Sunday 18 August 2019

'No men would mess with me': how Palin 'packs' a gun to avoid being sexually harassed

Ex-governor Sarah Palin. Photo: Reuters
Ex-governor Sarah Palin. Photo: Reuters

Craig Simpson in Washington

American politician Sarah Palin has said she doesn't suffer sexual harassment because she "packs" a gun.

The one-time Republican nominee for vice president of the United States claimed that men probably don't "mess" with her because she carries a weapon.

She has also condemned harassment, saying it "stinks". In an interview with MSNBC, Ms Palin was pressed on the issue of sexual misconduct and asked whether she had experienced harassment in the workplace.

The former governor of Alaska replied: "You know, I think a lot people know I'm probably 'packing' - so, I don't think there's a whole lot of people who would necessarily mess with me."

She assured viewers that although she had not suffered sexual harassment she was not making light of such allegations.

"It really stinks for women in the workplace that, for too long, men have thought that they can get away with that old-school thinking that it's OK to belittle and harass women, in general," she added.

The former governor made her comments following allegations made against politicians, including Democratic senator Al Franken.

The Minnesota senator and former comic star of 'Saturday Night Live' faces accusations of forcibly kissing and groping a model and radio host in 2006 before he entered politics.

Leeann Tweeden, who hosts TalkRadio 790 KABC, has alleged that Mr Franken sexually assaulted her.

She wrote on the radio station's news site that: "You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping."

Mr Franken has issued an apology, saying: "I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't funny. It's completely inappropriate. It's obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture."

The allegations are the latest in a string of prominent sexual assault claims, including allegations against Republican Senate candidate for Alabama Roy Moore, who it is claimed abused a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. He strongly denies wrongdoing.

Ms Palin insisted that tackling sexual harassment was "not a partisan issue".

Meanwhile, a church in Florida has put up a sign warning those who might enter with an eye to do harm that the congregation is "heavily armed".

With churches across the country being forced to think deeply about security following the recent assault on a church in Texas that killed 26 people and the 2015 attack on a church in Charleston, the River at Tampa Bay Church has a sign posted on the front door that reads: "Please know this is not a gun free zone - we are heavily armed - any attempt will be dealt with deadly force - yes we are a church and will protect our people."

The sign had been in place for more than a year at the non-denominational church. It earned national attention after pastor Rodney Howard-Browne posted it on Instagram.

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