Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain is fighting back against accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Sharon Bialek held a press conference on Monday with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred to describe the alleged 1997 encounter. Cain responded in interviews on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and ABC News' “Newsmakers,” and in a Tuesday afternoon press release. Cain is also planning to address the accusations at a Tuesday evening press conference.
“I reject all of these charges,” Cain said on “Newsmakers.” “I have never acted inappropriately with anyone.”
Bialek claimed that, after being fired from the National Restaurant Association, she went to see Cain, who was head of that organization, about helping her find a new job. Cain, she said, upgraded her hotel room and took her out to dinner. After dinner, while together in a parked car, Cain, “reached for my genitals,” Bialek said at her press conference.
“I don't remember knowing her,” Cain said.
In a Tuesday afternoon statement, the Cain campaign questioned the credibility of Bialek and the motives of her attorney, Gloria Allred. Allred is a well-known Democratic Party activist and has taken many high-profile cases related to sexual impropriety.
“The fact is that Ms. Bialek has had a long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances – which may help explain why she has come forward 14 years after an alleged incident with Mr. Cain, powered by celebrity attorney and long term Democrat donor Gloria Allred,” the campaign said.
“The questions should be – who is financing her legal team, have any media agreed to pay for her story, and has she been offered employment for taking these actions?”
On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Monday night Cain said that he had watched Bialek's press conference with his staff and “they could see steam coming out of my ears.”
“The feelings that you have when you know that all of this is totally fabricated, you go from anger, then you get disgusted,” Cain said.
Cain also said that he would be responding directly to all future controversies. “Because here is one thing people don't know about Herman Cain, I'm in it to win it and I'm not going to be discouraged by all this stuff,” Cain said to cheers from the crowd.
Cain's campaign had the best fundraising day of his campaign on Oct. 31 when the first allegations of sexual harassment were reported, and those high fundraising levels have not stopped, Cain told Kimmel.
“Do you think the other candidates will follow suit and hire women to charge them with sexual harassment?” Kimmel joked.
“If they're smart they will,” Cain replied as he laughed.
In his monologue at the beginning of the show, Kimmel joked about Allred's penchant for high-profile cases. “Her lawyer is Gloria Allred … of course. I think Gloria Allred has a press podium set up in her living room for instances just like this.”