New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s shocking defense against allegations of sexual abuse– Hey, I was just into kinky role-play–wasn’t enough to save his job after four women can forward with stories about rough, unwanted sex.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, both Democrats, called for his resignation in light of the allegations.
Schneiderman, who has been a crusader for liberal causes, including the #MeToo Movement, quickly followed suit. He’s last day in office is today.
He issued the following statement:
“It has been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York,” Schneiderman said in a statement late Monday. “In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me. While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time.”
His swift resignation was almost as shocking as his defense against the charges.
“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
Whoo! Sounds like fun… for him. But that’s not the way his sex partners saw it.
Former lovers Michelle Manning-Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam told The New Yorker magazine Schneiderman “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent.”
Manning-Barish said Schneiderman told her that “if you ever left me, I’d kill you.”
She said he also blurted out during sex, “I am the law.” And once, after hitting and choking her, she said Schneiderman proclaimed that “hitting an officer of the law is a felony,” suggesting he wasn’t interested in her returning the favor.
Or maybe he was? That would be the charge, no?
Two other women who chose to remain anonymous told similar tales.
In light of the incident, the #MeToo Movement has taken its campaign against alleged sex assault to a new level.
The new standard goes beyond the notion of unwanted sex advances and forced sex or blackmail sex. Now the sex can be consensual, but if it’s not your style, either party has the right to claim sexual abuse.
Sex has truly become a negotiation. Of course, it’s always polite to ask before slapping handcuffs on your partner. But then, doesn’t that take some of the thrill out of it?
It also raises a question whether bad sex is grounds for a sexual abuse claim.
In January, comedian Aziz Ansari was accused of sex assault by a partner who willingly went back to his place and engaged in sex and then claimed to “feel” violated, even though the encounter didn’t rise to the legal test of criminal assault.
As Emma Grey wrote in The HuffPost:
“If the #MeToo movement is going to amount to sustained culture change ― rather than simply a weeding out of the worst actors in a broken system ― we need to renegotiate the sexual narratives we’ve long accepted. And that involves having complicated conversations about sex that is violating but not criminal.”
Hopefully, we’ll get this sorted out before too many more careers are destroyed over a bad date.