When a guy named Harvey Weinstein is suddenly fired from a company called the Weinstein Co. – the successful film studio he co-founded – it should serve as a blaring alert to every powerful person in America who has preyed on less powerful people: Don’t think you can avoid the consequences.

Weinstein’s reputation was no secret in the business. In a 2012 episode of the NBC comedy series “30 Rock,” a female character boasted, “I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions … out of five.” But until some of his accusers went public in a New York Times exposé last week, he was untouchable. Well, except by lawyers: The Weinstein Co. had paid settlements to at least eight women in response to accusations against him.

Will this be the scandal that finally forces abusers and their employers to realize they have to change? Maybe so. But plenty of other cases should have put them all on notice.

Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a colossus, was fired last year after some two dozen women came forward to accuse him of using his position to try to extract sexual favors. He was followed out the door by Fox News megastar Bill O’Reilly, ruined by credible allegations of similar conduct.

Uber founder Travis Kalanick was forced out as CEO for allegedly tolerating a company culture of sexual harassment. CEO Mike Cagney got the boot from the personal finance startup SoFi amid multiple claims that he and some of his managers engaged in sexual harassment.

Another obvious question: Where on Earth was the Weinstein Co. board of directors? The settlements paid to buy silence go back decades.

Directors at this company and others who have ignored such conduct should stop assuming that sexual harassment can be covered up. And the episode should deliver a strong message to executives who think they are entitled to take advantage of those beneath them for sexual pleasure: Clean up your act or clean out your desk.

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