Law & Order SVU has a tendency to fictionalize real-life events, and the current stream of sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men is no different. That's right, Law & Order SVU will tackle Hollywood's Harvey Weinstein scandal that broke less than two months ago.
However, the episode (set to air next year) will depict a Weinstein-esque character within the airline industry. The SVU team already had the episode in the works when The New York Times first reported that Weinstein paid off his accusers for decades, according to executive producer Michael Chernuchin, but they still had Hollywood in mind.
"We were beating the story out and said, ‘Wow, this is exactly what the actresses go through in Hollywood. It’s the same environment,’" he told Entertainment Weekly. "So we got all of our Harvey stuff out with airline pilots."
Weinstein's public fall from grace, and the long list of women who continue to come forward with allegations against him, shed light on how pervasive sexual harassment and assault are. And not just in Hollywood — in every industry. Actors, politicians, chefs, and journalists have all been accused of sexual misconduct in the past few weeks.
While the national spotlight has been on famous men, the Law & Order SVU episode's focus on the airline industry will draw attention to the frequent harassment women in service jobs experience. Accommodation and food service industries have the highest number of reported claims, and 27% of flight attendants said they had been sexually harassed while on duty in a 2014 survey.
The nature of the job means they're constantly interacting, and stuck in confined spaces, with strangers. One flight attendant who spoke to The HuffPo explained that many female flight attendants she's spoken to feel it's often easier to just finish the job rather than confront a passenger acting inappropriately.
At the same time, powerful men in every industry abuse their authority to harass female employees. The upcoming Law & Order SVU episode will tackle this aspect of mistreatment in a field that doesn't typically get as much attention as the film industry.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the female flight attendant who spoke to HuffPo was speaking of her own experience.
Read these stories next: