Not all sexual harassment scandals are equal. So it happens that stories about them can also attract very different audiences. That’s according to new data from marketing intelligence outfit Hitwise, which analyzed the demographic profile of readers for stories about two current harassment scandals: Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and standup comedian Louis C.K.
The Hitwise analysis focused on the scoop about allegations of harassment against Moore published by The Washington Post and The New York Times’ story on harassment allegations against Louis C.K. The analysis discoveredthe Moore story attracted an audience of older readers, while the Louis C.K. story skewed sharply toward younger men.
The Moore story, titled “Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32,” is the most visited story on the subject, with women 4% more likely to read it than men overall. Distinctions by age were even more marked, however, with readers of WaPo's Moore article 24% more likely to fall in the 55+ age category, and 20% less likely to fall in the 25-34 age group.
In fact, when Hitwise aggregated similar data for all top stories about Moore — meaning any story with more than 0.01% share of the total audience for stories on the subject — they found a similar skew, with readers 23% more likely to be aged 55+ and 18% less likely to be 25-34.
Separately, young men were much more likely to read the NYT story about allegations of sexual misconduct against Louis C.K. The story published on November 9, titled “Louis C.K. Is Accused by 5 Women of Sexual Misconduct,” found that readers were 52% more likely to fall in the 18-24 age range, and 11% less likely to be ages 55+.
There was also a notable gender discrepancy, with men 6% more likely to read the Louis C.K. story, and women 5% less likely.
Once again, Hitwise found the age skews applied more broadly in an analysis of all stories about the Louis C.K. harassment accusations. Rochelle Bailis, Hitwise global director of content, speculated: “This could be driven by Louis C.K.’s young male fanbase, who are deeply invested in following the story and understanding what happened.”