SEX O'CLOCK NEWS
THE WHITE HOUSE FIGHTS FOR CONTROL DURING THE BRETT KAVANAUGH CONTROVERSY
By the time you read this, we may well have a result. But as I type, the White House is fighting to regain control of the confirmation proceedings involving Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh. It’s a hot topic in the US, with extensive social media commentary and many first-hand accounts of sexual abuse, much of it from the perspective of the victims. And there are also questions about the role of the White House in the FBI investigation into allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against the nominee made by college professor, Christine Blasey Ford.
Charles Ludington, a classmate of Kavanaugh at Yale University, has said that he will provide information to the FBI, “detailing violent drunken behavior by Kavanaugh in college.” In a copy of his statement, given to The Washington Post, Ludington, a professor at North Carolina State University, described Kavanaugh as a “belligerent and aggressive” drunk. During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Kavanaugh was repeatedly asked about his drinking habits in high school and college and denied having a problem.
In his statement Ludington wrote: “If he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences.”
Meanwhile, a member of Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team told NBC News that the FBI had not contacted Ford, the first of Kavanaugh’s accusers, or her lawyers, since the FBI background investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh was agreed by the Senate committee.
SEX SCANDALS PROMPT NEW RESPONSE
The avalanche of sexual harassment stories is not just creating headlines. It’s causing change in the world of work generally. One after another, powerful men – Hollywood producers, high-profile reporters, elected officials – have been toppling in what has become an uproar of national shaming. Previously untouchable men are being held accountable in very public and humiliating ways.
That’s encouraging more women to step forward in their places of work, according to Casie Yoder, spokeswoman for the national advocacy group 9to5.
Why is this happening now? Several factors have contributed, advocates say. Most of all, it is the combination of a rash of high-profile horror stories, with the rise of social media advocacy. Women at work are making it clear that they won’t put up any more with hypermasculine intimidation, sexual power plays, or unwanted touching.
“They’re not taking any crap,” said Patricia Griffith, an employment attorney with the Atlanta firm Ford & Harrison. “They’re more willing to talk up for themselves.” Ripple effects are showing up locally. Law firms are starting to see more cases. Some companies are reviewing their policies.
The Atlanta law firm Arnall Golden Gregory recently held a panel discussion on sexual harassment, which was attended by about 150 Atlanta executives, business owners, corporate lawyers, and human resources staff. In the past, companies were able to resolve complaints behind closed doors. Now one case can become a public relations nightmare, if a story appears in the news or on social media.
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