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"Oh God. You too, God?"

Oh God. Not you too, God!

God: Yep, me too.

Morgan Freeman, who has played God in one movie and hosts a T.V. documentary series called "The Story of God," is the latest to be outed as part of the "#MeToo" movement for allegedly buttholish behavior by powerful men toward women.

Freeman, 80, apologized for saying things that were misconstrued or meant jokingly, but he denied ever assaulting anyone or trying to use his influence to sleep with women.

The guilt or innocence of men such as Freeman and Harvey Weinstein can be adjudicated in court, but many men who will never see the inside of a court are now wondering if they, too, are guilty of criminal behavior - or are they just jerks?

How do I know?

Because my buddies and I - on the tennis and

basketball courts, in the poolrooms and wherever else

dudes get together - are asking each other about past

behavior "Was that a crime?"

I asked my favorite attorney, the one I call whenever I need legal advice or representation, James "Butch" Williams, does asking a co-worker out make a person guilty of sexual harassment.

"It depends," he said. "If you're over her and you say

'Come and go out with me or I'm going have to let you

go,' that's harassment. If you're equal and you ask them

out, that's not."

A shrink friend of mine, Karen Young, disagreed, saying power does not have to be a part of the equation to constitute harassment.

Since I've never been in a position of power over anybody, my unintentional creepiness was usually met with a straightforward "Get lost, creep" or a slap in the face.

I am haunted by one incident, though, one that makes me wonder if - in the words of Isaac Hayes - all men "stand accused" of being, at the least, creeps.

Here's what happened:

Perhaps 20 years ago while attending a journalism conference in Miami, I had to call the front desk at the boutique hotel at which I was staying to request extra towels or an iron or something.

Much sooner than I expected, there was a knock at the door and I, seconds from stepping into the shower, went to answer. Before I got to the door, it opened and in stepped a woman from housekeeping.

Startled, I felt the towel begin slipping.

With such quickness did I leap back into the bathroom that it's unlikely she caught even a glimpse of Mt. Barrymore, but I still apologized for this obvious breach of etiquette.

She seemed unbothered. The essence of her dismissive response was "Oh please. I've seen that a million times."

I initially thought she meant naked men.

Only later - months, maybe even years later - and possibly after reading about how hotel housekeepers are often victims of harassment, did it occur to me that she might've meant that a million other men had accidentally on purpose let their towels drop, too.

I wouldn't recognize that woman today if she walked up and smacked me upside the head, nor would she recognize me, but every time I recall that incident, I cringe and wish I could apologize all over again.

Some people think the "#MeToo" movement is going too far and think that if everything is wrong, then nothing is wrong.

My feeling is that if the super-heightened scrutiny makes men more aware of how their actions can be interpreted - and makes them act accordingly - then it's a good thing.




Meet Barry Saunders

For over 20 years, Barry was a columnist for The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He also wrote for other publications, such as the Atlanta Constitution and the Richmond County Daily Journal. Often described as powerfully honest and illustratively funny, Barry's writing is both loved and hated by readers- sometimes simultaneously.  


Want more? Get your own copy of one of Barry's published books featuring reader favorites (and not so favorites) from his years writing columns for The News & Observer. Titled "Do Unto Others...And then Run" and "...And The Horse You Rode In On Saunders!", they're full of guaranteed entertainment. 


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