5 reasons Eric Schneiderman is being called a hypocrite
In under three hours on Monday, an explosive New Yorker report, detailing multiple allegations of physical abuse against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, transformed a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement to a disgraced politician accused of being among the worst abusers and offenders.
The claims against Schneiderman by four women, two of whom agreed to speak on the record, were graphic and jarring:
"They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. [Michelle] Manning Barish and [Tanya] Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as 'assault.'"
Schneiderman responded with a statement saying, "In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross." But he also acknowledged that the allegations would make it impossible for him to continue in his job.
The women's accusations, with their vivid detail and consistency, would seem damning against any man. Yet they held even greater shock value in stark contrast to the image Schneiderman had cultivated for himself as a purported champion of women.
In the wake of his swift resignation, here are five past moments that prompted many to deem Schneiderman a textbook definition of a hypocrite:
As a New York state senator, Schneiderman led the push to oust Hiram Monserrate, a fellow Democrat convicted of misdemeanor assault against his girlfriend. Schneiderman served as the chair of a special committee which ultimately recommended to censure or expel Monserrate, noting in the final report:
"The Select Committee finds that the nature and seriousness of Senator Monserrate's conduct, as demonstrated by the surveillance video and the other unrebutted evidence outlined in this Report, showed a reckless disregard for Ms. Giraldo's well-being and for the severity of her injury."
Schneiderman -- still a New York state senator -- served as the lead sponsor for legislation that made "intentional strangulation and suffocation into unconsciousness a violent felony." As Schneiderman held an Albany, New York, news conference announcing his support for the bill, domestic violence victims stood alongside him.
"Intentional strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence, but it's not a crime in New York State," the press release reads, in part. "This legislation changes that."
In the New Yorker investigation, two former girlfriends of Schneiderman's allege that he himself choked them. "You cannot be a champion of women when you are hitting them and choking them in bed, and saying to them, 'You're a f***ing whore,'" one former girlfriend, Michelle Manning Barish, said.
In his role as New York's top legal officer, Schneiderman spoke out forcefully against President Trump and used his office to launch numerous legal challenges. Schneiderman's role as a Trump administration foil would also boost his own political profile.
In one tweet, linked to a now-defunct account, Schneiderman wrote: "No one is above the law, and I'll continue to remind President Trump and his administration of that fact everyday."
Schneiderman filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Weinstein Company for "egregious violations of New York's civil rights, human rights and business laws." Additionally, the state attorney general's office launched an investigation into Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., examining Vance's decision not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein.
"Our investigation... has uncovered a pervasive pattern of sexual harassment, intimidation, discrimination and abuse at the Weinstein Company," Schneiderman said, outlining the findings at a news conference. "Women were coerced into facilitating Harvey Weinstein's misconduct, sometimes they were targets themselves. If they refused, they were threatened with insults, their careers were threatened, they were threatened with physical intimidation and violence."
As reporters from the New York Times and the New Yorker shared the Pulitzer Prize for public service for their dogged reporting on Harvey Weinstein and the predations of other powerful men, Schneiderman chimed in on Twitter, lauding the award's recipients and the "brave women" who spoke to them about the "sexual harassment they endured at the hands of powerful men."
The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow was among the Pulitzer winners; he co-authored Monday's report on Schneiderman.