Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor and host of “The Real Story,” made headlines in 2016 when she filed a lawsuit against the network`s then-CEO, Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment. The lawsuit led to Ailes` resignation from Fox News and a $20 million settlement for Carlson. However, Carlson`s story also brought attention to the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases of sexual harassment and assault.
An NDA is a legal contract that prohibits individuals from disclosing certain information about a particular event or situation. In many cases, NDAs are used to protect company secrets or other confidential information. However, in cases of sexual harassment or assault, NDAs can be used to silence victims and prevent them from speaking out about their experiences.
In relation to Carlson`s case, it was revealed that she had signed an NDA with Fox News in 2016 as part of her settlement agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Carlson was prohibited from discussing her experiences at Fox News and was required to retract statements made in her lawsuit. The use of NDAs in cases of sexual harassment and assault has since been criticized, with many arguing that they allow perpetrators to continue their behavior without consequence.
While NDAs have long been used in cases of sexual harassment and assault, the #MeToo movement has brought renewed attention to their use. In response, several states have passed laws limiting or banning the use of NDAs in cases of sexual harassment and assault.
In 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that prohibits NDAs that prevent individuals from testifying in cases of sexual harassment or assault. New York and New Jersey have also passed similar laws. However, NDAs continue to be used in many other states and in other countries around the world.
Critics argue that NDAs allow perpetrators to continue their behavior without consequences and prevent victims from seeking justice. They also argue that NDAs contribute to a culture of secrecy around sexual harassment and assault, making it difficult for victims to come forward and seek support.
The use of NDAs in cases of sexual harassment and assault continues to be a controversial topic, and it is likely that we will see more debates and discussions about their use in the future. As copy editors, we must ensure that we are aware of the impact that NDAs can have on victims and the importance of ensuring that their stories are heard.