Ever since word got out that college professor Christine Blasey Ford claimed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her 35 years ago, she has been the target of a vicious smear campaign. Ironically, it may have proven why she waited so long to come forward. Many victims of sexual assault wait years to come forward, if they come forward at all, because they fear they will be smeared and threatened.
The smear campaign extended all the way to Donald Trump’s White House. First, Donald Trump Jr. trolled Blasey Ford on Instagram–and that post is still up even after information minister Kellyanne Conway said Blasey Ford “should not be insulted.” Then, after Donald Sr. wondered why Blasey Ford didn’t speak up sooner, Donald Jr. and Ann Coulter mocked her wariness about flying.
But one of the lowest blows from the right came roughly 48 hours before Blasey Ford is due to testify about her claims before the Senate Judiciary Committee. One of the more notorious right-wing podcasters claims–with a straight face–that Blasey Ford is the real villain.
The right-wing podcast club has some pretty loathsome characters. But Josh Bernstein is one of the most loathsome of all. This is a guy who believes that liberals should have been arrested for treason in the wake of last summer’s horror in Charlottesville, called for Trump to go to war with North Korea to save the Republicans’ hides in November, and suggested that Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg was actually working hand in glove with the shooter.
These anecdotes would be enough to prove Bernstein has zero standards. But if there was any doubt that he has no standards, he put it to rest on Tuesday, when he suggested that Blasey Ford was actually victimizing Kavanaugh. Watch here.
Bernstein suggested that Blasey Ford and her friends may have been smitten on Kavanaugh in their high school days, but he turned them down because “maybe he could see through the type of people that they truly are.” He believed that this whole thing is a searing indictment of the “sexual culture” at Blasey Ford’s alma mater, the all-girls Holton Arms School.
To hear Bernstein talk, Blasey Ford and her friends have stewed for four decades over being “jilted” by Kavanaugh, and it boiled over when they learned “he’s on his way to the Supreme Court and they’re still stuck in academia.” He claimed that Kavanaugh was “likely a victim–that’s right, a victim” of the sexual culture at Holton Arms. For good measure, he thinks that if anything did happen, at worst “it’s likely that Miss Ford initiated it and is the aggressor.” At best, Bernstein believes that “judging by the information that we now know about that school, she was a willing and consensual participant.”
So to hear Bernstein talk, this whole thing sounds a lot like the plot of the 1991 hit movie “Disclosure,” in which a female executive (Demi Moore) turns the tables on a male colleague (Michael Douglas) and accuses him of sexual harassment after he spurns her unwelcome advances. But there’s one problem with that claim. It isn’t true.
Bernstein appears to be relying on snippets from the 1982, 1983 and 1984 editions of Holton Arms’ yearbook, “Scribe.” A number of right-wing sites have used excerpts about underage drinking and two pictures of girls wearing racially insensitive outfits to smear Blasey Ford as a temptress and a liar.
After both Dinesh D’Souza and Donald Jr. amplified it on Twitter, the deplorable Web has seized on this as yet more evidence Blasey Ford is merely out to take down a good man who could not be more qualified for the Supreme Court. But as The Daily Dot notes, Ford only appears in one picture, in which she’s sitting with a friend at a Halloween party.
Moreover, where is Bernstein’s concern about the culture at Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Georgetown Prep? Hours before Bernstein went to air, The New York Times revealed that in Kavanaugh’s days, objectifying women was standard operating procedure at that school. They openly boasted about supposed sexual conquests in a way that leads one to wonder if anyone at Yale was paying attention. In a sane world, Kavanaugh would have had some explaining to do if he’d wanted to go to New Haven in the fall of 1983.
For instance, Kavanaugh and eight of his football teammates proclaimed themselves “Renate Alumni”–a reference to Renate Schroeder, a student a nearby girls’ school. Schroeder, now known as Renate Schroeder Dolphin, initially signed a letter defending Kavanaugh’s character, but later told The Times that any suggestion Kavanaugh and his buddies had “scored” with her was “horrible, hurtful, and simply untrue.”
You were worried about Holton Arms’ yearbook supposedly portraying a school full of loose women, Josh. But where is your concern about the objectification of women at Georgetown Prep? We’re waiting.
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