The Double Standard: Making False Accusations for Publicity and Profit

Accusations are not evidence of guilt. Do you remember the Al Sharpton/Tawana Brawley incident? “In 1987, when she was 15 years old, Brawley received media attention when she accused six white men, some of whom were police officers, of raping her.” Sharpton got involved and hyped the story. “After hearing evidence, a grand jury concluded in October 1988 that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she herself may have created the appearance of an attack. The New York prosecutor whom Brawley had accused as one of her alleged assailants successfully sued Brawley and her three advisers for defamation.”

One of those advisers was Sharpton. “The jury found Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements against one of the defendants.” In 2004, Sharpton was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. He makes regular guest appearances on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. He is the host of MSNBC’s “Politics Nation,” a nightly talk show. Supporting false accusations and being sued for defamation has not stopped his career. In fact, it seems to have enhanced it. He’s still considered a spokesman for the Black community, although I suspect that many Blacks disavow Sharpton’s self-appointed position and cringe every time he appears on camera.

Then there’s the Duke Lacrosse Case. In 2006, three members of the men’s lacrosse team at Duke University were accused of raping Crystal Gail Mangum, an African American student who attended North Carolina Central University. Players were suspended, the coach was forced to resign by the athletic director, and Duke President Richard Brodhead canceled the rest of the 2006 season. The accusation proved to be false:

On April 11, 2007, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges and declared the three players innocent. Cooper stated that the charged players  . . . were victims of a “tragic rush to accuse.” The initial prosecutor for the case, Durham County’s District Attorney Mike Nifong, who was labeled a “rogue prosecutor” by Cooper, withdrew from the case in January 2007 after the North Carolina State Bar filed ethics charges against him. That June, Nifong was disbarred for “dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation,” making Nifong the first prosecutor in North Carolina history to lose his law license based on actions in a case. Nifong was found guilty of criminal contempt and served one day in jail. Mangum never faced any charges for her false accusations as Cooper declined to prosecute her.

Jesse Jackson supported the false accuser to such an extent that his non-profit Rainbow/Push Coalition organization offered to pay her tuition whether she fabricated the story or not. “A poster that ‘looked like a wanted poster’ was distributed on campus and in nearby neighborhoods shortly after the allegations surfaced in March 2006 showing pictures and names of 40 members of the lacrosse team, urging them to ‘come forward’ with information on the alleged rape.”

I know how false accusations work. The goal is to extract money from the accused even if there is no guilt. The accuser and those working with him or her gamble that the accused, whether guilty or not, will settle out of court. It’s cheaper to pay off a complainant than hire lawyers, spend time giving depositions, and going to court. Time is money.

In April 2008, the company I work for was attempting to fill an opening in the Customer Service department made by the termination of an employee who was unreliable and showed sporadic attendance. We advertised the position on Christianjobs.com stating our Christian organization’s need for a customer service staff member. We interviewed a number of women and settled on one very professional young woman.

One woman we had interviewed but not hired claimed we had discriminated against her because of her religious views. As a 501 (C) (3) religious organization, we can discriminate based on religion, even though that was not the reason we did not hire her. Our company hires people from a variety of religious backgrounds. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging us with “religious discrimination.”

The EEOC decided we were guilty without meeting with anyone at our company, calling to ask about the circumstances concerning the charges, or the possibility of mediation. The EEOC levied more than a $30,000 fine against our company based on the accusation of one person. It would have come down to she said/we said.

So what did we do? We fought the EEOC. We did not negotiate the price. We stuck to our principles and the truthfulness of our hiring practices, and said no to what we believed was an attempt to silence our organization because of our political views. Can I prove that this was what was going on with the EEOC? No I can’t. But I can tell you that the first written argument we sent to the EEOC was irrefutable. Even if we had discriminated based on religion, Title VII gives an organization like ours that right. The EEOC did not budge, and neither did we.

In the end, the EEOC dropped the case and so did the complainant who could have brought a civil suit against us. I believe that when the higher-ups reviewed the case, they concluded that there is no way they could win in a court of law. Most companies like ours would have settled with the EEOC and paid a negotiated fine. Just because an accused business or person “settles” by paying a complainant does not mean there was ever any wrongdoing.

By the way, the woman we hired instead of the complainant was African American! What do you think would have happened if we had hired the less qualified applicant over the Black woman?

One of the things that is contributing to high unemployment is numerous anti-discrimination laws, claims of being made to feel “uncomfortable” by some gesture or some comment made by a manager or supervisor, and people taking advantage of the liberal bent of a bureaucracy like the EEOC. I know lots of companies that do not advertise for job openings. They are afraid that they might hire someone who has “issues” and will use those “issues” as a way to make some quick money.

None of what I’ve written is to imply that the accusations being leveled against Herman Cain are false. But given liberalism’s heightened sensitivity to any gesture, word, or look from a conservative that can be perceived to be discriminatory, I am suspicious of such accusations.  Liberals are almost never cited for such violations, as the following makes clear:

A U.S. congresswoman who once demanded that hurricanes be given names that sounded more “black” is now in the spotlight for allegedly being the queen of mean girls to her staff, including calling one aide a “stupid mother—-er” on numerous occasions. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, is said to go far beyond the typical nicknames politicians give their workers. According to a scathing report in the Daily Caller, the Houston lawmaker addressed one of her employees with the emphatic M.F.-bomb “constantly … like, all the time.”

Another Jackson Lee aide recounted the time her parents came to Washington to visit: “They were really excited to come to the congressional office. They’re small town people, so for them it was a huge deal. They were actually sitting in the main lobby waiting area….[Jackson Lee] came out screaming at me over a scheduling change. Called me a ‘stupid idiot. Don’t be a moron, you foolish girl’ and actually did this in front of my parents, of all things.”

Since Sheila Jackson Lee is a very liberal Democrat, hardly anyone pays attention to her harassing outbursts. Conservatives have to be especially careful. Even to repeat what a liberal says about someone is to make you the culprit. The best example is the way Rush Limbaugh is accused of calling Barack Obama the “Magic Negro” even though it was first applied to him by movie and culture critic, David Ehrenstein, in a March 19, 2007 Los Angeles Times op ed column. “Limbaugh . . . remarked that Ehrenstein had not been criticized for his op ed because he was a black man and a member of the liberal media establishment, therefore, double standards were being applied to conservative commentary.”

Al Sharpton discussed the song with a New York Times reporter and stated: “Limbaugh puts things in a way that he can’t be blamed for easy bigotry. Some of the songs he does about me just make me laugh. But he’s the most dangerous guy we have to deal with on the right.”