PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A former Philadelphia television executive is voicing her opinion on the firing of Matt Lauer and the avalanche of men in the entertainment industry being held accountable as they face allegations of sexual harassment.
Over her 25-year television career, including a stint as assistant news director at Fox 29 in Philadelphia, Leslie Patterson-Tyler was often the only black person or woman at the executive level where she worked.
“In a lot of ways it was empowering,” she said, “but I also felt as if I had the burden of responsibility to explain how women think and how people of color think.”
She says she was shocked by the sudden news of the firing of the “Today Show” host.
“This is not something that is taken lightly,” Patterson-Tyler said, “especially not someone with a high-profile and name and history in the industry as Matt Lauer.”
Patterson-Tyler says for fear of lawsuits, firings like this are not made on a whim.
“I would imagine that there were probably a lot of closed-door meetings to discuss the accusations,” she said.
Patterson-Tyler says perhaps technology is contributing to the changing culture of holding men accountable when it comes to sexual harassment allegations.
“I don’t know specifically with the Matt Lauer case what type of evidence they had,” she said, “but I do think that with the more cell phones that can record conversations and video and social media and texting and sexting, it’s easier to accumulate evidence.”
And the culture of sexual harassment being swept under the rug may be changing as more women enter upper management positions.
“I think the more diverse voices you have at the table making decisions, reacting in situations like these, the better off you are in the long run,” Patterson-Tyler said. “It means that women who have been sexually harassed feel more comfortable coming forward.”