Thursday Reads: Sexual Harassment In The News

Good Morning!!

As usual, there is no way I can address all of the ghastly news that is happening today in Trump’s America, so I’m not going to try. There is an unbelievable amount of horrible stuff happening. Let’s just stipulate that Trump has successfully instituted the “American Carnage” he talked about in his Inauguration speech.

So I’m just going to focus on one topic today, and leave it to you to add more in the comment thread.

Recently sexual harassment has become big news because of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Then, as victims became empowered, accusations were leveled against other powerful men. The latest to stand accused are “journalist” Mark Halperin and former POTUS George H.W. Bush.

CNN Money: Five women accuse journalist and ‘Game Change’ co-author Mark Halperin of sexual harassment.

Veteran journalist Mark Halperin sexually harassed women while he was in a powerful position at ABC News, according to five women who shared their previously undisclosed accounts with CNN and others who did not experience the alleged harassment personally, but were aware of it.

“During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”

MSNBC announced that Halperin would no longer be an analyst on NBC or MSNBC, where he regularly appeared on Morning Joe. More from the CNN story:

Widely considered to be one of the preeminent political journalists, Halperin, 52, has, among other career highlights, been political director at ABC News; co-authored the bestselling book “Game Change,” which was made into an HBO movie starring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin; and anchored a television show on Bloomberg TV. He is featured in Showtime’s “The Circus,” a show that chronicled the 2016 campaign cycle and the early days of the Trump presidency, and has a project in development with HBO, which, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner.

The stories of harassment shared with CNN range in nature from propositioning employees for sex to kissing and grabbing one’s breasts against her will. Three of the women who spoke to CNN described Halperin as, without consent, pressing an erection against their bodies while he was clothed. Halperin denies grabbing a woman’s breasts and pressing his genitals against the three women.

One specific example from the article:

The first woman told CNN she was invited to visit his office in the early 2000s, when he was political director at ABC News, to have a soda, and said that while she was there with him he forcibly kissed her and pressed his genitals against her body.

“I went up to have a soda and talk and — he just kissed me and grabbed my boobs,” the woman said. “I just froze. I didn’t know what to do.”

When she did make her way out of his office, the woman told a friend at ABC News what had happened. That friend told CNN she remembered the woman telling her about the incident and seeing her visibly shaken.

Much more at the CNN link.

Heather Lind (R) claims George HW Bush (C) ‘touched me from behind from his wheelchair’

George H.W. Bush was accused by actress Heather Lind of sexually assaulting her. CNN:

“…when I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo,” the post went on to say. “He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.”

A Bush spokesman responded in part:

“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” McGrath said. “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”

Last night Deadspin reported: Second Woman: George H.W. Bush Groped Me.

Jordana Grolnick, a New York actress, has a story to tell that doesn’t sound very different at all [from what Lind described]. “I got sent the Heather Lind story by many people this morning,” Grolnick says. “And I’m afraid that mine is entirely similar.”

Rumors about Bush groping actresses in this manner have been circulating for a while. More than a year ago, a tipster passed word about the Heather Lind incident to Deadspin. We were told that Bush had, during a photo opp, groped her and told her that his favorite magician was “David Cop-a-Feel” while fondling her.

(Reached for comment, Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath provided the following statement: “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”)

Jordana Grolnik with George H.W. Bush

More detail from Grolnick:

In August 2016, Grolnick was working at a Maine production of Hunchback of Notre Dame. The former president, who summers in nearby Kennebunkport and frequents this theater, caught a performance. He came backstage during an intermission, she says, and she and the rest of the cast gathered for a photo with him.

Grolnick now says that other actors had told her before the photo that Bush had a reputation for fondling during photo ops, but she didn’t take it seriously.

“I guess I was thinking,” she says, “‘He’s in a wheelchair, what harm could he do?’”

Then her question got answered.

“We all circled around him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him,” she says. “He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, ‘Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?’ As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!’”

Bush is a very old man. Perhaps he has frontal lobe damage or dementia. It might be time for him to stop appearing in public.

Good old Scott Brown has already gotten into trouble after Trump appointed him Ambassador to New Zealand. Yesterday Stuff.com reported: US ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown faced complaints over ‘cultural misunderstanding.’

Speaking to Stuff with wife Gail Huff at his side, Brown confirmed there had been an official “administrative inquiry” into his conduct at a Peace Corps event in Samoa in July.

It related to an official complaint about comments he made when arriving at the event, when he told some of the guests they looked “beautiful”. There had also been a complaint about a comment he made to a woman serving food and drink that she could make hundreds of dollars in the hospitality industry in the US, Brown said.

That was the extent of the complaints, and the inquiry had concluded with a warning that he should be more culturally aware, Brown said….

“When we walked into the Peace Corps event we walked in and there was a receiving line and prior to walking they were all like dirty and grungy … We walked in and everyone was dressed to the nines. They all looked great, Gail looked great, you know I was dressed up and Gail and I both walked in and said ‘you guys are beautiful, you look really handsome sir, you guys are great’.  And apparently somebody took offence to that.

“Fine…I did say it. Gail and I did say it absolutely.”

The Guardian this morning: Scott Brown: more complaints surface over behaviour of US ambassador to New Zealand.

Over the past two months,…the Guardian has spoken to various witnesses who attended the party and who claim the behaviour of the ambassador – the first appointed by the US president, Donald Trump – was worse than he has admitted.

It is understood that two complaints under investigation by the US state department against Brown originally came from two female peace corps volunteers who were at the event, and who served food and drink to the guests as a way to flip the cultural norm of Samoans serving westerners.

There are also other complaints that the ambassador’s behaviour was “shocking”, “culturally insensitive”, “rude” and “undiplomatic”. The Guardian contacted more than a dozen people who attended the party and spoke to a number who said he had made them feel uncomfortable.

One woman told the Guardian that Brown allegedly stared at her body when she was introduced to him. She did not want to be identified, but said: “The first time I met him, he looked at my chest immediately.” She alleged that another female colleague had a similar experience.

“I felt immediately uncomfortable and it didn’t feel right,” she said.

A bit more:

A male former peace corps volunteer described a strained atmosphere developing at the party as the ambassador shouted at guests to be quiet and listen to him. “It was very culturally insensitive,” he said. “He just did multiple things in 15 seconds that really put me off, and looking around [I] saw it put off a lot of other people as well.

“At least twice, maybe three times, he was telling everybody: ‘Stop talking, be quiet, listen to me.’”

Another former peace corps volunteer called Brown’s speech “really pompous and sort of shocking”. The man, who again did not want to be named, said he approached Brown after his speech, hoping to gauge the man representing his country.

He described their exchange as candid, and claimed Brown became aggressive when he mentioned he was disappointed by Trump’s actions following his inauguration. Brown angrily told him to get over it, he said.

“A lot of people were really upset by the tone of his speech that night,” said another attendee. “He was rudely shouting everyone down. After the speech I was so put off I didn’t approach him. I wanted no personal contact with him.”

Another former peace corps volunteer who attended the party told the Guardian: “I know someone who works at the US embassy … and he said Scott went totally off the book [in the speech].

“He said something like: ‘When Kennedy started the peace corps 100 years ago’, so it seemed he didn’t really know what he was talking about.”

And yet the pussy-grabber-in-chief is still POTUS and no one is investigating him for sexual misconduct.

What else is happening? What stories are you following today?

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69 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Sexual Harassment In The News”

  1. dakinikat says:

    This is so off the topic and I will read your post but I just tripped across this on Twitter and I’m horrified. We need to start nullifying elections.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    More beyond the pale behavior from Trump

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  3. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  4. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Politico: The Recruitables: Why Trump’s Team Was Easy Prey for Putin

    By now, it should be clear to anyone following the news that Russian intelligence made a formidable effort to approach the Trump campaign and assess the potential to manipulate its members. As a former officer of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, I can tell you that Russian security services would have been derelict not to evaluate the possibility of turning someone close to Trump. While the question of collusion remains open, it’s beyond dispute that Russia tried to get people around the president to cooperate. The June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower is indication enough, but other encounters bolster the argument.

    How do you get someone to do something they should not do?

    • Enheduanna says:

      Veeeeery interesting.

      That sure rings true about Flynn! All of them are nothing but greedy opportunistic kleptocrats.

  6. NW Luna says:

    The first time I met him, he looked at my chest immediately.

    That describes more than half the men I’ve ever met. Anyone else, sisters?

  7. dakinikat says:

    Guess time reads our posts here …

  8. dakinikat says:

    Well, Scott Brown needs to be removed from office … don’t see that happening though.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  10. RonStill4Hills says:

    Wouldn’t Trumpkin’s Impeachment be a perfect birthday present for Hills?

    The fall of Halperin will have to suffice.

  11. dakinikat says:

  12. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’m actually arguing with some jerk at Alternet who thinks ICE must have some reason they had to do this and how her mother put the child at risk by bringing her here.

      They arrested a 10-year old cerebral palsy patient and put her in a detention camp 150 miles from where her parents live. Hitler would have been proud.

  13. Enheduanna says:

    Sweet!

    Have I mentioned before how much I love John Lewis?

  14. Catscatscats says:

    Can’t mention it often enough, Enheduanna! IIRC, he didn’t go to the inauguration, a man of principle, a dying breed.

  15. bostonboomer says:

    Two more women have come forward to accuse Halperin.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    • bostonboomer says:

      According to numerous sources at NBC, MSNBC, ABC, and Bloomberg—who previously spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely—the private allegations of Halperin’s sexual misconduct were an open secret, particularly in New York City and D.C. political media, for many years.

      People just didn’t feel emboldened to talk or speak out, in part due to Halperin’s position of power in the industry.

      “Everybody knew [about Mark],” one prominent cable-news host told The Daily Beast. “I’d been warning young women reporters about Mark for a long time.”

      CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward tweeted Thursday morning of the accusations against Halperin: “This was an open secret when I was at @ABC for years- brave of these women to speak up.”

      Halperin did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday afternoon.
      Additionally, CNN political analyst Mary Katharine Ham, a friend of Emily Miller’s, confirmed that Miller told her of the alleged sexual assault years ago.

  16. bostonboomer says:

    So far, no JFK files have been released. Maybe it won’t happen.

      • Catscatscats says:

        Per Rachel, only a small number of docs released at 7:30PM. WH moved statutorily mandated release to APR 2018. Sounds like the WH dropped the ball; agencies are appealing to 45 to NOT release certain docs or portions thereof.

        • quixote says:

          Why are the agencies appealing? Who the hell cares at this point? Even if it turned out it was a huge conspiracy with J Edgar Hoover at the center, or whatever, there’s absolutely nothing to do. They’re all dead. Nobody now is responsible.

          Maybe I’m getting stupider with time, but I don’t see why anyone would care whether the files are released or not. Except historians.

          In the here and now we’ve got an entire democracy being assassinated. That’s what we need to open the books on.

          • Catscatscats says:

            Quixote, hillary killed JFK and the CIA and the FBI are trying to cover for her…Fox and Judicial Watch will get to the bottom of it. The truth is out there….cue the music.

          • bostonboomer says:

            They don’t want to be embarrassed by proof that they knew about Oswald and he was likely a CIA asset. Most of this is known anyway.

          • quixote says:

            Oh, bb. (lol, Cats….) Really? That’s just a continent-sized DUH. Moving right along….

            (Enheduanna is right. The Dump just wants juicy stuff in reserve that he can spring on media lapdogs to distract them from his shit.)

    • Enheduanna says:

      I wonder if this was another of tRump’s obvious attempts to change the story. I’ve seen at least two places speculating Mueller is about to drop a bomb or two in the collusion case. Before Thanksgiving.

      We can only hope.

    • NW Luna says:

      it was thought to be detrimental to our relationship with the Mexican government [to release the documents] at the time,” Tunheim said. Now, “it doesn’t matter anymore,” he said. “The political party in charge then is no longer the controlling party in Mexico today.”

      And anyway, he said, “I guess we don’t have much of relationship with the Mexican government today.”

      No shit.

  17. Enheduanna says:

    Did anyone else see the Impeach ad last night? I was watching MSNBC but they bought ad time on Fox too! lolololol

    https://shareblue.com/impeachment-ad-triggers-trump-meltdown-as-polls-increasingly-show-americans-want-him-out/

  18. NW Luna says:

    In Kenya. Where they also overturned the election influenced by Cambridge Analytica.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Blub

      This puts in mind the simple but effective campaign out your way, Luna. Billboards and signage with “Don’t be THAT Guy” verbiage.

      I also hope the latest rash of Creeps in Trouble has an impact. I hope more (if there are more) get outed.

  19. bostonboomer says:

    All four of those soldiers may have been left on the ground alive in Niger.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Glad to see the old fossil stepping down. I’m sure Romney will suck up to any of tRump’s get-rich-quick schemes, whatever their temperamental differences.

    • quixote says:

      Isn’t he somewhere in the chain of command to potentially have to listen to an order to fire Mueller?

      He may be getting out before the order comes down. Rosenstein (first in line) has already shown he won’t cooperate, so the next modern-day Bork is whoever is next in line after Boente.

      Or it could have nothing to do with anything. Boente may simply have reached his limit for working for a Depraved Dump.

  20. quixote says:

    The retirements seem to be coming thick and fast. Copycat retirements? Or do they know something we don’t?

    Sad thing is, I can’t see Mueller hadn’t down such shattering indictments the country forces itself into a cure. Much more likely a few people will eventually, after years, go to jail, lots won’t even get that, and the mainstreamers will breathe a sigh of relief. “All fixed” they’ll say, in a Neville Chamberlain, Take Two.