Justin Fairfax Is Just Gonna Drag This Sh*t Out, Isn't He?
Early last week, we were praising Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for explaining what doctors do when an infant is nonviable, despite the fact that he was taken completely out of context by Republicans who desperately want to convince stupid people that Democrats want to let evil women and doctors kill perfectly good newborn babies. Then, on Friday, the conservative news site Big League Politics released the blackface photos -- supposedly brought to them by "a concerned citizen" who was not mad about the blackface, but mad about him supposedly encouraging "infanticide" -- which, again, he was not doing. Being that we think blackface is a pretty gross thing to do, pretty much everyone on the Left has agreed that he must step down. But it was cool! We had Justin Fairfax -- a black lieutenant governor, whom we could safely assume had never gone full Al Jolson.
And then Fairfax was accused of sexual assault.
The report came from the same site -- a site that objectively did not care about either of these things except to the extent that they knew Democrats would care and they want a Republican in office in Virginia, elected or not. And at first many people were skeptical, because of the source.
And then the statement from his accuser, Dr. Vanessa Tyson, an advocate for sexual assault survivors, came out. And it was horrifying.
What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault. Mr. Fairfax put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch. Only then did I realize that he had unbuckled his belt, unzipped his pants, and taken out his penis. He then forced his penis into my mouth. Utterly shocked and terrified, I tried to move my head away, but could not because his hand was holding down my neck and he was much stronger than me. As I cried and gagged, Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him. I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual. To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent. Quite the opposite. I consciously avoided Mr. Fairfax for the remainder of the Convention and I never spoke to him again.
There is no question that this was rape. And sure -- people are innocent until proven guilty, but we're not sending him to jail here. Dr. Tyson is a credible person and her story is harrowing. I believe her.
As if that wasn't enough, news broke yesterday that Fairfax had hired Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, the law firm that represented, of all people, Brett fucking Kavanaugh. Which ought to be a fireable offense in and of itself. He's still saying he's innocent, and he's gonna drag this out. But hiring the firm that represented Kavanaugh is not the best way to convince anyone of his innocence.
Mark Herring, the Attorney General, the third in line, also admitted to having done blackface years ago, as part of a Kurtis Blow costume. So he's probably gotta resign as well, leaving us with Kirk Cox, the Republican head of the House of Delegates. The very moron who held a press conference in which he insisted that Gov. Northram had openly advocated infanticide, which -- for the love of god -- he did not.
So Republicans are gonna get the Virginia governor's mansion, MAYBE. Not because they care about racism, or because they care about sexual assault, but because Democrats did what appears to be an exceptionally shitty job in terms of vetting candidates. For the next 11 months, Cox will push for laws that will harm both black people and women. It's going to suck. Maybe we should have, as feminist Kate Harding suggested when Al Franken was accused of grabbing a woman's butt without permission, set up some kind of offficial protocol (other than simply stepping down) for what to do in these situations when the alternative is putting into office an unelected Republican who is going to cause harm.
Republicans have the advantage of knowing their voters do not care about these things, but that Democrats do. We need to be on offense, we need to be aware that they're going to use this to their advantage, and we need to learn to vet candidates better so that this doesn't happen again.
Also, STOP SHOVING YOUR DICK IN WOMEN'S FACES, ALLEGEDLY. We didn't think that needed to be said. We were, sadly, wrong.
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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. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse