Conyers Hospitalized for Stress-Related Illness Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations
Family spokesman blames the ‘media assault’
Democratic Rep. John Conyers (Mich.) has been hospitalized for a stress-related illness amid a sex scandal that has led some of his congressional colleagues to call for his resignation.
Family spokesman Sam Riddle confirmed on Thursday morning that Conyers, 88, is seeking treatment at a Detroit-area hospital, CBS Detroit reports.
“Monica Conyers, Mrs. Conyers, is by his side and we just ask, really the nation, to pray for this congressman that has done so much for the nation,” said Riddle, who did not elaborate on what Conyers is suffering from beyond stress.
Riddle, who also serves as Conyers’ political consultant, blamed the hospitalization on the “media assault” stemming from the sexual harassment allegations against the congressman.
“The congressman’s health is not what it should be and a lot of that is directly attributable to this media assault,” Riddle told WDIV-TV, adding that “the reality is these serial accusers have done this before, we’re used to it.”
Riddle went on to blame the media for giving Conyers’ accusers “too much credibility” and too big of a platform.
“These serial accusers are being given way too much credibility because (hashtag) #metoo is trending. The congressman’s contributions to the nation go far beyond any hashtags that are trending right now,” he said. “We’ve dealt with these serial accusers before. Their names are not new to the congressman or his family.”
The family spokesman added that Conyers is “resting comfortably in an area hospital, he’s doing okay, as well as can be expected for a gentleman that is approaching 90 years of age.”
News of Conyers’ hospitalization came the same morning that one of his former staffers, Marion Brown, appeared on NBC’s “Today” alleging the Michigan Democrat subjected her to years of sexual harassment. She said that Conyers propositioned her for sex multiple times over more than a decade and that she only stayed in her position because she needed to support her family.
Multiple former female staffers in Conyers’ office have accused the lawmaker of sexually harassing them. BuzzFeed News first reported last week that Conyers settle a sexual harassment claim with one woman, who turned out to be Brown, for $27,000 in 2015. At least three other former staffers then came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Conyers, claiming that the congressman engaged in inappropriate behavior while they worked for him.
Conyers, who stepped down as the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee amid the accusations, confirmed the 2015 settlement but has denied all allegations of sexual harassment.
The House Ethics Committee is currently investigating the sexual harassment claims against Conyers.
While most Democrats in Congress have avoided calling on Conyers to resign, saying that the Ethics Committee must finish its investigation, a growing number of lawmakers are putting pressure on the Michigan Democrat to step down.