Monday, May 4, 2020

#MeToo Hypocrisy Highlighted By Liberals Different Treatment of Biden and Kavanaugh Accusers

Years ago I had a case in which a mother was trying to prevent my client, the father, from having any contact with their child.  She argued the father, a naturalized citizen, might take off with the child back to the country in Africa where he was born.  The mother's attorney brought in a national "expert" on child abduction. (I put "expert" in quotes as some jurisdictions had found her meager qualifications lacking for her to qualify as an expert witness.)   The expert said most people who abduct a child never threaten abduction before doing it. Therefore, since my client had never threatened to abduct a child, he fit the profile of a child abductor.

What?

I am reminded of that case when it comes to men accused in the #MeToo era.  If a woman fails to report an allegation for two decades, that is said to be consistent with someone who has been assaulted.   If a woman continues to associate with the alleged perpetrator or praise him for years after the assault supposedly took place, well, that is also consistent with what many assault victims do.

What do you do when the only evidence you can use to prove a negative, that sexual misconduct did not happen, is said to be consistent with the your guilt?

That brings me to Tara Reade's accusation against presumptive Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden.  Reade says that Biden sexual assaulted her 27 years ago when Reade worked in Biden's Senate office.   A couple days ago, USA Today published an editorial by former federal prosecutor Michael J. Stern who outlines in detail why he is skeptical of Reade's claims.

I completely agree with the reasons for Stern's skepticism.  But I cannot help note the hypocrisy in how #MeToo allegations are handled depending on whether the accused is a conservative Republican or a liberal Democrat.

The accusation against now Justice Kavanaugh was about an assault that supposedly happened at a party more than 35 years earlier when both he and the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, were teenagers  Ford could not remember much in the way of details about the party and her allegations were not confirmed by people she identified as being at the party.  Yet liberals and much of the media DEMANDED Kavanaugh be considered guilty.

The Reade sexual assault allegation against Biden also has similarities with Anita Hill sexual harassment claim against Clarence Thomas during the latter's confirmation hearing.  Hill like Reade continued to associate with the supposed perpetrator and continued to praise him.  Hill like Reade never took any sort of action against the person she later accused of misconduct.  (There is at this moment still a question if Reade filed a sexual harassment-type - not sexual assault - complaint against Biden.)  Thomas like Biden did not have a history of mistreating women and was extremely popular with the female employees who worked for him.

Ironically, Biden was the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Thomas hearing.  People forget though that things were not going well for the Democrats during that hearing.  After testimony from both Thomas and Hill, the public, including African-Americans, overwhelmingly sided with Thomas.  Several Senate Democrats announced they would support Thomas.

Right before the conclusion of the hearing, the Democrats opposed to Thomas managed to dig up a couple former Thomas employees who agreed to testify their boss had acted inappropriately with them.  During pre-hearing interviews, they proved to be very weak witnesses with flawed stories.  Biden knew they would be ripped apart during cross-examination and that would further strengthen Thomas' claim of a "high tech lynching."  So Biden cut a deal to read into the record their accusations, with Republicans having no opportunity to cross-examine the testimony.   Biden's maneuver was smart. It gave the Democrats the best chance to defeat Thomas.  Yet while running for President he was unjustifiably vilified by his Democratic opponents and the left wing media for supposedly mishandling the Thomas hearing and ensuring his confirmation.

Today, Hill and Ford are considered to be liberal heroes - women victims who stood up to powerful men.  My guess is Reade won't be treated withthe same adulation.

The Reade allegation is highly unlikely to derail the Biden candidacy especially since the former vice President is up against an opponent who has not one, but nearly two dozen women who have accused him of sexual assault.  But hopefully it will shed some light on the hypocrisy in how these types of allegations are handled.   If you are a conservative Republican, you are presumed guilty.  If you're a liberal Democrat, you are assumed to be not guilty.

Professor Eddie Glaude, Jr. of Princeton University, a frequent MSNBC commentator, attempted to make a distinction between Biden and Kavanaugh.  He said Biden has treated Reade and her accusation with respect while Kavanaugh was dismissive of his accuser  So Glaude believes Biden is innocent, while he considered Kavanaugh guilty the very minute he was accused by Ford.  No evidence was needed for that.

The approach Glaude takes is absurd.  I'm sorry, but if you know a person is making a false claim of sexual assault against you, trying to destroy your reputation and career, you do not have any obligation to treat her or the false allegation with "respect."  You should be outraged.   A false accusation of sexual assault is not only defamatory, it may well be a crime to make such an accusation.  Since when do we demand a crime victim treat the person who committed the crime with respect?

Nonetheless, the assertion that the #MeToo movement is about treating the accuser and her allegation with "respect." is pure revisionism.  The #MeToo movement was about believing the women and assuming men are guilty when accused.  In Biden and Kavanaugh's case, their burden under #MeToo is to overcome the assumption of their guilty by proving a sexual assault which supposedly happened decades earlier did not happen.   That is nearly an impossible burden.

We need to get over the nonsense that just because a sexual harassment or sexual assault accusation is not deemed as proven means the female accuser is not believed.  If the act is not proven that does not mean the accused is innocent and the accuser was lying.  It means that fundamental fairness dictates that we do not require someone who is accused of misconduct, to prove a negative, i.e. that the act did not take place.

The #MeToo movement should be applauded for playing an important role in encouraging women to not be afraid to make accusations of misconduct even against powerful men.   The #MeToo movement should not be applauded though when it is used a tool to undermine the due process and fundamental fairness to which anyone accused of misconduct is entitled.

No comments: