CNN contributor Paris Dennard has been suspended by the network following a report published in the Washington Post, which details various allegations of sexual misconduct during his time as the events director at Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership. Dennard was also reportedly fired from his job at ASU for sexual harassment in 2014.
“We are aware of reports of accusations against Paris Dennard,” a spokesperson for CNN said. “We are suspending Paris, effective immediately, while we look into the allegations.”
According to the Washington Post, Dennard was fired after an ASU internal investigation found that he had committed “serious misconduct” by “making sexually explicit comments and gestures toward women.”
An ASU report of the investigation obtained by the Washington Post details one incident in particular, in which Dennard “pretended to unzip his pants” in front a female graduate student, “tried to get her to sit on his lap, and made masturbatory gestures.” Upon being confronted about the allegations at the time, Dennard reportedly claimed that he was only joking.
In another incident, Dennard allegedly told a colleague that he wanted to have sex with her and proceeded to lick her neck.
Overall, the ASU report concluded that Dennard had “engaged in much of this behavior in the workplace and/or during work events. Such conduct, of course, is inappropriate…unprofessional and unbecoming of a university employee, and in violation of ASU policy.”
After being placed under administrative leave throughout the duration of the investigation, which began in the fall of 2014, Dennard was eventually fired in 2015. In the report, the two unnamed women revealed that they were afraid of him.
“We all know what it’s like to be on [Dennard’s] bad side — he will make your life miserable,” one woman is quoted saying. “What if he comes back to the office? What if he comes to an event? Does he know where I live?”
“I cannot comment on items I have never seen regarding allegations I still believe to be false,” Dennard, a longtime advocate and supporter of President Trump, later told the newspaper. “This is sadly another politically motivated attempt to besmirch my character, and shame me into silence for my support of President Trump and the GOP.”
Only days before the Washington Post report was published, Dennard was praised in one of the president’s tweets, a first for the political commentator.
“Just watched former Intelligence Official Phillip Mudd become totally unglued and weird while debating wonderful @PARISDENNARD over Brennan’s Security Clearance,” Trump tweeted. “Dennard destroyed him but Mudd is in no mental condition to have such a Clearance. Should be REVOKED?”