#MeToo spearhead Alyssa Milano under fire for supporting former VP Joe Biden over misconduct allegations
While the Hollywood star has been widely praised for spearheading the #MeToo movement, she is now facing flak for making light of the accusations against Biden
Actress Alyssa Milano, lauded for spearheading the #MeToo movement that notably brought down a series of sexual predators in the entertainment industry, has defended former Vice President Joe Biden, after multiple women came forward with their tales of the potential 2020 presidential candidate's misconduct with them.
In a lengthy statement on Twitter, Milano said we should "believe all women" but also believe Biden because "we cannot assume all women's experiences are the same."
Nonetheless, quite a few were in disagreement with the Hollywood star and accused her of selectively focusing on her positive experiences with the Democratic frontrunner and playing down the women who have accused him behaving inappropriately.
Former Nevada State Senator Lucy Flores, a Democrat, recalled an experience at a campaign rally in 2014 that changed "how I saw Biden." Writing for The Cut in an account published Friday, she said, "I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, 'I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual f***? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?' He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused."
A second accuser, Amy Lappos, came forward on Monday and described a similar encounter with Biden in 2009 when he allegedly "crossed the line." Speaking to The Courant, she said, "He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth. I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody. There’s absolutely a line of decency. There’s a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny."
However, Milano chose not to criticize the former Vice President based on her personal experiences with him. She posted a series of tweets on Monday defending the potential presidential candidate - a far cry from her previous approach of fiercely holding those accused of sexual misconduct accountable for their alleged actions.
Posting a photo of her and Biden, the actress wrote: "I am proud to call Joe Biden a friend. He has been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years, and I have been fortunate to accompany him to events with survivors where he has listened to their stories, empathized with them, and comforted them. That's who Joe Biden is — a warm, generous individual who believes it's on all of us to pay attention to women's stories and experiences."
She continued: "Biden started Its On Us because he believes to meaningfully change our culture, everyone — including those often left out of the conversation like college athletes and fraternity brothers — needed to be part of the movement. Joe Biden’s response that he never meant to make anyone uncomfortable and that he'll listen and learn from anyone who says otherwise is exactly the leadership we need to build a culture where women are heard and are equal."
I am proud to call Joe Biden a friend. He has been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years, and I have been fortunate to accompany him to events with survivors where he has listened to their stories, empathized with them, and comforted them. pic.twitter.com/cI0jsKlu3P— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 2, 2019
Milano went a step further to unburden her longtime friend, saying those who had come forward must be heard, but "we cannot assume all women's experiences" were the same.
"I respect Lucy Flores' decision to share her story and agree with Biden that we all must pay attention to it," she wrote. "But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women's experiences are the same. I believe that Joe Biden's intent has never been to make anyone uncomfortable, and that his kind, empathetic leadership is what our country needs."
However, responses on social media were majorly stacked against Milano, who is regarded as a feminist icon especially after she boldly started a conversation about #MeToo back in 2016. Several unabashed sexual deviants were exposed after their victims, encouraged by Milano's fearlessness, finally found a platform to speak out openly about what they suffered. That said, it looks like Milano's selective outrage with regard to Biden has disappointed quite a few of her fervent supporters.
Here are some reactions from Twitter:
Wow. I guess all that #BelieveWomen stuff doesn't matter when he's on our team, right?— Merle B (@MerleTalk) April 2, 2019
So when Joe Biden touches you the way he does and you're OK with it, that's consensual. I'm fine with that. Your body, your choice. The problem is that for many other women who he comes in contact with, it's not.— Democratic Restoration Movement 🌹 (@NoFascistLies) April 2, 2019
Believe all women - except the ones that accuse your political allies. Gotcha 👍🏻— Peter Lloyd (@Suffragentleman) April 2, 2019
Are you kidding? This is an appalling response from someone who claims to be a vocal supporter of the me too movement. I would encourage you to really listen to the critique you’re going to get here and consider the folks you hurt with statements like this.— Gennifer Hutchison (@GennHutchison) April 2, 2019
Your credibility w/#MeToo is shot. Not b/c you believe his intent wasn't to make someone uncomfortable (although unwelcomed touch is inappropriate), you did "I-never-had-an-inappropriate-moment-with-him". That only proves you'll speak up 4a friend. Doesn't impact situation.— Inquisitive Citizen | Caring Activist | Avid Voter (@AimeeWilson) April 2, 2019