Tag Archives: Me Too

Let the accuser — and the accused — make their case

I’ve been quiet about Brett Kavanaugh’s recent troubles and the allegation brought by a woman who has accused the U.S. Supreme Court nominee of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.

Until now.

Christine Ford is going to get to make her case next week in a hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh, nominated by Donald Trump, has denied the accusation that when he was 17 and his accuser was 15 he forced himself on her and sought to rape her at a high school party.

Man, this is serious stuff. You know?

I want to hear both of them. I want them both to look nation in the eye and make their case. Do I believe Christine Ford? I cannot state yet whether I believe or disbelieve her. And do I believe Judge Kavanaugh’s denial? Same answer.

I need to watch their body language. I need to look into their eyes.

I also want the FBI to conduct a complete, thorough and meticulous background check to ascertain which of these people is telling the truth. If that’s possible.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican “swing vote,” has declared that any evidence that Kavanaugh has lied about this alleged encounter is a deal-breaker. He cannot serve on the nation’s highest court. No kidding?

Thus, the rush to confirm this individual can wait for as long as we need to determine the veracity of the complaint brought against him. If the FBI investigation goes past the date in October when the high court convenes its next judicial session, well, so be it. The court has functioned before without  all nine SCOTUS seats being occupied (isn’t that right, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who obstructed President Obama’s nominee to succeed the late Antonin Scalia?).

The hearing will be open. The public will get to see for itself. Let’s give this accuser her the opportunity she deserves to make her case … and let’s give the accused the chance he deserves to defend himself.

May the more credible person win the day.

Start packing up, Coach Meyer

This is just me, but it looks for all the world as though another noted athletic figure is about to be shown the door.

Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer is now on “administrative leave” while the school — using an outside investigative firm — looks into allegations that Meyer looked the other way while one of his assistants was abusing his wife.

The “Me Too” movement well might be set to score another “victory” in its effort to eradicate this kind of disgraceful behavior.

As ESPN.com has noted, Meyer attained college football greatness leading a team — at the University of Florida — at a time when there was much greater tolerance of players’ misconduct.

Read the ESPN story here.

The Ohio State story is quite a bit different. It involves an assistant coach Zach Smith, who allegedly was physically assaulting his now former wife, Courtney Smith. Meanwhile, Urban and others knew about it, but took no action.

Urban Meyer has been perceived for a long time to be one of the good guys in intercollegiate sports. This story, if it proves true, peels away that veneer more than likely forever.

The “Me Too” movement has arisen out of an increasing societal intolerance of abusive behavior of powerful men. It has ended the careers of men in sports, entertainment and politics. As it should! It has, in the case of Bill Cosby, resulted in a criminal conviction. There likely will be others.

I don’t want Urban Meyer to be the next one to be given the boot. If the OSU investigation proves that, yes, the head coach knew about sexual abuse involving a staff member but looked away … well, the school will have no choice but to fire him.

ESPYs honor courageous athletes, coaches

It’s not always fashionable for athletes to make political statements. They expose themselves to criticism — much of it shrill and strident — as some pro football players might acknowledge.

However, the ESPYs — the awards provided by ESPN, the nation’s premier sports and entertainment network — hit it out of the park Wednesday night during its annual award ceremony.

Why? The ESPYs spoke to the politics of the moment. The statements were profound and powerful.

The Arthur Ashe Courage Award went to 141 young women who had the courage to stand up to Michigan State University and to a physician who abused them sexually. You’ve heard of the former MD, Larry Nasar , who’s now spending the rest of his life in prison for what he did to those athletes.

All the women stood on the stage, covering it in the courage exemplified by the man whose memory is honored. Tennis great Arthur Ashe died 30 years ago of complications from HIV/AIDS, but exhibited tremendous courage before he passed.

The women stood tall they stood strong. They are the faces and the voices of the “Me Too” movement. They so richly deserve this honor.

Then we have the Coach of the Year honor. Who got that one? It went to three high school coaches, and not necessarily for the leadership they showed on the field of competition — but the selfless courage they demonstrated this past Feb. 14 when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The coaches all died protecting their students. They threw themselves into harm’s way to save the lives of the youngsters they promised to keep safe.

Chris Hixon, Aaron Fies and Scott Biegel paid the ultimate price on behalf of their students. Their names are now memorialized forever to remember the heroism they exhibited during a terrible spasm of gun violence.

It’s not all that often when you have the perfect juxtaposition of politics and sports. We saw it Wednesday night at an annual award ceremony.

Well done, ESPN.

POTUS ridicules ‘Me Too’? No kidding?

Donald John Trump Sr. no doubt would boast about the “stones” he packs around.

I’ll refer to them in the proverbial sense, given that he stood before that rally crowd in Great Falls, Mont., this week and actually poked fun of the “Me Too” movement, which grew out of revelations of sexual harassment/assault/misbehavior among powerful men in politics and entertainment.

He did precisely that even though the president himself has been accused by women of groping them, of committing sexual assault. He has actually acknowledged that his “star” status has enabled him to grab women by their genitals.

And so for Trump to ridicule the Me Too movement in the manner that he did demonstrates clearly and without equivocation that he doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about the country beyond his blindly faithful base of voters.

They cheer, laugh, hoot and holler when he denigrates others.

Donald Trump relishes it.

Sickening.

Connecting some dots inside the White House

I feel like connecting a few dots. So … here goes.

The 2016 Republican Party presidential nominee was revealed in a decade-old recording boasting about how he could grab women by their “pu***” because his status as a “star” gave him license.

The nominee, Donald John Trump, was elected president.

He declares war on media outlets that he finds disagreeable. He calls them “fake news” and then submits to interviews almost exclusively with Fox News, which was run by the late Roger Ailes.

Ailes, meanwhile, gets hit with complaints of sexual harassment by a number of high-profile female journalists; Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson are two of them.

Ailes gets the boot. But his No. 2 man, Bill Shine, stands with him and allegedly covers up for the boss.

Then, just this week, Shine — who left Fox News — has been named deputy White House chief of staff in charge of communications.

So, we have the president — who has a history of sexual harassment complaints leveled against him by many women — hires a guy with a sexual harassment history of his own. The White House underling is now director of communications for the administration.

It’s fair to wonder about Trump’s values. He never rails against accusations of sexual harassment. He defends those against whom these complaints are leveled; he called former Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly — who also faced such accusations — a “good man.”

Trump reportedly takes a dim view of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements, believing that the women who make accusations against powerful men are off base.

Oh, and then his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep quiet about a tryst that Trump says never happened.

What do you suppose is the common denominator here? Let’s see. I think it’s boorish behavior toward women, which appears to have Donald Trump’s fingerprints all over it.

Duplicity snags another big-time pol

Eric Schneiderman is paying the price that so often is levied on politicians who say one thing, but then demonstrate their through their actions to be someone quite different.

The former Democratic New York attorney general quit suddenly this week after allegations surfaced that accused him of sexual assault. Yes, the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements caught another one!

But here’s the thing. Schneiderman has been out front and quite vocal in criticizing others who’ve been caught doing the same things that the former New York AG has been accused of doing.

That only heightens the hypocrisy of it.

This reminds me at one level of the recent case involving Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, who has been accused of sexual misconduct. You see, what makes Greitens’s alleged transgression so ghastly is that he campaigned for election by proclaiming himself to be a “proud husband and father.” He was a “family values” candidate and he played on that theme while winning election to the Missouri statehouse. While he was bellowing his love for his his wife and children, he was messing around with a woman who isn’t his wife.

That makes what Greitens did all that much worse and it elevates it from a “private” matter to a “public” scandal.

Do you remember when former U.S. Sen. John Edwards was campaigning for vice president as part of the Democratic ticket led by U.S. Sen. John Kerry in 2004? Edwards was so proud to proclaim his love for his wife, Elizabeth, while keeping secret an affair he was having with someone else.

Eric Schneiderman managed to pop off quite vocally about how other men should be ashamed of behaving badly with women. It turns out he also was misbehaving — allegedly — in violent ways with women with whom he was having sex.

Shameful.

‘Me Too’ snags another perp … allegedly

The “Me Too” movement has just landed another big fish … allegedly.

Eric Schneiderman is now the former New York attorney general who quit suddenly this week after allegations surfaced that he mistreated at least three women. One of them says Schneiderman slapped her hard across the face during a sexual encounter she said was “unwanted.”

Schneiderman, a Democrat, of course denied doing anything wrong, or “non-consensual,” but he resigned anyway.

One of the more hideous aspects of this latest big-time pol’s fall from power is how he was so public in criticizing the misbehavior of other public figures, such as the disgraced Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

There’s a lesson to be heeded here as many political observers ponder Schneiderman’s own disgrace.

  • Democrats need to be forceful in their condemnation of this man’s behavior, presuming it is true; I happen to believe the accounts that have surfaced.
  • Moreover, Republicans need to take great care to avoid politicizing this too heavily; I mean, they have their own high-profile pols who’ve been tarred by allegations by women who’ve come forward in this new era of “Me Too” and “Time’s Up.”

As for Eric Schneiderman, he needs to face the same level of scorn he heaped on others while defending the women who came forward to accuse them of ghastly behavior.

Sexual misconduct charges: deal breaker for sure

One of those online “polls” showed up on MSN.com that asked the following: “Do sexual misconduct charges against celebrities affect your entertainment choices.”

Umm. Yep. By all means!

The roster of entertainment casualties keeps growing. What’s interesting, though, about the “poll” question is that the allegations — even those that aren’t yet proven — have doomed many celebrities’ careers.

Kevin Spacey is a goner. Bill Cosby is now a convicted felon. Harvey Weinstein isn’t likely to produce another film ever again. Dustin Hoffman is toast. The list is a lengthy one.

Check it out here.

Indeed, if I know that an actor is involved with a sexual harassment/abuse/assault allegation I am most likely never to spend a dime to watch his work ever again.

The same is true for assorted other controversies. Tom Cruise has made a spectacle of himself over the Scientology controversy that erupted around him years ago. I haven’t paid to see a Cruise film ever since.

Do politics factor in my entertainment decisions? Not in the least. One of my favorite actors is Clint Eastwood, a serious Republican. I do love the man’s art. Same for the late John Wayne, whose films I always enjoyed watching, even though I didn’t care for his political leanings.

But in this era of “Me Too” and “Time’s Up,” I find myself making entertainment choices based on whether the star of the show is caught up in allegations of sexual misconduct.

I also will presume that millions of others are making the same decisions based on the same criteria. That, I will suggest, will hit these low-lifes where it hurts the most.

Jury delivers justice to ‘America’s Dad’

Earlier today, a Norristown, Pa., jury of seven men and five women did something many of us a decade ago never would have imagined.

They convicted one of America’s most iconic entertainers of three counts of sexual assault. To be totally candid, I am still trying to process the conviction of Bill Cosby of the crimes he was accused of committing.

Think about this for a moment. There will be no more “alleged” adjective attached to the counts of sexual assault that Cosby committed against Andrea Constand, a one Temple University employee with whom Cosby was acquainted.

Cosby is now a convicted felon who faces the possibility of a lengthy prison term for the three counts of sexual assault. As I understand it, he could be sentenced to 30 years in prison: 10 years for each of the counts.

Now, as an 80-year-old felon, does anyone really expect the judge to throw Cosby in prison for 30 years? I don’t think so.

However, I won’t buy into the canard that Cosby’s age by itself should compel sentencing leniency. As has been noted already, he wasn’t 80 when he attacked Constand; the assault occurred in 2004, meaning Cosby was a “spring chicken” of 66 years of age. As such, he ought to spend a good stretch of time behind bars.

I am left to wonder out loud whether we are witnessing the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements coalescing at just the right moment as it regards Bill Cosby. The jury that heard this retrial convicted the once-revered Cosby after the emergence of the twin movements that arose from accusations of sexual abuse that have leveled high-level entertainers and politicians.

Cosby’s original trial, which ended with a hung jury in 2015, hadn’t yet been overshadowed by the movement that has empowered women around the world to speak out against abuse, harassment and assault.

We have entered a new era. Justice has been delivered to Bill Cosby. The man once known as “America’s Dad” has become “America’s Sexual Predator.”

Pushing back against the pushback

Allow me this chance to push back against some of the soreheads who have dismissed a demand that has come from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

The governor has written a letter to former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, a fellow Republican politician, demanding that he pay the full cost of the special election that will occur on June 30 to determine who should replace Farenthold in Congress.

Farenthold quit because of sexual harassment charges leveled against him. Then it was revealed that he took $84,000 in public money to cover the cost of lawsuit settlements involving the complaints of sexual harassment. Farenthold reportedly is seeking a second mortgage on his Corpus Christi home to raise the money to pay back the congressional fund.

Abbott said in his letter that Farenthold’s behavior is cause for the election and that he should pay for it — in its entirety.

The pushback came from those who reminded me that Abbott is campaigning for re-election. His demand, they suggest, is nothing than a sop to voters, a publicity stunt from a pol seeking some positive publicity.

To which I say: Baloney!

So what if it’s an election year? So what if Abbott is up for re-election? He is a strong favorite to win a second term, no matter who wins the upcoming Democratic Party primary runoff between Lupe Valdez and Andrew White. He doesn’t need the good PR.

Hey, I am in no way an Abbott apologist. I just want to recognize when a politician does the right thing even when it’s juxtaposed with the political context in which he does it.

Gov. Abbott has made a poignant political demand of a disgraced — and disgraceful — fellow Republican politician. My praise of the governor still stands.

There. Now I have pushed back.