Despite Claiming To ‘#BelieveSurvivors,’ Women’s Groups Remain Silent On Tara Reade’s Allegations

Despite Claiming To ‘#BelieveSurvivors,’ Women’s Groups Remain Silent On Tara Reade’s Allegations

The women who came after Brett Kavanaugh are now giving pass to Joe Biden because it's politically expedient, and that hurts women on the right and the left.
Madeline Osburn
By

Several organizations that claim to advocate for women and women’s issues have been stunningly silent on the recently surfaced allegations of sexual assault against the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. These groups, which include Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Emily’s List, and the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, have sunk deep into problematic holes of glaring hypocrisy and political conflicts of interest they cannot climb out of.

Not one of these groups replied to The Federalist when asked if they would be supporting Tara Reade, the former Biden senate aide who alleges he sexually assaulted her in 1993, in the same way they supported Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Although Reade’s claims are unproven and have been denied by the Biden campaign, her allegations have been corroborated by Reade’s brother, two close friends, and a 1993 tape of CNN’s “Larry King Live.” Ford, on the other hand, was never able to offer proof that she had ever met Kavanaugh, let alone provide a single witness to corroborate her claims.

The Daily Beast was also unable to solicit a response on Reade’s allegations from at least 10 different women’s groups.

The Daily Beast contacted 10 top national pro-women organizations for this story, including Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Organization for Women. Most organizations did not respond to a detailed request for comment about the allegation by Tara Reade, a former staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office who has accused the former vice president of forcibly penetrating her with his fingers in the early 1990s. Others replied and did not provide a statement.

The Hypocrisy

During the Kavanaugh confirmation process in September 2018, these groups mounted a full-court press defense of Ford’s testimony. Women representing these groups lined Capitol Hill and Senate hallways bearing signs reading “We Believe Christine Blasey Ford” and “We Believe Deborah Ramirez.” They expressed no interest in due process, or innocent until proven guilty, but instead treated Kavanaugh as a guilty man with no way to prove his innocence.

These are just a handful of the hundreds of tweets composed by these groups expressing unequivocal support for Ford. They argued that because “Kavanaugh is interviewing for one of the most powerful jobs in the country,” the unfounded accusations against him deserved to be heard. Now, 19 months later, Biden is essentially interviewing for another of the most powerful jobs in the country, and the same advocates are no where to be found.

Emily’s List, which has tweeted that they stand in solidarity with “all survivors of sexual assault,” has yet to tweet or make a statement about Reade’s story of sexual assault. Planned Parenthood Action, who has tweeted they believe “all survivors,” has yet to tweet or make a statement about believing Reade, a survivor by their standard. The same goes for National Organization for Women, NARAL, and others.

“The very people who came after Brett Kavanaugh, with tiki torches and pitchforks are the very women who have given a complete pass to Joe Biden and have refused to entertain the idea that there’s a possibility of guilt,” said Penny Nance, the CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), and a sexual assault victim herself.

CWA was the leading women’s group pushing back on behalf of due process throughout Kavanugh’s senate confirmation. “Our message at Concerned Women for America has been consistent. Certainly women need to be believed and listened to, but you don’t set aside common sense, due process under the law…and there needs to be investigation,” Nance told The Federalist. “I was so grateful for what I saw happening shining an important light on the issue of assault, and sexual harassment [in the Me Too movement]…we all applauded that, but somewhere along the way, it took a dark turn into politics, and then even a further dark turn into abortion politics.”

Conflicts of Interest

It’s true each of these women’s groups are politically motivated, and a look into their web of donors, payroll, and political advisors reveals their silence is not just hypocrisy, but a political strategy.

Former Obama adviser Anita Dunn, a managing director at SKDKnickerbocker, a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm with deep ties to Democratic politics, is also an adviser on Biden’s campaign. BuzzFeed reported in October 2017 that Dunn advised Harvey Weinstein, a major Democratic donor, free of charge when accusations of sexual assault against him first broke and he scrambled to assemble an experienced public relations team. Dunn’s husband, Bob Bauer, was also recently named to Biden’s vice president selection committee.

Dunn founded SKDKnickerbocker, which has orchestrated public relations campaigns for a number of left-leading organizations, including many of the ones who have yet to comment on Reade’s allegations. SKDKnickerbocker helped Planned Parenthood navigate their baby body part harvesting scandal in 2015, and continues to work with Planned Parenthood in producing political ads against their pro-life opponents across the country.

Emily’s List, NARAL, and the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund all also retain SKDKnickerbocker for their political consulting and communications needs. Through Dunn, you can draw a straight line from SKDKnickerbocker to the Biden campaign, and the radio silence makes sense.

Ryan Grim reported at The Intercept that in January, Reade approached Time’s Up about possible legal assistance, but they shut that offer down a month later. “By February, she learned from a new conversation with Time’s Up, which also involved Director Sharyn Tejani, that no assistance could be provided because the person she was accusing, Biden, was a candidate for federal office, and assisting a case against him could jeopardize the organization’s nonprofit status,” Grim writes.

Some feminist activists on the left have spoken out in defense of Reade, despite it being politically unpopular. Feminist journalist Rebecca Traister wrote a New York Magazine article explaining what the “credible assault allegations” mean for Biden’s woman VP pick, and then MSNBC host Chris Hayes invited Traister on his show to discuss the allegations further. The liberal MSNBC audience clearly did not approve of this segment, as “#FireChrisHayes” trended on Twitter all day Thursday.

Despite these outliers, many of the most outspoken women of the Me Too movement, including actress Alyssa Milano and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who ousted her own Democratic colleague Sen. Al Franken for the sake of Me Too, have said they stand behind Biden despite the allegations.

The Me Too movement has rooted out some of the worst offenders in Hollywood, media, and organizations across the country, saving countless of other of women from continued abuse. It’s also reminded Americans about the importance of due process, and listening to both sides of every story.

But what does not help women, or men, is when so-called women’s groups claim to #BelieveAllWomen, then hire powerful Washington, D.C. lobbyists who are protecting the very men in power they claim to be “standing up” against. This blatant hypocrisy sends a message to women, on both the right and the left, that sometimes the loudest or the most amplified voices — the Alyssa Milanos, the Times Up lawyers, the Planned Parenthoods, and all the women’s groups who have claimed to #BelieveSurvivors — will only so when it is politically expedient.

Madeline Osburn is a staff editor at the Federalist and the producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Follow her on Twitter.

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