The Harvey Weinstein scandal seems to have exposed the deluge of sexual harassment by the rich and powerful. It seems like a different Hollywood elite is being accused of sexual harassment daily, from legendary actors to mildly famous directors.
Will the scandal continues to rock Hollywood, the next group of folks under fire is sure to be politicians, as they’re the other major group that pays that most lip service to the issue, while simultaneously ignoring it when it’s convenient. As with Weinstein, Democratic politicians were aware of his conduct, but chose his money and influence over helping the women they claim to want to protect. But with victims mustering up the courage to speak out, it looks like politicians are the next target for exposure, and one of the first hails from Illinois.
As reported at the New York Post, Democratic state senator from Illinois, Ira Silverstein, is the latest person accused of sexual harassment.
Denise Rotheimer told the Personnel and Pensions Committee that Silverstein sent her unwanted messages via social media, called her late at night, and described her as “intoxicating.” She claims that his advances caused her so much stress she was considering hospitalizing herself. That was Wednesday, and just a day later Silverstein has stepped down from the Democratic party’s majority Caucus Chair.
Silverstein has issued an apology, saying he had no intention of ever making Rotheimer feel “uncomfortable,” but he denied that he sexually harassed her. The irony of all this is that Rotheimer recently testified on legislation that would require politicians and folks working in the capitol to undergo sexual harassment training every year.
Of course, that also makes her claims dubious, as it seems very convenient considering she’s been pushing for more sexual harassment training and awareness. What better way to put the spotlight on the issue, and elicit support from other lawmakers who are desperate to appear like they’re “doing something” about the issue, than accuse a top politician of the crime.
There’s also the fact that Rotheimer is running as a Republican for a Lake County Illinois House seat. At the end of the day, it’s difficult to know if the claims are exaggerated or completely true. Rotheimer’s prior activism on the issue and political campaign could all be coincidences and Silverstein really a disgusting creep. Hopefully, the impending ethics investigation will get to the bottom of it and punish Silverstein accordingly.
Source: New York Post