Ex-Congressman Footie Pajamas So Mad Those #MeToo Ladies Ruined His Bright Career
In April of this year, Blake Farenthold, the footie pajama-wearing Texas congressman who once lamented that he couldn't challenge Susan Collins to a duel on account of her not having a penis, resigned from office -- several months after news broke that he had used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment suit brought against him by Lauren Greene, his former communications director. In the suit, Greene alleged that the Congressman told her that he had "wet dreams" about her and also informed her that she could show him her nipples. Just, you know, normal stuff like that.
Following his resignation, Farenthold was immediately handed a sweet $160,000-a-year gig as a lobbyist for the Texas port authority, because apparently the Texas port authority is totally fine with hiring a guy known to talk to female co-workers about their nipples and his wet dreams. Alas, the Texas port authority is now facing a lawsuit for this hire, as a local newspaper, the Victoria Advocate, is claiming that the way they went about this hire was a violation of Texas's open meetings law. As part of this lawsuit, Farenthold was required to give a deposition, in which he blamed everyone but himself for his downfall, and the fact that he has yet to pay back the 84K.
In a transcript of the deposition, obtained by The Huffington Post, Farenthold claimed that he really, really wanted to give that 84K back to taxpayers, but he couldn't, because he "did his own research" and discovered that it is actually illegal.
It is not, in fact, illegal. At all. He is free to give that money, or any other money he likes, to the US Treasury, at any time. There is even a section on the US Treasury's website with instructions on how to go about doing this. Sure, it could all be a set-up, an elaborate plan to trick innocent sexual-harassing US congressmen into giving them money so that they can then arrest them for doing so, but that seems really unlikely.
He also claimed he really wanted to donate that 84K to a non-profit dedicated to sexual harassment prevention, but that he couldn't do that either -- on account of a bill floating around Congress right now that would result in the 84K being taken out of his retirement, which would mean he'd be paying the full amount twice. Yet, even if that bill does pass, it would only affect politicians who use taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment lawsuits after it is passed. In the future. Not Blake Farenthold, who already did it.
As for who is to blame for why "using taxpayer money to pay off a lawsuit an aide filed against him for asking about her nipples" was even a problem in the first place, Farenthold has quite a list. It does not, of course, include him. It does include the "f-t*rds" in the media who were out to get him. Probably because they were all jealous of his sweet footie pajamas and ways with the ladies.
He was then asked to explain what "f-t*rds" means to him.
Apparently, the ableist slur means a lot of things to him, because he has also admitted that this the term he used to address his aides, but you know, just "in jest," not in a harass-y way.
Also to blame? The #MeToo movement, without which no one, least of all the House Ethics Committee, would think it was at all wrong to politely ask one of your aides to show you her nipples or tell her about your "wet dreams," never mind use taxpayer funds to pay her off.
Farenthold said, specifically, that "the 'Me Too' movement created a political environment where it would be much more difficult for the members of the ethics committee to separate politics from the facts." Tragically, he does not actually explain what those "facts" are. Greene is far from the only former Farenthold aide to claim that he was a giant creep who was prone to making vulgar comments. One of Farenthold's male aides alleged that Farenthold made some pretty disgusting comments to him about how he should get blowjobs from his fiancee before she walked down the aisle, because he wouldn't be getting them any more after that. It is also a "fact" that he used taxpayer money to settle the lawsuit.
Now, sure -- #MeToo has certainly placed a higher level of scrutiny on issues of sexual harassment and assault. Greene's lawsuit, however, happened in 2014, well before it was even a thing -- which suggests that even as four years ago, at least one person thought that it was not cool of Farenthold to ask to see her nipples, shocking though that may be.
It is indeed possible that there was a dark conspiracy among the Fake News, the #MeToo Movement and the Deep State, going back to 2014, to ruin Blake Farenthold's career out of spite. Perhaps everything that has even happened, in the entire world, ever since he was first elected, is part of a grand plan to just ruin his life for no reason -- including this lawsuit filed against the Texas port authority. Perhaps it's been going on for decades, plotted by his former step-grandmother, Frances Farenthold, a known feminist and Democrat, as part of a secret Manchurian Candidate-type plan to take down the Republican Party from the inside, and he doesn't even know he's making these comments or spending taxpayer money on lawsuits because he's in a trance the whole time whenever he does it.
Or maybe he's just a creep.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse