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Repercussions Differ for Celebrities Versus Politicians in Sexual Assault Allegations

Big names in media and in government are being accused of sexual misconduct, but when it comes to consequences there seems to be a difference.

Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer are among the powerful men in Hollywood and the media who were fired from their jobs. However, U.S. Senator Al Franken and U.S. Congressman John Conyers still remain in office, and Judge Roy Moore continues to run for a senate seat to represent Alabama.

“It's not as though this behavior is acceptable in government, and it is unacceptable in the business world," said legal analyst Dan Eaton. "It’s that it’s a lot harder to remove an elected government official than it is to remove someone who has a job in private industry."

It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to remove or expel a senator. The House has its own rules, Eaton said, and “the bar is high.”

“They want to be very careful before they second guess the voters of the state that sent one of their colleagues to the Senate,” Eaton explained.

However, while expulsion is rare, a politician can resign or be forced to resign. Eaton said that comes with public pressure or legal peril.

“Barring that, it’s up to the people," said Eaton. "The way the democracy works is you vote for someone, or you don't vote for someone, and that's how they get to stay in office.”

Franken and Conyers are currently being investigated by the ethics committee.

When it comes to the private sector, Eaton said there is a more streamlined process. Companies have to be concerned not only about their reputations, but also about being sued if they do not do something about a complaint.

Eaton says when it comes to the private sector, “We are not at the end of this. We are at the end of the beginning of this wave of consequences."

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