Sexual harassment has long been allowed to be a problem you don’t talk about — especially when it involves high-profile people, such as celebrities and politicians. However, that atmosphere and way of thinking may be changing.
Recently, we’ve seen multiple accusations come out against many individuals, ranging from Harvey Weinstein to GOP nominee for the empty Alabama Senate seat, Roy Moore. Furthermore, allegations broke recently that Louis C.K., a popular comedian, has been accused of several incidents of sexual harassment. Now, another Republican is being accused of sexually harassing his colleagues.
Minnesota Republican State Representative Tony Cornish has been accused by two different women of sexually harassing them. One of the accusers is fellow Rep. Erin Maye Quade. She claimed Cornish harassed her via text messaging. She allowed the Star Tribune access to some of those texts. In one text, Cornish wrote:
‘…got busted for staring at you on the House floor … Haha. I told him it was your fault, of course. Look too damned good. Ha. I must be more gentlemanly when I run for governor.’
Jesus Christ this guy was going to run for governor? That’s okay, though. He planned on being more “gentlemanly.” If you couldn’t tell, that’s major sarcasm. In the text messages, Quade remarked he could always start being more gentlemanly now.
When Cornish was questioned about Maye Quade’s accusations, he remarked:
‘The thing with Erin Quade was a complete blindside to me. I had no idea offense was taken. We do have a cordial and collegial relationship which doesn’t excuse sexual harassment.’
Cornish’s other accuser is a lobbyist on the Capitol, who asked to remain anonymous. Though Cornish claims nothing ever happened, he did admit to sending racy text messages begging for sex. He was told no multiple times by the lobbyist. In fact, the accuser estimated she was asked for sex by Cornish at least 40 times over a 10-year period — which she rejected for 10 years. She claimed he would send her text messages asking her to come by his office. She described one encounter back in 2010 when she had to see Cornish in his office to talk about a bill. He asked her to look down at his crotch saying:
‘I have a raging boner. You can’t leave.’
She did leave, however. When asked about the encounters, she claimed she had considered quitting her job.
‘The Legislature is definitely behind other places like business environments in terms of sexual harassment policies.’
When asked about those accusations, Cornish gave these remarks:
‘I’m an adult. I’m not a saint.’
No. It’s not about being a saint. It’s about being a decent human being.
Furthermore, he added:
‘I’ve been known at the Capitol in the past as big mouth. But I’m straightforward … How do you say as a politician that I didn’t do this and have anyone believe you? It’s really a tough one.’
No, no. It’s okay, ladies! He’s just straightforward. Just like “grabbing them by the pussy” is locker room talk. It’s all okay. Again, sarcasm.
Cornish has refused to resign and claims everything is a lie. However, the State House Speaker Kurt Daudt has suspended Cornish from a chairmanship he holds while the claims are investigated.
Featured image by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images.