Published October 29, 2010
After Republican women faced name-calling for allegedly being a "whore," a "b----" and now something akin to a prudish slut, the National Organization of Women has said it's had enough, and five days before the midterm election has called for a stop of the "sexist, misogynist attacks."
NOW President Terry O'Neill issued a statement late Thursday after a gossip website published a report from an anonymous man -- later identified by "The Smoking Gun" website as Dustin Dominiak -- claiming that he had a one-night stand three years ago with Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell.
"Today the tabloid website Gawker published an anonymous piece titled "I Had A One-Night Stand With Christine O'Donnell" that takes the routine sexual degradation of women candidates to a disgusting new low. NOW repudiates Gawker's decision to run this piece. It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O'Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere," O'Neill said.
NOW has endorsed O'Donnell's opponent Chris Coons in the Delaware race, and said it disagrees with O'Donnell's political views.
"That does not mean it's acceptable to use slut-shaming against her, or any woman," O'Neill said. "Let me be honest: I look forward to seeing Christine O'Donnell defeated at the polls, but this kind of sexist attack is an affront to all women, and I won't stand for it."
The Gawker story tells an account of a tipsy O'Donnell hitting on a man who lives in an apartment jointly owned by O'Donnell, her mother and her aunt. It alleges that O'Donnell, who is single, having briefly met the man a few months earlier, swung by the apartment before a night out to celebrate Halloween and convinced him to dress up and go out to a bar with her.
After drinking several beers, the first-person account recalls how the two returned to his apartment and start getting romantic. Ultimately, however, the account says O'Donnell refused to consummate the evening, and the two shared a bed strictly for sleeping.
On Thursday, O'Donnell's office issued a statement condemning the report.
"This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with. From Secretary Clinton, to Governor Palin, to soon-to-be Governor Haley, Christine's political opponents have been willing to engage in appalling and baseless attacks -- all with the aim of distracting the press from covering the real issues in this race. Even the National Organization for Women gets it," said Communications Director Doug Sachtleben.
Speaking on Fox News on Thursday night, O'Donnell said she is targeted for personal attacks because her opponent does not want to discuss the issues.
"Right now, the Democrats can't run on their record," she said. "So instead they are trying to make it personal. They are trying to make it about me, because they can't attack my position."
O'Donnell is not the first Republican candidate to be blasted in purely sexist terms.
Earlier this week, liberal talk show host Joy Behar called Republican Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle a "b----" who "is going to hell." Angle responded by sending Behar flowers and thanking her for helping her raise funds. Behar responded by saying that she shouldn't have used that expression on Angle because she reserves the "B" word for her friends.
Earlier this season, Republican Californian gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was called a "whore" by a woman identified as opponent Jerry Brown's wife during a conversation picked up on a voicemail messaging system that Brown had thought he'd hung up on. Brown later apologized for the slight.
In South Carolina, two Republican operatives have also claimed to have affairs with Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley. Neither has produced evidence of any trysts and Haley has denied both charges, saying she has been faithful throughout her 13-year marriage.
Dominiak was apparently outed by roommate Brad Kurisko, who was identified by The Smoking Gun website as the owner of the Boy Scouts uniform that Dominiak wore as his Halloween costume the night he and O'Donnell went for drinks. Dominiak's Facebook account was apparently deactivated after the Gawker story was published.