Explaining My TYT Absence
For TYT viewers who’ve watched me for two years, you’ve heard me say “I gotta keep it real” thousands of times. In that spirit, I’ve chosen to engage in radical transparency about a disturbing situation that’s been brewing in my life for months. This is an important time for women and male victims of sexual violation, and I commend the immense courage it takes for them to come forward. As I relate the following, it is with mindfulness that our culture needs to overcome toxic masculinity, and move aggressively toward equality and non-violence. I also want to emphasize that one incident should not change the fact that victims deserve our help and belief.
It came to my attention in June that a consensual sexual encounter I had was being portrayed in gossip as something else. Out of respect for the woman at the center of this story- whom I will not name without her consent- I chose not to escalate the situation, and foolishly stayed silent in hopes that it would go away.
If we are learning anything in the current landscape, it is that silence that serves no one.
I have tremendous respect for women, and believe completely that consent must be affirmative and ongoing throughout sexual intimacy. We are responsible for checking in with our sexual partners throughout to see if they are still feeling safe, happy, and “into it.” No matter how the event begins, if we notice a change in our partner’s enthusiasm we need to stop immediately if they’re not feeling one hundred percent comfortable.
During my encounter with the woman in question, I followed this principle completely. The woman in question and another woman in our group of friends (it was me and three other people) began kissing and touching each other in a Jacuzzi, so I left them and went to bed. Some time after that, the man in the group woke me up to show that said woman had come to my bed with the other woman. They were having oral sex with one another, and I was asked to participate. I have written statements from the other two people in the room confirming that they heard me ask the woman receiving oral sex if she was Ok and if I could approach her intimately- and most importantly, heard her consent. During the night we had a few beers, but no one was drunk.
Eventually we paired off, and I was directly intimate with this woman. During foreplay, she made a sound that made me question whether she was still happy with what was going on. I stopped immediately, and she confessed that she had grown distressed about the impact of our intimacy on her marriage. I immediately ended the intimacy and requested that we sit up and talk. We did not have sexual penetration. We spent the next few hours talking, first in the hotel room and then moving to the lobby where we remained, talking and engaging in nonsexual affection, into the morning. She was sitting on my lap with her arm wrapped around me for much of this period as we talked. Between 5–6am, we both went to sleep and I woke up soon after to get ready to head to the airport and fly home.
The next morning, the woman contacted me on Facebook, saying: “Thanks for sacrificing sleep to talk to me last night. I really appreciate it.” This was in reference to us staying up talking in the hotel lobby. The following day, she asked via Facebook: “So when do you want me in New York?” I have numerous screenshots of our subsequent conversations, all showing that her tone and attitude toward me did not change after our night at the hotel. There was never a hint of dismay, hurt, or fear of me. If anything, she expressed more interest, asking to visit and explore our relationship. She flew to New York, during which time we were intimate. However, after I expressed that my goal of having children would make a relationship impossible (she said she didn’t want them) and me having to calm her down later in the week because she had drank too much (I have witnesses who can confirm), her attitude changed abruptly.
She flew home and told me she no longer wanted to see me- which I respected. I offered to talk so we could have proper closure, but she declined. Soon after her return home, I was advised that she had changed her depiction of events in May, and had begun telling friends that she was starting to remember things differently. Not wanting to disrupt any reconciliation she might be trying to affect with her husband, I let it go- something I deeply regret. My instinct was to approach her because I was horrified if a woman thought I’d taken advantage of her, but the friend that told me about her allegation talked me out of it for fear that the woman would be upset she told me. Because I had sought and received her affirmative consent at every opportunity, it never occurred to me that the situation could take a dark turn.
In recent days, I’ve learned that this woman and a group of others with a vendetta against me for unrelated reasons have been targeting my professional colleagues and plotting to try and “take me down.” Their plotting got so in-depth—and frankly irrational—that theories were posed suggesting since I worked on Bill O’Reilly’s floor at Fox News eight years ago—for four months—they should find women I worked with there to come forward. There was also talk about digging into my college days. There was also talk about asking women about their encounters with me that I’ve never even met. There was also false stories told by one person in particular—with a proven track record of lying—about her asking for a piece of paper, and me opening the door naked and handing it to her. This did not happen.
Since I have nothing to hide, I decided to proactively inform my bosses at The Young Turks of the situation. This was not easy but I believe the truth always wins out. Cenk Uygur is the first media figure that truly gave me a chance. Out of respect for that, I wanted him to know the truth and not be blindsided by any evolution in this situation. In response, TYT did what I view to be the correct thing: they immediately placed me on administrative leave and hired an outside investigator. I won’t get into details of the investigation, but I’m 100 percent confident that it will confirm everything I’ve shared here to be truthful. I am also 100 percent confident that if people seek to speak to women I currently work with or have worked with in the past, they would describe professional and supportive behavior.
If this woman chooses to come forward publicly, I will defend myself and provide evidence of my innocence. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I chose to come out proactively because I have the truth on my side and have nothing to hide. Having to relay the details of this night is embarrassing—I’m not proud of some of what took place and have learned a lot from this. I hope viewers and progressive figures who care about facts—and don’t simply latch onto gossip and rumors spread by people who haven’t sought and confirmed the facts—will wait until the investigation concludes and my innocence is proven. If anybody follows and believes in me, you know I care about the truth first and foremost. Plainly put: I am telling the truth.