The Case for Small Government

A Libertarian Perspective on Economic and Social Policy

April 22, 2006

Sexual Harrassment and "Friends"

Civil liberties attorney Harvey Silvergate discusses a recent sexual harassment case in California involving the TV show Friends. He writes:

The protracted battle between the First Amendment and the PC notion that we're all entitled to go through life without being made to feel uncomfortable took an unexpected turn two days ago. The California Supreme Court—a pioneer in curtailing free speech, ostensibly to protect the “vulnerable” from “verbal harassment”—unanimously reversed a lower court decision that would have allowed a sexual harassment lawsuit to proceed to trial against the producers of the sitcom “Friends.”

Read the full column here.

If nothing else, this case shows the extent to which a well-intentioned law—the 1964 Civil Rights Act—can have ramifications far beyond anything the sponsors envisaged at the time.


At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the story available somewhere to non WSJ subscribers?

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Lab_FROG said...

Or a link to the decision on Find Law?
Anyways, perhaps South Park’s constant ridiculing of PCness is beginning to have an impact on the courts.

At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Al Brown said...

Seems pretty ridiculous. I've always strived to keep such discussions out of the workplace, but people do have a right to talk, even if its about stuff you don't like.

You can talk trash on your front porch, even if it offends your neighbor, can't you? Is that "creating a hostile environment", even if the offended party is not a participant in the discussion, but just happens to be within earshot?

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