Allred Says We’re Living in a ‘New Age—and Men Have to Come to Terms With it’

Gloria Allred

“We have to work to win change, and we all have to make that commitment—run for office, speak out on the internet or anywhere or everywhere that you can,” Gloria Allred told women in a sold-out audience in Malibu last Saturday. “Truth is the core and you can’t let lies or chronic liars go unaddressed. In November, it’s going to be up to us. We have more women than ever before running for congress.

“We had a relatively low voter turnout in the California primary, and that can’t happen in November,” Allred warned. “There’s no substitute for voting—no amount of talking will do the same thing. It’s the only way we’re going to get change. We can’t just wake up every morning and be horrified by what’s happening in our country. Getting demoralized is a luxury we cannot afford—start voting and start running for office.”

High-profile women’s rights attorney Allred had yet another wall-to-wall busy day on Saturday, June 9—she made the news after joining student protesters at USC to show support for the women who accused a former university gynecologist of sexual misconduct, then came back out to Malibu for an audience Q&A after a sold-out screening of the Netflix documentary “Seeing Allred” at the Malibu Film Society. 

The documentary explores the public and private sides of Allred’s life. “Gloria Allred isn’t like most lawyers,” Variety wrote. “She understands that the court of public opinion can sometimes find justice that even the nation’s top courts cannot, and learned to generate media attention, organize press conferences, and stage demonstrations for the benefit of cameras.” 

Following the screening, audience members had the opportunity to address Allred.

A male attorney asked, “how can we make sure we’re being fair about sexual harassment issues?”—obviously concerned over men being wrongly accused.

In response, Allred advised women never to accuse a man of misconduct on the internet.  “There’s no fairness on the internet—consult an attorney before you hit the send button.”  She also told women that under the law, sexual harassment has to be “severe or pervasive.”

Allred’s advice to men is that they must understand, “There are consequences for misconduct toward women. Many men thought the women would be silent, and those days are gone… I’ve had cases where women were forced to watch pornography or raped on a business trip.”

She warned that photos you post on Instagram or elsewhere online can be used in a court of law, and one employee at her firm does almost nothing but look through Instagram photos.  “It’s a new age, and men have to come to terms with it.”

An audience member asked her about the United States’ failure to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)—a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights regardless of sex, first proposed almost 40 years ago.  

“With the ERA, we go two steps forward and one step back,” Allred observed. “Just last week, I was in Texas representing five NFL cheerleaders making $7.25  an hour minimum wage, and they don’t even get paid for all the work they do. They make less than the employees working at McDonalds or the parking attendants outside the stadium. They now have the courage to sue, not only over pay, but also a lack of security from being assaulted by fans in the stands, and what I call skinny fat shaming. 

“I realize we still need the ERA to pass when I had to justify to reporters why these talented women athletes deserved more than minimum wage,” Allred observed.

Allred is encouraged by the women’s marches that have taken place across the country. 

“We see women becoming so much more empowered than they were before,” the attorney said. “I saw one 70-year old woman with a sign saying ‘I’ve been holding this same sign up for 50 years. My arms are getting tired.’ I’m so proud of all the women who decided they wanted a better world.”

The documentary’s release on Netflix in February almost perfectly coincided with the formation of the #MeToo movement. Allred not only takes on highly publicized women’s rights cases, but has also taken on civil rights, gay marriage and transgender rights. She represents women suing Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Chris Brown and many others; and has won nearly a quarter-billion dollars for her clients.

What many did not know before seeing the documentary is that Allred came from modest means, had a daughter when she was only 20, has been married twice, worked as an inner-city teacher for years, was raped at gunpoint in Mexico and almost died from an illegal abortion after getting pregnant from that rape. At 76, she is still campaigning against the powerful.