"You're nothing to me." A former Joe Biden aide says those words are still ringing in her ears after he allegedly sexually assaulted her in 1993, the Huffington Post reports. The accuser, Tara Reade, went on a podcast this week and said Biden kissed her, thrust his fingers inside her, and got upset when she pushed him off: "Come on, man!" he supposedly said. "I heard you liked me." Reade claims he then jabbed a finger at her and said she was nothing: "And he was right. That's how people treated me ... I have no platform, I am no one and to him I'm nothing." Reade was among eight women who accused Biden in April of inappropriate touching, but says she kept quiet about the rest after enduring a wave of online harassment. For more, including Vladimir Putin's role:
- Time's Up: Reade tried reaching out to Time's Up—a key organization in the #MeToo movement—but was rebuffed because the group was afraid of accusing a candidate for federal office, the Intercept reports. It seems Time's Up was concerned about losing its nonprofit status.
- Biden Responds: Joe Biden's camp thoroughly denies Reade's accusations, Fox News reports. "Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims," says campaign official Kate Bedingfield. "We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false."
- Putin's role: Reade was accused of being politically motived when she made her initial accusations last year—because she'd written a now-deleted Medium post praising Putin and Russia, Newsweek reports. At the time, she called Putin "a compassionate, caring, visionary leader." Now, she says, she was knee-deep in "Oliver Stone documentaries" and thought Russia was misrepresented. "Since then, doing more research, I don't support Putin at all," she says.
- Reade's Politics: Reade calls herself "a vegan feminist" and tells Vox her political alliance has shifted during the presidential campaign—from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (and Marianne Williamson) to Sen. Bernie Sanders. She also admits her accusation could hurt Biden's chances: "I don’t want Trump to be president," she says, but if Biden is "my president, I just can't fathom it.”
- Media attention: Reade's accusation received little mainstream media attention until hashtags like #IBelieveTara and #TimesUpBiden began cropping up on social media this week. At the Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi admits it's a tricky he said-she said story—but says the media appears to give female accusers short shrift when "the guy being accused is a Democrat running for president."
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