Top Virginia Democrats imperiled by blackface, sex assault scandals

09 February, 2019, 12:10 | Author: Carlos George
  • Virginia attorney-general admits to wearing blackface in college as scandal spreads

A scandal alleging racism and sexual misbehaviour that has engulfed the Democratic party in Virginia enmeshed three of the state's top elected officials yesterday.

When Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was first linked to a photo on his medical school yearbook page, depicting one person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, many assumed he would resign, turning over power to Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

Vanessa Tyson, who researches the policies surrounding sexual violence as a 2018-19 fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), wrote in a graphic statement released Wednesday that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him while they were both working at the 2004 convention.

Abrams delivered the Democratic response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday, another step to national prominence following a close election loss for governor in Georgia a year ago to Republican Brian Kemp.

If all three men are pressured to resign, the Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, would become governor, taking the state leadership away from the Democrats.

"What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault", Tyson, a professor at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., said in the statement released through her Washington law firm, Katz, Marshall & Banks. Harris said "I think that the the letter written by the woman reads as a credible account and I think there should be an investigation to get to the bottom of it and determine the facts". He told reporters in the Capitol that he couldn't judge yet what should happen to Fairfax or Herring but that Democrats shouldn't worry about the political consequences. She informed Scott, a Virginia Democrat, about her allegations because she and the congressman had previously been in a long-term romantic relationship, the sources said, adding that Tyson mentioned her allegations to Scott after they had ended the relationship. He has since refused to resign, despite growing calls to do so. "But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes - and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others - we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup", he said in a statement.

At the same time, a powerful Republican state senator faced questions about his role as a top editor of a college yearbook that contained several racist photographs.

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"I think there's a rightful hesitation about removal from office because, obviously, you have to consider that to some degree you're overturning an election", the Times-Dispatch quoted Cox as saying Monday.

Herring, Bloomberg noted, had already planned to run for governor in 2021 - Virginia governors are limited to one term - and was among the many Democrats calling for Northam to step down.

Northam initially apologized, saying he was in the photo.

Northam has come under pressure from almost the entire Democratic establishment to resign after the discovery of a photo on his profile page in the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook of someone in blackface standing next to a person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. He said it was no longer possible for Northam to lead the state.

In his statement, Mr Herring said he and two friends dressed up to look like rappers they listened to, including Kurtis Blow, admitting: "It sounds ridiculous even now writing it".

"I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now".

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