*A writer and producer for The Root has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against the Rev. Jesse Jackson that she says took place at a prior place of employment, a “popular” media company.
Danielle Young, in an article titled “Don’t Let the Smile Fool You. I’m Cringing on the Inside,” says a meeting at the previous employer’s company on an unspecified date ended with a “keynote speech” by Jackson. After his speech, which she says was about the responsibility of black journalists, she joined her colleagues in line for a photo with Jackson.
“One by one, we stepped up, shared a few words and thank-yous with Jackson, snapped photos and went back to our desks,” she writes. “Simple enough, right?”
But Young says when it was her turn for the photo op, Jackson looked her up and down and “reached out a hand and grabbed my thigh, saying, ‘I like all of that right there!’ and gave my thigh a tight squeeze.”
Young says the encounter was “something that was so casual, I almost didn’t even consider it sexual harassment, even though it was beyond my desire.”
Young provides receipts – several photos of the moment in question that she says show how “visibly uncomfortable” she was.
Young says she is coming forward about the alleged thigh grab — something she admits was “barely a blip on anyone’s radar, even my own” — in the interest of speaking out “against men who simply can’t keep their hands to themselves. Because that’s where it starts.”
“My silence gave Jackson permission to continue grabbing at the next pair of thick thighs he liked,” Young says. “I’m hoping that my voice does the opposite.”
Young is the second person to accuse Jackson of sexual harassment. In 2011, Tommy R. Bennett, a former employee of Jackson, filed a formal complaint with the city of Chicago Commission on Human Relations against Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH Coalition organization in Chicago.
Bennett, a gay man, alleged sexual harassment and discrimination because of his sexuality.