted person.

Whether you directly do it yourself – or cause it to be done to another person – it is a crime.

Sharing intimate images of another person is a misdemeanor the first time.  Do it again, and it becomes a felony.

It is a crime in Georgia.  If you violate this law you can be arrested and fingerprinted.

Workplace Inequality and Injustice – TIME’S UP

Our law firm has joined TIME’S UP in their fight against workplace inequality and injustice by becoming a member of The National Women’s Law Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity.

TIME’S UP is a unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere.

From movie sets to farm fields to boardrooms alike, we envision nationwide leadership that reflects the world in which we live.

Powered by women, TIME’S UP addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential.

Learn more about the TIME’S UP project and mission.


TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund Helps Fight Workplace Inequality

In addition to providing online information and resources, TIME’S UP has set up a legal defense fund to aid in the fight against workplace inequality and injustice.

TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund wiill subsidize legal support for individuals who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace.

The Fund is housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center, an established, national women’s rights legal organization.

A network of lawyers and public relations professionals across the country will work with the Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity to provide assistance to those who have experienced harassment or retaliation.

Access to prompt and comprehensive legal and communications help will mean empowerment for these individuals and long-term growth for our culture and communities as a whole.

Legal Representation for Workplace Inequality and Injustice

Our law firm specializes in helping victims, including victims of workplace discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.

Workplace sexual harassment is unlawful in all states under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.  (It also prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of other protected traits, such as a person’s race, national origin, or religion.)

Under this and other sexual harassment laws, an employer is said to have discriminated when an employee is subjected to severe or pervasive harassment at work on the basis of sex.

If you are a victim of workplace discrimination, harassment, retaliation, inequality, or injustice, we may be able to help.

Contact us now.

Blain | Online Forum & Community

Discuss issues relating to current gender-related and social justice issues, such as workplace sexual harassment, cyber abuse, and sexual assault & rape at our online forum & community.


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Landlord Sexual Harassment – What To Do

As we know, sexual harassment isn’t limited to Hollywood.  The problem is insidious. It can be found wherever an imbalance of power exists, including in landlord-tenant relationships.  Landlord sexual harassment is a form of housing discrimination. It is unlawful. And it happens all too frequently.

The online publication Mogul released an important piece on what you should know and what you can do if you find yourself the victim of sexual harassment by your landlord.

You can read the full article at:

What to do when you are sexually harassed by your landlord.

Report Landlord Sexual Harassment

As outlined in the Mogul piece, you should report sexual harassment within one (1) year of its occurrence by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

HUD is responsible for enforcing violations of the Fair Housing Act, a federal law prohibiting housing discrimination.

You can get the Housing Discrimination Complaint Form to download, complete and return, or you can complete it online.

Or you can write HUD a letter, or call them.

HUD’s Regional Office for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee is located in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Regional Office of FHEO
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Five Points Plaza
40 Marietta Street, 16th Floor
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2806

(404) 331-5140
(800) 440-8091
TTY (404) 730-2654

If You Have Been Assaulted Call 911

If you are in danger (or perceive that you are), don’t mess around — call for help.

Find Somewhere Else to Stay

As noted in the article, even if you still have time left on your lease, if you continue to suffer landlord sexual harassment, it might be in your best interest to leave as soon as possible.

Document, Document, Document

Many people don’t report sexual harassment because they don’t know how to prove it happened. Some ways you can prove your case include:

  • Setting up surveillance video.
  • Contacting witnesses who have seen the harassment.
  • Creating a paper trail by documenting everything, and reporting the misconduct to the police or your local fair housing organization.

Hire a Lawyer

If you need help in putting a stop to landlord sexual harassment or if you have been a victim, you can get help from an experienced sexual harassment attorney.