A couple of sexual harassment stories broke this week. You could read about one of them in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning but not the other.
* The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell this week about casino billionaire Steve Wynn, current finance chair for the Republican National Committee. He’s said to have sexually harassed dozens of women. It alleges he paid $7.5 million to a manicurist to settle a claim that he forced her to have sex. He says this is the work of an embittered ex-wife.
The political dimension is highlighted by Republican hypocrisy. After movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predation came to light, the Republican Party, with aid from media allies, set up a howl that Democrats should refund money Weinstein had contributed. It was brassy, given the pussy grabber in the White House. The GOP tweets don’t look so hot now. The RNC has fallen dead silent on its fund-raising chair Wynn. Then:
* Conveniently, the New York Times gave Fox news talkers and Republican fellow travelers like CNN’s Alice Stewart something to talk about yesterday instead of Steve Wynn — Hillary Clinton. The story is headlined “Hillary Clinton chose to shield” a campaign worker accused of sexual harassment.
The story: A “spiritual adviser” to Clinton, Burns Strider was accused during the 2008 campaign of harassing a 30-year-old woman who worked in the campaign and shared an office with him. The specific complaint:
She told a campaign official that Mr. Strider had rubbed her shoulders inappropriately, kissed her on the forehead and sent her a string of suggestive emails, including at least one during the night, according to three former campaign officials familiar with what took place.
“At least one during the night” Whoa, Nellie! Those nighttime emails are WAY worse than daytime emails.
Anyway, remember this was almost 10 years before the Me Too movement overturned the world in which powerful men could get away with grabbing pussy without fear of consequences. In those long-ago days, the Clinton campaign actually had a process in place for such complaints. It was followed. Some members of the campaign wanted to fire Strider. He wasn’t fired. His pay was docked. He was ordered to undergo counseling. The victim, who shared an office with Strider,
The Times’ conclusion that Clinton “shielded” Strider seems a stretch to me. Perhaps what he did was bad enough for firing. But the complaint wasn’t ignored and his actions weren’t without adverse consequences. Compare that with consequences for Donald Trump and allegations of sexual assault by him. Years later Strider went to work for a political organization that supported Clinton in 2016. Shortly after, he was again accused of improper behavior and this time sacked.
The woman who complained about Strider did not talk to the Times. There are no named sources in the Times article. Hillary Clinton Tweeted last night about the story. She said she was dismayed when the harassment occurred and that she’d talked to the victim of Strider’s advances Friday “to tell her how proud I am of her and to make sure she knows what all women should: we deserve to be heard.” Said the Times:
Mrs. Clinton did not address why she ignored advisers’ recommendations that she fire Mr. Strider.
Interesting that two reporters with a record of coolness to Clinton seem to have concluded that firing was the only course. Subsequent events would seem to bear out he’s a creep, I admit. But hindsight is always so clear.
In any case, one of these sex stories was in the Democrat-Gazette this morning and one was not. Hint: The story they ran included the word “shielded” in the headline. CNN’s Republican analyst from Arkansas, Alice Stewart, concluded, naturally, that Hillary should have fired the guy. Perhaps so. If and when Stewart gets into Steve Wynn on Twitter, I’ll try to let you know.
PS: Here’s a rundown of Steve Wynn’s giving to Republicans (he gave a bit to Democrats, too.) One of his beneficiaries — U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton. Would one of those friendly Arkansas stenographers to whom Cotton talks please ask him if he intends to return his Wynn contributions.