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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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20 Responses

  1. Xopher
    Xopher November 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm |

    Am I the only one wishing that the Republicans’ black frontrunner were about to be taken down by anything other than accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault?

    Frankly, although he is as nutty as a fruit bat, I think I would have loved to see black candidates on each side of the Presidential campaign.

  2. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm |

    Xopher, I don’t think this will take him down, because most conservatives don’t seem to give a fuck about sexual harassment. I think he hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell because large swaths of the GOP base think his 9-9-9 tax plan is nothing more than a soundbyte and a disaster in the making.

  3. Tony
    Tony November 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm |

    Look how the AP is headlining their story on this. I kid you not:

    Woman accuses Cain of bold sexual advance

  4. EG
    EG November 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm |

    Xopher: Am I the only one wishing that the Republicans’ black frontrunner were about to be taken down by anything other than accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault?

    You think he’s going to be taken down by this? You honestly think right-wingers give two shits about sexual assault or harassment? He’s going to be taken down by the fact that Republicans routinely court the racist vote.

  5. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar November 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm |

    When will our media report allegations of sexual assault as allegations of sexual assault? (When they are made to, and not a minute sooner.)

  6. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe November 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm |

    At least this woman came forward on the record. They’re not going to be able to get away with the “anonymous accusers” dodge anymore.

  7. Rose
    Rose November 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm |

    Sexual harassment and sexual assault are not mutually exclusive.

    If her story is true it’s an example of quid pro quo sexual harassment (“Don’t you want the job?”) and sexual assault.

    This might sound like nitpicking but it’s not. The insistence that sexual harassment is something completely different than sexual assault serves to minimize the reality of sexual harassment, which for many victims includes groping and other forms of unwanted physical contact.

    Therefore, when you say that if these accusations are true, Cain didn’t sexually harass this accuser, there’s a strong suggestion that sexual harassment is a minor infringement but sexual assault is serious. It gives legitimacy to the myth that most sexual harassment accusations are either brought forward by women who are too sensitive and can’t take an off-color joke, or trumped up charges made by money hungry opportunists.

    Most people who come forward with sexual harassment charges will suffer serious economic and personal consequences for doing so. It’s often the case that the victim will stay silent until the abuse turns physical. Sadly, even then they won’t likely be believed. Keep in mind that sexual assault, unlike many rapes, will not uncover any DNA evidence. Given how hard it is to prove rape even with DNA evidence, how many people come forward to press charges after an assault such as the one Ms. Bialek described?

  8. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 November 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    When did this supposedly happen, 1997? Almost fifteen years ago.

    I’m not saying that, if it’s true, the passage of time makes the supposed offense any less severe, but do you think we ever would have heard about this if Cain had never decided to run?

  9. EG
    EG November 7, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

    Marksman2010: do you think we ever would have heard about this if Cain had never decided to run?

    Would we ever have heard of Cain?

  10. zuzu
    zuzu November 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm |

    Marksman2010: I’m not saying that, if it’s true, the passage of time makes the supposed offense any less severe, but do you think we ever would have heard about this if Cain had never decided to run?

    Of course not, because a) nobody but the parties would have cared; and b) the plaintiffs have been under a gag order as part of their settlements.

    Which is why we have had the “anonymous accuser” problem BitterScribe pointed out above; the people who have been talking are former employees of the National Restaurant Association who *aren’t* bound by the gag order. The plaintiffs themselves would violate their agreements if they talked.

  11. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser November 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm |

    This won’t hurt Cain among the GOP base because 1. they don’t think sexual harassment and/or assault is a real thing and 2. they think Cain is really showing those liberal feminist Democrats a thing or two by not showing any shame. He LOSES support if he acknowledges any guilt or wrongdoing.

    The past couple years have shown that there is apparently NOTHING a GOPer politician can do, sexually, that can cause them any harm. They will ALWAYS have supporters willing to excuse them.

  12. Esti
    Esti November 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm |

    Brian Schlosser: The past couple years have shown that there is apparently NOTHING a GOPer politician can do, sexually, that can cause them any harm. They will ALWAYS have supporters willing to excuse them.

    Almost, but not quite. Ask yourself how differently the last week would have played out if Herman Cain had four men accusing him of sexual advances.

  13. EG
    EG November 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm |

    Esti: Almost, but not quite. Ask yourself how differently the last week would have played out if Herman Cain had four men accusing him of sexual advances.

    Oh, he would have fallen to his knees, begged forgiveness, entered a month-long “rehabilitation” program and emerged “cured.” It might have set his run back a bit…but honestly, I don’t think he has a chance of winning the nomination anyway.

  14. Xopher
    Xopher November 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm |

    EG: You think he’s going to be taken down by this? You honestly think right-wingers give two shits about sexual assault or harassment? He’s going to be taken down by the fact that Republicans routinely court the racist vote.

    A valid point, but I think it would be more valid if it were Mitt Romney. A lot of the Republican core cares a lot about an insatiable black man getting near the white wimmin. This whole thing paints an indelible image of Cain as a leering, rapacious black man that will kill whatever hope he had to transcend the racism at the heart of the Republican party.

  15. EG
    EG November 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm |

    I just don’t think there ever was any actual hope of that. The Republican Party has made too much hay from the Southern Strategy for too many decades to risk alienating the racist core of their party by taking a flyer on some guy nobody had heard of last year.

  16. EG
    EG November 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm |

    In other words, if it weren’t this, it would’ve been something else, but the Republican Party as we currently know it is not going to put their money on a black man who doesn’t have some major support already backing him. I mean, he would have to be the black Tom Cruise without the scientology. The racists may use this as their excuse, but if this hadn’t happened, they would’ve found another excuse in plenty of time.

  17. Brian Schlosser
    Brian Schlosser November 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm |

    Esti: Almost, but not quite. Ask yourself how differently the last week would have played out if Herman Cain had four men accusing him of sexual advances.

    I’m not so sure. Even as recently as a couple of years ago, I’d have agreed. But look at Larry Craig: Yeah, he had to resign, but he still had supporters who said the whole thing was a set up. Ditto Mark Foley. I think the response would either be what EG said, or a total denial and accusations that it was the Liberal Media who were the real homophobes for bringing it up.

    I keep thinking the Pizza Baron doesn’t have a chance at the nomination… but then I never thought we’d be talking about him in November, either. I was expecting to be explaining to people that its not misogyny to not want Michelle Bachmann anywhere the button. Now I’m having to explain that it’s not racist to not want Herman Cain doing the job, either.

    I fully expect the GOPers to finally settle on Romney, but I would not be surprised if Cain didn’t somehow squeak through. He’s anti-intellectual, anti-feminist, anti-foreigner, anti-choice. He’s clearly ignorant, but that’s never stopped anyone with an R after their name. Yeah, the racist contingent will hate it. But he gives the less overtly racist wing the perfect cover. He’ll be the Black Friend® of the entire party!

    We shall see.

  18. Tina
    Tina November 8, 2011 at 10:58 am |

    Brian Schlosser: I fully expect the GOPers to finally settle on Romney, but I would not be surprised if Cain didn’t somehow squeak through. He’s anti-intellectual, anti-feminist, anti-foreigner, anti-choice. He’s clearly ignorant, but that’s never stopped anyone with an R after their name. Yeah, the racist contingent will hate it. But he gives the less overtly racist wing the perfect cover. He’ll be the Black Friend® of the entire party!

    He’s actually so stupid/ignorant that he doesn’t realize that he is pro-choice. I don’t think he’ll ever make it because he is completely unprepared as a candidate. First, he doesn’t understand the difference between pro and anti choice and doesn’t have an anti-choice statement at the ready during interviews. Second, if you are running for office you know that the sexual harrassment claims could come up at some point and you should have an answer ready. Instead he totally lies. First, he doesn’t even know about the claims (even though he was the CEO), then he can’t remember anything, then he remembers the payment was 3 months salary and he told someone she was the same height as his wife. Completely ridiculous. That’s how he fails as a candidate, not that he sexually harrassed anyone but that he didn’t immediately deny it and claim it was the NRA that decided to pay the claimants as a resolution to their legal problems. He is either not serious about running or is a total moron.

    Also, who do you think leaked the information about the sexual harrassment? It was one of the camps that he is running against now! He is running against other Republicans at this stage of the game and they leaked this information to take him down. So from their perspective this is damning information that can help them. It shows that they see him as a threat and think that a sexual harrassment claim can only hurt him. I’m not sure they knew he would be so terrible at responding to it but since he is I don’t think he has a chance at this point.

  19. anna
    anna November 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    Am I the only one wishing that the Republicans’ black frontrunner were about to be taken down by anything other than accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault?

    I will be thrilled if people take sexual harassment/assault seriously enough not to vote for Herman Cain because of it.

  20. Kyra
    Kyra November 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

    Esti: Almost,butnotquite.AskyourselfhowdifferentlythelastweekwouldhaveplayedoutifHermanCainhadfourmenaccusinghimofsexualadvances.

    I wouldn’t put it past them to have gone for “see, we’re not homophobes!” by “forgiving him his homosexuality.”

    (The model of a dominant man harassing/using a few nobodies like his minimum-wage employees would probably be the most acceptable aspect of male homosexuality to some of these people. It penalizes men on the low end of the economic spectrum, and creates a way that privileged men can avoid being cast as objects of desire or objects of harassment or otherwise “being treated like you treat women.” And those taking part in the dynamic of harassers and harassed are least likely to form loving couples and demand marriage rights, least likely to be highly visible in mainstream culture, and least likely to deny the Moral Values people the opportunity to put down homosexuality as less loving, more promiscuous, less committed, more associated with negative emotions and experiences, et cetera.)

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