Before his resignation on Monday over sexual abuse allegations, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman styled himself as a champion of women’s rights and was leading an investigation into sexual assault allegations against disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
Schneiderman, 63, announced his resignation Monday evening after four women described experiences of his physical abuse to The New Yorker, which also included cases of excessive alcohol and substance use.
Yet throughout his time in office, Schneiderman portrayed himself as a defender of women’s rights, supporting initiatives such as the anti-Trump Women’s March and the anti-sexual harassment #MeToo movement, and even accepted an award from a pro-choice organization.
“Sexual assault survivors, what happened to you is unconscionable,” he wrote on Twitter last September. “We have your back and we are fighting for you.”
Sexual assault survivors, what happened to you is unconscionable. We have your back and we are fighting for you.
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) September 8, 2017
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) January 21, 2018
In February, Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against The Weinstein Co. on behalf of New York state amid waves of sexual assault allegations against its founder Harvey Weinstein, demanding victim compensation for “vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees.”
Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear. If you have been the victim of misconduct, or a witness to it, contact my office:
☎️ (212) 416-8250
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) February 11, 2018
In 2016, Schneiderman’s office even released a brochure informing domestic abuse victims of their legal rights.
“We’ve made tremendous progress protecting victims of domestic violence through enhanced legal protections and enforcement action,” the brochure read. “Yet this month, we must recognize that our work keeping New Yorkers safe from domestic violence is far from over.”
However, Schneiderman’s feminist credentials now appear shattered amid multiple allegations of physical and sexual impropriety that led to his prompt resignation on Monday evening.
One woman, for example, alleged that Schneiderman “had been choking, beating, and threatening her for the entirety of their relationship and that several times he threatened to have her killed if she ever tried to leave him.”
“Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did,” claimed another of his alleged victims, Tanya Selvaratnam. “He started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.'”
In a statement on Monday, Schneiderman denied any wrongdoing and suggestions of sexual abuse.
“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity,” Schneiderman said. “I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”