The Character Attacks Against Cain's Sex Harassment Accuser Begin

What Women Really Think
Nov. 7 2011 5:41 PM

Cain's Accuser Must Be A Money-Grubbing Slut

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Sharon Bialek has accused Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain of sexual impropriety

Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Well, that didn’t take long. When the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain were lodged anonymously, the pro-Cain defense was that there’s no such thing as sexual harassment. Now that Sharon Bialek, a fourth accuser, has come forward to make her name and the details of one alleged incident public, the most desperate and least scrupulous are unveiling a new defense: Bialek is a money-grubbing slut. There needn’t be actual evidence that she’s a money-grubbing slut; rather, the fact that she’s leveling these accusations is the evidence. Everything else is then filtered through that lens. Like the fact that “celebrity lawyer” Gloria Allred is representing her. Like her hair, which some have deemed too long and blonde and in-her-face. That  hairstyle is “white trash,” a blogger comments, implying that she must be poor and easily bought. Bialek “Laugh[ed] About Her Hair at Presser,” Foxnew.com reports, implying that any woman who comments, when asked, that she just got her hair done must be frivolous and lying. “Nuts and sluts,” a commenter on freerepublic.com writes. “Drag $100 bill through a trailer park and see what you get.”

Rush Limbaugh is the most creative at this; little surprise there. He reports on his show that he’s been pronouncing Bialek’s name incorrectly. “Gloria Allred says her name is Buy-A-Lick, as in [slurp, slurp] Buy-A-Lick,” Limbaugh says, as captured by mediamatters.org. “There’s no 'R' in the name so you can’t say it’s Rent-A-Lick.”

Libby Copeland is a writer in New York and a regular Slate contributor. She was previously a Washington Post reporter and editor for 11 years. She can be reached at libbycopeland@gmail.com.

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