Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, who served as a Democratic Congressman representing Illinois's 2nd congressional district from 1995 until his resignation in 2012, is the latest to be accused of sexual harassment.
He’s being called out by a journalist, Danielle Young, who says the Baptist minister and Chicago community leader grabbed her thigh while making a crude comment. She wrote about the encounter in an article for The Root.
“In all truth, I was originally never going to tell this story. Because for the longest time, I didn’t even know if there was a story. I didn’t take what had happened to me seriously,” begins the article.
The harassment, alleges the journalist, took place during photo-op after a media event. She says that what happened to her was “so casual” that she almost didn’t consider it sexual harassment at the time, “even though it was beyond my desire.”
Young says she met Jackson after a “riveting and inspiring speech” he gave about the responsibility of black journalists. She walked up to Jackson with a smile on her face, and she says he smiled back.
"His eyes scanned my entire body. All of a sudden, I felt naked in my sweater and jeans. As I walked within arm’s reach of him, Jackson reached out a hand and grabbed my thigh, saying, 'I like all of that right there!' and gave my thigh a tight squeeze,” recounted Young.
She says she was shocked by what he did and what he said. She wrote, “I did what most women in an uncomfortable position do: I giggled. And I continued to giggle as he pulled me in closer, stared down at my body, smiled and told me he was only kidding. The entire time, my co-worker snapped photos.”
Young’s post includes several photos of the meet and greet. She writes, "don't let the smile fool you. I'm cringing on the inside."
Young continues, “When I was finally able to pull myself away from the Rev. Jackson’s grip, I was deflated. I admired this man who marched alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who represented our ability to overcome, a man who is really ... just a man.”
In the full story, Young also related an uncomfortable experience with film director John Singleton. She says he sexually harassed her as well.
“I personally never wanted to say anything because my situation was just a thigh grab. Barely a blip on anyone’s radar, even my own,” says Young. “Jackson’s tight grip doesn’t even measure up to what any of the victims of Harvey Weinstein and others have had to endure; however, I was uncomfortable and had to swallow the lump in my throat as I stood right beside the civil rights leader.”
Young says she spoke out because she thinks it’s important to call out men when they act inappropriately. She writes, “My silence gave Jackson permission to continue grabbing at the next pair of thick thighs he liked. I’m hoping that my voice does the opposite.”
A representative for Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition said: "Although Rev. Jackson does not recall the meeting three years ago, he profoundly and sincerely regrets any pain Ms. Young may have experienced."
In other related news, "Gossip Girl" star Ed Westwick was accused of Rape. He claims that he has never met the woman.