Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Journalist claims she was sexually harassed by Rev Jesse Jackson and director John Singleton

Rev Jesse Jackson, Danielle Young and John Singleton
A female journalist has accused Rev Jesse Jackson and movie director John Singleton of groping her.

Danielle Young, a writer for the online site The Root, penned an article in which she alleges that Jackson touched her inappropriately while also making a crude sexual remark during an encounter in Chicago three years ago.

‘I walked toward Jackson, smiling, and he smiled back at me,’ Young wrote.

‘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.’

The article includes a number of photographs of the encounter. Although there is no picture of Jackson touching Young’s thighs, the civil rights leader is seen hugging and embracing Young.

‘I was shocked, to say the least,’ she wrote.

‘Even though Jackson had had his hand reached out, I had no idea that he would touch me in a sexual way.’

Young claimed that the incident was witnessed by people who were there.

'A few of my co-workers saw Jackson’s hand grip my thigh as it was happening, and they laughed harder than I did,' she wrote.

'Their laughter didn’t feel like the same type of nervous laughter I had when my thigh was in his hand.

'Theirs was as if they had just heard the best joke ever. It was almost an encouragement of Jackson’s behavior.

'I’m not blaming them; I’m just curious as to why most of them thought what happened was more funny than alarming. That’s concerning.'

Young wrote that even though she is seen smiling and laughing in the photos, it was simply a defense mechanism.

‘I did what most women in an uncomfortable position do: I giggled,’ Young wrote.

‘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.’

‘In many of the photos, you can see that I am visibly uncomfortable but attempting to laugh it all off.

‘In the last photo, I am pointing to the camera, asking him if we can just take the picture.

‘When I was finally able to pull myself away from the Rev Jackson’s grip, I was deflated,’ she wrote.

‘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.

‘Don’t let the smile fool you. I’m cringing on the inside.’

Young wrote that she approached a former co-worker who was in the conference room where the incident happened.

‘I remember him being inappropriate with all the women,’ the ex-co-worker told Young.

‘And I also remember you telling me that he did something more with you.

‘And then we brushed the s**t off and chalked it up to him just being a dirty old man.’

Jackson is the founder of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition, a civil rights organization based in Chicago.

A spokesperson for Rainbow/PUSH told WMAQ-TV in Chicago: ‘Although Rev Jackson does not recall the meeting three years ago, he profoundly and sincerely regrets any pain Ms Young may have experienced.’

In the same article in The Root, Young also alleges that Singleton also made unwanted sexual advances toward her.

Young alleged that the incident took place earlier this year at the American Black Film Festival while she was interviewing the director best known for his work on the 1991 movie Boyz n the Hood.

She was at the June festival, which was held this year in Miami Beach, where Singleton was promoting his new FX series, Snowfall.

'I conducted the interview, and afterward I went over to Singleton to grab my mic and he grabbed my wrist and pulled me toward him, saying, “Bring that juiciness over here",' she wrote.

'He was sitting in a director’s chair, so when he pulled me, I fell forward and stopped myself by placing my hands on his legs.

'He then leaned forward and kissed me on my cheek. I said, “Oh, oh, OK,” and stood up, embarrassed because everyone was definitely still in the room.

'Mostly, no one reacted, aside from a few seconds of laughter. A few people asked Singleton for a photo, and I didn’t.

'He noticed. When he was about to leave the room, he asked if I wanted a picture. In order not to make it awkward, I said yes.

'He grabbed me around my waist and pulled me into him, saying, “Oooh, I’m gonna grab on tight to you.”

'I laughed, because that’s what I do when I am uncomfortable, and snapped the photo. 

'When I posted the photo on Instagram, I admitted to his sexual advances, but I kept it light with humor. A therapist would tell me that’s a defense mechanism.

'After Singleton and his crew left the room, I turned to a woman working for the festival and I said, “Did you see that?”

'She said, “Yeah, girl. I heard he likes big girls.” The woman was also “of size,” and told me that when she went to take a selfie with him, he kissed her on the cheek and said, “I love your face! It’s so soft. I want to feel your cheek on my cheek.”

'The woman’s admission was so pedestrian, I was convinced she was simply reacting the same way many women do to unwanted sexual attention—she ignored it. I tried to ignore it, but I felt weird.

'I left the room and then another journalist asked me about the interview, I told her about the arm pull, the “juiciness” and the kiss, and she said, “Girl, he’s worth $50 million! You should pursue that!”

'I couldn’t believe she was telling me to ignore my better judgment and my skin-crawling to make a man who doesn’t respect boundaries my sugar daddy. I felt like I should never have said anything.'

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