By Sharanya Gopinathan
It’s obviously a total coincidence that just the other day, I was reading about how Vikas Bahl, of Phantom Films, had rubbished rumours that he had been ousted from the company for allegations of sexual harassment by narrating an incident where David Schwimmer, who played Ross on Friends, had been offered a raise and said he wouldn’t take it until every other cast member received a raise too. Bahl compared the other directors at Phantom Films to the cast of Friends, and basically said they were tight like that and wouldn’t oust him from the company because they’re all brothers.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Lots of people have been praising David Schwimmer’s new series of six Public Service Announcement type short films that are supposed to educate people on sexual harassment. Upworthy called them “powerful videos” that are absolute “must sees”. Storypick called them “brilliant”. Huffington Post Canada also thought they were “powerful”, while The Next Web says they reveal the “complexity of sexual harassment”. And I can’t call that anything but a bold-faced lie.
Each of the videos shows an instance of what is, to normal people, very obviously right-from-the-start no-frills straight-up workplace sexual harassment. There’s one where a male co-worker grabs a female coworkers butt (as an example of what men do to women in bars), a boss kisses his secretary full on the lips while pretending to look at her earrings, and a guy whips his penis out during a dress fitting, to just name a few. Each campaign ends with a black screen with the revelatory words #ThatsHarassment.
Maybe I’m missing something here, but the only thing I could think of at the end of each little clip were variations on no shit Sherlock and um duh Einstein and thanks a lot Captain Obvious. Anyone who thinks these clips reveal something secret or mysterious must be crazy, because to me, it doesn’t get any more painfully obvious than this. Can there really people in the world to whom these things are a mystery, or to whom these films are educational?
Seriously yaar, what to say. Upworthy said that when Schwimmer found out that one in three women in the United States face sexual harassment at work he felt like he just had to do something, and it feels like that is the literal definition of what he did: kuch bhi.
PS: To all those quarrelling with our stand here, we’d like to clarify that we don’t feel Schwimmer shouldn’t have done this, we feel Schwimmer should have done much more than plucking such low-hanging fruit.