December 2, 2018

Science entertainer Neil deGrasse Tyson on Saturday posted a lengthy statement on Facebook denying a trio of sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him. He decried presumption of guilt in #MeToo accusations, pledged to cooperate with an impartial investigation, and offered a competing account of each scenario.

"Iā€™m the accused, so why believe anything I say? Why believe me at all?" Tyson concluded. "That brings us back to the value of an independent investigation."

One accuser says Tyson groped her at a professional event; another says he exhibited a pattern of "predatory tendencies" when they worked together; and a third alleges he drugged and raped her when they were both grad students in 1984.

"My experience with [Tyson] is he's not someone who has great respect for female bodily autonomy," said Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Bucknell University and the accuser who says Tyson groped her. "I think that he is someone that could use his position of fame and power in a way to try and take advantage."

The allegations are under investigation by Fox Entertainment and National Geographic, which air Tyson's show. Read Tyson's full Facebook statement here, and read the original allegations reports at Patheos here and here. Bonnie Kristian

November 6, 2018

Sports apparel company Under Armour no longer permits employees to charge visits to strip clubs on company credit cards, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday in a story that also alleged the trips were just one aspect of a workplace culture that has been "demeaning" to women.

Under Armour employees reportedly had a habit of going to strip clubs together and with pro athletes after business and social events. More broadly, more than a dozen current and former Under Armour employees told the Journal, female employees have been subject to disrespectful treatment including harassment by male executives and inclusion in an annual company party dependent on their appearance.

Under Armour said in a statement it acknowledges "systemic inequality in the global workplace" and pledges to "do better" to create a "respectful and empowering environment." Bonnie Kristian

Editor's note: Kelley McCormick, senior vice president of corporate communications for Under Armour, said the company formalized a policy earlier this year emphasizing that the use of company funds for adult entertainment "was not tolerated." An earlier version of this story suggested the policy change came about as a result of the Journal's report; we regret the error.

October 11, 2018

Part of the sexual assault charges against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was dropped on Thursday, after investigators reportedly found some inconsistencies in the statements from one accuser.

A Manhattan judge dropped one of the six charges against him, The New York Times reports. The other five charges, to which Weinstein pleaded not guilty, still stand. Weinstein's attorney previously argued that the grand jury that indicted him didn't see some key emails from aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who says Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.

Weinstein is out on bail after his arrest and indictment in May. He was charged with a first-degree criminal sex act related to Evans' allegations, as well as other alleged assaults against three other women. He has maintained that he did nothing wrong, and reportedly plans to mount a defense that describes "long-term, consensual, intimate relationships" with those who allege sexual assault.

Though Weinstein's attorneys will likely use the dismissed charge to cast doubt on the rest of the allegations, police spokesman Phillip Walzak said last week that law enforcement "is fully confident in the overall case it has pursued against Mr. Weinstein. The evidence shows that the criminal case against him is strong." Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

October 8, 2018

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) fancies himself a candidate who says what "a lot of other people don't dare say ā€” but think." Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) disagrees that his views on the #MeToo movement are mainstream.

Cramer is running to unseat Heitkamp in the upcoming midterm elections. His incendiary comments have been a major part of his bid, The New York Times explained Monday, often putting him in direct conflict with other lawmakers. When he said in a recent interview that #MeToo is a "movement toward victimization," Heitkamp offered a sharp rebuke.

The Republican lawmaker disliked "that you're just supposed to believe somebody because they said it happened," and invoked his wife, daughters, and mother to say that they were too "tough" to join in on the "ugly" movement regarding sexual misconduct.

"It's wonderful his mom hasn't" had an experience with sexual assault, said Heitkamp in response to his comments. "My mom did ... and it didn't make her less strong." Heitkamp became emotional in insisting that "it did not make my mom less strong that she was a victim." She chastised Cramer for his dismissal. "To suggest that this movement doesn't make women strong and stronger is really unfortunate," she said.

Heitkamp was reportedly facing pressure to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed on Saturday. She ultimately decided not to vote in his favor. Cramer said last month that allegations against Kavanaugh are "absurd." Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

October 5, 2018

Surprise, surprise: Bill O'Reilly has a hot take on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who settled a sexual misconduct case against him for $32 million in 2016, tweeted on Friday that the "left wing mob" unfairly insists all allegations of sexual assault "must be believed, no matter if the allegations are denied."

Though nobody was clamoring for it, given O'Reilly's own history of sexual harassment allegations, the conservative analyst penned a column detailing his opinion on the accusations against Kavanaugh. "There isn't a man in the country safe from misconduct allegations," he wrote. "Not one."

O'Reilly claimed last year that no one ever complained about his behavior when he worked at Fox News, using the assertion as evidence that he was wrongfully fired from the organization. NBC's Megyn Kelly disputed that, saying she did complain about him when she worked at Fox. But even today, O'Reilly is arguing that "America will become an unjust nation if stuff like this continues." He claimed, despite evidence to the contrary, that most Americans don't believe the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

"I never thought I'd see this in my country," he continued, lamenting the "morons" who believe people who come forward with accusations of sexual assault without "due process." Just as O'Reilly raged against God, The New York Times, and liberals over his own firing, he's now furious on Kavanaugh's behalf. "I am angry about it," he wrote. "Very angry." Summer Meza

October 2, 2018

Las Vegas law enforcement is reopening an investigation into rape allegations against soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, BBC reported Tuesday.

Kathryn Mayorga filed a lawsuit last week against the Portuguese athlete, saying Ronaldo coerced her into signing a settlement and nondisclosure agreement about an alleged sexual assault in 2009, reports CNN. Mayorga alleges that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room while she repeatedly screamed. The lawsuit describes Ronaldo apologizing immediately after, "stating he was sorry, he was usually a gentleman" and allegedly confirming to his representatives that Mayorga said "no" and "stop."

Ronaldo called the claim "fake news" and threatened to sue a German magazine that reported on Mayorga's allegations. Mayorga reported the incident in 2009, but Las Vegas officials said they had no suspect in the case. "At the time the report was taken, the victim did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description," the police department said in a statement, noting that the case has been reopened with new details. Mayorga says she was encouraged by police not to publicly name Ronaldo to avoid retaliation.

Mayorga says she received $375,000 for her silence, but is seeking to void the settlement and nondisclosure agreement in order to speak about the alleged assault. "The psychological trauma of the sexual assault, the fear of public humiliation and retaliation, and the reiteration of those fears by law enforcement and medical providers left plaintiff terrified and unable to act or advocate for herself," claims the lawsuit. Read more at CNN. Summer Meza

September 25, 2018

CNN's Don Lemon said Monday night that his vacation last week was interrupted both by the news of Christine Blasey Ford's attempted rape allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a conversation he had with a family member "extremely close to me" who opened up about being sexually assaulted by a boyfriend. Lemon showed the clip from eight years ago where he spontaneously acknowledged that he had been sexually abused. "In my life, it hasn't mattered if the person was 17 or 70 ā€” the pain and the damage are real, and it never goes away," he said.

"Here's my message then, and now, and today: People aren't always who they present themselves to be in public," Lemon said. "A molester doesn't have an 'M' on their forehead. ... People are tricky characters. Innocent until proven guilty must remain the law of the land, but at the same time, some guilty people do cloak themselves in innocence. Remember, after all, Bill Cosby was 'America's Dad' not so long ago."

Lemon said he doesn't know whether Kavanaugh or his accusers are telling the truth, but as we weigh their stories and why they felt compelled to share them publicly he said, consider carefully: "Are we interested in truth, are we interested in healing, or is there, as there always seems to be these days, a political game being played with people's lives?" And it's not a few lives: Every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, and one in six women has been raped or the victim of attempted rape. Watch below. Peter Weber

August 30, 2018

At least 145 people told investigators about sexual misconduct by former Ohio State University sports doctor Richard Strauss, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The law firm investigating the claims, Perkins Coie, has interviewed 355 people so far, and 145 of them have provided "firsthand accounts" of wrongdoing. Allegations against Strauss date between 1979 and 1997, involving male athletes from at least 16 different university sports, AP reports. Lawyers have interviewed university administrators, athletics department employees, and health center officials, among others, to piece together information about Strauss' alleged abuse over the decades.

The Department of Education is investigating Ohio State to determine whether the school handled athletes' complaints "promptly and equitably." Some former students say officials knew about the alleged abuse but didn't step in to stop it. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was once the assistant wrestling coach at the university, and several former wrestlers say he knew about the misconduct, which Jordan denies. Strauss died of suicide in 2005, but his family has said they want the investigation to continue to determine the truth. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza

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