Amid Joe Biden’s promises that he intends to be “more mindful about respecting personal space,” three more women have come forward to say his handsy behavior has made them uncomfortable.
The women—Sofie Karasek, Vail Kohnert-Yount, and Ally Coll—told the Washington Post similar stories to those shared by four other women over the last several days, citing instances in which the former vice president acted in an overly intimate manner.
Karasek, for her part, met Biden in 2016 after joining Lady Gaga onstage at the Oscars as part of a group of 51 sexual assault victims, a performance introduced by Biden:
Karasek said as she met Biden after the ceremony, she was thinking about a college student who had been sexually assaulted and recently died by suicide. She decided to share the story with the then-vice president, and Biden responded by clasping her hands and leaning down to place his forehead against hers, a moment captured in a widely circulated photograph.
Karasek said she appreciated Biden’s support but also felt awkward and uncomfortable that his gesture had left their faces suddenly inches apart. She said she did not know how to respond to, as she described it, Biden crossing the boundary into her personal space at a sensitive moment.
Karasek said that Biden’s video failed to take ownership “the way it needs to.”
“He emphasized that he wants to connect with people and, of course, that’s important. But again, all of our interactions and friendships are a two-way street. . . . Too often it doesn’t matter how the woman feels about it or they just assume that they’re fine with it,” she said.
Kohnert-Yount said Biden also touched his forehead to hers, only in her case, it was when he introduced himself to her. After shaking her hand, she told the Post that,
“He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me. I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl,’ ” Kohnert-Yount said in a statement to The Post.
Coll said when she was introduced to Biden as a young Democratic staffer, he “leaned in, squeezed her shoulders and delivered a compliment about her smile, holding her ‘for a beat too long.’”
Biden is rumored to be planning to announce his White House bid in the coming weeks.