In this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, aptly titled “Judgement Day,” we finally got some insight into the issue that some in the medical community have with Harper Avery hospitals, the reason Catherine Avery thought Jackson had ruined everything at the end of last week’s episode, and why Ellis Grey gave Marie Cerone the boot, after years of best friendship.
And you guys… the background really isn’t all that crazy. In fact, it’s completely unsurprising; it happens every single day. And yet, I was still somehow shocked. All that buildup had me thinking that it was something totally insane, like a kidnapping scandal or fraud. It should be unimaginable. After Jackson spoke with the foundation lawyers, having an old agreement scrapped, Catherine had alluded to the impending disaster that would unfold because of that decision. As it so happens, a nondisclosure agreement had been involved, thereby allowing a number of individuals to speak out against the Avery foundation for the first time in years. And as it so happens, all of these individuals were women, and their agreements had stemmed from sexual harassment cases against Harper Avery himself.
Jackson, of course, was dumbstruck. Wondering why his mother had never told him, she said, “Turns out there’s no good time to tell your son that his grandfather is a sexual predator.” All of the stories that had been told, all 13 of them, she revealed, had been true.
Unfortunately, April, who was high AF thanks to some accidental weed cookies, overheard the conversation, and in her stoned state did not know how to process or handle it, revealing to Bailey that she knew something she shouldn’t. “I’m not surprised,” Bailey said. “I met Harper Avery two times and he was an awful, awful man…”
Meanwhile, Jackson tried to convince himself that his mother was messing with him, since they were both also high, but it was no joke, just a huge secret that Jackson had let out of the bag. “How could this even be kept a secret at all?” he demanded. “…why would anybody protect him? Why didn’t anyone try to stop him? Why didn’t you try to stop him?”
But this was decades ago, and that’s not how it worked then. “The hope for some was if the financial hit to your grandfather was great enough, he would stop the behavior. And he did, he did stop.” That’s when Jackson realized that it was Catherine that had covered it up.
“It was a very different time then,” she emphasized. “It was his name, it was his foundation; he made the rules. 30 years ago, getting harassed at work, getting groped at work wasn’t something we could protest; it was something we had to take with our morning coffee. It was part of the job.” If they brought it up, they’d be told they were overreacting, and more often than not they lost their jobs and their reputations. “I was not then who I am now. I didn’t have the voice then that I have now. I had choices; I could stand there and let your grandfather fire those women, and drag them through the mud, or I could make sure they got some money. A leg to stand on, a path to move forward on.” Catherine was not ashamed of what she did, but she was ashamed of what Harper had done, and the fact that Jackson now had to carry the burden of the knowledge, too.
When Meredith went to check on the stoners, she stumbled upon Bailey and April humming the Scottish funeral song using their noses. “We’re having a funeral… for the end of an era.”
Meredith interrupted Jackson and Catherine’s discussion just as they agreed to get out ahead of the news, contact the women, and do what they could to make things right. “Tell me it isn’t true,” Meredith said. “I’ve spent my whole life working for that award… My mother spent her career trying to win Harper Avery awards. She lost her best friend over it…” And it was then she realized that Marie Cerone had been one of the women. Ellis had to take her name off of their paper or she never would have been able to win. “Son of a bitch.”
Unfortunately, Meredith was as ahead of the game as anyone would be. As they left for the day, the evening news was playing in the lobby. “…Dr. Harper Avery made unwanted advances, and then barred them from working at any hospital that received funding from his foundation, effectively crippling their medical careers. Today, they say they’re finished being silenced.”
It’s a safe bet that things will only go downhill from here, and while I am always happy to see a predator brought to justice, I hate to see that it could ruin Jackson and the hospital in the process. It may have been a different time, but Catherine was married to Harper’s son, who surely could have intervened, no? It’s a noble fight to try to compensate the victims, but silencing them was the first mistake. Catherine may blame Jackson, but she had her part to play as well. Harper Avery absolutely deserves to have his name dragged through the mud, but those that came after him, who worked hard to make their own names, shouldn’t have to face his consequences.