No one is immune from charges of sexual harassment, including Reverend Jesse Jackson.
A journalist who now works at The Root, wrote an explosive 2,000-word article titled, “Don’t let the Smile Fool You. I’m Cringing Inside” and detailed, in part, an uncomfortable encounter she had with Jackson.
Danielle Young, writer and producer at The Root, claimed she hadn’t planned on going public with her interaction with Jackson until Hollywood’s seedy Harvey Weinstein scandal broke.
“What happened to me was something that was so casual, I almost didn’t even consider it sexual harassment,” Young wrote.
Young called Jackson a “living legend” and said she was excited to see him give a keynote speech at conference she attended as a journalist. She recalled that the trouble started when she got in line to take a picture with the famous “civil rights” leader.
“I walked toward Jackson, smiling, and he smiled back at me,” Jackson wrote. “His eyes scanned my entire body. All of a sudden, I felt naked in my sweater and jeans.”
Young said once she was within arm’s reach, Jackson grabbed her thigh and said, “I like all of that right there!”
Young’s colleague was snapping pictures the entire time. The series of seven photos given to The Root clearly shows Jackson is very “hands on” hugging her in nearly every shot.
In the last few pictures Young’s smile disappear as she seems to back away from Jackson and shoots him a disapproving look. She is also seen pointing towards the camera, as Young explained:
“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.”
In preparation for her article, Young went back to confirm what had happened with a co-worker who was there at the time.
According to Young, her co-worker said: “I remember him [Jackson] being inappropriate with all the women. And I also remember you telling me that he did something more with you. And then we brushed the s**t off and chalked it up to him just being a dirty old man.”
Young admitted her brief encounter with Jackson was small in comparison to many of the allegations being waged against Hollywood and media power players, but warned similar incidents shouldn’t be ignored.
“My silence gave Jackson permission to continue grabbing at the next pair of thick thighs he liked. I’m hoping that my voice does the opposite.”
But Young’s accusations of sexual misconduct didn’t end with Jackson.
While attending the American Black Film Festival a few months ago, Young said Boyz in the Hood Director John Singleton acted highly inappropriate towards her in front of the cast of his new show Snowfall:
“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.’”
Young said she fell forward and had to brace herself by placing her hands on his legs.
“He then leaned forward and kissed me on my cheek. I said, ‘Oh, oh, OK,’ and stood up, embarrassed because everyone was definitely still in the room.”
Young said his comment didn’t get much of a reaction from those in the room, but when others requested a picture with the director, Young held back.
Singleton noticed and asked why she didn’t want a picture, reluctantly, Young said she agreed.
“He grabbed me around my waist and pulled me into him, saying, ‘Oooh, I’m gonna grab on tight to you.’ I laughed, because that’s what I do when I am uncomfortable.”
She posted the shot to Instagram, with the caption of what he allegedly said underneath.
Young said the casualness of Singleton’s actions and the reactions from those that were there made her normalize the situation. Young regrets brushing off incidents of sexual harassment and hopes her article will help people to take similar situations more seriously.
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