Ronan Farrow says Bill Clinton has been 'credibly accused of rape', backs 1999 claim by Juanita Broaddrick

The author-journalist spoke about the allegations that nursing home administrator Juanita Broaddrick had brought up two decades ago. Broaddrick, now 76, accused the former president of raping her in a hotel room in Arkansas in 1978.

                            Ronan Farrow says Bill Clinton has been 'credibly accused of rape', backs 1999 claim by Juanita Broaddrick
Ronan Farrow (Getty Images)

Renowned author and journalist Ronan Farrow has granted credibility to a past rape accusation against former president Bill Clinton, adding that the claim is “overdue for revisiting”. Farrow, whose revelations on sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement earned him a Pulitzer Prize and led to the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, defended Juanita Broaddrick who was allegedly raped by Clinton in 1978 when he was the attorney-general of Arkansas. 

On Friday, November 1, Farrow spoke on the matter to defend Broaddrick, 76, a former nursing home administrator, during a panel discussion on HBO’s 'Real Time with Bill Maher'. He said Clinton has been "credibly" accused of rape.

Broaddrick didn't tell about it immediately because he thought nobody would believe her

In February 1999, when Clinton was battling other scandals and was also impeached, Broaddrick told her story on national television, adding that she did not reveal the same to the authorities 21 years ago because she did not think anybody would believe him

Former president Bill Clinton on a visit to Juanita Broaddrick's (right) nursing home in 1978 along with two unidentified persons (Getty Images)

While telling her story with tearful eyes, Broaddrick told Dateline NBC that Clinton suddenly turned around and started kissing her inside a hotel room in Little Rock, Arkansas, and despite her resisting, the Democratic politician didn’t let her go. “He tries to kiss me again. He starts biting on my lip. . . . And then he forced me down on the bed. I just was very frightened. I tried to get away from him. I told him 'no.' . . . He wouldn't listen to me,” she said. Clinton became the governor of Arkansas in January the next year.

Broaddrick though could not remember the month and date of the alleged incident and it was also reported that the woman, who was a volunteer in Clinton’s maiden gubernatorial campaign, was present at a fundraiser of the former president a few weeks later after the episode. Broaddrick defended it saying perhaps she was still in denial and conceded that feeling “very guilty at the time” was her fault. In 1999, Broaddrick sued Clinton seeking documents that could prove to be relevant to her allegations but the case was dismissed in 2001.

The issue came up during a discussion in the panel over the recent Katie Hill case whereby the Democratic Congresswoman stepped down over allegations of inappropriate affairs. Maher asked during the talks whether Clinton would have been treated differently, in the light of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, if he were the president today. 

'Could Bill Clinton, if he had done what he did in 1998, survive today - or would his own party have thrown him under the bus?' Maher asked. 

It was then when Farrow brought up the Broaddrick episode. “I think that it is very important to interject that Bill Clinton is a different conversation. 'He has been credibly accused of rape. That has nothing to do with gray areas. I think that the Juanita Broaddrick claim has been overdue for revisiting,” said the 32-year-old who has served as a special adviser to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for global youth issues. 

'Clinton wouldn't have escaped scrutiny today'

According to Farrow, if Clinton were the president today, he wouldn’t have managed to evade public scrutiny since the society’s stand on sexual misconduct is not the same as it was. 

When Broaddrick came up with the allegations in 1999, Clinton dismissed the charges through his attorney. The allegations came up again in 2016 when Hillary campaigned for the presidency and the next year when the Me Too movement was in full swing. Broaddrick repeated the allegation again in 2018 when she published a memoir.  

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