While speaking on a podcast, Democratic presidential hopeful and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand exemplified her utter lack of respect for due process for those accused of sexual misconduct.
Gillibrand appeared on “The Daily” a podcast run by The New York Times, Gillibrand contradicted herself by suggesting that due process was important, while also saying that in the real-life situation with former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), due process was counter-active to the Me Too movement.
In 2017, Franken was accused by eight women of inappropriate sexual conduct. After the eight women came forward with their stories, Gillibrand called for Franken to resign. She has since faced backlash for her immediate call for Franken’s resignation, as there was no official ethics investigation yet into the allegations.
However, in the podcast, Gillibrand defended her call for Franken’s resignation, because according to her, the media corroborated the stories of these eight women. Not a legitimate, non-partial ethics investigation, but the media. And the media’s narrative was enough to make her sure enough that Franken was guilty.
On July 29, The New Yorker published an article that, albeit written by reporters with a questionable record on sexual assault claims, pointed to flaws in the first accuser’s story. An ethics investigation may have uncovered these flaws and given clarity to the situation.
“When you grope a women without her consent, when you forcibly kiss a woman without her consent, those are actions that are not appropriate for someone that wants to serve in the public,” Gillibrand said.
No one, or I should hope no one, disagrees that such actions are disgusting. However, allegations alone of such terrible behavior are not sufficient grounds for calling for the resignation and public destruction of an individual’s reputation.
While little evidence that Franken is innocent and he has admitted at least some guilt of sexual impropriety with women, the standard that we hold in our justice system should be clear. The standards of justice should not be defined by Gillibrand or the #MeToo movement.
After calling for Franken’s resignation without any evidence besides news stories about accusations of misconduct, Gillibrand proceeded to contradict herself when asked if there was room to challenge those who accuse.
“Of course there is, that’s what justice is about. When you say ‘believe women,’ what that means is not they get to decide whether something happened or didn’t. It means that you will do an investigation,” Gillibrand said.
But she didn’t conduct an investigation before declaring a verdict on Franken. Gillibrand’s lack remorse attitude towards her handling of the Franken situation exemplifies her lack of respect and understanding of justice.