Update, March 28, 2020: Joe Biden’s campaign has denied Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation.
In a statement on Friday his campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said, “Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”
This article was originally published on March 26, 2020.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is facing a new sexual assault allegation, from a woman named Tara Reade, who says she has been trying to share her story since 1993 when it allegedly happened. Reade’s allegation comes in the midst of Biden’s surging presidential campaign and is consistent with other stories women have shared about their discomfort with the way Biden has touched them.
Reade was a staff assistant for Joe Biden in 1993, when she claims he digitally raped her. She told part of her story in 2019, when Lucy Flores wrote in The Cut about the inappropriate way Biden smelled her hair and kissed the top of her head. At the time, several other women came forward to say that Biden had touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable, including Reade, who said that Biden used to put his hands on her shoulders and run his fingers up and down her neck. Now, she has detailed what she says is the entirety of her experience with Biden on The Katie Halper Show.
According to Reade, Biden pressed her up against a wall and digitally penetrated her without her consent. “It happened all at once, and then… his hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” she says. She also remembers him asking “do you want to go somewhere else?” and then, when she had pulled away, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.” Reade says that “everything shattered” in that moment and his claim that he thought she liked him made her feel like she had “done this” somehow. “I looked up to him, he was my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes,” she says. “I wanted to be a senator; I didn’t want to sleep with one.”
Following her accusations against Biden, reports from Ryan Grim at The Intercept detailed all the ways Reade was stonewalled in telling her story — including from Time’s Up, the high-profile organization founded to help survivors tell their stories in the midst of the #MeToo movement, which is housed within the National Women’s Law Center. According to Grim’s reporting, Reade asked for help from the organization in January of this year, but she was told they could not help her because it would jeopardize their non-profit status due to the fact that he was a presidential candidate.
“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Women’s Law Center is restricted in how it can spend its funds, including restrictions that pertain to candidates running for election,” NWLC spokesperson, Maria Patrick, told The Intercept. It was also revealed in the same story that “the public relations firm that works on behalf of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is SKDKnickerbocker, whose managing director, Anita Dunn, is the top adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign.”
Reade’s accusation has opened up discourse on social media about why the mainstream media is ignoring the story. “I don’t understand why the extremely serious sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden are not getting significant attention outside of left media,” tweeted Vox Senior Correspondent Zack Beauchamp.
There were no witnesses to Reade’s assault, but she told The Intercept that she’d spoken to a close friend, as well as her brother, at the time of the alleged assault, and both have confirmed this with The Intercept. Reade said Thursday morning on Rising on Hill TV Live that she’s waited so long to speak publicly about what happened because she was afraid of retaliation, and also because back then she “didn’t have the framework” to understand what had happened to her.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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