REUTERS

Nancy Pelosi Does Not Stand with Women Accusing Rep. Conyers of Sexual Harassment

When it comes to sexual harassment, women do not have an ally in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).


Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) on Sunday stepped down from the House Judiciary Committee amid accusations of sexual harassment against female staffers.

Shortly before his announcement, Pelosi strongly defended the congressman and called into question the women who accused him of misconduct.

“We are strengthened by due process,” Pelosi said on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” “Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation, is it two John Conyers is an icon in our country. He’s done a great deal to protect women.”

“The fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing,” she said.

When asked if “the right thing” is to resign, Pelosi wouldn’t provide an answer.

“He will do the right thing,” she repeated.

Pelosi also did not say she believed the women accusing Conyers.

“I do not know who they are. Do you They have not really come forward,” Pelosi said.

One woman who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Conyers in 2014 was forced to sign a confidentiality agreement, according to Lisa Bloom, the complainant’s attorney.

BuzzFeed News reportedly obtained four signed affidavits pertaining to Conyers. According to the publication, Conyers made unwanted sexual advances toward some of his women staffers and touched and caressed them. In 2015 Conyers reportedly reached a $27,000 settlement with a former female staffer who claimed she was fired for not engaging with Conyers sexually.

“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” the woman told BuzzFeed when explaining why she agreed to the settlement. She spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

To Pelosi, appearances take precedence over a man who exploited his power to take advantage of women being removed from said position.

According to Politico, Pelosi “wanted Conyers to leave the high-profile post but didn’t want to be seen as forcing him out.”

“Privately, Pelosi has been working behind the scenes with leaders of the CBC and Conyers to figure out his next steps. One senior Democratic aide said she was trying ‘to lay groundwork for him to step aside gracefully,'” Politico reported.

Apparently, the consequences for sexual harassment in Pelosi’s book depend on who the accused is. She said in the same interview of former President Bill Clinton’s own sexual harassment scandal, “I think it is a generational change. Let me say the concern we had then was that they were impeaching the president of the United States. and for something that had nothing to do with the performance of his duties and trying to take him out for that reason.”

She also downplayed the groping accusations against Democratic Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

“I don’t believe you can equate Senator Franken with Roy Moore. It is two different things,” she said.

Moore currently faces mounting allegations of sexual misconduct and assault with teenagers while in his thirties. While the allegations against him are different in nature than those against Franken, they still constitute sexual harassment.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”

And to play down the significance of any case of sexual harassment or abuse could discourage future victims from coming forward, as well as muddle the definition of what is and is not sexual harassment. For instance, according to a Cosmopolitan survey of women aged 18 to 34, among women who said they have never been sexually harassed at work, 16 percent responded “yes” when asked if they have ever had a sexually explicit or sexist remark spoken to them at work.

Only after receiving immense backlash for her “Meet the Press” interview did Pelosi release a more affirmative statement against Conyers.

“Zero tolerance means consequences,” she said.

“We are at a watershed moment on this issue, and no matter how great an individual’s legacy, it is not a license for harassment. I commend the brave women coming forward.”

Conyers, the House of Representative’s longest-serving member, is currently being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. He denied the allegations against him in a statement, calling them the result of “documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger.”

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

Latest News

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

Kentucky Derby

Inspired by Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death, Humana and Kentucky Derby Festival Launch Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in Louisville

Ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby officials and Humana (No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) have announced a new equity initiative meant to make the race more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…

AbbVie Joins Over 400 Leading US Employers in the Human Rights Campaign’s ‘Business Coalition for the Equality Act’

Originally published on LinkedIn. AbbVie ranked No. 19 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   AbbVie has joined a group of over 400 corporations and leading U.S. employers to support the Human Rights Campaign’s “Business Coalition for the Equality Act,” an initiative advocating for federal…

Accenture and Goodwill Develop Virtual Experience To Help People Impacted by the Criminal Justice System Enter the Workforce

Originally published at prnewswire.com. Accenture is ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.   Goodwill Industries International has teamed with Accenture to develop an innovative virtual experience called Project Overcome. The experience is designed for people impacted by the criminal justice system who want to…