UPDATE Nov. 13 at 12:39 p.m. ET:
Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore “should step aside” from his U.S. Senate bid amid allegations he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.
“I believe the women, yes,” he told reporters in Kentucky.
Over the weekend, at least six companies have pulled advertising from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show following his defense of Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, 70, who at age 32, allegedly had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl, Leigh Corfman.
A Washington Post article published Thursday suggested Moore had a sexual relationship with Corfman in 1979. She said he took her in his house and touched her sexually. Her mother and an ex-boyfriend who she told about the incident have confirmed her account. The article also said that Moore pursued at least three other teenage girls while in his 30s. The candidate has denied the accusations.
“I wasn’t ready for that — I had never put my hand on a man’s penis, much less an erect one,” Corfman says.
The same day, on his radio show, Hannity came to Moore’s defense, suggesting the allegations were political in nature. In an exchange with the show’s executive producer Lynda McLaughlin, who inferred that sex with a 14-year-old could be consensual, Hannity appeared to agree with her.
“So the two other girls were older in this case,” Hannity said. “He was apparently, like, 32, and he dated — one girl was 18, one girl was 17. They never said he did — there was no sexual — there was kissing involved, and then they’re saying this one encounter with a 14-year-old …”
“And it was consensual,” McLaughlin said.
“And consensual, that’s true. And there’s — I just — I don’t know how you find out the truth.”
Hannity, who said in 2016 on his radio show that he’d send the Obamas back to Africa if Donald Trump won the presidential election, blamed “people on the left” for the taking his comments about Moore out of context. On his Fox News program Thursday night, he said “If what people are accused of is true, it is beyond reprehensible. Beyond disgusting. Beyond shameful. In the case of Judge Moore, if it’s true, he should step aside and leave the senate race.”
But, he went on to say.
“Every person in this country deserves the right of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
“With the allegations against Judge Moore, none of us knows the truth of what happened 38 years ago,” he said. “The only people that would know that are the people involved in this incident.”
Keurig, along with E*Trade, Realtor.com, Eloquii, 23andme, and Nature’s Bounty will no longer advertise their products during Hannity’s TV show on the embattled network. All of the companies responded on Twitter.
Hannity supporters are now using social media to call for a Keurig boycott. Some are sharing videos on Twitter of smashing Keurig coffee machines.
Liberals are offended by this video of a Keurig being thrown off of a building.
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) November 12, 2017
On Twitter, the hashtags #BoycottKeurig, along with #standwithannity, #istandwithhannity and #keurig are among the top trending hashtags promoted by Russian-linked influence networks, according to The Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative housed at The German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Per @SecureDemocracy‘s Russian propaganda tracker (3pm):
–#BoycottKeurig is now the #1 overall hashtag & #1 trending hashtag in Russian-linked influence networks (20,300% increase in use).
-“Keurig” is the #1 topic in Russian-linked influence networks (35,600% increase in use) pic.twitter.com/f0VYzyZVhn
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) November 12, 2017
Moore on Allegations
Hannity had Moore as a guest on his radio show Friday. Before beginning the interview, Hannity said, “I’ll remind you what it says now the allegations come from 38 years ago” then, again, mentioned there should be a “presumption of innocence.”
When questioned, Moore denied any wrongdoing. He said he didn’t know the then 14-year-old Corfman.
“I’ve never known this woman or anything with regard to the other girls,” he said. “You understand this is 40 years ago, and after my return from the military, I dated a lot of young ladies.”
But he said he recognized the names of Debbie Wesson, 17 at the time, and Gloria Thacker, 18. Thacker said Moore gave her wine when the legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.
He said he didn’t recall dating the women, but referred to them both as “good girls.”
Moore also didn’t deny dating teenagers when he was in his 30s.
When Hannity asked him if he had ever dated 16-, 17- or 18-year-olds, Moore replied “not generally, no” and added that dating a girl in her late teens “would have been out of my customary behavior.”
“I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother,” he added.
Senators Steve Daines (R-Montana), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) have rescinded their support of Moore criticizing his response to the sexual allegations, CBS News reported Monday morning. The four women mentioned in the Post article have also told CBS News that Moore pursued them when they were teens.
More Republicans want Roy Moore to drop out of Alabama’s senate race, four women confirm to @cbsnews that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers. @BojorquezCBS reports: pic.twitter.com/ODsSiL6iBM
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) November 13, 2017
On Thursday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was the first Republican to call for Moore to step aside. Mitt Romney following on Friday, stating in a tweet that “Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich also tweeted, “The GOP must not support him. He should step aside.”
The controversial former judge said he would remain in the Dec. 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones.