Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Sexual Misconduct

Samantha Bee optimistically explains the evils of forced arbitration, with help from Gretchen Carlson

Congress is generally terrible, Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal, but "last month, a bipartisan congressional coven" of female lawmakers "teamed up with some of the few men in Congress who don't panic when they hear the phrase 'there's been an accusation'" to introduce legislation to end forced arbitration for sexual harassment. "Forced arbitration is a legal strategy that allows corporations to bypass the court system," Bee explained. "When companies do bad stuff, they can force accusers to use a private arbitrator hired by that same company, with little chance to appeal when the arbitrator rules in favor of the company, which it usually does."

You've probably signed away your rights numerous times without even knowing it, Bee said. "Forced arbitration literally takes away your legal rights," and it "often mandates nondisclosure agreements. Not only does that keep stories from getting out to the public, it can also prevent employees from sharing information about mutually feared creepos — and that enabled monsters like Roger Ailes to continue subjecting women to his genitals."

Gretchen Carlson broke that silence on Ailes, and she's lobbying Congress to end forced arbitration, Bee said. "You guys may not think of Gretchen Carlson as an ally, but on this issue, we agree. So she graciously sat down with me, even though we made fun of her for 12 straight years at my previous gig." Carlson argued that America thought it had solved its sexual harassment problem after Anita Hill, but what really happened is that women's sexual misconduct stories ended up in one of two "secret chambers," forced arbitration or secret settlements. Since Carlson can't talk about what happened with Ailes, Bee acted out what her reaction would have been, getting a laugh from Carlson. The interview ended with a hopeful note and a Don Trump Jr. joke, and you can watch below. (Some of it is borderline NSFW.) Peter Weber