The Trash Man Club

Examining the fast-growing club of powerful men accused of sexual misconduct

I would like to begin by officially welcoming Louis C.K. and Al Franken to the club of trash men. Congratulations guys, you deserve it!

Illustrator: Morgan Wittmers-Graves

Comedian Louis C.K. and Senator Al Franken are two of the most recent inductees to the exclusive club of rich, powerful, and famous men who have been accused of sexual misconduct. The two were initiated on Nov. 9 and Nov. 16, respectively. Although the club has no doubt existed for centuries, its presence in American media skyrocketed on Oct. 5 when Harvey Weinstein was accused of raping three women and assaulting or otherwise harassing dozens of others. Following Weinstein’s accusations and subsequent induction into the trash club, countless women began to speak up, nominating trash man after trash man for the now staggeringly large group, which boasts members of the likes of George H.W. Bush, Ben Affleck, Kevin Spacey, Donald Trump, and now, Louis C.K. and Al Franken.

Although the club has been quite prevalent in the news of late, its existence is no surprise to American women. We’ve watched presidents, politicians, musicians, actors, directors, and artists assault women for years. Chris Brown, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Bill Clinton. And we’ve been reporting it. Rihanna nominated Chris Brown, Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp, Mia Farrow called out Woody Allen, Monica Lewinski charged Bill Clinton. Women have been saying “me too” for years. What’s surprising to us is that people are finally listening.

We can’t let this newfound visibility of the trash man club go to waste. Knowing the current members is the first step to preventing new ones. We don’t need another Chris Brown to keep his career and win a Grammy after he beats up a woman, or another Donald Trump to be elected president after he admits to verbal sexual harassment. We need Louis C.K.’s to lose their jobs and movie deals after they expose themselves to women without consent. We need to divest power from trash men who did not deserve it in the first place.