#MeToo Allegations Loom Over Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign


#MeToo Allegations Loom Over Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign

Actress Alyssa Milano was one of the early advocates for the #MeToo movement when she tweeted, in 2017  “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Droves of women went public with their personal stories in response.

Almost two years later, Milano took to Twitter again — this time, to explain her self-described “silence” over sexual assault allegations against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made by ex-Senate aide Tara Reade.

“I just don’t feel comfortable throwing away a decent man that I’ve known for 15 years in this time of complete chaos without there being a thorough investigation,” Milano said in an interview to which she linked. The backlash was swift: Progressives and feminists accused Milano of being a hypocrite and turning her back on Reade because she supported Biden.

The movement provided strength and support as well as more social cover for sexual assault survivors to come forward, tell their stories. And helped bring down multiple powerful men, the #MeToo movement is now facing a new challenge: how to grapple with the allegations against Biden without tearing itself apart. Celebrity #MeToo activists have publicly fought over Reade’s claims.

The debate is rooted in another factor: People worry about the prospect of inadvertently benefitting President Trump, who has been accused of assault himself and is deeply loathed by feminists and Democrats.

“The disgusting behavior that Christine Blasey Ford had to deal with from the right is the disgusting behavior that Tara Reade is having to deal with from many on the left,” said Sarah Ann Masse, one of the various women who accused Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. “Survivors in the world watch this, and those who have not come forward publicly, those who have not shared it with their family or gone to the police or sought out mental health support, they see this, and it silences them.”

The Biden camp has denied the allegations in a statement from Kate Bedingfield, his deputy campaign manager and communications director.

“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully,” Bedingfield said. “Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”

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