Teaching Marc Smirnoff to “Ask First”

In the NY Times article titled “Editor Fired Following Harassment Accusation” (available here), Marc Smirnoff tries to defend himself from sexual harassment accusations with the following statement:

“It was acceptable to her in that moment,” he said, saying that she did not object to his behavior at the time. “My take of it was that we were trying to see if we could revive our relationship, professional and personal.”

Had Smirnoff been in one of our seminars, he would have heard the following from us:

The responsibility is not on the victim to stop you. The responsibility lies on you to have another person’s consent before touching the person. 

Mr. Smirnoff, had you asked first, “May I give you a hug?” or “May I touch you?”, you would have presented her with a choice before you touched her. You chose not to give her a choice. Now your defense is to blame her. Next time, ask first and be sure to respect the answer. Whether you like the answer or not.

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