Christine O’Donnell’s camp has issued a statement in response to Gawker’s widely criticised exclusive in which an anonymous male describes a drunken sexual encounter he had with the Delaware Tea Party Senate hopeful three years ago on Halloween.
“This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with,” O’Donnell’s communications director, Doug Sachtleben, said in a statement released on the candidate’s Facebook page. “Such attacks are truly shameful, but they will not distract us from making our case to Delaware voters.”
Sachtleben also published a condemning statement from the National organisation of Women:
“NOW repudiates Gawker’s decision to run this piece. It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O’Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere,” said NOW president Terry O’Neill.
Since going live a little before 2 p.m. on Thursday, the Gawker piece, titled “I Had a One Night Stand With Christine O’Donnell,” had attracted more than 600,000 pageviews as of Friday morning. The author, identified by Foster Kamer of The Village Voice as 28-year-old Dustin Dominiak, makes it clear that O’Donnell declined to have sex, indicating to him that she was a “born again virgin,” as is consistent with the socially conservative political platform she’s running on. But he did offer salacious details, including a description of what he observed “When her underwear came off.”
Many journalists and media observers immediately blasted the piece on Twitter. Gawker’s sister blog, Jezebel, which ran a cross post to the article, published its own critical response by editor Jessica Coen.
“The point and problem is this: If the politician in question were a man, this wouldn’t be a story,” Coen wrote. “Just because [O’Donnell’s] a nutjob doesn’t mean her third-base hookups matter. They don’t.”
But Gawker editor Remy Stern defended the decision to publish the sensational narrative, for which he said Gawker paid an amount in the “low four figures,” according to The Upshot.
“If it was any politician whose private life diverged from his public life in such an interesting way, we’d be interested in that,” Stern told The Upshot’s Michael Calderone . “It had nothing to do with her being a woman … From an editorial standpoint, it was compelling to hear it from his own words … it’s a good story and that’s why we did it.”
Meanwhile, on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel show last night, Hannity carefully offered O’Donnell the chance to respond, but she didn’t take the bait, saying she’d had six campaign events that day, so “I’ve been meeting the voters, not really watching what the liberal media is saying.”
Watch the clip below via Mediaite:
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