Where do we go from here? Industry-leading men weigh in on the sexual harassment epidemic

Last Updated Dec 14, 2017 4:42 AM EST

CBS News' Alex Wagner recently sat down with a group of powerful women for a discussion about sexual harassment. A group of five accomplished men across various industries took up the issue in this conversation with Wagner. 

The men she spoke with are leaders in their fields and in positions to empower women.The group included writer, director and producer Judd Apatow, fashion designer Prabal Gurung, former astronaut Leland Melvin, New York Giant Mark Herzlich and celebrity chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio. All of them spoke about moving the #MeToo movement forward and its impact on them.

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From left to right: Former astronaut and sexual assault survivor Leland Melvin, chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio, fashion designer Prabal Gurung, producer Judd Apatow, New York Giant Mark Herzlich and CBS News' Alex Wagner.

CBS News

ALEX WAGNER: As you watch these stories unfold, every day there is a new story. There is a new Washington Post story, a New York Times story. There's a story on the internet. …I'm sure for a lot of men there's fear, right? ...Where are you guys as this all unfolds? Judd?

JUDD APATOW: It's certainly a tidal wave that's happening. But I look at it like isn't it amazing that so many people have felt the need to be silent for so long. How terrible must the environment be that right now as a result of the internet, and as a result of just, you know, a confluence of events, people feel safe speaking up?

WAGNER: Just this week Ken Friedman, Mario Batali….High-profile restaurateurs go down. And yet, kitchens are places where this behavior has gone unchecked for decades. So what's the answer here, Tom?

TOM COLICCHIO: I think – and you're right – it has been going on for decades, and I think the answer is, and I think we're seeing the answer….There's a cultural shift happening right before our eyes right now and that's where the struggle is. But until we take it a step further and say, "What can we do in our industry to make sure those women, not only are safe but economically there are structures in place that actually can see them thrive?"

MARK HERZLICH: Men are kind of grouped together for, from a very young age. And whether it's, you know, athletic teams or in locker rooms or fraternities. ...Where you're amongst a collective group of men there becomes a vernacular that is negative towards women and there becomes an expectation of other men to place ideology on conquering women.

WAGNER:  And Leland, I mean, that brings to the forever the question of sort of masculinity and how young men are indoctrinated at an early age. And also the fact that not all victims of sexual predation and harassment are women.

LELAND MELVIN: Oh yeah.

WAGNER: You've written about this. 

MELVIN: Definitely. I'm a #MeToo. And I was five years old. And these, you know, older kids decided that, "Hey, we're gonna have fun with this young little boy." And, you know, I talk about this in my book, because it's, like, how can I help other kids get over this, because so many kids that are abused, they end up – some are abusers themselves or alcoholics or just whatever happens to them after this, especially if they don't get help.

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Leland Melvin and Tom Colicchio

CBS News

WAGNER: Did you ask yourself those questions, though, about, you know, how could I, how could I have let this happen to me?

MELVIN: Oh, I did. Yeah. I blamed myself. I shouldn't have gone over there. I shouldn't have, I should have fought. I should have done something differently. And I think that's that part of the shame that builds in us that causes cancer in you. That if you don't get it out, or have a vehicle to have someone to talk to.

WAGNER: We talk about a lot of this aggression in the context of the victims. And one of the reasons we wanted to have men talk about this is because really men are part of the solution, right? And yet, so much of this conversation is among and for women. What is that about, Prabal?

PRABAL GURUNG: I don't think men are the solution. I really don't think so. I think there needs to be a shift in the thinking of like treating women as the weaker sex -- that they need to be protected somehow….I'm very fortunate enough to be surrounded by extremely strong women in my life, you know, who don't put up with any of these kind of stuff. And, you know, so I think a man's role becomes a lot about listening….Let me listen to women. Not just white women. Women of color. Transwomen. All women across.

WAGNER: Judd, you are surrounded by women at home. What has it been like to be in your house at this moment?

APATOW: I mean, I have a lot of emotions about it. I feel – feel a lot of sorrow for my daughters to face a world that is often dangerous. …And for a very long time we talked about, you know, how do you stay safe? …And also expecting young men, boys, to be respectful. What do you, what do you want from relationships? What do you want from these interactions? You wanna be treated well, and if people don't treat you well, they should not be in your world in any way.

COLICCHIO: I think that too often men – especially when they're around women, what they're really concerned of is being humiliated in front of women and that's where a lot of this starts. And so trying to teach them that, you know, a girl in your class is as strong and as smart – and that's okay that shouldn't humiliate you. You don't have to be better than everybody.

WAGNER: When you talk about a woman's perspective, Mark, your wife is a victim of abuse and was silent about it for a very long time. What did she teach you about the issue?

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Prabal Gurung, Judd Apatow and Mark Herzlich

CBS News

HERZLICH: My wife had, you know, domestic violence in her house when she was, when she was younger. And she really didn't share it for many years until she, you know, felt comfortable around a man for the first time, which was with me. And it was interesting, at that time in my life, I was diagnosed with bone cancer and I was going through radiation and chemotherapy. …My future was lookin' pretty bad and when she felt comfortable enough to tell me about the violence that had occurred to her, it was, it was interesting how all those things didn't matter anymore. It didn't matter how I looked or how I felt. I felt more like a man in that moment because it was creating a safe environment for another human. 

WAGNER: What should happen to the men who have been accused of sexual predation and harassment? Should you be allowed to have your career back?

GURUNG: I'm least interested in what is going to happen to these men. …What I'm interested in is how are we going to empower women. How are we going to change the conversation?

COLICCHIO: The Louis C.K.'s of the world may not work again, because we know him. The idea of him actually going out there and doing something I think is gonna be rejected by society. But what about, what about that chef who's working at some third-rate hotel in Nebraska somewhere who sexually harassed women gets outed. All he has to do is move to another town and no one's gonna know his face. And he'll get a job.

WAGNER: So, to some degree, this is a conversation about who has power and how power is wielded.

APATOW: And who has power that doesn't do anything. You know, Harvey Weinstein's writin' checks to people. Bill Cosby is writing checks to people. … And because he's still making a lot of money, the powerful people, they're just saying, "Eh, this is too much of a pain in the ass for me to become the person to shut it down."

COLICCHIO: It's a culture change. It's a movement. And, you know, the Civil Rights movement didn't end when we signed the Voter's Rights Acts or the Civil Rights Act. It's still continuing. And so I think this is culturally present right now, and I think it's something we're focused on now. But this is gonna take generations to actually fix.