Gawker's 'one night stand' with Christine O'Donnell essay labeled 'sexual harassment'
Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell just couldn't seem to catch a break from the left in her campaign for U.S. Senate in Delaware -- that is until Gawker, part of the chain of websites behind the the photos of Brett Favre's genitals, stepped in to help her in a backhanded way. Gawker yesterday published a juicy essay about O'Donnell with a misleading title, "I Had a One-Night Stand With Christine O'Donnell." In breathless tone, an anonymous man writes that he and O'Donnell hooked up at a Halloween party a few years ago, got under the covers, but didn't do anything sexual after all. The inaccurate headline, photos of O'Donnell, and tone of the essay have riled women's groups against Gawker, including one that accuses the site of "public sexual harassment."Granted full anonymity, the man alleges on Gawker that he and O'Donnell, known for her conservative Christian values, wound up naked in bed together. However, he claims, she was still a virgin. He writes: "When her underwear came off, I immediately noticed that the waxing trend had completely passed her by. Obviously, that was a big turnoff, and I quickly lost interest. I said goodnight, rolled over, and went to sleep."
The slam prompted an immediate response from the O'Donnell campaign on Facebook: "This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with. From Secretary Clinton, to Governor Palin, to soon-to-be Governor Haley, Christine's political opponents have been willing to engage in appalling and baseless attacks -- all with the aim of distracting the press from covering the real issues in this race" ... such attacks are "truly shameful."
O'Donnell isn't alone in crying foul. Tracy Clark-Flory is no fan of O'Donnell, but rushed to her side today at Salon, writing, "I really hate Gawker for making me do this, but ... I'm going to have to defend Christine O'Donnell." As Clark-Flory writes, "Not only is this piece piggish, but it reveals nothing relevant about her politics or character. In fact, if anything it makes her an immensely more relatable and sympathetic character. As a Gawker commenter put it, 'To me the only point of this mildly tacky, rather boring story is that Christine O'Donnell comes off as a human being, and even a likable one.' Congrats, Gawker, you've accomplished quite a feat."
The National Organization of Women, which has endorsed Chris Coons, O'Donnell's opponent in the Senate race, also takes O'Donnell's side, accusing Gawker of "public sexual harassment"--and "like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O'Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere."
NOW President Terry O'Neill states that through her group "finds O'Donnell's political positions dangerous for women" that "does not mean it is acceptable to use slut-shaming against her, or any woman. NOW has repeatedly called out misogyny against women candidates, and this election season is no different. Let me be honest: I look forward to seeing Christine O'Donnell defeated at the polls, but this kind of sexist attack is an affront to all women, and I won't stand for it."