“Will you lick my swizzle stick?”

The Weather Channel's Bob Stokes and former anchor Hillary Andrews are at the center of a sexual harassment scandal.

Topics: Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

For some, romantic obsession means languishing in a freezing garret, producing pages and pages of yearning symbolist poetry, or listening to Patsy Cline’s greatest hits over and over. For Weather Channel coanchor and ratings favorite Bob Stokes, it apparently meant harassing the object of his affection, former anchor Hillary Andrews, for details of her sex life, sabotaging her at work and repeatedly entreating her to “lick his swizzle stick.” (This according to the Smoking Gun.) Swizzle stick? I guess we can add that to a list that includes Clarence Thomas’ can of Coke and Bill O’Reilly’s “falafel thing.” (It was actually a loofah, but obviously O’Reilly is far too populist to know that. Or to wash himself.)

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Andrews’ female predecessor was also allegedly subjected to the same treatment and eventually forced out of her job. Andrews experienced much of the same bullying and marginalization from her bosses when she complained about Stokes, but no such fate would befall her; in 2006, three months before her contract expired, she slapped Stokes with a major lawsuit. And won.

Today, however, as the owner of the Weather Channel is negotiating a multibillion-dollar sale, the network’s lawyers are angling to keep the blistering arbitration ruling a secret, fearing it might affect the sale and value of the cable outlet. I can’t help hoping that the Weather Channel’s total disregard for the right of women to a safe, respectful workplace knocks a few zeroes off its asking price. Nothing like the bottom line to drive home the point that blatant misogyny isn’t just bad behavior; it’s bad business.

Rachel Shukert is the author of Everything is Going To Be Great and Have You No Shame. Her YA series Starstruck is forthcoming from Random House in the spring of 2013. She lives in New York City.

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