Fighting the good fight for “progressive” political causes can be a thankless task.
When you’re not busy fending off attacks from ideological conservatives, you’re worried that the FBI may be hacking into your computers. But it’s the jealous sniping and back-stabbing from your putative friends on the left that may be the unkindest cut of all.
Just ask Trevor Fitzgibbon, the 48-year-old communications whiz kid whose prominent leftie PR firm collapsed in 2015 after he was accused of sexual harassment and abuse by several female clients and employees.
Virtually overnight, Fitzgibbon, once the darling of the AFL-CIO and the National Abortion Rights Action League and propaganda groups like MoveOn.org, became a movement pariah. His marriage crumbled, and most of his former colleagues shunned him.
Most damaging was the accusation by Jesselyn Radack, a prominent whistleblower attorney who once served in the George W. Bush Justice Department.
Radack alleged that Fitzgibbon sexually assaulted and raped her. After filing charges, she even took to the pages of the Huffington Post and to Twitter to denounce her former colleague as a symbol of white male sexual privilege.
But according to evidence Fitzgibbon’ lawyers presented to a court in Northern Virginia last April, none of it is true. Now, Fitzgibbon is suing Radack for $10 million in civil damages, claiming she defamed him and helped destroy his once-thriving business.
He’s also considering a lawsuit against more than 150 left-wing organizations that have signed on to a bizarre public letter demanding that Fitzgibbon never return to work in progressive political circles.
It turns out that none of these organizations — many of them small feminist non-profits — have ever spoken with Fitzgibbon or weighed the merits of the unsubstantiated claims of sexual advances and groping made by a dozen or more women, mostly anonymously, in recent years.
But that hasn’t stopped them from circulating what amounts to a blacklist.
Fitzgibbon has never denied that he enjoyed a consensual encounter with Radack that betrayed his wife and family. He also admits to some “inappropriate” and “unprofessional” touching and romantic overtures that may have crossed some personal boundaries. He’s agreed to seek counseling, but he steadfastly denies more serious wrongdoing.
In fact, despite the climate of hysteria that continues to surround Fitzgibbon, there appears to be no actual evidence of anything approaching criminal conduct. In April 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office dismissed the claims of three of his most prominent accusers and promptly dropped the case.
One of those accusers was Radack, who claimed that Fitzgibbon assaulted her on December 5, 2015, and then raped her at the Hotel Lombardy in downtown Washington, D.C., three days later.
But text messages produced by Fitzgibbon and reviewed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office tell an entirely different story.
Those messages suggest that he and Radack spent days eagerly planning a romantic tryst together. Radack, at one point, sent Fitzgibbon nude photos of herself and asked Fitzgibbon to do the same. (According to evidence, he did not.)
After their encounter, Radack sent Fitzgibbon a text appearing to thank him for their affair. “I’ve never been f****d so hard before!” she exclaimed. In a subsequent text, she asked Fitzgibbon for assistance promoting one of her Facebook postings.
Fitzgibbon remains dumbfounded as to why Radack decided to turn against him. He does note, however, that one of his former clients, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, was also accused of rape in an effort to damage his reputation and political effectiveness.
The Fitzgibbon case is also reminiscent of the infamous rape “hoax” at the University of Virginia that embroiled the iconic leftie magazine Rolling Stone in a scandal that nearly destroyed the newspaper. The editors took the word of a depressed young woman and an over-zealous feminist reporter over substantial countervailing evidence as well as the repeated denials of the accused college student, who was vindicated in the end.
More recently, a dozen women have accused hip-hop founder Russell Simmons of rape and sexual abuse in unverified incidents dating to the 1990s. Two of those women have filed lawsuits but one has already dropped her suit after Simmons threatened to counter-sue and produced text messages that revealed that his accuser had continued to seek out his company after the alleged rape had occurred
Radack has yet to comment on the Fitzgibbon lawsuit. She has, however, taken one step in response: She moved to delete a series of incriminating tweets she’d posted in 2015. That led Fitzgibbon’ lawyers to return to court in Virginia to amend their complaint to include “spoliation of evidence.”
In recent months, Fitzgibbon has slowly begun to rebuild his credibility and has recently launched a new consulting business. But with #MeToo hysteria still engulfing the American left and the mainstream media, his career may never really recover, even if he wins his lawsuit.
“It’s another circular firing squad,” says one of Fitzgibbon’s closest friends and colleagues, who insists on anonymity.
Conservatives aren’t immune to sex scandals, of course. But it’s only the left that seems to bring more shame and embarrassment to its cause by launching these self-defeating gender wars in full view of the public.
Stewart Lawrence is a consultant and policy analyst.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.