The press secretary for Bernie Sanders appeared to take aim at the media for not taking a sexual assault claim against Joe Biden seriously, posting a biting response to actress Alyssa Milano after she dismissed the claim and later claiming that the media is “culpable” for its lack of reporting.
Briahna Joy Gray, who serves as the press secretary for the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign, discussed the allegation in a Twitter thread replying to Milano on Monday. After the actress and Biden supporter shared an interview in which she laid out her thoughts about the allegation from a former staffer named Tara Reade against Biden — which she also called a “smear campaign” — Gray replied to say it was “revolting.”
Gray then shared a story she had written for The Intercept, claiming that the “assumption of innocence” was only for “privileged men,” like then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Another user then replied and appeared to call out the media that has for the most part not reported on the allegation against Biden. Joy quoted and shared that tweet, adding that she believed the media was “culpable.”
The media is culpable. https://t.co/wSBWa1Kpgv
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) April 6, 2020
Sanders himself has not raised the allegation against Biden, and Gray did not appear to share her personal thoughts on the veracity of the allegation.
Last week, Salon reported on the difficulties around reporting the allegation against Biden, noting that some media outlets may be hesitant to subject the accuser to harsh reactions, especially since her story contains some “confusing twists that could be interpreted as red flags.” The news outlet also attempted to reach out to those close to the accuser who she said could corroborate that she made the claim years ago, who had reportedly confirmed her claim to past outlets that reported the story. But Salon could not reach any of them, concluding that the story would be difficult for news outlets to accurately and completely cover.
“In light of these details, Salon concludes that mainstream outlets who are being criticized for not writing about Reade’s allegations probably aren’t making that choice because they’re covering up for Joe Biden,” the report noted.
“What’s more likely driving the silence — so far — is a genuine reluctance to dive into a story that contains such a high number of complicating factors and proves difficult to pin down, especially with the coronavirus emergency dominating the news cycle.”
As the Washington Times reported, Biden’s campaign had responded to the allegation in the days after it was made public, saying that women have a right to tell their story and that news reporters have an obligation to “rigorously vet those claims.” Kate Bedingfield, the deputy campaign manager and communications director for Biden, said she encouraged reporters to conduct this research, “because these accusations are false.”