Megan Ganz On Dan Harmon’s Apology: ‘I Felt Vindicated’

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Ms. Ganz, who is now a producer and writer on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” responded several days later.

“Care to be more specific?” she asked. “Redemption follows allocution.”

Mr. Harmon, 45, responded that he had treated Ms. Ganz, 33, “like garbage,” and that a form of deeply ingrained sexism had led him to disrespect women generally.

He then asked her if there was a way to fix what he had done.

i’m filled with regret and a lot of foggy memories about abusing my position, treating you like garbage. I would feel a lot of relief if you told me there was a way to fix it. I’ll let you call the shots. Til then, at least know I know I was an awful boss and a selfish baby.

— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) Jan. 3, 2018

“I wish my memories were foggier,” Ms. Ganz responded. “I wish there was a way to fix it. It took me years to believe in my talents again, to trust a boss when he complimented me and not cringe when he asked for my number.”

You want relief? So do I. I want to watch the first episode of television I wrote again without remembering what came after. Figure out how to give me that relief and I’ll return the favor.

— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) Jan. 3, 2018

A week later, in lengthy remarks on an episode of his podcast, “Harmontown,” Mr. Harmon described how he had been attracted to Ms. Ganz and how her lack of interest in him had made him treat her progressively worse.

“The entire time, I was the one writing her paychecks and in control of whether she stayed or went, and whether she felt good about herself or not, and said horrible things, just treated her cruelly,” he said.

He implored people in similar situations to be honest with themselves about the way they were behaving toward others.

“I’ll never do it again, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had any respect for women,” he said.

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A day after the podcast was posted, Ms. Ganz said that she accepted the apology and that she forgave Mr. Harmon.

Yes, I only listened because I expected an apology. But what I didn't expect was the relief I’d feel just hearing him say these things actually happened. I didn’t dream it. I’m not crazy. Ironic that the only person who could give me that comfort is the one person I’d never ask.

— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) Jan. 11, 2018

Ms. Ganz was sick with the flu on Friday, but she took the time to answer questions by email. Her answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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You called Mr. Harmon’s apology a master class in how to apologize. Can you elaborate a little on what about the message made it possible for you to accept it?

The most important part of the apology was its specificity. He gave a complete account of what he did. Not the salacious details that people focus on — was it in a bar? what time? who was there? — but the ugly little realities. He knew that I didn’t welcome his advances. He did it anyway. He treated me differently than he treated the male writers. And when people confronted him about it, he lied.

We both know what happened, but these were the parts of the story that only he could confirm for me. Whenever I talked to friends about it afterward, they would of course say, “It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong.” And I know that’s true. But some small part of me would always think, “You weren’t there.”

The irony is, Dan was the only person who could wipe those doubts from my head. That’s why I was able to accept his apology. Because I felt vindicated, to others but more importantly to myself.

Was this something you were expecting?

Unfortunately, Dan is not the only person who has sexually harassed me. I was groped by a producer at a party a couple years ago, after which I made an anonymous complaint to HR. As far as I know he was never personally disciplined.

So, no. Dan wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. But before the holidays, I saw him tweeting about how he had been a bad person in the past, and how he was trying to do better. And all these people were congratulating him for being so brave and honest. And I thought, “No way does he get to skip past confession and go straight to absolution.” So I asked him to be specific.

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How would you want people to view him from here on out?

I think of Dan as a work in progress. That’s how I think of myself, too. It’s dangerous to think of yourself as a hero and someone else as a villain. It gets in the way of empathy. We should be tearing down walls, not putting them up.

Women are not different creatures from men. They don’t need to be extra careful around us. They just need to treat us with the same basic respect and dignity that they show to other men.

How are you feeling about this exchange having been so public?

I kept all this pain private for six years and all it did was poison me. In my defense, when it happened I was a staff writer with no power, no credits, and no credibility. If I had spoken out then, people would have accused me of trying to make a name for myself. Or worse, they would have assumed I only got that job because my boss wanted to sleep with me. My career would have ended before it began. But I’m not in that place anymore. So when I saw an opportunity to confront him, I grabbed it with both hands.

I’m very aware that many women are suffering in silence without access to the public platform that I enjoy. So I’m going to do my best to use my voice to amplify theirs.

Did the two of you have any contact after the initial exchange on Twitter?

After our initial Twitter exchange, I sent Dan a lengthy email. He had referenced an earlier podcast where he talked about crossing the line with a female employee (me). I listened to it, and it was clear to me from that brief reference that he thought the harassment I was referring to was when he told me he had feelings for me.

So I sent him an email to clarify that the harassment was everything that happened after I said no. Then I detailed those events, and explained how they made me feel powerless and traumatized. And I told him that if he was serious about wanting to do better, he needed to face the reality of what he had done. But I also said I wouldn’t go public with any of that information, so to his credit, he could have just let it end there. What happened after was entirely his choice.

After I listened to his apology, I sent Dan a text to thank him and forgive him without reservation. Then I wrote what I wrote on Twitter, because it felt strange to do the confrontation in the light, but the forgiveness in the dark. People should see the good that can happen when you aren’t afraid to accept responsibility for your mistakes. He gave me relief, and I hope I was able to give him some in return.

Follow Jonah Bromwich on Twitter: @Jonesieman.

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Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/13/arts/dan-harmon-megan-ganz.html

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