Could you be the father of Anna Nicole's baby? Why not? Potential father No. 5 has now stepped forward; her former bodyguard says, "there's always the possibility" that he could be the baby's dad. He says Anna always wanted to have his children. There's also her dead husband's sperm as a contender. Weird and wild. Crazy people.
But no weirder or wilder than what was allegedly going on among the shrinks at UCLA, the people who are supposed to treat the crazy people. According to reports of a steamy sexual harassment case in trial in Los Angeles, a male psychiatrist claims he slept his way out of the chief residency when he ended his relationship with his female supervisor. He also claims the woman damaged his reputation by denying they'd had a sexual relationship, thus branding him a liar.
She, in turn, countersued him for libel and slander, claiming the supposed affair with her was just a fabrication aimed at luring a second psychiatrist into a relationship, and there's a third psychiatrist who is reportedly going to testify under a code name that she had a sexual relationship with the busy resident Casanova.
It gets better.
The woman, who was the supervisor in the first case and claims she didn't sleep with the would-be chief resident, is suing UCLA in a separate action claiming harassment by a different male psychiatrist who, she says, engaged in sexually degrading and demeaning behavior toward her, and she claims she was retaliated against when she complained about it. This is all coming on the heels of another case UCLA just settled for $2.9 million — sexual harassment and discrimination brought by yet another psychiatrist. These are, need I add, the people who are supposed to fix the rest of us. Plainly, more than one flew over this cuckoo's nest.
The university is taking the position that they don't know whether the supervisor had an affair with the resident or not, and it doesn't matter. The lawyer for the university told the jury that it was enough that there was such a perception: the "perception that people are getting chief residencies because they're sleeping with people" is unacceptable.
If you can't even be perceived to be sleeping your way to the top, there's only one place to sleep your way to: the bottom. Or the door. Once you embark on the path, the destination becomes almost inevitable.
According to the lawyer for the woman psychiatrist, "from the moment" the young resident arrived at UCLA, "what was most important to him was to be known as a cocksman."
If he thought sexuality was a route to power, he thought wrong.
As so many before him have learned, when you succeed, you fail.
If you believe the lawyer, or credit the evidence, he lived by the sword, died by the sword and wants to be rescued by the law. No such luck. Sexual harassment law was never meant to guarantee your right to sleep to the top, or at least to try, free from the consequences of failure. Playing with fire, a girl can get burned. Or a boy.
Because sex harassment law puts its emphasis on the "welcomeness" of the sexual advance, there are many who have a false sense that it is all that matters; that sex is somehow protected as long as it's consensual.
It doesn't work that way, not one bit. You're protected against coerced sex, not against the consequences of consensual stupidity. Sexual harassment law doesn't make sex appropriate where it isn't, even if the two people involved don't seem to know that.
If the flight attendant welcomes the movie star in the bathroom on the Qantas flight, she loses her job. If she's your girlfriend, you can't sponsor the program, even if you would otherwise. Seduce the supervisor, and she's liable to tell you she can't play favorites, at least she will if she's smart. Even the best "cocksman" may discover he's only one of many, with no legal claim to show for it. Just ask the gold diggers who found the gold digger who found gold. They're all still digging.
To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.