What a way to kick off the week. At least we had an extra hour from Daylight Saving Time to prepare.
Yep: Gloria Allred is back. And she’s scrambling to hop aboard the Cain Train.
Gird your loins. Er, maybe that’s not the best idiom.
Get ready for the Gloria Media Gaggle. Estimated time of circus debut: 1:30 pm Eastern:
High-profile discrimination attorney Gloria Allred says another woman has come forward accusing Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain of sexual harassment.
Allred and the woman, whom she did not identify, are planning a news conference in New York later Monday.
The woman would be at least the fourth to accuse Cain, a former businessman, of harassment.
Here’s the press release from Allred’s office:
Herman Cain and Sexual Harassment
New Woman Who Alleges Sexual Harassment By Cain To Hold News Conference With Her Attorney Gloria Allred.
A woman who alleges that she was sexually harassed by Presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, when she sought his help with an employment issue when he was President of the National Restaurant Association will hold a news conference with her Attorney, Gloria Allred on Monday, November 7th, at 1:30 p.m. (e.s.t.) at the Friars Club, 57 East 55th Street New York, NY 10022.
The woman is not one of the three women who have previously been reported to have alleged sexual harassment by Cain.
Ms. Allred’s client will be the first to give her name and to speak out about details of what she alleges occurred between her and Cain.
Note: Credentialed Press Only – Cameras may begin to set up at 12:30 p.m. at the Friars Club.
Note: There will be no interviews or questions answered before the news conference.
First, a caveat:
As much of a despicable publicity-seeker as the Paris Hilton of Lawyers is, it’s a mistake to completely write off Allred before the presser. The last time we saw her, I must remind you, she was attached like a barnacle to the side of one of Anthony Weiner’s sexting pals. And we know how that all — rightly — ended.
That said, while Cain botched the initial response to Politico’s vague story and the race-card playing by all sides has been over-the-top, the scandal qua scandal has so far been a dud.
The Telegraph’s Toby Harnden explains:
Rather than being prepared for the inevitable disclosure of the cases, he was caught flat-footed, claiming at first not to remember what had happened and then dribbling out details and shifting explanations over the ensuing days. He fuelled more controversy by blaming Governor Rick Perry’s campaign for planting the story, lost his temper with the press and was barely able to talk about the US economy until his speech on Friday.
By any normal rules of politics, Cain should be toast. So what’s going on?
Simply put, the media and Cain’s detractors have over-played their hand. By Friday night, Politico, which broke the original story, had published 94 articles on the allegations in under six days. Every other major publication had followed suit. Every time he stepped out of a room, Cain was mobbed by reporters.
Yet despite the maelstrom, Cain’s accusers remain anonymous and the details of the allegations oddly vague. With many conservatives believing that sexual harassment lawsuits are an industry and that frivolous cases are often settled to avoid more expensive litigation, there was a growing sense that Cain was being treated unfairly…
Flashback: Six days ago, Allred was fishing for anti-Cain clients. We’ll see what she reeled in.
Related: In the WSJ today, Curt Levey spotlights the sexual harassment legal morass…
Once again, America finds itself gripped by a sexual harassment scandal. And once again the term “sexual harassment” is being thrown around in a way that conveys a misleadingly broad definition. The reported allegations against Herman Cain—that he made sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted sexual advances while he headed the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s—are endlessly spoken and written about as constituting sexual harassment. That’s far from clear according to the law.
Sexual harassment claims in the workplace are governed by the federal antidiscrimination statute Title VII and similar state laws. Title VII protects only employees, holds the employer, not the harasser, liable, and recognizes two types of harassment claims: “quid pro quo” and “hostile environment.”
The former occurs when job benefits, such as employment, promotion, and salary are made contingent on the provision of sexual favors—or withdrawn because a sexual advance is rejected. While suggestively asking your employee up to your hotel room is a bad idea, without more it’s not sexual harassment.
The definition of hostile-environment harassment is more complicated and more open to interpretation. For a hostile-environment claim to succeed, the conduct—sexual advances or hostile behavior—must be unwelcome, based on gender, and severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive work environment as judged by an objective, reasonable person. Each of these several elements must be satisfied. And even then, the plaintiff will prevail only if the employer failed to respond appropriately…
Exit question: Is the addition of ambulance-chaser Allred more boon than bane to Cain?
Update 12:08pm Eastern:
Update: Press conference hijacked by same Howard Stern clown who heckled Anthony Weiner.
1:45pm Eastern. Allred introduces Sharon Bialek, single mother, “registered Republican,” NRA education foundation fund-raiser from Chicago.
Allred jokes that Cain showed Bialek his idea of a “stimulus package.”
Says she met Cain at an NRA event in Chicago with her boyfriend. After she was let go, mid-July 1997, she arranged to meet with Cain to ask for help in finding a new job. Cain, she says, arranged for her to stay at a “palatial suite” in D.C.
Bialek claims Cain groped her under her skirt and reached for her genitals, then shoved her head towards his crotch while in a car in mid-July 1997.
She didn’t report the incident because she was “embarrassed.”
Bialek saw Cain at a Tea Party event last month and asked “Do you remember me?”
“I really didn’t want to be here today.”
At end of her statement, she giggled. She talked about her new hairdo.
Allred confirms that Bialek did not notify NRA about the incident. Bialek smiled. Won’t comment when asked about the “emotional trauma” of the incident.
So Bialek is single with a teenage child, with no discernible means of income, and employing a top Democrat hit woman celebrity attorney and her employment law partner.
Twittersphere is lighting up with diverse reaction from conservatives. Some find Bialek “very credible.” More obituaries being written for Cain.
I need to know more.
Your thoughts, readers?
Here’s a LinkedIn accoun t to a “Sharon Bialek” from Chicago in “marketing and advertising.”
Via Larry O’Connor, here’s full video of the Allred-led circus circus.
The Cain camp’s response here: “All allegations…are false.”