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Since the #metoo movement exploded three years ago, countless accusations have come to light against powerful men who abused their authority to take advantage of women and create cultures of hostility. In a surprising twist, the latest high-profile alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment isn’t a man, but a woman. And she’s the face of “Women for Trump.”
A big player in Trump’s reelection campaign (and Trump Jr.’s girlfriend), Kimberly Guilfoyle worked at Fox News for over a decade. She left the network two years ago, purportedly to pursue her political career heading up a Trump super PAC. But according to multiple reports, her departure wasn’t so benign. They claim she was forced out due to scandalous allegations of sexual harassment against a female staffer.
According to Guilfoyle’s former assistant – a young woman just out of college aspiring to a career in the media industry – Guilfoyle’s conduct repeatedly crossed the line. A 42-page draft complaint alleges that Guilfoyle:
- Required the assistant to work at Guilfoyle’s apartment, often overnight, while Guilfoyle walked around naked
- Forced the assistant to give her a bare-thigh massage
- Frequently shared unsolicited details of her sex life
- Routinely made the assistant look at photos of her sexual partners’ genitalia
- Pressured the assistant to give sexual favors to another Fox employee
The staffer also brought harassment allegations against Guilfoyle’s costar, Eric Bolling (who ended up getting booted after sending unsolicited lewd photos to female colleagues). She reportedly reached a million-plus-dollar settlement with Fox News before the complaint ever reached court.
According to the staffer, Guilfoyle blackmailed her and offered her hush money to keep silent. Apparently, it wasn’t the first time Guilfoyle had used that tactic.
A protégé of Roger Ailes (the now-disgraced former Fox News president), Guilfoyle reportedly launched a smear campaign against Ailes’ accuser when allegations of sexual misconduct blew up against him in 2016. The network hired an independent law firm to conduct a sweeping probe of the network. Guilfoyle pressured female colleagues to stand up for “Team Roger” and vilified those who refused.
Ironically, when #metoo went viral in 2017, Guilfoyle positioned herself as an advocate for women. She frequently reported on the movement as a legal analyst. To date, she remains a prominent female figure in the Republican party. At the recent Republican National Convention, she gave a rousing speech on opening night. She’s also reportedly a future prospect for RNC chair.
The allegations illustrate how sexual harassment in the workplace doesn’t always fit the usual mold. Men as well as women may be targets; and women may also be perpetrators. The harassing conduct can take many forms.
No matter who perpetrates it or how, sexual harassment is never okay. Nor is retaliation against the brave victims who speak up against it.