Gretchen Carlson Urges Women & Men to 'Open the Floodgates' After Harvey Weinstein Allegations

"This is the tipping point — and I am proud to have sparked this national dialogue," says Carlson, who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News founder and CEO Roger Ailes last year

Gretchen Carlson is encouraging men and women everywhere to contribute to the ongoing national dialogue on sexual harassment in the wake of the many allegations made against Harvey Weinstein.

The former Fox & Friends co-host — who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News founder and CEO Roger Ailes last year — recently penned an op-ed for Refinery29.

“My first thought when I heard about Harvey Weinstein? ‘Here we go again,’ ” began Carlson, 51, whose lawsuit against the late Ailes led to his resignation, rocked the Fox News Network’s foundation and won her a $20 million settlement.

“The bad news is that sexual harassment is back in the headlines, with tales of another powerful man preying on women, insulated by enablers and victims too ashamed to come forward,” Carlson said. “The good news is that sexual harassment is back in the headlines, precisely because women are finding the courage to tell their stories, and the strength to demand this sick behavior stop.”

Carlson, who recently published a new book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back, acknowledged that the “costs of coming forward are high,” recounting her own experience.

“I know first-hand what can await,” she said. “We are stigmatized as trouble-makers, liars, bitches, and can have our careers taken away in an instant simply by standing up for ourselves. That explains why even today, most sexual harassment incidents are never made public.”

In order to move forward, Carlson said she believes we “must start earlier and encourage young people to use their voice.”

“We must educate teenagers — boys and girls — about sexual harassment,” she said. “We must really celebrate men who speak out as well.”

Carlson listed “practical steps every working woman can take,” which include researching your employer before accepting the job, documenting every incident, asserting yourself verbally and consulting with an attorney.

“These are not easy actions,” she admitted. “But silence is the weapon of the harasser. It’s not just silence of the victim, but also those who simply shrug off harassment as ‘locker-room talk’ or ‘boys will be boys.’

RELATED VIDEO: All of the Hollywood Figures Who Have Spoken Out Against Harvey Weinstein

By speaking out, “we help others do the same,” says Carlson.

“I have been blown away by the courage I’ve seen as women demand to be heard in their fight for respect,” she said. “Against unbelievable consequences — shame, retaliation and even derailing their careers — women are refusing to remain quiet. Increasingly, men are, too. It’s especially important that younger men are on the forefront of this shift, because they can effect long-term culture change. Remember, guys: Silence equals assent.”

“This truly is our moment,” she continued. “This is the tipping point — and I am proud to have sparked this national dialogue. We can look at the headlines and be disgusted by another story of another powerful man who was enabled by too many for too long. Or we can seize the opportunity, open the floodgates, and keep this issue front and center.”

“Together, we can take control of our lives and our own personal power,” she added. “We will not be underestimated, intimidated or held back. We will not be silenced. We will tell the truth.”

Carlson also argued that sexual harassment “isn’t a partisan issue” and permeates “virtually every profession and walk of life.”

“From Bill Clinton to Donald Trump to Harvey Weinstein, misogyny transcends party and ideology,” she said. “It is hard-baked into our culture, and cultivated by the silence of women and men alike.”

“Nor is it some relic of the Mad Men era, or something we just see in locker rooms,” she added. “It is widespread in virtually every profession and every walk of life. But through the courage of those now coming forward, we have an opportunity to transform the very culture that has allowed for such widespread workplace harassment. We are at a turning point.”

Multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against Weinstein, 65, came to light in an Oct. 5 New York Times exposé and were compounded by an investigation by the New Yorker.

Following the initial report, Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to “deal with this issue head-on.” He has since been fired from his powerhouse studio, the Weinstein Company and kicked out of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. His wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, has announced she’s leaving him.

Since the NYT article, several more women have leveled allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein, including Cara Delevingne, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

Of the accusations, a spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”

Related Articles