The Harper Avery Scandal is a scandal that erupted when it came to light that Harper Avery sexually assaulted many women during his life.
While working on research to try to save Kimmie Park, Amelia learned that another doctor, Rebecca Froy, was doing research in the same area, she videoconferenced her, hoping she was further in her research and could help. Dr. Froy planned to visit while she was in Washington for a conference. However, when she learned that Grey Sloan Memorial was a Harper Avery Foundation hospital, she abruptly backed out and ended the call. Amelia went to Jackson, who contacted Dr. Froy himself. She told Jackson she'd signed an NDA and didn't waver even when he said his grandfather had died. Jackson then went to Catherine to find out what the NDA was about. She said it was a spat over some research and Harper had won in court, which Dr. Froy didn't like. Jackson then spoke to legal and had them waive the NDA so that Dr. Froy could work with Amelia. When Catherine learned what Jackson had done, she was horrified. ("Beautiful Dreamer")
Catherine later told Jackson that the NDA was not about research, but about sexual harassment. Harper Avery had sexually assaulted at least 13 women and they were all under NDAs. He paid out to all the women he harassed and Catherine said the hope was that if the financial penalty was steep enough, he'd stop, and he did. Jackson was upset that Catherine covered it up instead of helping the women get justice, but she said sexual harassment was just something you had to deal with at work back then. And she could have let Harper fire them and drag their names through the mud, or she could make sure they had money and path to move forward, so she did that. Meredith then realized that Marie Cerone was one of the women, which is why Ellis took her name off the paper that won her a Harper Avery Award. Before they could figure out a way to get ahead of the reports, news broke of his misconduct, with the women he assaulted saying they were finished being silenced. ("Judgment Day")
As a result of the scandal, Meredith returned her Harper Avery Award and her mother's. The Foundation hired Erin Mason, a crisis manager, to help them control the scandal. She advised them on all the ways they could improve the Foundation's image in the press, such as doing pro bono surgeries and going after the women who spoke out. Richard, Catherine and Jackson objected, but Erin said someone had to go down for it. Catherine offered herself up as the scapegoat, but Jackson objected to that, saying it would be a black woman taking the blame for the actions of a white man. Catherine decided to do it anyway. At the end of the day, Catherine and Erin had prepared a statement and were waiting to hold a press conference, but Jackson and Meredith came up with a better solution. They gave Catherine a statement to read, which expressed that they would be dissolving the Harper Avery Foundation and forming the Catherine Fox Foundation in its place. Every woman affected by his actions would be re-hired and re-trained in order to make amends. ("Fight For Your Mind")
Notes and Trivia
- Jackson ended up paying out most of his inheritance from his grandfather to the women Harper had harassed.
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