The other night I hung out with a feminist friend of mine who I won’t name yet because I haven’t asked her if I can, and it happened to be the day the Paterson story broke. We got to talking about it over wine, and she said, and I think this was completely fair, that of course there was always the chance that Paterson simply made what he would call a “friendly” phone call that she nonetheless received as threatening. Which wouldn’t, my friend pointed out, be any less reprehensible, because the issue here was not so much intent as effect. But the problem then would be slightly different, which is to say, this problem where men don’t quite realize how threateningly they come across, regardless of what they intended to do. And a subsidiary problem would then be: how to explain to men that this sort of behaviour is still wrong?
Alas, no such nuance here, says the NYT this morning:
Gov. David A. Paterson personally directed two state employees to contact the woman who had accused his close aide of assaulting her, according to two people with direct knowledge of the governor’s actions.Mr. Paterson instructed his press secretary, Marissa Shorenstein, to ask the woman to publicly describe the episode as nonviolent, according to a third person, who was briefed on the matter. That description would contradict the woman’s accounts to the police and in court.
Mr. Paterson also enlisted another state employee, Deneane Brown, a friend of both the governor and the accuser, to make contact with the woman before she was due in court to finalize an order of protection against the aide, David W. Johnson, the two people with direct knowledge said. Ms. Brown, an employee of the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, reached out to the woman on more than one occasion over a period of several days and arranged a phone call between the governor and the woman, Mr. Johnson’s companion.
After the calls from Ms. Brown and the conversation with the governor, the woman failed to appear for the court hearing on Feb. 8, and the case was dropped.
I realize these posts regarding this are pretty terse. I’m just not sure what one can possibly goddamn say. Seriously, what kind of person does this? I don’t care how great your buddy is: this is flat-out harassment, plain and simple.
It’s amazing to me that there are apparently people out there who find this completely acceptable behaviour in the name of “politics.”