Hours after Joe Biden addressed the accusations against him, three more women came forward claiming that the former vice president touched them inappropriately and that his video wasn’t an adequate response.
In a Washington Post article published late Wednesday, Vail Kohnert-Yount, Sofie Karasek and Ally Coll recalled the times they felt Biden’s free-flowing affections crossed the line.
Kohnert-Yount told the paper about when she first met Biden as a White House intern in 2013 and shook hands.
“He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me,” she said. “I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl.'”
Acknowledging that she did not believe it amounted to sexual harassment or assault, it was nevertheless “the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”
The other two women had similar experiences.
Karasek said she met Biden after appearing onstage at the Oscars with a group of 51 sexual assault survivors and Lady Gaga in 2016. She said that after she told Biden about a friend who had died by suicide, Biden took her hands and put his forehead against hers, a moment that was captured in a widely publicized photo.
Karasek told the Post that she appreciated Biden’s support but said the encounter made her uncomfortable because of the close proximity of their faces. She told the paper that she did not know how to respond to the gesture at the time.
Coll said she was working at an event as a Democratic staffer when she met Biden during the 2008 election cycle. She told the paper that when the two were introduced, Biden squeezed her shoulders, complimented her and held her for “for a beat too long.” (The Hill)
Earlier Wednesday Biden said in a video message that he will be “more mindful” about his interactions with people in the future.
“Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying,” he said. “Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.”
Kohnert-Yount told The Post: “I appreciate his attempt to do better in the future, but to me this is not mainly about whether Joe Biden has adequate respect for personal space. It’s about women deserving equal respect in the workplace.” Coll said the video illustrated “continued lack of understanding about why these stories are being told and their relevance in the #MeToo era.” Biden “still didn’t take ownership in the way that he needs to,” Karasek said about the video. He “emphasized that he wants to connect with people and, of course, that’s important, but again, all of our interactions and friendships are a two-way street. . . . Too often it doesn’t matter how the woman feels about it or they just assume that they’re fine with it.”
These accusations come after four other women claimed the former vice president touched them inappropriately.