Feminist champion and “war on women” advocate Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) reportedly laughed off an alleged sexual-harassment incident involving a female Democrat colleague who had her breast groped by a male senator.
After Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) revealed in a book that male colleagues have made sexist comments to her, the Washington Post‘s Karen Tumulty recounted an incident in Clara Bingham’s 1997 book, Women on the Hill, in which Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) “found herself alone in an elevator one evening with 91-year-old Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), who did not recognize her as a colleague. He inquired whether the ‘little lady’ was married – and then proceeded to grope her breast.”
Tumulty wrote that she “received a pre-publication version of the book to review for the Los Angeles Times,” and “in that version, Bingham wrote that the outraged Murray had confided the incident to her colleague and fellow Class of 1992 senator, Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who laughed it off.”
Tumulty said she wrote in her review: “It seems that the tribal rituals of the place are not so offensive to Boxer now that she is a member.” But when the book hit the stores, there was a major change in the text:
In the second telling, duly noted in a Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, Boxer: “took the conduct seriously and urged Murray ‘to go public with this. Who knows how many more people he’ll do this to?’ Murray decided she would handle the episode herself and Boxer respected her colleague’s request.”
Murray, according to Tumulty, also “herself told Bingham that she was not offended by what she regarded as a ‘non-incident.'”
UPDATE: Boxer’s office said the story that was initially in the 1997 book that Tumulty reported “is completely false and was corrected 17 years ago. It’s the opposite of what happened. Senator Boxer urged Senator Murray to go public with these serious allegations.”