In a discussion between CNN pundits Scottie Nell Hughes and Margaret Hoover, host Don Lemon discussed the reasons that many women don’t come out about sexual assault or sexual harassment.
Lemon interviewed Linda Ross, a friend of Jessica Leeds, who alleged Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump groped her on an airplane many years ago. Leeds told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Thursday evening that she didn’t come forward because it wasn’t something that women did back then and that Trump was too powerful. Ross confirmed Leeds’ story and said that she urged Leeds to come forward as the two watched the debates together and Trump denied ever groping a woman.
The Trump campaign continues to deny any of these allegations are accurate.
Hoover and Hughes duked it out over opposition research and talked about candidates knowing what might come up about themselves. However, Lemon asked Hughes if her urgency to “find the facts” and “innocent before proven guilty” would still be valid in the case of Bill Cosby’s accusers.
Hughes insisted that there was real proof in those cases and that Cosby didn’t come out right before his election for the presidency.
“The difference in Bill Cosby and Donald Trump is there’s actual evidence that that happened with those women and it was not in a time period just 26 days before an election against somebody else,” she said. “That’s what make this is very questionable and there are holes in some of these women’s arguments but the whole point, Don, we’ve spent all day, we spent this entire show on what really is the main issues we need to be focusing on.”
That’s when Lemon dropped an emotionally intimate bombshell that Hughes never could have seen coming. “That is insulting as someone who is a survivor of sexual abuse, and a product of a single mother, a product of sisters and aunts who looked after me,” Lemon said. “I would say this is a very important issue in American.”
Watch the exchange below: