It seems like every time you open the morning paper, more powerful men are being accused of groping, raping and generally treating their female colleagues in inappropriate and degrading ways.
But it’s not just the political, corporate and entertainment titans of today who are being called out; many sins of the past are being re-examined in the context of our new sensitivities regarding gender relations.
You don’t have to look any farther than the pages of the New York Times or the airwaves of MSNBC to hear liberal voices openly opining that they blew it in the 1990s by not calling on former President Bill Clinton to step down after he admitted to an ongoing sexual relationship with a much younger intern.
Not to mention the rape allegations brought up by Juanita Broderick.
Some on the left are even suggesting that we reexamine the way we look at former President John F. Kennedy, in light of new information regarding how he treated female employees in the White House.
However, one prominent name has managed to stay off of our radar, and I don’t know why. I am, of course, speaking of former Vice President Al Gore.Back in October of 2006, a Portland, Ore. masseuse accused the former vice president of “unwanted sexual contact” while performing a massage on him in a hotel room.
While speaking to detectives in January of 2009 the woman said she had been doing requested abdominal work on Mr. Gore when he demanded she go lower.
The New York Times reported that she told police, “I was shocked and I did not massage beyond what is considered a safe, nonsexual area of the abdomen,” she said. “He further insisted and acted angry, becoming verbally sharp and loud.”
“I went into much deeper shock as I realized it appeared he was demanding sexual favors or sexual behaviors.”
She alleged he later tried to have sex with her.
“I did not immediately call the police as I feared being made into a public spectacle and my reputation being destroyed,” she said. “I was not sure what to tell them and was concerned my story would not be believed since there was no DNA evidence from a completed act of rape.”
No charges were ever filed due to a “lack of evidence.”
A second incident allegedly took place at a luxury Beverly Hills hotel in 2007 when Gore was in town for the Oscars.
According to the National Enquirer, a Beverly Hills hotel source told them, “The therapist claimed that when they were alone, Gore shrugged off a towel and stood naked in front of her.
The Enquirer also alleges Gore’s fruit came out of the loom a third time, a year later at a hotel in Tokyo.
I’m sure his defenders will attack the journalistic integrity of the Enquirer, but I would note that they were the ones who broke the John Edwards, Bill Cosby and Charlie Sheen stories before the mainstream media would touch them with a 10 foot pole.
It’s also worth noting that Radar magazine, a subsidiary of the National Enquirer, featured Charlie Rose in a cover story about “Toxic Bachelors” in 2007, and refused to run a retraction when David Boies — Al Gore’s attorney in the 2000 Florida recount — threatened to sue them. Others on the list: Jeremy Piven, Jeffrey Epstein, Colin Farrell, Joe Francis and Kevin Spacey.
Like the vast majority of the #MeToo accusers I’ve seen on television of late, I believe the women who say that Al Gore assaulted them.
Any conversation about powerful men behaving badly should include Al Gore’s name. Even if it is “an inconvenient truth.”
John Phillips is a CNN political commentator and can be heard weekdays at 3 p.m. on “The Drive Home with Jillian Barberie and John Phillips” on KABC/AM 790.