- (Photo: REUTERS / Jason Reed)
Herman Cain’s latest firestorm has conservative women wanting the presidential candidate to explain allegations involving sexual harassment with two females during his tenure as CEO of the National Restaurant Association.
Penny Nance, president of the conservative organization Concerned Women for America, is asking Cain to address issues relating to the claims that two women who worked for the association left as a result of sexual harassment allegations directed at Cain after receiving five-figure settlements.
In a previous interview with Politico, Nance said, “I think Herman Cain needs to directly answer the question.”
“Early in my career I resigned from a trade association for the exact same reason and with no financial settlement. I simply found another job,” Nance told Politico, which broke the story on Sunday.
According to investigation, the alleged incidents involve conversations Cain had with the two women that included personal questions of “sexually suggestive nature” that left the women upset. One of the women was a board member of the association, and according to Politico, suffered “an unwanted sexual advance” from Cain at the hotel where the conference was held.
As part of the settlement with the two women, they reportedly received a “five-figure” payment and signed an agreement that they would not publicly discuss the issue. Politico has identified the two women but did not publish their identities out of privacy concerns.
NBC news reported on Monday that one former female employee did receive a settlement from the National Restaurant Association after complaining about inappropriate sexual comments from Cain.
Sue Hensley, a spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association issued a statement:
“The incidents in question relate to personnel matters that allegedly took place nearly fifteen years ago. Consistent with our longstanding policy, we don't comment on personnel issues relating to current or former employees.”
On Monday’s “Fox and Friends,” Dana Perino, former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush say Cain would have to address the issue for the next several days.
“Cain … will have to stand on his own two feet for the rest of the week. Herman Cain has to have a better answer to the type of question that Geraldo asked when he goes on TV later today,” said Perino.
Most recently Cain had to address conflicting comments he made about abortion. On the Concerned Women for America website, Nance called for Cain to clarify his comments.
“Last week Herman Cain said he didn’t support a federal marriage amendment, this week he has backed away from his earlier position on the sanctity of human life,” wrote Nance. “Herman Cain needs to decide whether or not he is a social conservative. The issue of life is like the issue of slavery, it is an inalienable right.”
J.D. Gordon, Cain’s spokesman, expressed the campaign’s displeasure over the story but has not denied the allegations.
“Fearing the message of Herman Cain, who is shaking up the political landscape in Washington, inside-the-Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain,” Gordon told Politico.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday night, Gordon and Geraldo Rivera debated the seriousness of the issue. “The story doesn’t hold any weight,” Gordon told Rivera. “What you’re saying, what you’re doing right now is a recipe for disaster, mate,” Rivera told Gordon.
On Sunday a Politico reporter who asked him about the allegations confronted Cain. “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?” Cain’s only response was, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”
Yet Cain still has some conservative female commentators who are coming to his defense.
“Liberals are terrified of Herman Cain,” said Ann Coulter on Fox News as she compared Cain’s story to that of Clarence Thomas when he faced allegations from Anita Hill prior to his confirmation hearings. “He (Cain) is a strong, conservative black man … They are terrified of strong, conservative black men. It’s outrageous the way liberals treat a black conservative.”
Cain has denied reports of the allegations were true and did so today during his remarks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
"In all of my 40 years of business experience ... I have never sexually harassed anyone," said Cain at the National Press Club on Monday. "No. 2, while at the restaurant association, I was accused of sexual harassment. Falsely accused, I might add."
Nance responded to The Christian Post via email after Cain's remarks at the NPC and added, “Herman Cain was very believable and straight forward in his statement today. I believe that barring any new revelations he has put the issue to rest."