Actress and feminist activist Alyssa Milano has come to the defense of former Vice President and likely Democratic presidential candidate "Creepy" Joe Biden, posting a lengthy statement on social media attempting to both maintain that we should "believe all women" but also believe Biden because "we cannot assume all women's experiences are the same" — and she has personally had positive experiences with the Democratic frontrunner. Milano's defense has not gone over well with some of her fellow feminist "allies."
On Friday, former Nevada State Sen. Lucy Flores, a Democrat, published an account in The Cut of an experience at a campaign rally in 2014 "that changed how I saw Joe Biden": "I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, 'I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual f***? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?' He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused."
On Monday, another woman came forward to describe a similar encounter with Biden back in 2009 that "crossed the line": "It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head," Amy Lappos told The Courant. "He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth. I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody. There’s absolutely a line of decency. There’s a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny."
With pressure on Biden mounting, including from other Democratic presidential hopefuls, Milano posted a series of tweets Monday defending the embattled would-be president.
"I am proud to call Joe Biden a friend," the actress wrote in a post featuring a picture of her and Biden. "He has been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years, and I have been fortunate to accompany him to events with survivors where he has listened to their stories, empathized with them, and comforted them. That's who Joe Biden is — a warm, generous individual who believes its on all of us to pay attention to women's stories and experiences."
"Biden started Its On Us because he believes to meaningfully change our culture, everyone — including those often left out of the conversation like college athletes and fraternity brothers — needed to be part of the movement," Milano continued. "Joe Biden’s response that he never meant to make anyone uncomfortable and that he'll listen and learn from anyone who says otherwise is exactly the leadership we need to build a culture where women are heard and are equal."
Milano then directly addressed Flores' accusation and attempted to both maintain the radical feminist "believe all women" mantra while also defending Biden: "I respect Lucy Flores' decision to share her story and agree with Biden that we all must pay attention to it. But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women's experiences are the same."
"I believe that Joe Biden's intent has never been to make anyone uncomfortable, and that his kind, empathetic leadership is what our country needs," she concluded. "Especially now."
Responses by Milano's followers to her defense of Biden has been overwhelmingly negative (h/t Twitchy). Below are some examples of responses:
I'm sorry, but no one is protected from this kind of criticism, regardless of whether or not he's one of "our own". To treat him differently just because of what party he's affiliated with is completely hypocritical.
Maybe you're too young to remember the Anita Hill hearings. I will never forgive him for that. He may be a good egg as far as men go (because the bar tends to be low) but he shouldn't be president.
you are everything that is wrong with “being an ally.” this is gross. you’re gross.
Oh Alyssa no. You can count someone as a friend, have had nothing but positive interactions with them- & they can still have had harassed or assaulted other people. Being an impactful advocate means listening to & believing others ESPECIALLY when it’s out of your comfort zone.
Ma'am, it is not okay to throw the two women who courageously spoke out under the bus like this.
Sit down, @Alyssa_Milano You’re minimizing the uncomfortable experiences of vulnerable women who needed Biden for their jobs.
A long thread of niceties about Joe Biden where you make Lucy Flores an undermined footnote is wrong. There are ways to grapple with the male allies in our lives who have shown bad tendencies while not throwing women of color under the bus. Please take a step back.
#BelieveWomen but only when it's politically expedient apparently
When will he apologize to the hundreds of women and girla he has done this to for decades? THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT!!!!!
The f*** is wrong with you? Big #metoo champ until it’s someone you like? Just because YOU have only had positive interactions w/ him doesn’t mean everyone has been fortunate enough to have the same. His intent doesn’t f***ing matter. Are men reporting issues? No? Just women? Oh ... This is the exact bullsh** that helps perpetuate rape culture. “He’s always been kind to me” “he didn’t mean anything bad by it” “he didn’t know he was being inappropriate”. F*** that. No more f***ing excuses. You’re showing to be a pretty f***ing sh***y ally.