As I ponder the lengthening list of alleged sexual offenders drawn from Hollywood, the arts, the media and politics, I am moved to wonder why the overwhelming majority of the accused are prominent luminaries of the left. Those accused on the right claim utter innocence, including Bill O’Reilly, who nonetheless paid out a fortune to accusers — go “figah,” as they say in Brooklyn. At any rate, the lefties constitute the growing multitude.
At the top of the list — at least for me — is Bill Clinton, aided and abetted by his lovely wife Bruno. In the 1990s many of the same people who are out for the blood of today’s sexual assailants were among Bill’s proud defenders, but I will bet that he is not sleeping easily today. When The American Spectator was on the prowl in the 1990s we had dozens of other women — shall we say? — under surveillance quite aside from those we did report on. What if those taciturn ladies from yesteryear were to step forward now to join Juanita Broaddrick (she claims rape), Kathleen Willey (groped) and the loquacious Paula Corbin Jones (“kiss it”)? Of course, today’s list of accused assailants began with the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose problems, incidentally, began just months after he sat down with the Clintons, post-election, to plot a documentary about how Donald Trump stole the election from Hillary. Harvey was very tight with the Clintons, though in a few months Hillary would banish him, saying she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations” — ahem.
Now Harvey is leading a parade of shamefaced leftist luminaries in public abasement for their wrongs against women, wrongs that they say did not take place or were exaggerated or were misunderstood. All Harvey or Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose or many of the rest wanted to do was to slip into a comfortable bathrobe or a bubble bath or play with their rubber duckies during business hours. Harvey sports the chic unshaven look that leaves his face looking like an armpit. So do dozens more. If these sexual degenerates had to rely on their good looks, charm or savoir-faire, they would be lifelong celibates.
Al Franken has a face that looks distinctly anthropoid and was sufficiently stupid to lose control of a picture of himself grabbing a sleeping woman’s breasts. Had she awakened she might have charged him with bestiality. Louis C.K. looks no better than Mr. Franken and his name is I presume an inside joke. The conductor, James Levine, is 74 and conducts from a wheelchair; he is not a matinee idol. Nor is Charlie Rose, who was over the hill two decades ago, and Botox is providing him no help. Matt Lauer should at least purchase a decent hairpiece before appearing in public ever again. On I could go. These preposterosities have to grope, fondle and bully women because they are as bereft of charm as monkeys on Monkey Island at the zoo.
But hold! That does not mean we should deny them due process and the rule of law. In all the rush to judgment by their goody-goody corporate or institutional employers, the accused are being denied a fair process, a process that would be extended even to a mass murderer. Not since McCarthyism have I seen anything like the #MeToo hysteria. Just the other day, New York Public Radio’s WNYC suspended two suspected Romeos: Jonathan Schwartz, age 79, and Leonard Lopate, age 77. Neither knows what they are charged with. Said Mr. Lopate, the New York station “didn’t even give me a clue.” Are these public radio stalwarts going to go the way of NPR’s Garrison Keillor, 75, Rep. John Conyers, age 88, and forget not Mr. Rose, age 75. Are they going to be cast into a legal limbo, roaming around like ghosts of a bygone era, the era of the Sexual Revolution, as it was known?
As I hope I have made clear, I hold no brief for any of them. In fact, I looked over the list of the accused and as luck would have it, I have had run-ins with at least six of the louts. Yet all deserve their day in court.
That is to say that all should be put on notice of what they have been charged with or why they were fired. Those appearing in court should have the right to counsel and the right to present evidence. They should be notified of the dates and the times and the places of the alleged incidents. They should have the right to confront witnesses and accusers. They should have the opportunity to defend themselves against the charges brought against them before a neutral decision-maker. Of course, they should be given adequate time to prepare their defense, and that means Matt Lauer should have time to get a hairpiece.
All of which still leaves unanswered why the vast majority of sexual harassers are on the left. Is it possible that is where the greatest number of hypocrites feel comfortable?
• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is author of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.
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