Tara Reade, the former Biden staffer who has accused the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate of sexual assault, will be sharing her story through an interview with former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Reade initially went on the record about Biden’s alleged inappropriate behavior back in 2019, but just over a month ago, she shared a more detailed story of how the Presidential candidate allegedly sexually assaulted her while she worked for him in 1993. Since then, a former neighbor of Reade’s has come forward to corroborate her story, saying that Reade told her about the alleged incident back in the mid-1990s. Last Friday, Biden finally addressed the accusation directly, releasing a statement where he denied Reade’s allegations.
According to The Daily Beast, Reade reached out to Kelly to set up the interview after canceling scheduled sit-downs with other journalists over the weekend, apparently in part because of how Kelly had handled conversations surrounding sexual assault in the past. (Really? Megyn “is blackface really racist?” Kelly?)
“It was emotional, it was powerful, and I asked her all the tough questions,” Kelly said about her encounter with Reade. “But to her credit, she said that’s what she wanted. She knows me and my work and she said ‘I knew you’d ask me tough questions. But I knew you were trauma-informed’”—a reference not only to Kelly’s well-known charge of sexual harassment that helped end the career of Fox News founder Roger Ailes, but also to her frequent interviews with sexual assault and harassment victims during #MeToo segments on the short-lived Megyn Kelly Today.
Although the full interview hasn’t been released yet (Kelly plans to post the video on her Instagram page late Thursday night or Friday morning), Kelly has released two short clips to tease the interview—and it’s working.
In the first video, Reade speaks about the experience she’s had since coming forward with the sexual assault allegations, specifically her treatment on social media and by Biden supporters.
“There is a measure of hypocrisy, with the campaign saying it’s safe—it’s not been safe. All my social media’s been hacked, all my personal information’s been dragged through. Every person that maybe has a gripe against me—an ex-boyfriend or an ex-landlord, or whatever it is, has been able to have a platform rather than me, talking about things that have nothing to do with 1993.”
With this quote, Reade is naming one of the classic tactics deployed against women who come forward with sexual assault allegations against any men, but particularly those in positions of power—attempts to discredit the alleged victim’s moral character. Biden responded to Reade’s accusations by not only calling them untrue, but also by drawing on Biden’s own history of “supporting women” in his capacity as a politician, implying that a man who passed the Violence Against Women Act would never sexually assault someone. As Jezebel senior reporter Esther Wang wrote on Wednesday, Biden is still calling Reade a liar, but “with a shallow MeToo gloss: a liar we now have to listen to.”
In the interview clip, Reade identifies this herself, pointing out the contradiction in the “believe survivors” rhetoric that the Biden campaign is boasting, while simultaneously rallying prominent women in the Democratic party to speak in Biden’s defense.
“His campaign is taking this position that they want all women to be able to speak safely... I have not experienced that.”
In the second interview clip, Reade tells Kelly that she would be willing to go under oath and be subjected to cross-examination, but takes a different stance when asked if she would take a polygraph.
“I’m not a criminal. Joe Biden should take the polygraph. What kind of precedent does that set for survivors of violence? Does that mean we’re presumed guilty and we all have to take polygraphs?
So I will take one, if Joe Biden takes one.”
Based on the content of these clips, it appears as though Kelly’s interview provided Reade with the chance to speak at length on both the allegations themselves and the treatment she’s received since going public with her story. Reade is getting to share her own story in her own words—an opportunity that should be given to every victim of an alleged sexual assault.