Actress Alyssa Milano on Monday abandoned her prior support for “believe women” feminism and instead declared that doubting Joe Biden’s accuser is what the #MeToo movement is really all about.
In an interview on Andy Cohen’s radio show, Milano for the first time addressed a sexual assault allegation against Biden, her preferred Democratic presidential candidate. She sought to explain her “silence” in the face of mounting criticism by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent and Biden’s primary opponent.
“Because I believe that even though we should believe women … that does not mean at the expense of giving men their due process and investigating situations,” Milano said on SiriusXM’s “Radio Andy.” “It’s got to be fair in both directions.”
Milano went on to acknowledge that her longtime relationship with Biden made her hesitant to speak up. She said she was waiting to see if “more evidence” of wrongdoing emerged regarding Tara Reade’s claim last month that Biden assaulted her in 1993 when she was a staffer in his Senate office.
“I just don’t feel comfortable throwing away a decent man that I’ve known for 15 years in this time of complete chaos without there being a thorough investigation, and I’m sure that mainstream media would be jumping all over this … if they found more evidence through their investigation,” she said. “So I’m just sort of staying quiet about it.”
Alyssa Milano attacks #MeToo during Andy Cohen interview
Milano also questioned whether the #MeToo movement, which she launched with a tweet in 2017, had gone too far.
“I’m still trying desperately to stand back and be sort of objective about this, because I sent the #MeToo tweet over two years ago. I never thought that it would be something that was going to destroy innocent men, right? Like, we don’t want that to happen either,” she said to Cohen.
“So, we have to have to find this balance in the ‘believe women’ movement and also giving men their due process, and realizing that we’re destroying life if we publicly don’t go through the right steps in order to find out if an accusation is credible or not.”
However, commentators noted on Monday that Milano — like many liberals and journalists — responded very differently to #MeToo allegations against other men in politics.
A number of conservatives recalled Milano’s vocal opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, both before and after he faced a decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct that were never confirmed.
During Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, Milano attended a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that the judge sexually assaulted her in 1982, when they were in high school. Milano live-tweeted from the proceedings, at one point declaring: “I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.”
She later added, “I did have my, ‘believe woman’ sign confiscated though.”
On Monday, other critics noted that Milano in December backed out of hosting a fundraiser for then-Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang due to “repeated allegations of sexual misconduct against a campaign staffer by a campaign staffer which were not appropriately addressed.”
Milano called Yang a “good man” and noted that no allegations were made against him.
“But this issue is too important and too prevalent. The buck stops at the top,” she said in a series of tweets. “Part of fixing the issue of sexual harassment in our culture is living our values and holding ourselves and the people we admire accountable.”
Yang denied that his campaign had mishandled the complaints.
By contrast, Milano in April defended Biden from an accusation of inappropriate touching by former Democratic politician Lucy Flores. Milano dismissed comparisons to the Kavanaugh case at the time, saying Blasey Ford had alleged much more severe behavior.
I believe women. It is my opinion that you can’t conflate the violent criminal sexual assault described by Dr. Ford and an uncomfortable invasion of personal space & boundaries described by Flores. These 2 things aren’t the same no matter how hard your network tries to spin it. https://t.co/xhKhkkCNlv
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 5, 2019
“Anything less puts the entire movement and women’s equality at risk”
The latest allegations by Reade, though, are strikingly similar to those made by Blasey Ford. As Reason editor Robby Soave put it in a recent takedown of the media’s apparent double standard, both cases involve “unverified sexual misconduct allegations that are several decades years old.”
Biden and Kavanaugh have each adamantly denied the claims against them.
Rather than try to draw distinctions between the two men, Milano responded to critics of her comments to Cohen by repackaging her defense of Biden as the only authentic #MeToo response.
“Anything less puts the entire movement and women’s equality at risk,” she told her 3,6 million Twitter followers.
This will be my last statement on this issue. Please be well and take care of each other. Hold each other tight.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 6, 2020
Regarding McGowan’s scathing tweet, Milano said: “I continue to support you and applaud your bravery as well as acknowledge all the people you have helped along the way, [Rose McGowan]. Be well and stay safe.”
- Actress Alyssa Milano talks to the media before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 27, 2018.: Screen grab