Only a few hours after a video of former Vice President Joe Biden was issued, in which he promised that he would be “more mindful” about other people’s personal space, three more women have come out saying that Biden had made inappropriate gestures towards them. All three of them also said that his video simply wasn’t enough.
The Washington Post published an article late Wednesday night, in which Vail Kohnert-Yount explained that Biden approached her while she was an intern at the White House in 2013. “He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me. I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl,'” said Kohnert-Yount in an interview with The Post. Even though Kohnert-Yount explained that she didn’t consider Biden’s actions to be “sexual assault or harassment,” she said that it was “the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”
On Wednesday, Biden responded to the several allegations against him by saying that he promised to “be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.” In a video posted on Twitter of Biden responding to the allegations, he said: “Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.” While speaking to The Post about Biden’s comments, Kohnert-Yount said: “I appreciate his attempt to do better in the future, but to me this is not mainly about whether Joe Biden has adequate respect for personal space. It’s about women deserving equal respect in the workplace.”
Sofie Karasek also came forward and told The Post that the former vice president behaved inappropriately when he touched his forehead to hers after the 2016 Oscars ceremony. Along with 51 other people, Karasek appeared on stage at the Oscars to represent people who had been a victim of sexual assault. In response to Biden’s video, Karasek said that he “still didn’t take ownership in the way that he needs to.” She continued by saying that Biden “emphasized that he wants to connect with people and, of course, that’s important. But again, all of our interactions and friendships are a two-way street. . . . Too often it doesn’t matter how the woman feels about it or they just assume that they’re fine with it.”
Another woman, Ally Coll, came out saying that Biden squeezed her “for a beat too long” while she was working as a staffer organizing a Democratic reception in 2008. Coll is now responsible for running the Purple Campaign, which is a nonprofit that strives to fight sexual harassment.
In a statement on the Purple Campaign website, they say: “Courageous women have broken the silence by sharing their experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace, exposing a systemic problem that exists across every industry. Now we must work together to create lasting change.” They continued by stating that “The Purple Campaign’s mission is to end workplace sexual harassment by implementing stronger corporate policies, establishing better laws and empowering people to create lasting change within their own workplaces and communities.”
In an interview with The Post, Coll explained that she wasn’t initially concerned over Biden’s odd behavior, but as time passed, she understood that it was inappropriate. Coll told The Post that Biden’s video only showed “a continued lack of understanding about why these stories are being told and their relevance in the #MeToo era.”
According to The New York Times, two other women came out with even more allegations against Biden on Tuesday. One of the woman’s allegations date back to 2012, and the other woman’s allegations happened a few years later. Writer D.J. Hill, the woman who said the incident happened in 2012, claimed that while she was posing for pictures with her husband at a fundraiser in Minneapolis, Biden put his hand on her shoulder, then drew it down her back in a way that caused her to feel “very uncomfortable.” Hill stated that her husband noticed Biden’s behavior and he made a joke about it. The other woman, former college student Caitlyn Caruso, told The New York Times, that the former vice president “rested his hand on her thigh — even as she squirmed in her seat to show her discomfort — and hugged her ‘just a little bit too long’ at an event on sexual assault at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.” The now 22-year-old Caruso says that she was 19 at the time and had just finished speaking about her own sexual assault.
While speaking to the Hartford Courant, a former aide to Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, Amy Lappos, came out on Monday with allegations against Biden. She reported that the former vice president touched her face with both of his hands and rubbed noses with her in 2009. A former politician from Nevada, Lucy Flores, came out late last week with allegations against Biden, saying that he grabbed her shoulders, smelled her hair, and kissed the back of her head while at a campaign event in 2014. Flores was a part of the Bernie Sanders campaign and she was also a part of a board of activists that aligned with Sanders. In an interview with Fox News, one of Sanders’ former staffers stated that Flores is a “fraud” and a “racist.”
While he was speaking in his Twitter video, Biden talked about “gestures of support and encouragement” that he has shown towards men and women which “have made them uncomfortable.” He continued by saying: “In my career, I’ve always tried to make a human connection. That’s my responsibility, I think. I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say ‘you can do this.’ And whether they’re women, men, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been. It’s the way I’ve tried to show I care about them and I’m listening.”