Journalists Roxanne Stone and Katelyn Beaty, former employees of Christianity Today, reveal in a podcast how hurt yet unsurprised they were when news of sexual abuse surfaced from the renowned media organization.
Stone and Beaty reacted to the unsettling news on Christianity Today during the March 23 episode of their podcast, "Saved By The City," which is a weekly program of Religion News Service. Stone, Managing Editor of Religion News Service, and Beaty, Editorial Director of Brazos Press, worked in Christianity Today at different points in their career.
"Nary a week seems to go by these days without revelations of leaders behaving badly in Christian organizations. Last week, the headlines hit close to home when a new report came out from the flagship evangelical magazine--and our former workplace--detailing a history of sexual harassment going unchecked within Christianity Today's leadership. The report was heartbreaking to read--and yet not entirely surprising for either of us," Stone and Beaty said in the podcast's introduction.
Stone and Beaty revealed that a reflection of their experiences in Christianity Today, which is a male-dominated organization, has led them to explore some tough questions. Some of the said questions dealt with the ways "theology can undergird a sexist workplace culture," "how internalized misogyny can keep women silent," and what they "might do differently if" they work there still.
Christianity Today published a report in early March that exposed the decades of neglect its ministry executives had on the sexual harassment cases against former Editor-In-Chief Mark Galli and former Advertising Director Olatokunbo Olawoye. Galli and Olawoye were not held accountable for the many cases filed by female employees to managers and to the human resource manager from 2000 to 2019. Some of those who filed the cases did not work in the company anymore. While some female employees left due to the hostile environment the organization has toward women.
In the podcast, Stone and Beaty admitted being nervous in discussing the topic, which they find very personal and difficult. Add to this, the different opinions people had on how controversies of such sort should be handled publicly. The two journalists commended the expose written by co-journalist Daniel Silliman on Christianity Today. They said Silliman did a stellar job of maintaining his independence from the organization's leaders and upholding journalistic integrity.
Beaty, who worked directly under Galli, admitted to being the woman mentioned in the report whose back was touched. Beaty shared feeling angry in realizing the extent and duration of the abuse's existence in her former media organization. This, she stressed, was coupled with the human resources department's incompetence in not keeping a record of the complaints against Galli and Olawoye.
In addition, Beauty said she also felt incredulous at all the details it provided. While feeling sad for all the women who accepted the culture of abuse as a result of always giving it the benefit of the doubt. She then came to a point of realizing that she has become one of those women. She disclosed having adopted behavior that crosses out an unwanted touch from a man as one that is done with good intentions or out of quirkiness.
"I felt sad that so many women didn't feel that they could address this either directly or with HR and it just kept happening and it kind of minimized as the result of one person's quirks, or age, or theology. And because of that I felt implicated because I knew I accepted those rationalizations over the years," Beaty disclosed.
Beauty raised that turning a blind eye to such inappropriate behavior could easily foster a culture of abuse at the expense of other women.
While Stone raised "locker room talks" men eventually bring to the workplace, which women, in turn, tolerate out of knowing the person who spoke of it. Stone also raised circumstances where women opt to be silent due to the retaliation men in the workplace do against them. Threats on a woman's career besides public humiliation are some of the retaliation women in the workplace face.