By Mary Margaret Olohan
Women’s groups that backed sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh have stayed silent as two former staffers to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accuse him of sexual harassment.
Advocacy groups clamored to support Christine Blasey Ford in September 2018 when she accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school. Groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Women’s March, the National Abortion Right’s Action League, the American Association of University Women, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, condemned Kavanaugh and said they believed Blasey Ford.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to each of these groups to ask why they have stayed silent on Cuomo accusers Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett.
None of the groups responded to the DCNF’s repeated requests for comment. A third woman, Anna Ruch, accused Cuomo of sexual misconduct Monday evening after this story was published.
The DCNF also asked the pro-abortion group Emily’s List why it has yet to support Cuomo’s accusers. The group has not issued a statement, but retweeted Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock’s Monday tweet that investigating the allegations “is the right call.”
“No one should face harassment at work, and these credible allegations deserve an investigation,” Schriock tweeted.
Emily’s List did not respond to the DCNF.
This is the right call. No one should face harassment at work, and these credible allegations deserve an investigation.https://t.co/yORxkhO3fR
— Stephanie Schriock (@Schriock1) March 1, 2021
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has similarly stayed silent on the allegations, though a New York Planned Parenthood affiliate weighed in on the matter.
“An independent investigation of the allegations against Governor Cuomo must be completed in a way that is both responsive and transparent. These are necessary steps on a path to restore trust and ensure accountability,” Emma Corbitt, Director of Communications of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, said this weekend.
The national women’s advocacy group UltraViolet issued a statement Monday calling allegations against Cuomo “deeply disturbing” and demanding a “comprehensive, independent, transparent, third-party investigation.”
“They reveal a pattern of sexual harassment of young women that should not be tolerated in any workplace, let alone in the Administration of the Governor of New York,” Elisa Batista, campaign director at UltraViolet, said in a statement. “Cuomo’s actions are completely unacceptable and he must be held accountable.”
“We believe them,” Batista added of Boylan and Bennett.
Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett told the New York Times that the governor asked her about her sex life, asked her whether she practiced monogamy, whether she was interested in older men, and discussed her past sexual assault with her in an uncomfortable manner. Bennett also said that Cuomo suggested he was open to dating women her age and that she believes he was grooming her.
The same week, Lindsey Boylan accused the governor of kissing her without her consent during a one-on-one briefing, making her uncomfortable, and making a number of sexually charged comments to her.
The governor’s office has denied both allegations. In a Sunday evening statement, Cuomo apologized if his actions were “misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.”
“I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm,” he said. “I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.”
“I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way,” Cuomo said. “I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
The governor said that he understands now that some of his interactions “may have been insensitive or too personal” and that given his position, some of his comments may have made others uncomfortable.
“To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to,” the governor said.
The #MeToo pattern
President Joe Biden’s accuser Tara Reade received similar treatment from women’s advocacy groups when she accused Biden of sexual assault last spring. Biden has repeatedly denied Reade’s allegations.
The Biden accuser told the DCNF in April 2020 that it would have meant “so much” to her to have a women’s movement or platform that supported her when she came forward with her allegations.
“I say back to these women’s organizations, I want the same equal treatment that other survivors have received, no matter who the perpetrator is,” Reade told the DCNF in April 2020.
Her accusations garnered national attention in late April and early May, but subsequent media reporting on her academic credentials and her turbulent past cast doubts on her credibility. Her legal representation, attorney Douglas Wigdor, abandoned her case in early May following reports that Reade lied about her undergraduate degree.
Reade told the DCNF that she did not lie about her degree and is pursuing legal action against Antioch University.
The Biden accuser said Monday that Cuomo should be the one under scrutiny — not his former staffers.
“When are we going to hold powerful men preying on their staff accountable even if they are Democrats,” she asked the DCNF.
“The women’s groups and female legislators not stepping up for these women are dealing the final blows to the MeToo movement that the Democratic Party hijacked for their political use then tossed aside when it became inconvenient,” she added. “I am the poster child for the politically inconvenient woman and I don’t want that for Lindsey or Charlotte.”
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