The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Last Week in the Wedding Industry

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Last Week in the Wedding Industry

Last week was quite intense for the wedding industry. First came the shocking news that the legendary blog, Style Me Pretty, was closing its doors and all of the site’s decade-long content would be removed by the end of the month.

This caused the following to happen:

  • Shock and Denial: Never have I seen so many social media posts blanket my feed about news relating to the wedding industry. “OMG! Did you hear this? Is it true? It can’t be true!” “Is this some kind of belated April Fool’s joke?”
  • Anger: “I can’t believe this! All of my weddings that were featured will be gone!” “This is ridiculous!” “WTF?!”
  • Depression: “Is the wedding industry dying?”
  • The Upward Turn: High-profile business strategists wrote blogs assuring the industry that the sky is not falling. For more on this read Liene Stevens’ piece, “The Wedding Industry is Not Dying (and Neither is Online Media).”
  • Reconstruction: An entire movement, with its very own hashtag, #saveSMP, took off faster than the original news. Petitions were started, social media posts flooded the Internet, and other prominent bloggers used their influence to help fight the good fight to #saveSMP.
  • Acceptance & Hope: As of this writing, the original posts declaring the blog’s impending closure have disappeared. This is causing mass speculation (and lots of hope) that the petitions worked, voices were heard, and the blog can be saved.

 

The situation brought out the best in people. They rallied, pledged unwavering support, and took action. The following day, not so much.

Exactly one day after the SMP news broke, a video went viral, also sending shockwaves throughout the industry.

A wedding industry professional posted a video in which she described the sexual harassment she experienced at the hands of an industry colleague. Her brave and tearful retelling of her story included reading quotes directly from texts between her and the man she accused. It was clear that these texts and the other in-person interactions she described were painful for her to relive and that she made it clear that his words and actions were inappropriate and upset her.

According to The Equality Act of 2010, sexual harassment is described as “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.”

Pretty cut and dry, if you ask me. And from what this woman described in the video, she did indeed experience sexual harassment.

I watched the video and my heart hurt for this woman.

I then started to read the comments and my heart nearly exploded due the rise in my blood pressure when I read things like:

“At some point there’s some responsibility on your part. “

“You were in a situation that you had control over – not him and I’m just going by what your video and the text messages say. At some point you could have told him to f**k off. He had no power over your career or the moves you needed to make.” 

And in a group whose stated mission is to be “a place for Wedding Planners to share, learn, grow, empower, and lift one another up in this crazy entrepreneurial journey,” these thoughts were posted:

“Some of the #metoo stories I’ve heard are ridiculous.”

“Was he flirting? Most likely. Did he cross the line asking personal questions? Maybe. Harassment? Ongoing and detrimental to her career? Definitely not.”

All of the above comments were made by women. Every single one.

She also detailed how she went to her mentor and told her everything that happened, sharing screenshots of texts, and asking for her support. Her mentor did show support – for the man the woman accused.

Her mentor advised her “Do not post anything anywhere. Do not discuss this with anyone.” She later commented on a Facebook post referring to the person the woman in the video accused: “I have the coolest friends. Congratulations {name} on your massive success.”

The person accused attempted to do some damage control and posted a generic apology two days after the video came out:

“I know my name has been passed around a lot this week and I want to acknowledge that I’ve hurt some people in my life. I want to publicly apologize and say that I am working on myself. I’m open to talking to anyone about this if you have questions. I’m sorry for causing pain and abusing my power.”

Personally, I find this apology to be generic and self-serving. He posted because his “name has been passed around a lot.” And if he’s apologizing, why not directly respond to his accuser either by acknowledging her by name in this post and/or contacting her directly and apologize to her?

Comments on his (now deleted) apology post were overwhelmingly positive, applauding him for his “bravery,” and ignorantly absolving him from any wrong-doing with comments such as “We all make mistakes.”

His behavior? Awful and deserving of a full investigation (several other women have come forward with similar stories). He must face the consequences of his actions. A blanket apology is not enough. Just ask Harvey Weinstein.

The behavior of the women who expressed support for the man she accused and then attacked, shamed, and blamed the accuser? Repulsive.

It is this type of behavior that undermines the integrity of women that come forward, causes more to keep quiet (fearful of the backlash they’d receive by sharing their stories), and enables the harassment to continue.

Come on ladies. We’re better than this. Or at least we should be.

UPDATE April 23, 2018: I have since been contacted by the professional accused of sexual harassment. He told me that he has reached out to his accuser personally and that he removed his apology post on Facebook per his attorney’s recommendation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Comments
  • Thanks for the article

    April 28, 2018 at 11:56 pm Reply

    I’m always heartbroken to hear any story of sexual harassment and assault. Thank you for writing this piece.

    After watching the video, it’s interesting that she chose to hide the video from her timeline and deleted an Instagram post directly linking the video.

    It’s a life damaging accusation. I would think she’d stand by her claims of truth and her claims that’s she’s protected by an attorney.

    I have no idea what his story is. But there seems to be more context than what was said in the video. It just seems odd…

    • Beth Berstein

      April 29, 2018 at 7:35 am Reply

      I spoke with her briefly and I believe one of the reasons she took it down from her timeline and Instagram was due to all of the negative comments attacking her character and questioning her motives. And that was really the main point of my post – how shocked I was that so many women were making her seem like the “bad guy” in this situation. Nothing makes me sadder than hearing these stories of harassment aside from women tearing down other women. It’s like being assaulted all over again. Thank you for reading the post and taking the time to comment.

      • Thanks for the article

        April 29, 2018 at 8:23 am Reply

        Thanks for taking the time to respond. I agree with your main objective of writing this article. I’m also shocked by some of the comments on her posts. It’s always disappointing to hear. I’m also concerned by other comments against the accused. One woman commented that she purposely sent him a private message to rile him up. Overall, it’s upsetting people are using social media in this way.

        It seems like his career is forever changed so I’m not sure what good having people making threats and knowing his full name will do any good by having the post still up and letting people continue to comment.

        Again, it’s so concerning to me about everyone’s safety.

  • Bad reporting

    April 20, 2018 at 8:22 pm Reply

    It’s really too bad you didn’t interview the person accused to round out this post. I know for a fact he reached out to the lady to apologize privately. The public apology was for all you gossip mongers who need something to talk about.

    • Beth Berstein

      April 21, 2018 at 7:25 am Reply

      I’m not quite sure if you understood the point of this post. Most of what I wrote was condemning the women who attacked the accuser for coming forward, questioned her motives, brought up her past, and put blame on the victim. You’ll note that I did not use any names in this post – that was intentional. The post is not about just this particular instance – it is about the larger issue of women being as responsible for the victimization of women and their role in perpetuating rape culture.

  • Janet Maebela

    April 17, 2018 at 11:12 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing!
    {Accused} is the {person} you speak of so I’m not sure why you are protecting his name?
    {Accuser} is brave for coming forward with this story.
    #MeToo

    • Beth Bernstein

      April 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Janet. I edited it and removed the names. I am in no way trying to protect the man accused. However, I do not feel it is my place to use names as it is not my story to tell. Anyone who would like to see the video to which I referred in my post, is welcome to contact me and I will send the link. Thank you for reading and #metoo.

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