ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Friday, October 27, 2017

Contract Cancellation as Punishment for Sexual Harassment

As reported by CNN, Penguin Press has just cancelled a contract with sexual-predator-of-the-day Mark Halperin, formerly of ABC News and recently a host of "Showtime" on HBO.  HBO has also cancelled its plan to create a mini-series based on his book.

Can a contract be cancelled for this reason?  I have not seen the actual contract, but it undoubtedly contained a provision allowing the publisher to do so.  If not, does it matter?  Clearly not.  Halperin and others like him well deserve the contractual outcomes of their incredibly poor behavior.  I doubt it that Halperin will dispute this legally too.

What in the world is going on with all these allegations and facts demonstrating sexual harassment, gender harassment, and other vile power games in the work place?  Sorry, gentlemen, but clearly, many men in the workplace and elsewhere still suffer from an almost incredible sense of entitlement to power over women.  "Almost" because history shows that this has apparently always been the case.  One would think that in 2017, things would be different, but quite evidently not.  Just look at our own industry, legal education, and how many men still dominate that field in the acquisition of job positions, promotions, presentations at conferences, etc.  Yes, it is still a man's world.  Yes, glass ceilings still exist.  How sad to think that as a society, we have not come further than this.  

A good aspect of this current revelation trend is that women are finally speaking up against what has happened.  It's doubly troubling that not only were they discriminated against, but also did not find it feasible to bring these issues up until now, apparently.

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