Tag Archives: sexual harassment

#MeToo Movement revisits Clarence Thomas: a case for impeachment

The #MeToo movement has begun to hold powerful men who have abused women accountable for their actions. Many of these men have engaged in such behavior for decades, as the Harvey Weinstein case illustrates.

This has led Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times and the co-author of Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, a 1994 book about his controversial confirmation hearing, to revisit the issue in the current cover story of New York Magazine. Do You Believe Her Now?: With new evidence that Clarence Thomas lied to get onto the Supreme Court, it’s time to talk seriously about impeachment:

On the same fall night in 2016 that the infamous Access Hollywood tape featuring Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault was made public by the Washington Post and dominated the news, an Alaska attorney, Moira Smith, wrote on Facebook about her own experiences as a victim of sexual misconduct in 1999.

“At the age of 24, I found out I’d be attending a dinner at my boss’s house with Justice Clarence Thomas,” she began her post, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court justice who was famously accused of sexually harassing Anita Hill, a woman who had worked for him at two federal agencies, including the EEOC, the federal sexual-harassment watchdog.

“I was so incredibly excited to meet him, rough confirmation hearings notwithstanding,” Smith continued. “He was charming in many ways — giant, booming laugh, charismatic, approachable. But to my complete shock, he groped me while I was setting the table, suggesting I should ‘sit right next to him.’ When I feebly explained I’d been assigned to the other table, he groped again … ‘Are you sure?’ I said I was and proceeded to keep my distance.” Smith had been silent for 17 years but, infuriated by the “Grab ’em by the pussy” utterings of a presidential candidate, could keep quiet no more.

Tipped to the post by a Maryland legal source who knew Smith, Marcia Coyle, a highly regarded and scrupulously nonideological Supreme Court reporter for The National Law Journal, wrote a detailed story about Smith’s allegation of butt-squeezing, which included corroboration from Smith’s roommates at the time of the dinner and from her former husband. Coyle’s story, which Thomas denied, was published October 27, 2016. If you missed it, that’s because this news was immediately buried by a much bigger story — the James Comey letter reopening the Hillary Clinton email probe.

Smith, who has since resumed her life as a lawyer and isn’t doing any further interviews about Thomas, was on the early edge of #MeToo. Too early, perhaps: In the crescendo of recent sexual-harassment revelations, Thomas’s name has been surprisingly muted.

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Arizona House votes to expel Rep. Don ‘Tequila’ Shooter

I’m glad if I helped to advance this story to its proper conclusion, for what it’s worth. Arizona House expels Rep. Don Shooter, citing ‘dishonorable’ pattern of workplace harassment:

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said earlier this week that he would hold a vote Thursday to censure Shooter, a reprimand that would be part of the chamber’s historical record.

But moments before the House session Thursday, Mesnard issued a statement saying he would push for Shooter’s expulsion instead. The change was due to a letter sent by Shooter to his House colleagues challenging portions of the investigation.

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The Arizona House of Representatives voted Thursday to expel Rep. Don Shooter from office over complaints that he that he sexually harassed women.

The vote comes after an investigation into sexual-harassment allegations against Shooter found “credible evidence” that he behaved inappropriately toward multiple women.

An explosive report from the investigation graphically details lewd language and actions from Shooter, a powerful Republican lawmaker from Yuma, who has openly behaved in a crass manner, but did so unchecked by his peers for years.

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Rep. Don ‘Tequila’ Shooter to be censured for sexual harassment? It should be expulsion (Updated)

A House investigation finally confirmed yesterday that there is “credible evidence” Republican Rep. Don “Tequila” Shooter violated a sexual harassment policy and created a hostile working environment at the Capitol. Well no shit.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Rep. Shooter sexually harassed women, created hostile work environment, investigator finds:

A House investigation confirmed today that there is “credible evidence” Republican Rep. Don Shooter violated a sexual harassment policy and created a hostile working environment at the Capitol.

After the allegations against Shooter surfaced, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard suspended Shooter from his powerful position as the chairman of the House Appropriations committee.

Mesnard said today Shooter will be permanently removed from all committee assignments immediately. Mesnard also said he will seek to censure Shooter for his behavior.

Excuse me? I’m sorry, but the remedy here is one of only two options: Rep. Shooter can either voluntarily resign his seat, or the House should vote for expulsion of a member. A censure is merely a slap on the wrist with no serious consequences.

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The time has come to amend the Arizona Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity

The Arizona legislature is about to be consumed by the sexual harassment ethics complaint filed by Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita against Rep. Don Shooter. Unbelievably, there was no formal, written policy in the House of Representatives available to legislators detailing how to respond to sexual harassment claims. Rules, enforcement lacking to prevent sexual harassment among lawmakers.

So the House has now drafted its first sexual harassment policy ex post facto to address the sexual harassment ethics complaint against Rep. Don Shooter. But that draft policy does not go far enough. No LGBT protections in Arizona Legislature’s new harassment rules:

When Arizona House Speaker J.D. Mesnard released a new harassment policy this week, members of the Legislature’s LGBT caucus felt something was missing.

The policy prohibits workplace discrimination in the Arizona House of Representatives based on someone’s race, age, national origin, religion, sex, disability or veteran status, among others.

Not included in that lengthy list: protections for House members or their staffers who might face discrimination for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

NOTE: The Arizona Civil Rights Act does not provide for express protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. A bill has been introduced in the Arizona legislature every year since at least 1994 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Arizona Civil Rights Act but only once, to the best of my recollection, has a bill ever received a committee hearing. It has always been opposed by GOP leadership, because it is opposed by the religious right Center for Arizona Policy.

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, said he and other members of the recently formed LGBT caucus are going to push to change that.

Hernandez said while the policy allows anyone to report instances of sexual harassment, the portion dealing with discrimination should be amended to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

“I would like to see that it gets spelled out,” he said, “just so there isn’t confusion or issues later on.”

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USA Today declares war on Donald Trump

In November 2015, Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post presciently warned How Trump is ‘defining deviancy down’ in presidential politics:

“Defining deviancy down.” That was the provocative title of a 1993 essay on crime written by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.). He explained his concept succinctly a few months later at a breakfast of civic-minded New York City movers and shakers. “I wrote that there is always a certain amount of deviancy in a society,” Moynihan told the Association for a Better New York. “But when you get too much, you begin to think that it’s not really that bad. Pretty soon you become accustomed to very destructive behavior.”

Again, Moynihan was talking about the tolerance of crime. But as the 2016 Republican presidential contest drags on, his diagnosis fit politics in general and the campaign of Donald Trump in particular. Just when you thought the Big Apple billionaire couldn’t sink any lower, he does. He gleefully dances through the nativist, racist, misogynistic slop as if he were Gene Kelly  in “Singing in the Rain.” And to make matters worse, Trump is rewarded for it.

Little could this Cassandra, cursed to speak true prophecies that no one believed, forewarn just how much Donald Trump would “define deviancy down” over the next two years after his column.

It has been a daily assault on the senses of tweeted insults and shameless lies, and outrageous behavior that previously was considered taboo and would have been a career-ending scandal for any other politician. For Trump, it just another day that ends in “y.” Trump’s goal is to overwhelm the senses through chaos theory. Americans have become numbed to the daily dose of scandal and are physically and mentally exhausted.

Trump’s sycophant cult of personality supporters — in particular, the conservative media entertainment complex — are seeking to normalize his boorishness and belligerence and utter lack of character, and conduct previously considered outside the bounds of normal acceptable behavior and common human decency. These sycophants, in particular the conservative media entertainment complex, the conspiracy theory fever swamp from which Donald Trump emerged two years ago, are also “defining deviancy down.” They are systematically destroying the norms of a civilized democratic society.

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#MeToo and Megyn Kelly with Trump accusers on Monday (Updated)

Well this may get her fired today: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says Trump’s accusers ‘should be heard’:

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday that the women who have accused President Trump of touching or groping them without their consent “should be heard.”

As a matter of fact, this is going to happen this morning. This is going to be a manic Monday from out Twitter-troll-in-chief, his Twitter rage is going to ‘splode.

As the #MeToo movement reckoning continues on sexual harassment, NBC News will be airing a live TV interview with three women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct on “Megyn Kelly TODAY,” at 9 a.m. Monday ET.

Kelly is the former FAUX News (now Trump TV) anchor whom Donald Trump frequently attacked on Twitter and in public statements during the 2016 campaign, including this memorable quote:

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On Twitter Sunday night, Kelly announced plans to interview Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks on Monday morning. Megyn Kelly’s dismal ratings rise with focus on sexual harassment. Next up: Trump accusers.

After the show, the women will participate in a news conference “calling for an investigation by Congress of sexual misconduct by the president,” according to a news release by Brave New Films, which is hosting the event. The media company released a documentary on Trump’s accusers in November.

UPDATE: In addition to the three who plan to share their stories with Kelly on Monday, 16 accusers will be joining a press conference hosted by Brave New Films at 10:30 a.m. eastern time. According to a tweet from the filmmakers, the women will “share firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct by Trump and demand an investigation.”

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