Three more women have come forward claiming they were touched inappropriately by former Vice President Joe Biden soon after he promised to be ‘much more mindful’ of respecting personal space.
The women, Vail Kohnert-Yount, Sofie Karasek and Ally Coll, told the Washington Post late Wednesday about instances where they were made to feel uncomfortable when touched by Biden.
It brings the total number of women who have spoken out publicly in recent days to seven.
Just hours before the latest allegations surfaced, Biden acknowledged in a
Biden, who is mulling a White House run, vowed to be ‘more mindful’ in the future about respecting personal space.
Three more women, including Sofie Karasek, came forward Wednesday saying Joe Biden had made them uncomfortable with inappropriate touching. Karasek said Biden pressed his forehead against hers at the 2016 Oscars (pictured above in a moment that has been widely shared) after she took to the stage as a sexual assault survivor
Ally Coll (left) claims Biden squeezed her shoulders and held her for ‘for a beat too long’ at a 2008 election event where she was working as a Democratic staffer. Vail Kohnert-Yount (right) claimed Biden pushed their foreheads together when she was White House intern in 2013
Karasek, one of the women who came forward Wednesday, met Biden in 2016 at the Oscars when she was among 51 sexual assault victims who took to the stage with Lady Gaga.
She said she was telling Biden about her friend who had died by suicide when he took her hands and pressed his forehead against hers.
The moment was captured by cameras and was widely shared on social media.
Karasek said that while she appreciated Biden’s support, the encounter made her feel uncomfortable and that she didn’t know how to respond at the time.
Another woman, Kohnert-Yount, said she met Biden when she was a White House intern back in 2013.
She said they shook hands before Biden allegedly put his hand on the back of her head and pressed their foreheads together as they spoke.
‘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’,’ Kohnert-Yount said.
She went on to say that believed Biden’s intentions were good ‘but it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace’.
Just hours before the latest allegations surfaced, Biden acknowledged in a Twitter video that his tendency toward physical displays of affection and encouragement has made some women uncomfortable
Coll, the third woman, said she met Biden at a 2008 election event when she was working as a Democratic staffer.
She said Biden squeezed her shoulders and held her for ‘for a beat too long’.
Coll, who now works for a non-profit that fights sexual harassment, said she brushed off feelings of discomfort at the time because she was nervous and excited to meet him.
JOE BIDEN’S FULL STATEMENT:
In the coming month I expect to be talking to you about a whole lot of issues and I’ll always be direct with you but today I want to talk about gestures of support and encouragement that I have made to women and some men, and I’ve made them uncomfortable.
And I’m always trying to be, in my career, I have 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 to say “You can do this.”
Whether they’re women, men, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been and the way I’ve tried to show I care about them and I’m listening.
Over the years, knowing the things that I’ve been through and the things that I’ve faced I’ve found that scores, if not hundreds of people, come up to me, and reached out for solace and comfort, something, anything that may help them get through the tragedy they’re going through.
So, it’s just who I am.
And I’ve never thought of politics as a cold and antiseptic. I’ve always thought of it as about connecting people – as I’ve said, shaking hands, hands on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement.
And now, now, it’s all about taking selfies together.
You know social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset.
I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying.
I understand it and I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility – my responsibility and I’ll meet it.
But I always believe, governing, quite frankly, life for that matter is about connecting, connecting with people.
That won’t change but I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space and that’s a good thing – a good thing.
I’ve worked my whole life to empower women. I’ve worked my whole life to prevent abuse. I’ve written, err, err, and so the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been is just not there.
I will. I will.
‘There’s been a lack of understanding about the way that power can turn something that might seem innocuous into something that can make somebody feel uncomfortable,’ she said.
None of the women who have come forward have accused Biden of sexual harassment. Rather, they’ve described behavior that made them feel uncomfortable because it invaded their personal space, regardless of his intentions.
Their stories were made public soon after Biden released a two-minute video addressing the claims of inappropriate touching years ago.
‘I want to talk about gestures of support and encouragement that I’ve made to some women and some men and I’ve made them uncomfortable,’ he said in the video.
‘I always try to be in my career, 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, whether they’re women, men, young, old.
‘It’s the way I’ve always been and tried to show that I care about them and I’m listening.
In his video, Biden referred to his wife Neilia and daughter Naomi being killed in a car crash in December 1972 shortly after he was first elected to the Senate. His sons Beau and Hunter survived, but Beau died in May 2015 of brain cancer.
‘Over the years knowing I’ve been through the things that I’ve faced, I found that scores, if not hundreds, of people have come up to me and reached out for solace and comfort. Something, anything that may help them get through the tragedy they’re going through. So it’s just who I am,’ Biden said.
The longtime Democratic senator from Delaware said he has ‘never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic’.
‘Now, it is all about taking selfies together. Social norms begin to change and they’ve shifted and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been re-set and I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying,’ he said.
Biden promised to be more ‘mindful and respectful’ going forward.
‘I understand it. And I’ll be much more mindful. That is my responsibility. My responsibility and I’ll meet it. But I’ll always believe governing, quite frankly, and life for that matter is about connecting, about connecting with people. That won’t change. I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space and that is a good thing. That is a good thing,’ he said.
He concluded by addressing his history as an advocate for women.
‘I worked my life empower women. I worked my whole life to prevent abuse. So the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact the personal space is important – more important than it’s ever been, is just not true. I will. I will,’ he said.
Biden’s first accuser, former Nevada politician Lucy Flores, said she was ‘mortified’ when Biden planted a ‘big, slow kiss’ on the back of her head as she waited to take the stage at a campaign rally five years ago
Amy Lappos said she felt uncomfortable when Joe Biden touched her at a 2009 political fundraiser. Caitlyn Caruso said Biden touched her thigh and gave her a long hug at an event devoted to sexual assault at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas
Former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s wife says this photo of Biden touching her shoulder was ‘misleading’ and that he was helping her get through the nervous occasion
His defense comes five days after his first accuser, former Nevada politician Lucy Flores, said she was ‘mortified’ when Biden planted a ‘big, slow kiss’ on the back of her head as she waited to take the stage at a campaign rally five years ago.
Amy Lappos told Connecticut’s Hartford Courant newspaper about an incident at a 2009 political fundraiser which, she said, ‘wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head.’
Caitlyn Caruso, 22, said she met Biden at an event devoted to sexual assault at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where she studied as an undergrad.
Caruso, who was 19 years old at the time, said that Biden placed his hand on her thigh while she squirmed in her seat to show how uncomfortable she was, according to
D.J. Hill, 59, met Biden at a fundraiser in Minneapolis in 2012 with her husband. The couple were posing for a photo with Biden when she claims he put his hand on her shoulder and began to run it down her back.
Biden came under criticism in 2015 for massaging the shoulders of Ash Carter’s wife as her husband was sworn in as secretary of defense.
Photographs of that incident have circulated online so frequently that Stephanie Carter posted a column on Sunday saying Biden was merely ‘a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful’.
President Donald Trump, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct (which he denies), was asked Wednesday whether Biden should apologize for the ways he has interacted with women. The president replied, ‘No, he’s going to make his own decisions. He’s very capable of making a decision, I assume.’
A day earlier, Trump taunted Biden at a National Republican Congressional Committee fundraiser, saying, ‘Our former vice president, I was going to call him. I don’t know him well. I was gonna say, ‘Welcome to the world, Joe. You having a good time, Joe?”