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Ronan Farrow, whose New Yorker article broke the Harvey Weinstein scandal, just published another explosive investigative piece with his co-author Jane Mayer. The target this time is a powerful New York Democrat, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman, if guilty, was especially brazen in praising the earlier New Yorker article.
And look who called this one in 2013.
Weiner is gone, Spitzer is gone – next will be lightweight A.G. Eric Schneiderman. Is he a crook? Wait and see, worse than Spitzer or Weiner
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2013
Here are highlighted excerpts of Schneiderman’s defense, from the New Yorker.
BOMBSHELL: “Four Women Accuse NY’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of Physical Abuse — he raised his profile as a voice against sexual misconduct. Now, after suing Harvey Weinstein, he faces a #MeToo reckoning of his own.” @JaneMayerNYer & @RonanFarrow https://t.co/gsolisSGAe pic.twitter.com/MVBngagjse
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) May 7, 2018
Let’s take his claims seriously to start.
In a statement, Schneiderman said, “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
“[R]ole playing and other consensual sexual activity” like 50 Shades of Grey, the movie that grossed $571,006,128 on an estimated $40 million budget? The book that has sold over 100 million copies mainstreaming BDSM? Is it possible that the New York State Attorney General thought he could engage in unconventional, transgressive sexual relationships with elite sanction? Or is he a brute who saw an opportunity in elite culture?
Consider the intersection of the 50 Shades phenomenon with the Gwyneth Paltrow Goop online magazine endorsed elite Los Angeles sex party, Snctm, coming to New York in 2017. Bowker.com reported “[c]ompared to the typical adult fiction consumer, buyers of the Fifty Shades books are more likely to be women, live in the Northeast, and have a significantly higher household income.” Goop favorably reviewed Snctm:
The easy association is Eyes Wide Shut: A masqued black-tie dinner that evolves over the course of the night from amuse bouche to what founder, Damon Lawner, calls “erotic theater,” where female performers (all volunteers) set the tone for what unfolds […] Some guests engage, some engage only with each other (while women can buy a ticket, men cannot attend unless they’re members ($10,000-$50,000), part of a couple, or reserve dinner), and others choose not to touch at all.
Men pay $1,500 to $1,875 (the discount rate applies when you bring a female partner) to attend each party, or buy an annual VIP membership for $75,000, which includes admission to all parties, access to private rooms, unlimited Cristal Champagne and a sterling silver pendant of a lion that shows they’re a top-of-the-food-chain kind of guy. Carefully vetted, beautiful women — who outnumber the guys by about three to one — pay zilch.
“We had close to 1,000 applications for this event and we’re letting in about 100,” explains Snctm founder Damon Lawner, a divorced father of two. “It’s a highly curated crowd.”
By the end of the story, a 22-year-old “Mormon [woman] raised in Utah” has “had sex with six people, including a threesome with a 50-something sugar daddy” who pays her “tuition for her third year of college and a round-trip flight to Los Angeles … [for] the next Snctm party in Hollywood….”
So it was supposedly all the rage for rich and powerful men to have cultural elite-sanctioned access to women in private BDSM and public ritualistic sex parties. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a bit, according to Mayer and Farrow.
As New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, Schneiderman, who is sixty-three, has used his authority to take legal action against the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to demand greater compensation for the victims of Weinstein’s alleged sexual crimes.
Yet, “four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters … accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence.”
[T]wo of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.
The rest of the story is one of women being repeatedly smacked around by Schneiderman, confiding in friends, and yet not taking him down. The reason? “He’s a good attorney general, he’s doing good things. I didn’t want to jeopardize that.” What good things? Progressive things, according to The New Yorker.
Schneiderman’s activism on behalf of feminist causes has increasingly won him praise from women’s groups. On May 1st, the New York-based National Institute for Reproductive Health honored him as one of three “Champions of Choice” at its annual fund-raising luncheon.
It appears that Schneiderman’s prosecution of Harvey Weinstein finally drove the women he allegedly abused to break their silence to the same writer who had the tenacity to break the media wall of silence on Hollywood abusers of women. But how did this man think that his behavior would never come back to bite his career? Remember the decade-old example of Republican Jack Ryan’s Senate 2004 candidacy being sunk by sex club claims from his divorce? The salacious sex club tidbits were detailed by CNN, of course. Ah, but that was a Republican and Obama had to be elected to the Senate.
Unable to withstand pressure from media and politicians, Eric Schneiderman resigned his post within hours after allegations of his physical abuse against women were published.
“It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York. In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me. While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”
The New York Times has already published a good summary of Schneiderman’s rise and fall. The Times wrote of his progressive credentials, also referred to in The New Yorker.
Mr. Schneiderman has long been regarded as one of the state’s most progressive politicians, even before his 2013 lawsuit against Trump University and his subsequent suits against the Trump administration made him the darling of the political left. Last fall, Mr. Schneiderman’s office proudly pointed to a segment on the late-night comedy show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” in which the attorney general was described as “a hero who stood up to democracy’s nemesis,” a Superman-like character known as Schneider-man.
From #Resistance and #MeToo hero to retaining a criminal defense attorney against his own possible prosecution in less than a day.