Sunny Hostin reveals the lengths she went to avoid workplace harassment

“I recall so many interviews[…]where men never looked at my face; they just looked straight at my chest,” Hostin explained.

Sunny Hostin sexual harassment, Sunny Hostin workplace harassment, Sunny Hostin the view, The view workplace harassment, The view sexual harassment, Black women workplace harassment
Sunny Hostin speaks onstage at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival Of Culture™ at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on June 30, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images FOR ESSENCE)

Before becoming the journalist and media personality most people know her as today, Sunny Hostin began her career as a lawyer. Hostin recently reflected on her journey to building her legal career with her co-hosts on “The View.” 

Inspired by fellow co-host Joy Behar’s recently published personal essay, which shed light on her experiences with workplace harassment in the 1960s, Hostin revealed the lengths she had to go to avoid being sexualized in the workplace. 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 2022 Opening Night Gala
Sunny Hostin attends the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 2022 Opening Night Gala at New York City Center on Nov. 30, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

“As everyone knows, I had plastic surgery, I had a breast reduction. I recall so many interviews as a young lawyer where men never looked at my face,” she shared with “The View’s” audience. “They just looked straight at my chest. And I started binding my breasts so that I could get a job based on my qualifications.”

While those may have seemed like drastic measures, other co-hosts, including Alyssa Farah Griffin, who worked in Congress, recalled having to take similar actions to avoid harassment in the workplace. Whether binding their chests or wearing shirts with higher necklines and less form-fitting outfits, these are all little things women felt forced to do to combat hearing inappropriate comments from male and sometimes female co-workers. 

“When I was coming up at the Justice Department and when I was coming up in law firms,” Hostin explained. “We had options [to report harassment], but I wouldn’t dare use them so as not to be blackballed out of a position because the structure, it was a patriarchy.” 

Recommended Stories

“It was still happening [when I was younger,] and I believe it’s still happening today,” she added.  

As previously reported by theGrio, studies have shown that women of color are more likely to experience sexual harassment in the workplace than their white counterparts. According to a 2023 study, the consequences of sexual harassment at work can be more devastating for women of color as they not only face “intersecting forms of discrimination and harassment” but also financial consequences and retaliation when reporting instances of harassment. 

“Sexual harassment in the workplace is an expression of power — a way for men to assert their dominance,” researchers Dan Cassino and Yasemin Besen-Cassino previously told theGrio. “The shift from sexual harassment of white women to African-American women indicates that harassers are conscious of power relationships and choose to target more vulnerable women in their workplaces.” 

Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.