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At least 12 women now accuse former ABC News’ Mark Halperin of sexual harassment

Four more women accuse Mark Halperin of harassment.

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Five more women have surfaced to say that “Game Change” co-author and journalist Mark Halperin sexually harassed them during his time at ABC News.

That brings the number of accusers to at least a twelve women, including four women who are now sharing their accounts for the first time.

The first accuser, who shared her account under anonymity to CNN (which broke the Halperin sexual assault story),  is now speaking out on the record.

Via CNN

The new accusations from the four women include that Halperin masturbated in front of an ABC News employee in his office and that he violently threw another woman against a restaurant window before attempting to kiss her, and that after she rebuffed him he called her and told her she would never work in politics or media. The alleged incidents occurred while Halperin was in a position of significant authority at ABC News, while the women were young and had little power.

Halperin denies that he masturbated in front of anyone, that he physically assaulted anyone, or that he threatened anyone in the way described in this story.

In a statement provided to CNN Friday evening, Halperin said, “I am profoundly sorry for the pain and anguish I have caused by my past actions. I apologize sincerely to the women I mistreated.” Halperin said that in recent days, as he has read accounts of women he worked with at ABC News, he has felt “profound guilt.” He said that for several years, around his departure from ABC News, he “had weekly counseling sessions to work on understanding the personal issues and attitudes that caused me to behave in such an inappropriate manner.” He additionally said that his behavior had not continued after he left ABC News. (Halperin’s full statement appears at the bottom of this article.)

The first of the four new accusers, who was at the time of the incident an ABC News desk assistant in her early 20s, told CNN she asked Halperin if she could meet with him for career advice in either 1997 or 1998. It was after 10 p.m. when she went into his office, she said. During their conversation, Halperin began to masturbate behind his desk while staring at her, the woman said.

“I sat in a chair across from him,” she told CNN. “He was behind a wooden desk so I couldn’t see him from the waist down. As we had our conversation about my career he was masturbating. There was no question about it.”

“I pretended like I didn’t know what was going on and we talked a bit more and then he abruptly wrapped up the conversation,” she continued.

The woman told CNN it was clear what Halperin was doing. “There was an up and down motion,” she said.

“I don’t know if he made any sound at the end or how it was clear to me that he had climaxed,” she said. “But it was clear that he was satisfied — like he stopped making that motion and stopped staring at me.”

A longtime friend of the woman’s told CNN that the woman had told him her story years ago.

The second woman told CNN she met Halperin in the late 1990s while she was interning at the White House.

“At the end of my internship, Mark said to me, ‘When you graduate from college, if you’re looking for a job, call me.’ And I was super flattered and really excited. So when I graduated, I called Mark Halperin,” she said.

The woman told CNN that Halperin took her to lunch in Midtown Manhattan. They didn’t talk about her career or jobs at all throughout the lunch, but she assumed that he knew it was why he called and that the topic would be addressed later. At the end of the lunch, after they walked out of the restaurant, she said, she extended her hand for him to shake it. Halperin, she said, had other ideas.

“He put both hands on my arms and threw me against the window of the restaurant hard. So my head banged against the window hard, in a way I thought people inside were going to think something terrible had happened to me,” she said, adding, “This was rough, and hard, and violent. And not in a seductive way — in a way that telegraphs some anger and meanness.”

“And he lunged at me,” she continued, “with his body pressed against mine against the window and came at me with his open mouth.”

The woman said she was able to avoid his attempt to kiss her, get out from under him and walk away. About 10 minutes later, she said, he called her.

“I was really hoping he would be calling to apologize. And he said something to the effect of, ‘You are never going to get a job. You’re never going to be hired in politics or media. Why would anyone ever hire you?’ And that’s when I broke down and started crying,” she told CNN.

Two friends of the woman told CNN that the woman had told them about the incident more than a decade ago.

A third woman, who worked as a desk assistant on “World News Tonight,” told CNN that Halperin hit on her in the office during the Fall of 2006. The woman provided CNN excerpts from the journal she kept at the time that she told CNN referenced Halperin, although it only referred to the man as “an older man who is involved with someone else and has a powerful position at ABC.”

“He cornered me in the coffee closet, and introduced himself,” the journal said. “And knowing of course who he is, his national significance, and his importance in news, I squandered (sic) in nervousness. I noticed he had been eying me… he’s in the newsroom a lot… but figured he was looking at the monitors behind me.”

Later, the woman wrote in her journal, the man pulled her aside when she was alone and “He whispered — how old are you, do you have a boyfriend, and do you understand how important it is that we remain secretive? With that he told me he wanted to meet me in his office before I left for the night. Knowing perfectly well that his intentions were wrong, I went to him anyway — if anything to save my dignity and stand up for myself for seeming more interested or suggestive than I was.”

At that time, the woman’s account in her journal said, the man told her he was “extremely attracted” to her. The woman told Halperin it was best if they remained professional, but he didn’t listen.

“As I gathered my things to leave, he leaned in to kiss me. I turned my head away, but he would not relent,” she wrote in the journal. “So in the awkwardness and pressure of the moment, I let him put his lips on mine. It was nothing — not a kiss, just lips on lips. And he smelled like makeup. I went home, wanting to cry and vomit.”

The woman told CNN that what Halperin did was “part of the reason I didn’t go for an off-air position,” the term ABC News used to describe reporters who were embedded with presidential campaigns.

“I didn’t want to work with him,” she said, later adding the whole episode contributed to her decision to leave journalism all together.

The woman, at the time, confided in a close friend. The friend told CNN she had told him the story years ago.

A fourth woman, who was a 19-year-old ABC News intern in the summer of 1995, told CNN she was assigned to the political unit. She said she was working on a project when Halperin personally volunteered one night to assist her. He said he would go with her to a museum in New York City to review some archived CBS footage.

“I remember thinking to myself he’s got a million associate producers, so why is he going with the intern to do research?” the woman recalled to CNN, but said at the same time she was “very impressed” by him and thrilled he’d want to help her with the assignment.

The woman said the booths for reviewing footage at the museum were only meant for one person, but Halperin told her “he want[ed] to share” one.

It was a tight fit, the woman said, so “our cheeks [were] touching.”

“And then I look over and he has a massive boner. And our legs are touching,” she said. “And at this point, I just flew up and got up. And he said, ‘The night’s not over! We need to end it with a margarita.'”

The woman said she declined.

The four new accounts bring the total number of women who have accused Halperin of sexual harassment to at least one dozen. Five women made accusations in CNN’s original report Wednesday night, the Washington Post included an on-the-record account in an article it published Thursday night, journalist Emily Miller wrote on Twitter that she had been “attacked” by Halperin in the past, and on Thursday night a former CNN producer published an op-ed on CNN.com in which she accused him of sexually harassing her in his office at ABC News when she was just out of college, before she went to work at CNN.

In a Friday statement, an ABC News spokesperson told CNN that the company takes issues of harassment seriously and would like to encourage anyone who has been subjected to such treatment to “come forward so we can address them immediately.”

“While Mark left ABC News over a decade ago and no complaints were made during his tenure, we hold everyone at ABC News accountable for their behavior and how they conduct themselves,” the spokesperson said. “We know that our people do their best work in an environment where they feel respected, safe and supported. Harassment or retaliation of any kind is never acceptable.”

In addition to the new accounts, Lara Setrakian, who was one of the five women whose stories were included in CNN’s Wednesday night report without her name attached, is now going on the record, both with CNN and in an op-ed for the Washington Post published Friday afternoon. In CNN’s original article, she said Halperin had grabbed her breasts during an encounter in his office; he had denied doing so. She told CNN on Friday that Halperin’s denial is false.

“I understand why he feels the need to deny it,” Setrakian said. “But it’s not true. What he said is not true. … There’s absolutely no question of what happened in terms of unwanted physical contact.”

Setrakian said it “hurt to see [Halperin] rise and rise without any accountability.”

“It felt like the world was so stacked,” she told CNN. “It felt profoundly unfair to have feelings of anxiety as a woman in media while watching someone who was clearly misbehaving rise and rise in our industry with no apology, no thought as to how we felt before, no effort to apologize. No effort to reach out to us.”

Setrakian said now she is happy Halperin issued a form of an apology, but she wants to know what Halperin will do “to make it right.” She told CNN the incident changed her.

“It made me hyper-conscious. First, it made me much more skeptical of people’s intentions,” she said. “I think it made me hyper-sensitive to the idea that my career will depend on who finds me sexually attractive. And if the time comes when they don’t I will be at a massive disadvantage. That upset me tremendously. And it made me move away from television. It made me feel like I had an expiration date.”

Here is Mark Halperin’s full Friday evening statement…

I am profoundly sorry for the pain and anguish I have caused by my past actions. I apologize sincerely to the women I mistreated.

The world is now publicly acknowledging what so many women have long known: Men harm women in the workplace. That new awareness is, of course, a positive development. For a long time at ABC News, I was part of the problem. I acknowledge that, and I deeply regret it. As I said earlier in the week, my behavior was wrong. It caused fear and anxiety for women who were only seeking to do their jobs.

In recent days I have closely read the accounts of women with whom I worked at ABC News. I have not read these accounts looking for discrepancies or inconsistencies. Instead, in almost every case, I have recognized conduct for which I feel profound guilt and responsibility, some involving junior ABC News personnel and women just starting out in the news business.

Many of the accounts conveyed by journalists working on stories about me or that I have read after publication have not been particularly detailed (and many were anonymous) making it difficult for me to address certain specifics. But make no mistake: I fully acknowledge and apologize for conduct that was often aggressive and crude.

Towards the end of my time at ABC News, I recognized I had a problem. No one had sued me, no one had filed a human resources complaint against me, no colleague had confronted me. But I didn’t need a call from HR to know that I was a selfish, immature person, who was behaving in a manner that had to stop.

For several years around my departure from ABC News, I had weekly counseling sessions to work on understanding the personal issues and attitudes that caused me to behave in such an inappropriate manner.

Those who have worked with me in the past decade know that my conduct in subsequent jobs at TIME, Bloomberg, NBC News, and Showtime has not been what it was at ABC. I did not engage in improper behavior with colleagues or subordinates. If you spoke to my co-workers in those four places (men and women alike), I am confident you would find that I had a very different reputation than I had at ABC News because I conducted myself in a very different manner.

Some of the allegations that have been made against me are not true. But I realize that is a small point in the scheme of things. Again, I bear responsibility for my outrageous conduct at ABC News.

I hope that not only will women going forward be more confident in speaking up, but also that we as an industry and society can create an atmosphere that no longer tolerates this kind of behavior.

I know I can never do enough to make up for the harm I caused. I will be spending time with my family and friends, as I work to make amends and contributions both large and small.

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Arizona Senator Jeff Flake Opposes Vote on Kavanaugh Until Leftist Accuser Has Her Say

The end of the Republic inches closer as Identity Politics knows no bounds: Republicans join the fight to delay Brett Kavanaugh confirmation vote.

Alex Christoforou

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Via The Gateway Pundit


FLAKE OUT — ARIZONA SENATOR OPPOSES VOTE ON KAVANAUGH

Anti-Trump Senator Jeff Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an interview Sunday evening that until he learns more about the sexual assault allegation regarding Brett Kavanaugh, he is “not comfortable voting yes” on Kavanaugh.

It’s Flakes last chance to poke President Trump and the country in the eye before he rides retires and likely finds a job in the liberal media.

Via Mike Cernovich:

Kavanaugh’s accuser is a far left anti-Trump activist.

Via Zerohedge


Over the past few days, what appeared at first to be a merely token resistance to the nomination of Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh has morphed into something entirely more menacing. And for the first time since Kavanaugh’s name was first floated in June, his nomination may be in jeopardy.

After allegations of decades-old sexual improprieties first surfaced last week, it looked as if Kavanaugh would easily surmount this obstacle. But we have to give the Democrats credit: They have lined up their dominoes perfectly. And on Sunday, they set their plan in motion when the Washington Post published an in-depth interview with Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. The story detailed a blow-by-blow accounting of Ford’s allegations, as well as her explanation for why she neglected to share her experience until decades later. Tellingly, the story also noted that Democrats have been sitting on the story since July, and that Ford only decided to out herself after some unscrupulous members of the Judiciary Committee shared her identity with the press – or at least that’s what California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office alleges.

While the allegations are relatively tame by #MeToo era standards (the incident allegedly unfolded when Kavanaugh was 17), it has apparently been enough for Democrats and a handful of turncoat moderate Republicans to successfully shut down a planned Thursday vote of the Judiciary Committee. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake effectively shut down the vote last night when he revealed that he wanted to hear more from Ford before voting. Without Flake, the Republicans’ 11-10 majority on the Judiciary Committee shifts to a 10-11 vote in favor of the Democrats. While Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has said he’d like the vote to proceed as scheduled, media reports say he is quietly working to organize a private call involving Ford and curious Senators in an effort to help mitigate their concerns.

But looking further ahead, Republican leaders might have more difficulty as Tennessee Republican Bob Corker – who is not a member of the Judiciary Committee but could still hold up the final confirmation vote – said Sunday that he’d also like to see Thursday’s committee vote delayed.

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

“I’ve made it clear that I’m not comfortable moving ahead with the vote on Thursday if we have not heard her side of the story or explored this further,” said Flake, who has the power to stall consideration if all Democrats on the panel join him since Republicans only hold an 11-10 majority on the committee. Flake’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Corker of Tennessee, who isn’t a member of the panel but whose vote is critical to confirmation, also doesn’t want the committee to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation until Ford’s allegations can be heard, said his spokeswoman, Micah Johnson. The senator wants the allegations to be heard promptly, she said.

The backlash intensified late Sunday when Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski told CNN that Thursday’s hearing should be delayed.

“Well, I think that might be something they might have to consider, at least having that discussion,” Murkowski.

[…]

“This is not something that came up during the hearings. The hearings are now over. And if there is real substance to this it demands a response.”

However, at least one of the Senate’s reputed moderates has stood up to the Democrats in an interview with the New York Times, castigating them for withholding this information until so late in the process (remember: Feinstein justified this decision by saying she had referred Ford’s allegations to the FBI, who reportedly added them to his background check file).

“What is puzzling to me is the Democrats, by not bringing this out earlier, after having had this information for more than six weeks, have managed to cast a cloud of doubt on both the professor and the judge,” Collins told The New York Times.

Collins asked if Democrats believed Ford, “why didn’t they surface this information earlier,” and if they didn’t believe Ford, “why did they decide at the 11th hour to release it?”

“It is really not fair to either of them the way it is was handled,” Collins said.

Collins comments come after Ford spoke publicly about the alleged incident for the first time during an interview with The Washington Post that was published on Sunday.

On Monday, in the latest sign that Ford could appear at an embarrassing public hearing, Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, told “Today” that her client would be willing to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “She’s a credible person. These are serious allegations. And they should be addressed.”

The White House, for its part, is standing by Kavanaugh, and allowing the Senate to sort things out. According to Bloomberg, Kellyanne Conway said Ford should not be “insulted and ignored” in what appears to be an attempt to beat the Democrats at their own virtue-signaling game.

Still, according to a White House spokesperson, Trump isn’t giving an inch. Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim, citing WH spokesperson Kerri Kupec, reported that Judge Kavanaugh “categorically and unequivocally” denied this allegation: “This has not changed. Judge Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement,”she said.

In fact, as Axios reports, Senate Republicans could “play hardball” by calling on Ford to testify before Thursday’s scheduled vote. Though Republicans wouldn’t surprised if Ford holds a press conference or gives a TV interview, which Axios says “would raise the stakes considerably.” Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, has repeatedly called for an FBI investigation and a postponement of the vote

To be sure, the Democrats’ goals here are obvious. After Sen. Corey Booker’s “selfless” decision to release unauthorized documents about Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush Administration failed to even delay the process, Democrats have now played their Trump card – no pun intended. Their goal: Delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation at least until the Oct. 1 mark – the beginning of SCOTUS’s next term – to put a halt to any controversial decisions that could reverse important precedents. Of course, their ultimate goal is to stonewall the White House until after Nov. 6, when a few victories in the midterms might allow them to sink Kavanaugh’s nomination once and for all.

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University announces “White Awake” safe space for white students

The University of Maryland at College Park has set up a new diversity support group to create a “safe space” for white students to discuss their feelings.

Campus Reform

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Via Campus Reform:


Update: After publication of this article, University of Maryland-College Park changed the name of the group to “Anti-Racism and Ally Building Group,” along with a shorter description, which reads,  “Do you want to improve your ability to relate to and connect with people different from yourself? Do you want to become a better ally? Members will support and share feedback with each other as they learn more about themselves and how they can fit into a diverse world.”

In a statement provided to Campus Reform on Friday, the university explained the name change: “Our Counseling Center acknowledges that we did not choose the right words in raising awareness about this research-based initiative, and how this group has been perceived is counter to the values of inclusiveness and diversity that we embody. Therefore, we are renaming the group to better reflect our intention and values.”


The University of Maryland at College Park announced Friday a new diversity support group to create a “safe space” for white students to discuss their feelings about “interactions with racial and ethnic minorities.”

The support group, called “White Awake,” will help white students who may “sometimes feel uncomfortable and confused before, during, or after interactions with racial and ethnic minorities.”

“This group offers a safe space for White students to explore their experiences, questions, reactions, and feelings,” the description explains. “Members will support and share feedback with each other as they learn more about themselves and how they can fit into a diverse world.” The description asks students if they want to “improve [their] ability to relate to and connect with people different from [themselves]” or if they want to become a better “ally.” The new group is now one of four in the university’s “Diversity Issues” program series.The group is being led by Noah Collins, who works for the UMD Counseling Center, and will be held once a week. Collins specializes in group therapy and is interested “especially in the areas of racial and cultural awareness,” according to his faculty bio.The safe space has been met with harsh criticism from students on social media.

“I am ashamed over the execution of white awake nor do I fully understand its clause. ‘How they can fit into a diverse world’? Why do they need to attend therapy sessions on how to be a decent human being in society?” a UMD student wrote on Twitter. “Why do they need to have these sessions to learn how to coexist?”

“Just like classes. You can’t take one class and feel like you have all understanding over a certain subject,” the student added. “It takes practice, it takes problems, it takes more than one course, so ‘White Awake’ has good intention but I am skeptical over the fairytale result.”

Campus Reform reached out to Collins and UMD for comment but did not receive a response by time of publication. If and when a comment is received, the article will be updated.


Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Grace_Gotcha

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Harvard Prof: Merit-based admissions ‘reproduce inequality’

Professor Natasha Warikoo is displeased that students she interviewed are motivated by “self-interest” instead of social justice.

Campus Reform

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Authored by Toni Airaksinen of Campus Reform:


A Harvard University professor claims in a new academic study that merit-based admission processes at elite universities “reproduce inequality.”

Harvard education professor Natasha Warikoo draws on interviews with 98 white, native-born students at Harvard, Brown University, and the University of Oxford in “What Meritocracy Means to its Winners: Admissions, Race, and Inequality,” published in the journal Social Sciences.

During interviews Warikoo conducted between 2009 and 2011, these students were asked to sound-off on whether they felt their school had meritocratic admissions and if they supported affirmative action. Many answered the second question affirmatively and hailed the benefits of a diverse student body.

But Warikoo seems concerned with students’ responses. Analyzing data from these interviews years later, Warikoo points out that students’ approaches to diversity suggest that they’ve “internalized” the tokenistic rhetoric of the school admissions office, even if they had disagreed with policies like athletic recruitment or legacy admissions before coming to campus.

“Unlike in other campus domains in which there is a history of social protest among college students, in the realm of admissions, students seem to agree quite strongly with their universities, and come to even more agreement rather than critique upon arriving to campus,” she writes. “They suggest that most actors in elite institutions espouse views that reproduce their elite status, rather than engaging in symbolic politics or protest.”

According to Warikoo, “US students espouse a collective understanding of merit,” but only “value collective merit for its impact on themselves, not for social justice, or for the collective good of society.”

“They are not espousing, for example, a vision of multiculturalism that emphasizes group identities and the need to support ethnic and racial groups in society, as many scholars define multicultural state policies,” she elaborates.

Notably, Warikoo addressed the same issue in her 2016 book The Diversity Bargain, which criticizes white students for understanding “the value of diversity abstractly, but [ignoring] the real problems that racial inequality causes.”

White students “stand in fear of being labeled a racist, but they are quick to call foul should a diversity program appear at all to hamper their own chances for advancement,” Warikoo claims in that book, asserting for instance that white students “reluctantly agree with affirmative action as long as it benefits them.”

Her new study, too, criticizes white students for believing in meritocracy and supporting affirmative action, suggesting that white students only support affirmative action for selfish reasons.

One white student, Naomi, was criticized for saying “diversity is really how you learn here,” as Warikoo suggested that Naomi only valued diversity because it added to the “collective merit” of her cohort of students.

Warikoo also reports that “some students used the collective merit framework to express support for legacy admissions…even while lamenting the inequality legacy admissions engenders.”

She bemoans that, ultimately, the students she interviewed were more motivated by “self-interest” than a commitment to social justice.

“They value collective merit for its impact on themselves, not for social justice, or for the collective good of society,” she writes. “They are not espousing, for example, a vision of multiculturalism that emphasizes group identities and the need to support ethnic and racial groups.”

According to Warikoo’s interviews, students who attended elite high schools “no longer see a large number of their peers gaining admission to the likes of Harvard, Brown, and Oxford,” which they interpret “as evidence that the system is fair, even while ignoring the fact that students like them and their peers are vastly overrepresented at elite universities.”

The professor suggests that when the legitimacy of how they obtained seats at elite institutions gets called into question, students only become more convinced that they deserve to occupy those seats.

“This paper shows how admissions systems often reproduce inequality not only by how they select students, but also by defining ‘merit’ for admitted students in ways that will reproduce inequality in the future,” she concludes.

Warikoo claims that schools have “unequal” admission processes because black, working class, and first-generation students are underrepresented in student bodies. To fix this, Warikoo recommends that elite universities employ an “admissions lottery,” which the schools would use to randomly admit students who meet certain minimum standards.

“An admissions lottery would shift the meaning of selection from an absolute sense of merit—the best of the best—to an understanding that admission is somewhat arbitrary,” she predicts.

Warikoo’s study was published in the journal Social Sciences, which boasts of a “rapid peer-review” system. While most articles take months if not a year to be accepted, Warikoo’s article was accepted by reviewers in 48 days.

Though Warikoo initially agreed to answer a few questions by email, she ultimately did not respond to Campus Reform. Harvard University also did not respond.

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