Republican President candidate Herman Cain got the “Allred treatment” this afternoon as infamous feminist lawyer Gloria Allred held a press conference with the fourth of his accusers.
Four women have accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment but this is the first one to show her face publicly since Politico broke the story in October.
And her face is white.
WATCH MSNBC NEWS NATION COVERAGE OF BIALEK’S ACCUSATIONS:
[MSNBCMSN video=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640″ w=”592″ h=”346″ launch_id=”45194722^190^44510″ id=”msnbc293da6″]
Early on the scandal was compared with a sexual harassment story of years past, that of another black conservative Justice Clarence Thomas. But the fact that Anita Hill, Thomas’ accuser was a black woman, allowed for easy character assassination by the Senate Judiciary Committee and some in the media at the time.
Hill was portrayed as “slick” and a “political opportunist” even though she was one of only a handful of accomplished African-American law professors at that time. And even though Hill’s allegations could be corroborated by other witnesses the hearing was cut abruptly short by then chairman and now Vice President Joe Biden.
Cain and his supporters were quick to call the sexual harassment story a “high tech lynching” a la Clarence Thomas’ now infamous rant during his hearings, but as details emerged it seems that this is nothing of the sort. With Herman Cain we have a whole new element in the mix: the race of the accuser, proof of a settlement of multiple allegations of harassment, and now a victim coming forward to describe not harassment but an alleged sexual assault.
During the press conference today, we met Sharon Bialek. Ms. Bialek was employed at the educational foundation of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in 1996-1997.
Bialek is a registered Republican. She’s blonde, attractive and articulate. She is the mother of a 13-year-old son. She worked for the NRA for 9 years and at the time had a long term boyfriend of four years.
About a month before Bialek was let go from her job at the educational foundation she interacted with Herman Cain during a NRA convention in Chicago. Cain met Ms. Bialek and her long term boyfriend and even partied with them at an after party. When she was let go a month later she contacted Cain for help in finding a new job or perhaps getting her old job back at the NRA. She traveled down to D.C. to meet with Cain and when she arrived she was told he had upgraded her room to the palatial suite. She later met Cain for drinks and dinner and describes an alleged sexual assault, not harassment on the drive back to her hotel.
When in the car Cain asked Bialek, “Why are you here?” Bialek says she replied, “Actually Herman my boyfriend who you met said I should meet with you to help me find a new job.” Bialek then alleges Cain, “reached under skirt for her genitals, pulled her head toward his crotch and when she protested said, “You want a job right?”
Sexual assault occurs when “someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent.” Bialek’s description of Mr. Cain’s alleged actions certainly seem to match the legal definition.
Herman Cain’s official statement upon the conclusion of the Bialek press conference was a standard denial with a shout out to his 9-9-9 plan thrown in for good measure.
Just as the country finally begins to refocus on our crippling $15 trillion national debt and the unacceptably high unemployment rate, now activist celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred is bringing forth more false accusations against the character of Republican front-runner Herman Cain.
All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone. Fortunately the American people will not allow Mr. Cain’s bold “9-9-9 Plan”, clear foreign policy vision and plans for energy independence to be overshadowed by these bogus attacks.
However, his charm offensive on the American public looks to have run out of steam as now he is a black man being accused of sexual assault by a living, breathing, blonde, white, Republican woman.
The dynamics are entirely different than they were just hours ago. Cain should have come clean although one wonders how you can describe the alleged sexual assault and not sound like you’ve committed a crime (with which Mr. Cain could not be charged as the statute of limitations have run.)
Race is the elephant in the room, along with Sharon Bialek’s blonde hair, and Gloria Allred’s power suit. The history of the defense of white women and their innocence in the face of black men — who in America’s history were actually lynched — looms large over these allegations.
That’s not to say that the race of this woman makes Cain’s alleged actions any better or worse. It just means that the perception may be worse among those who still hold onto old school racial tropes about black men sexually assaulting white women as is alleged in this case.