06:33 GMT +318 January 2020
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    In the last week, two women have accused former US Vice President Joe Biden of interacting with them in inappropriate ways, with Biden’s staff pushing hard back on the claims, describing them as a “cottage industry of lies.”

    However, according to Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women's Assembly, and Loud & Clear producer Nicole Roussell, who joined Tuesday's show, Biden's inappropriate behavior toward women is not novel behavior and has been ongoing for decades.

    ​"It's perplexing to me how in this moment the Democratic Party could believe Joe Biden is the favorite or that he could run [in the 2020 presidential election], [when] so many feminists and women, who have been involved in movements for equality for decades, already had concerns [about Biden's actions toward women]," Dickinson told Loud & Clear hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker. 

    On Tuesday, Amy Lappos became the second woman in the last week to accuse Biden of inappropriate behavior when she told the Hartford Courant that Biden had touched her inappropriately and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut, Sputnik previously reported. Earlier on Friday, former Nevada state legislator and Democratic Party member Lucy Flores accused Biden of inappropriately kissing the back of her head while putting his hands on her shoulders when she was a candidate for lieutenant governor of the state.

    However, according to many of Biden's supporters, including American actress and #MeToo activist Alyssa Milano, Biden's "handsy" actions are harmless, and his intent was never to make any one "uncomfortable."

    "I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention," Biden said Sunday following the allegations.

    On Monday, Biden spokesperson Bill Russo shared two photos of women with Biden. One of the photos shows Biden putting his hands on the shoulders of Stephanie Carter, wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, while the second shows Biden whispering in Sen. Christopher Coons' (D-DE) daughter's ear. The photos have been widely circulated as examples of Biden's inappropriate actions toward women. However, according to Russo, the photos have been mischaracterized as part of a "cottage industry of lies."

    "A part of the discourse around what is going on with Joe Biden in the last few days, I just find really disappointing. All this stuff about how it's because he's like your grandpa or like your uncle or that's just ‘Joe being Joe. He's always been like that.' So, in some ways, as troubling as the uninvited touching might be, equally troubling, I think, is that Democrats who claim to stand up for women and women's rights and be meaningful participants in the #MeToo movement are giving him a total pass with a set of excuses that women activists and feminists have been fighting for decades," Dickinson told Sputnik. 

    Last month, during an event co-hosted with "It's On Us," a campus sexual assault prevention organization, Biden expressed "regret" about how be addressed Anita Hill's testimony in 1991.

    "I wish I could have done something — I opposed Clarence Thomas' nomination, and I voted against him… But I also realized that there was a real and perceived problem the Committee faced: There were a bunch of white guys," Biden said during the event.

    Back in 1991, Biden was the Senate Judiciary Committee chair when Hill, an American attorney, alleged that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who was her supervisor at the United States Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), had sexually harassed her. Biden has been heavily criticized for refusing to corroborate Hill's allegations by bringing forth more witnesses, including EEOC employees Sukari Hardnett and Angela Wright-Shannon, who were willing to testify in court.

    "Speaking of Anita Hill, part of that deal — [female members of] Congress spoke up and said, ‘Come on, Joe Biden, we have to hear from these women,'" and his response was, ‘I'm a man of my world. I told the Republicans I wouldn't do this, so I've got to stick to it.'" And so, I think we can see very clearly how he understands government works… you stick with the boys. I think it's a real problem, and again, I am just baffled in a moment when women are speaking up and men of conscience are speaking up and we are having meaningful conversations about sexual harassment in the workplace, rape and assault and domestic violence, and not just the behaviors, but how this structure of patriarchy and misogyny structures our government and structures our society," Dickinson told Sputnik. 

    At Politico's Playbook breakfast Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended Biden following the recent sexual harassment allegations, claiming that they are not "disqualifying" for a potential 2020 presidential bid.

    "There's this interesting willingness to excuse his behavior on the part of other Democrats, and it's about their belief that he's [Biden's] the best candidate. And that's not only a misguided belief, it's also an opportunistic, cowardly response to this. It is time that the Democratic Party is the party that stands up for women and stands up against sexual assault," Dickinson said.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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