Joe Biden has friends in Hollywood, with Alyssa Milano and the cast of “The View” chief among them.
Whoopi Goldberg, Meghan McCain and the rest of the “View” gang defended the former vice president Monday after Nevada politician Lucy Flores said that Biden made her feel “uneasy” in 2014 by getting too close on the campaign trail. Later that day, actress-activist Milano chimed in on Biden’s behalf as well, with a thread on Twitter.
Flores, while not accusing the possible presidential candidate of sexual harassment, told a story in a Friday essay for the Cut about when Biden showed up to support her bid for the Nevada lieutenant governorship.
As they waited to go onstage, lined up in order of introduction, he came up close behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, “inhaled” her hair and then kissed her on the back of the head, she said.
“[H]e made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused,” Flores wrote. “The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners — and I felt powerless to do anything about it.”
The women of “The View” all agreed that she should have said something in the moment if she was uncomfortable, though Joy Behar noted briefly that any kind of reprimand is “hard to say to somebody who's sniffing your hair.”
Then Behar said, “I feel it would be really unfortunate if we got rid of everybody who was just an affectionate kind of person. Those are nice people too.”
Goldberg and McCain both personally vouched for Biden, with Goldberg calling him a “hands-on kind of guy.” McCain likened him in some ways to her father, the late Sen. John McCain, in that he and Biden were the only politicians who shook hands with everyone in the audience when they visited “The View.”
"I've had concerns about the #MeToo movement from the beginning,” co-host Abby Huntsman said, “about getting to this place where you can't have normal interactions with each other.”
It’s not every day you see “The View” crew enthusiastically agreeing with one another, that’s for sure.
Biden referred to himself in a March speech as a “tactile politician,” and on Friday he issued a statement saying that while he and his staff didn’t remember the event, Flores had every right to share her own recollections.
Flores, incidentally, had explained her lack of immediate response in her essay.
“My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused …,” wrote Flores, who attended a rally Saturday for 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke and supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016.
“I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.”
“I am proud to call Joe Biden a friend. He has been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years, and I have been fortunate to accompany him to events with survivors where he has listened to their stories, empathized with them, and comforted them,” the actress said in a series of tweets.
“I respect Lucy Flores' decision to share her story and agree with Biden that we all must pay attention to it. But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women's experiences are the same,” Milano added.
“I believe that Joe Biden's intent has never been to make anyone uncomfortable, and that his kind, empathetic leadership is what our country needs. Especially now.”
Biden hasn’t officially thrown his hat into the Democratic presidential ring yet, but one thing seems clear: Hollywood will be there waiting for him if he does.
2. That's who Joe Biden is - a warm, generous individual who believes its on all of us to pay attention to women's stories and experiences.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 2, 2019
3. Biden started Its On Us because he believes to meaningfully change our culture, everyone - including those often left out of the conversation like college athletes and fraternity brothers - needed to be part of the movement.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 2, 2019
4. Joe Biden’s response that he never meant to make anyone uncomfortable and that he'll listen and learn from anyone who says otherwise is exactly the leadership we need to build a culture where women are heard and are equal.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 2, 2019
5. I respect Lucy Flores' decision to share her story and agree with Biden that we all must pay attention to it. But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women's experiences are the same.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 2, 2019