Gloria Allred: Making Celebrities Pay—Through the Nose

Feminist attorney Gloria Allred is no stranger to high-profile cases—she's best known for representing women and families in big-money lawsuits against the likes of Tiger Woods, Aaron Spelling, O.J. Simpson, and others. Having taken such cases for over 35 years, she says there's no reason that celebrities should be shocked when she goes after them. "It would not be a surprise to most people that a lot of women who have been hurt by celebrities would come to me," says Allred. "But somehow sometimes these celebrities are just in total shock or express surprise. But I'm a practical person, they know that I'm reasonable, that they can resolve things with me. If they're going to be people who are knowing how to open up a dialogue. But if they want to battle it to the end I'm there for the battle."

In her Big Think interview, Allred says that while the large legal settlements she has been known to win don't necessarily represent "justice" being done, they can have an "educational impact." "Having to reach into one's wallet and pay out a large amount because of the wrong that one has done definitely makes one think about whether one wants to do this again to someone else, because there is a cost to inflicting wrongs," she says.

Allred believes that the legal system remains unfair toward women, and is still pushing for the Equal Rights Amendment. "There's some progress for women, but obviously we do not have enough progress. Women do not have enough rights and those rights that we have we have to work to enforce," she says. She points to family law and child support laws as an area that is particularly problematic for women, but also says there are major problems in "employment, in child sexual abuse, rape, sexual harassment. There's just many, many changes that need to be made in the law."  She also says she thinks that anyone who isn't a feminist is a "bigot."

Known as a particularly dogged fighter, Allred describes what she does in court as "blood sport." "I'll do whatever is necessary to get the best results for my client," she says. "And sometimes that means smiling and making nice, and sometimes it means being a warrior and being very, very tough with the other side. I often say I do live in a war zone for woman, and, believe me, it's a very ugly war zone."

Finally, Allred spoke about what it was like to become the first female member of the Friar's Club, and how she used a suit to make them open up their naked, men-only steam room to female members. She describes how, when she finally prevailed, she entered the steam room in a Gay '90s bathing suit with a tape measure, serenading the naked men in the room with Peggy Lee's "Is that all there is?"

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