Lindsey Reynolds, the former Besh Restaurant Group social media manager who helped expose the company’s culture of sexual harassment, is one of the women Time magazine spotlighted in its naming of the national #MeToo movement as this year’s Person of the Year.
Though all women and men in the movement, called “The Silence Breakers,” are honored with the award, Time chooses Reynolds as the highlight in a video and article that include some Silence Breakers, mostly women, across industries: actress Ashley Judd, pop star Taylor Swift, strawberry picker Isabel Pascual, lobbyist Adama Iwu, #metoo creator and activist Tarana Burke, housekeeper Juana Melara, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, and more.
In the video, Reynolds states one of the major reasons she came forward: “I knew that other people would continue to apply for jobs [at Besh Restaurant Group]...and that made me feel really uncomfortable.” Thus, Reynolds filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging, “vulgar and offensive comments, aggressive un-welcomed touching and sexual advances [that] were condoned and sometimes even encouraged by managers and supervisors.” She also wrote an email to her superiors detailing harassment at the company.
That email helped catalyze Brett Anderson’s watershed report on the harassment at Besh Restaurant Group. "‘They had hit on basically every woman in the office who was young and pretty. It was like 'Mad Men,'" she said in Anderson’s report, referring to Besh and his business partner, Octavio Mantilla.
"I was nobody. I have no money, no power, no social standing. And they have more power and money than I will ever have. I felt extremely vulnerable and scared. Then I heard from women I had never met — they worked as line cooks while I worked in corporate — who had experienced the same toxic culture," she told Time.
Besh stepped down from Besh Restaurant Group. Reynolds is now the managing editor of Tales of the Cocktail’s online publication. #MeToo has been called the fastest moving social change in decades.
Hospitality Workers File More Sexual Harassment Claims Than Employees in Any Other Industry [E]
Time Magazine Person of the Year 2017 [TIME]
John Besh Restaurants Fostered Culture of Sexual Harassment, 25 Women Say [NOLA.COM]