Nearly two weeks ago, ESPN President John Skipper shocked the media world by suddenly resigning from his position at the “Worldwide Leader.”
At the time, Skipper said he needed to resign to deal with substance abuse issues.
In a statement, Skipper said:
I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.
I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign. I will always appreciate the human understanding and warmth that Bob (Iger) displayed here and always.
I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down.
As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.
To my colleagues at ESPN, it has been a privilege. I take great pride in your accomplishments and have complete confidence in your collective ability to continue ESPN’s success.
This explanation seemed rather suspicious. Since Skipper had just signed a major contract extension the month before his resignation.
At the time, Breitbart Sports noted:
The timing of Skipper’s resignation seems a bit of a mystery. Skipper had just signed a multi-year contract extension in November. How does one develop a long-term substance problem in a month? Perhaps ESPN just became aware of Skipper’s issue in the last month, though, that too would seem unlikely. Moreover, it’s likely that ESPN would at least attempt to offer some kind of counseling as opposed to compelling Skipper to resign, if they just found out about Skipper’s issue after signing him to a brand new deal.
Could there be something another, bigger story behind this announcement?
Well, Clay Travis of Fox Sports Radio and Outkick the Coverage reports that there is something bigger indeed, behind Skipper’s resignation. Travis reports that in the days following Skipper’s announcement, several reports came to him offering a much different explanation for Skipper’s immediate departure.
“In the next couple of days I was told by multiple sources I trust inside ESPN that the reason for Skipper’s “resignation” was because of sexual harassment issues inside the company. In the wake of the Boston Globe story about sexual harassment I was told Skipper’s own issues suddenly emerged and that was why the resignation happened so abruptly.
And ESPN decided to blame substance abuse issues instead.”
Travis also poked a hole in Skipper/ESPN’s “substance abuse” claim by tweeting photos from a tipster, which appear to show Skipper and ESPN radio host Dan LeBatard at a bar in North Carolina:
A trip out to have a couple of drinks with your friend would all be perfectly normal and a total non-story except for the fact that Skipper just resigned from ESPN 11 days ago citing his struggles with substance addiction and his desire to get help for that addiction.
Now maybe Skipper wasn’t addicted to alcohol — and it was some other drug instead — but if you have such an issue with substance addiction that you need to immediately resign from ESPN should you really be out drinking 11 days later with one of the most prominent employees at your former company? And if you’re Skipper’s good friend, Dan LeBatard, would you let your friend go out drinking with you if you knew he had a true issue with substance abuse and you were crying about it on your radio show 11 days ago?
That seems highly unlikely.
That does indeed seem unlikely. ESPN wouldn’t be unique among major media and entertainment organizations, for forcing out high-profile executives or performers over sexual harassment charges. After all, the last few months have seen dozens of actors, journalists, comedians, politicians, and others, face removal for some form of sexual misconduct.
So why lie about it? If in fact, ESPN is lying about the reasons for Skipper’s resignation?
The answer may be found higher up the food chain. Disney CEO Bob Iger is a rumored2020 Democrat presidential candidate. Considering how crucial the female vote is, especially in a Democratic primary, one would think that Iger would move aggressively to quash any potentially damaging sexual harassment scandal at one of his larger networks.
Would Iger engage in that type of politically-calculated micromanagement?
Well, he’s done it before.
In the weeks after Jemele Hill called President Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter, Iger personally intervened to prevent Hill’s suspension. Now, why would Iger do that?
Could it be because of Iger’s concern that the optics of suspending Hill, who is black, for criticizing President Trump; could be interpreted as Iger siding with Trump against a black female employee? Which would leave his Democrat primary opponents with a strong and heavy argument that he’s not the right candidate to protect black people from the “cruel and racist” Republicans?
That seems like an extremely plausible theory.
And if that seems like a plausible theory, is it so far-fetched that Iger would concoct a story about substance abuse to conceal a high-profile sexual harassment scandal, which may or may not extend far beyond John Skipper?
Doesn’t seem like that big of a stretch at all, does it?
Cardinal Bernard Law, symbol of church sex abuse scandal, dead at 86
Cardinal Bernard Law, the former Boston archbishop who resigned in disgrace during the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, has died, the Vatican confirmed. He was 86.
Law died in Rome, where he had served as archpriest of the Papal Liberian Basilica of St. Mary Major after he was forced to resign in 2002 as archbishop of Boston.
Law’s name became emblematic of the scandal that continues to trouble the church and its followers around the globe after it was revealed the he and other bishops before him had covered for pedophile priests in the Boston Archdiocese.
Law at the time apologized during a news conference to victims of abuse by a priest, John Geoghan, who had been moved from parish to parish, despite Law’s knowledge of his abuse of young boys. Law insisted Geoghan’s abuse was in the past.
Geoghan was eventually convicted of indecent assault and battery on a 10-year-old boy.
Law never faced criminal sanctions for his role in allowing abusive priests to remain in church parishes. The scandal reverberated through the church, exposing similar allegations worldwide that compromised its moral authority and led to years of multimillion-dollar settlements.
The Vatican early Wednesday issued a one-line news release, reading, “Cardinal Bernard Law died early this morning after a long illness.”
Survivors recount betrayal
To his detractors, Law’s second career at the Vatican was a slap in the face to victims of church sex abuse, one that further undermined the church’s legitimacy.
“Survivors of child sexual assault in Boston, who were first betrayed by Law’s cover-up of sex crimes and then doubly betrayed by his subsequent promotion to Rome, were those most hurt,” according to a statement after his death from Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “No words can convey the pain these survivors and their loved ones suffered.”
The group advised the Vatican to keep the abuse survivors in mind when planning Law’s funeral. It asked: “Every single Catholic should ask Pope Francis and the Vatican why. Why Law’s life was so celebrated when Boston’s clergy sex abuse survivors suffered so greatly? Why was Law promoted when Boston’s Catholic children were sexually abused, ignored, and pushed aside time and time again?”
Law’s successor as Boston’s archbishop, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, said Wednesday that Law “served at a time when the church failed seriously in its responsibilities to provide pastoral care for her people, and with tragic outcomes failed to care for the children of our parish communities.”
“I recognize that Cardinal Law’s passing brings forth a wide range of emotions on the part of many people. I am particularly cognizant of all who experienced the trauma of sexual abuse by clergy, whose lives were so seriously impacted by those crimes, and their families and loved ones,” O’Malley said.
“To those men and women,” O’Malley added, “I offer my sincere apologies for the harm they suffered, my continued prayers and my promise that the archdiocese will support them in their effort to achieve healing.”
Widespread child abuse by the Catholic clergy in the Boston Archdiocese was uncovered by The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative reporting team, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its efforts. A big-screen dramatization of the team’s investigation in the 2015 movie, “Spotlight,” won the 2016 Best Picture Academy Award, bringing the story to a much wider audience.
Rise of Boston’s spiritual leader
Law was born in Torreon, Mexico, on November 4, 1931, to Helen and Bernard Law, an Air Force colonel. He completed his postgraduate studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Louisiana and at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He was ordained as a priest on May 21, 1961, in the diocese of Natchez-Jackson, Mississippi, and became vicar general of that diocese in 1971.
In 1973, he was appointed bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese in southern Missouri. He served as chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interracial Affairs, and in 1976, he was named to the Vatican Commission on Religious Relations with Jews.
The posts were stepping stones to his becoming the spiritual leader of Boston’s large and influential Catholic community. In 1984, Pope John Paul II appointed Law to be the archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, with its 362 parishes serving 2.1 million members. That same year, Law received a letter from a bishop expressing concerns about then-Rev. Geoghan. Law assigned Geoghan to another parish despite the allegations.
In 1985, Pope John Paul II elevated Law to cardinal, one of just 13 Americans holding that office at the time.
Calls for resignation
Law attempted to resign as Archbishop of Boston in April 2002, but Pope John Paul II rejected his request. In 2002, a judge presiding over the child rape case of Rev. Paul Shanley ordered Cardinal Law to be deposed by lawyers of one of Shanley’s victims.
Law testified about his supervision of Geoghan in 2002, saying he relied on his assistants to investigate charges of abuse. In May 2002, he apologized for his role in the clergy abuse scandal in a letter distributed throughout the archdiocese. But he denied knowledge of sexual abuse allegations against Shanley until 1993.
In August 2002, Law appeared in court to testify about a settlement reached between the archdiocese of Boston and victims of clergy abuse. The archdiocese rescinded the monetary offer shortly afterward.
That December, as calls grew for him to resign, Law was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury investigating “possible criminal violations by church officials who supervised priests accused of sexually abusing children.” Days later, he resigned as chairman of the board of trustees of the Catholic University of America, followed by his resignation as archbishop of Boston.
Catholic Church abuses under scrutiny
The breakdown of trust in the Catholic Church continues to reverberate around the world.
This month, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered, after five years of work, 189 recommendations to address what it described as a “serious failure” by Australia’s institutions to protect its most vulnerable citizens.
The country’s senior Catholic leaders, however, rejected recommendations by the wide-reaching investigation, declining to end mandatory celibacy for priests and break the secrecy of confession.
Of survivors who reported abuse in a religious institution, more than 60% said it occurred in a Catholic organization, the report found.
Kansas Dem Andrea Ramsey, accused of sexual harassment, will drop out of US House race
Andrea Ramsey, a Democratic candidate for Congress, will drop out of the race after the Kansas City Star asked her about accusations in a 2005 lawsuit that she sexually harassed and retaliated against a male subordinate who said he had rejected her advances.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the case told The Star that the man reached a settlement with LabOne, the company where Ramsey was executive vice president of human resources. Court documents show that the man, Gary Funkhouser, and LabOne agreed to dismiss the case permanently after mediation in 2006.
Ramsey, a 56-year-old retired business executive from Leawood, was one of the Democratic candidates vying to challenge Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in 2018 in Kansas’ 3rd District.
She was running with the endorsement of Emily’s List, a liberal women’s group that has raised more than a half-million dollars to help female candidates who support abortion rights
Ramsey will drop out on Friday, her campaign said.
“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard,” Ramsey said in a statement Friday. “For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has not endorsed anyone in the race, said in a statement that members and candidates must all be held to the highest standard.
“If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office,” said committee spokeswoman Meredith Kelly.
Emily’s List said in a statement on Friday that the group supported Ramsey’s decision to drop out of the race and wished her well.
Ramsey was not a party to the lawsuit or the settlement, although she’s referred to throughout the complaint as Andrea Thomas, her name before she married her husband in late 2006. She denied the allegations to the Star in two interviews over the last two weeks and said the lawsuit is surfacing now for political purposes.
Ramsey repeatedly said that she was not aware of any settlement in the case, but said that if she had been a party to the case she would have opposed settling.
“Had those allegations, those false allegations, been brought against me directly instead of the company I would have fought to exonerate my name. I never would’ve settled,” Ramsey said in an interview on Thursday. “And I would have sued the disgruntled, vindictive employee for defamation.”
Individual supervisors are not named as defendants in federal sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuits because they are not considered employers under Title VII, the law that protects employees from discrimination, harassment and retaliation for color, race, sex and national origin.
The lawsuit has been circulating in Kansas political circles as the first-time candidate runs for Congress amid a wave of sexual misconduct allegations that have rocked the political, entertainment and journalism industries.
The national Democratic Party is targeting Kansas’ 3rd District as part of its push to reclaim control of the House. Yoder is one of 23 GOP representatives seeking re-election in districts where Democrat Hillary Clinton won more votes than Republican Donald Trump.
The allegations against Ramsey were outlined in a lawsuit filed by Funkhouser against LabOne and in a complaint to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Reached by phone, Funkhouser would not discuss the case.
“All I can say is the matter has been resolved,” he said.
In the EEOC complaint, which alleged sex discrimination and retaliation by LabOne, Funkhouser accused Ramsey of subjecting him to “unwelcome and inappropriate sexual comments and innuendos” beginning in September 2004, when he was a LabOne human resources manager.
In late March 2005, Ramsey made sexual advances toward him on a business trip, Funkhouser alleged in the complaint.
“After I told her I was not interested in having a sexual relationship with her, she stopped talking to me,” he wrote. “In the office she completely ignored me and avoided having any contact with me.”
Ramsey even moved him out of his office into a cubicle far from her office, Funkhouser wrote.
Before he rejected her advances, Ramsey “repeatedly told me she heard great things from others about my performance,” Funkhouser wrote. “After I rejected her, she told me she now was hearing bad things about my performance and on June 13, 2005, terminated my employment.”
The EEOC closed its file on Funkhouser’s charges of discrimination and retaliation in October 2005, noting that an investigation was unable to conclude whether any statutes had been violated. The document did not certify that LabOne was in compliance with employment law, however, and informed Funkhouser that he had a right to sue the company.
Funkhouser then sued LabOne in federal court.
LabOne denied the allegations and said Funkhouser’s termination was “non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory.”
Ramsey told The Star she made the decision to eliminate Funkhouser’s job in conjunction with LabOne management.
“It became clear to me that he wasn’t managing his subordinates adequately,” she said. “… He didn’t have open lines of communication with his subordinates and furthermore there was this additional layer of management.”
She also said in a second interview that she has no memory of the business trip, noting that 12 years had passed.
The lawsuit was still pending in April 2006 when Ramsey retired from LabOne. At the time, LabOne was being acquired by Quest Diagnostics, a company Ramsey had worked for until 2004. She told the Star she had no interest in working for such a large company again, and she wanted to spend more time with her children, who were 8 and 10 at the time.
Later that month, Ramsey took a part-time job as senior counsel for Black & Veatch, an international engineering firm based in Overland Park.
In July 2006, LabOne and Funkhouser agreed to dismiss the case without the possibility of bringing it again.
Quest Diagnostics declined to comment on behalf of LabOne, saying its policy is not to comment on litigation.
Shirley Gaufin, who was head of HR at Black & Veatch from 2002 to 2011, described Ramsey as an exceptional colleague. “All I heard was praise,” said Gaufin, who has donated to Ramsey’s campaign.
Ramsey left Black & Veatch in October 2012 after six years as the company’s employment attorney.
She served as board chair at the nonprofit Turner House Children’s Clinic in Wyandotte County from 2015 until she stepped down in May to launch her congressional campaign.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article189931704.html#storylink=cpy
Corey Feldman labels film example of “child grooming”
Despite a wave of sexual assault allegations that have rocked Hollywood, film executives at Sony have decided to show a film depicting a relationship between a teenage boy and an adult male – a decision slammed by former child actor Corey Feldman.
The Sony Pictures Classics film “Call Me By Your Name,” which depicts a relationship between a 17-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man, has been generating rave reviews and drawn speculation about an Oscar nomination after picking up three Golden Globe nominations and an award for best picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Released in select theaters on November 28, the movie has earned a 98 percent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and 90 percent from audiences.
Despite the film’s creepy premise, made more so in light of the wave of sexual assault allegations that have rocked Hollywood, defenders of the film assert that the love affair is consensual and would not be illegal given that it takes place in Italy, where the age of consent is 16.
Actor Corey Feldman, who announced plans to name Hollywood pedophiles who abused him as a child actor following a incident during which two trucks drove towards him at high speed, questioned the premise of the film after another Twitter user claimed it did not depict “child grooming.”
“We think it’s at least questionable, and at worst glorifying pedophilia,” declared Gabe Hoffman, co-producer of “An Open Secret,” a documentary about child sexual abuse in Hollywood released in 2014.
David Sims of The Atlantic described the film as a “sumptuous new romance, which follows a deep connection that springs out of those restless days of late adolescence.”
Others who reviewed the film wisely questioned the timing of the film’s release.
“Perhaps we can, at least, agree that maybe promoting a movie about a 25-year-old man seducing a 17-year-old boy is not exactly wise in light of the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and a dozen other Hollywood A-listers?” asked Paul Bois in The Daily Wire. “Apparently not.”
Prominent appeals court Judge Alex Kozinski accused of sexual misconduct
A former clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski said the powerful and well-known jurist, who for many years served as chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, called her into his office several times and pulled up pornography on his computer, asking if she thought it was photoshopped or if it aroused her sexually.
Heidi Bond, who clerked for Kozinski from 2006 to 2007, said the porn was not related to any case. One set of images she remembered was of college-age students at a party where “some people were inexplicably naked while everyone else was clothed.” Another was a sort of digital flip book that allowed users to mix and match heads, torsos and legs to create an image of a naked woman.
Bond is one of six women — all former clerks or more junior staffers known as externs in the 9th Circuit — who alleged to The Washington Post in recent weeks that Kozinski, now 67 and still serving as a judge on the court, subjected them to a range of inappropriate sexual conduct or comments. She is one of two former clerks who said Kozinski asked them to view porn in his chambers.
In a statement, Kozinski said: “I have been a judge for 35 years and during that time have had over 500 employees in my chambers. I treat all of my employees as family and work very closely with most of them. I would never intentionally do anything to offend anyone and it is regrettable that a handful have been offended by something I may have said or done.”
Kozinski provided the statement after The Post called and emailed a spokesman with a detailed list of the allegations this story would include. After the story posted online, the judge told the Los Angeles Times, “I don’t remember ever showing pornographic material to my clerks” and, “If this is all they are able to dredge up after 35 years, I am not too worried.”
When Bond was clerking, Kozinski was on the precipice of becoming chief judge for the 9th Circuit — the largest federal appeals court circuit in the country, handling cases for a large swath of the western United States as well as Hawaii and Alaska. The other people who alleged that Kozinski behaved inappropriately toward them worked in the 9th Circuit both before and after her, up to 2012.
Bond said she knew that she was to come to the judge’s office when her phone beeped twice. She said she tried to answer Kozinski’s inquiries as succinctly and matter-of-factly as possible. Bond was then in her early 30s and is now 41.
If the question was about photoshopping, Bond said, she would focus on minor details of the images. If Kozinski asked whether the images aroused her, Bond said, she would respond: “No, this kind of stuff doesn’t do anything for me. Is there anything else you need?” She said she recalled three instances when the judge showed her porn in his office.
“I was in a state of emotional shock, and what I really wanted to do was be as small as possible and make as few movements as possible and to say as little as possible to get out,” Bond said.
Bond, who went on to clerk for the Supreme Court and now works as a romance novelist writing under the name Courtney Milan, and another clerk, Emily Murphy, who worked for a different judge on the 9th Circuit and is now a law professor, described their experiences in on-the-record interviews. The other four women spoke on the condition that their names and some other identifying information not be published, out of fear that they might face retaliation from Kozinski or others.
Kozinski, who served as the chief judge on the 9th Circuit from 2007 to 2014, remains a prominent judge, well known in the legal community for his colorful written opinions. His clerks often win prestigious clerkships at the Supreme Court.
Murphy, who clerked for Judge Richard Paez, said Kozinski approached her when she was talking with a group of other clerks at a reception at a San Francisco hotel in September 2012. The group had been discussing training regimens, and Murphy said she commented that the gym in the 9th Circuit courthouse was nice because other people were seldom there.
Kozinski, according to Murphy and two others present at the time who spoke to The Post, said that if that were the case, she should work out naked. Those in the group tried to change the subject, Murphy and the others present said, but the judge kept steering the conversation toward the idea of Murphy exercising without clothes.
“It wasn’t just clear that he was imagining me naked, he was trying to invite other people — my professional colleagues — to do so as well,” Murphy said. “That was what was humiliating about it.”
Bond, similarly, provided emails showing that she told a friend what had happened at least as of 2008. The friend, fellow romance novelist Eve Ortega, provided the same emails. She confirmed that Bond had told her years ago that Kozinski made inappropriate sexual comments and showed her porn.
Kozinski has previously been embroiled in controversies related to sexually explicit material.
In 2008, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the judge had maintained an email list that he used to distribute crude jokes, some of them sexually themed, and that he had a publicly accessible website that contained pornographic images.
A judicial investigation ultimately found that Kozinski did not intend to allow the public to see the material and that, instead, the judge and his son were careless in protecting a private server from being accessible on the Internet.
Anthony J. Scirica, then the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, wrote at the time that Kozinski’s “conduct exhibiting poor judgment with respect to this material created a public controversy that can reasonably be seen as having resulted in embarrassment to the institution of the federal judiciary.”
According to Scirica’s report, Kozinski said that he used the server to keep a variety of items he received by email, including TV commercials, video clips, cartoons, games and song parodies.
Of the sexually explicit files, Kozinski testified: “Some I thought were odd or funny or bizarre, but mostly I don’t have a very good reason for holding onto them. I certainly did not send them to anyone else or ask anyone to send me similar files,” according to Scirica’s report.
Kozinski also testified that he “does not visit and has no interest in pornographic websites,” according to Scirica’s report. He separately apologized for any embarrassment he had caused in maintaining the email list and said he had stopped sending the jokes.
Bond said the images Kozinski showed her seemed to come from his private server, because he pulled them from a site containing the term “kozinski.com.”
The other Kozinski clerk who said the judge showed her porn declined to provide specifics out of fear that Kozinski would be able to identify her. Bond said the judge also showed her a chart he claimed he and his friends from college had made to list the women with whom they had had sexual relations.
Bond said that either Kozinski or his administrative assistant reached out to her around the time of the news reporting on his private server, asking whether she would be willing to defend his character. She wrote to Ortega about the inquiry in 2008, according to emails the women shared with The Post, and Ortega responded that it “sounds like a very bad idea to me.”
“I know he brought you into his office to show you porn, I know he made sexual innuendos to you. I know this because you told me so in DC, and you even used the words sexual harassment,” Ortega wrote. “You said you would warn off other women thinking of clerking for him. And if there’s a woman out there he harassed worse than you, do you really want to be pitted against her? Because that’s what it would be. I’m worried that this is what he’s asking you to do — to be the female, intelligent face of his defense and make whoever it is accusing him look like a stupid slut, and then he hopefully never has to actually address those allegations.”
Kozinski was born in Romania to Holocaust survivors in 1950, and the family fled the communist state when he was a boy. Decades ago, long before he was a federal judge, he appeared on the television show “The Dating Game,” planting a kiss on a surprised young woman who selected him for a date. He is married and has three sons.
Kozinski was appointed to the 9th Circuit by President Ronald Reagan in 1985. He is an atypical federal appeals court judge — authoring irreverent opinions and not shying, as many of his colleagues do, from media appearances.
He styled one opinion in 2012 not as a traditional concurrence or dissent, but instead as “disagreeing with everyone.” He famously wrote during a trademark dispute between the toy company Mattel and the record company that produced the 1997 song “Barbie Girl”: “The parties are advised to chill.”
In more recent years, Kozinski wrote that using lethal injections to impose the death penalty was “a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and beautiful — like something any one of us might experience in our final moments,” and he told the Los Angeles Times, “I personally think we should go to the guillotine, but shooting is probably the right way to go.”
The Post reached out to dozens of Kozinski’s former clerks and externs for this report. Many of those who returned messages said that they experienced no harassment of any kind and that their experience — which entailed grueling work into the wee hours of the morning every day — was a rewarding one. They noted Kozinski’s wry sense of humor.
Those who talked to The Post about negative experiences said that they thought his behavior went beyond bad jokes or that they felt personally targeted.
A former Kozinski extern said the judge once made a comment about her hair and looked her body up and down “in a less-than-professional way.” That extern said Kozinski also once talked with her about a female judge stripping.
“I didn’t want to be alone with him,” the former extern said.
A different former extern said she, similarly, had at least two conversations “that had sexual overtones directed at me,” and she told friends about them at the time. One of the friends, also a former extern, confirmed that the woman had told her about the remarks — though both declined to detail them for fear of being identified.
One former 9th Circuit clerk said she was at a dinner in Seattle, seated next to Kozinski, when he “kind of picked the tablecloth up so that he could see the bottom half of me, my legs.” She said Kozinski remarked, “I wanted to see if you were wearing pants because it’s cold out.” The former clerk said she was wearing pants at the time. The incident, she said, occurred in late 2011 or early 2012.
“It made me uncomfortable, and it didn’t seem appropriate,” said the former clerk, who worked for a different judge.
All of the women The Post interviewed said they did not file formal complaints at the time. Bond said Kozinski had so vigorously stressed the idea of judicial confidentiality — that what is discussed in chambers cannot be revealed to the outside — that she questioned even years later whether she could share what had happened with a therapist, even though she had already talked with Ortega about it.
Bond said Kozinski worked his clerks so hard that “there was no thought that I could see him as anything other than in complete control,” and she feared that not leaving with a good recommendation from him might jeopardize her career.
“I did think about walking away and concluded I just didn’t know what I would do if I did,” Bond said.
The other former Kozinski clerk who said the judge asked her to watch porn in his chambers said she both feared what he might do and knew that a complaint was unlikely to strip him of his influence.
“I was afraid,” the former clerk said. “I mean, who would I tell? Who do you even tell? Who do you go to?”
Murphy said she discussed what had happened with the judge for whom she was clerking, and he was supportive of her filing a complaint. But because the complaint would first go to Kozinski himself, then be referred elsewhere, Murphy said she chose not to proceed. The judge, Paez, declined to comment for this report through a representative.
As a judge, Kozinski has addressed the topic of sexual harassment in important ways. In 1991, he joined an opinion that decided such cases should be judged from the perspective of the victims, using what was then called the “reasonable woman” standard. The opinion, written by then-Judge Robert R. Beezer, noted pointedly, “Conduct that many men consider unobjectionable may offend many women.”
Beezer died in 2012. Kozinski himself wrote about sexual harassment in 1992, commenting on how legal remedies could come with unforeseen consequences.
He wrote that men “must be aware of the boundaries of propriety and learn to stay well within them,” while women “must be vigilant of their rights, but must also have some forgiveness for human foibles: misplaced humor, misunderstanding, or just plain stupidity.”
He acknowledged, though, that the problem of harassment was a real one.
“But who knew, who understood, that it was quite so pervasive,” Kozinski wrote. “Apparently most women did, while most men did not. It was the best-kept secret of modern times.”