Nowadays, rarely does a day go by without someone confessing that they were sexually harassed. This has been happening a lot in the political world, and just Tuesday another case came to the surface, involving Reverand Jess Jackson and movie director John Singleton.
Danielle Young, a writer for the online site The Root, shared an article that she wrote about how she was inappropriately touched by Jackson. She also shared that he made a crude sexual remark in Chicago three years ago, while the two had an encounter.
‘I walked toward Jackson, smiling, and he smiled back at me,’ Young wrote. His eyes scanned my entire body. All of a sudden, I felt naked in my sweater and jeans. As I walked within arm’s reach of him, Jackson reached out a hand and grabbed my thigh, saying, “I like all of that right there!” and gave my thigh a tight squeeze.’
Young included several photos of the incident, although there are none of Jackson actually touching her thighs. There are some of the civil rights leaders hugging and embracing the writer.
“I was shocked, to say the least,’ she shared. Even though Jackson had had his hand reached out, I had no idea that he would touch me in a sexual way.”
Young is confident that others had witnessed the incident.
“A few of my co-workers saw Jackson’s hand grip my thigh as it was happening, and they laughed harder than I did,’ said Young. ‘Their laughter didn’t feel like the same type of nervous laughter I had when my thigh was in his hand. Theirs was as if they had just heard the best joke ever. It was almost an encouragement of Jackson’s behavior.
Young went on to share that she doesn’t blame those who laughed, she is just baffled why they thought it was funny when it should really be alarming. While she herself, can be smiling in the photos, she admits that she was nervous and it was a defense mechanism.
“I did what most women in an uncomfortable position do: I giggled,” Young wrote. “And I continued to giggle as he pulled me in closer, stared down at my body, smiled and told me he was only kidding. The entire time, my co-worker snapped photos. In many of the photos, you can see that I am visibly uncomfortable but attempting to laugh it all off. In the last photo, I am pointing to the camera, asking him if we can just take the picture. When I was finally able to pull myself away from the Rev Jackson’s grip, I was deflated.”
Young was disappointed to learn about this side of Jackson, as she had always admired him.
Jackson, the founder of Rainbow/PUSH coalition, has denied the allegations.
Young shared that she asked a former co-worker if she witnessed the incident and the co-worker explained that Jackson had been inappropriate with all the women and they brushed it off and chalked it up to Jackson being a dirty old man.
A spokesperson for Rainbow/PUSH made the following statement…
“Although Rev Jackson does not recall the meeting three years ago, he profoundly and sincerely regrets any pain Ms Young may have experienced.”
This isn’t the first time that Jackson has been accused of sexual harassment. Past employee, Tommy Bennett claims that he faced discrimination at the organization due to his sexual orientation.
Bennett also alleged that Jackson made him clean up hotel rooms where he engaged in sexual trysts with women.
In the same article in The Root, Young also alleges that Singleton also made unwanted sexual advances toward her, during the American Black Film Festival and the June festival.
‘I conducted the interview, and afterward, I went over to Singleton to grab my mic and he grabbed my wrist and pulled me toward him, saying, “Bring that juiciness over here”,’ she wrote.