Journalist accuses Rev. Jesse Jackson, director John Singleton of sexual harassment



Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. A journalist has accused Jackson of sexual harassment. (Clem Murray/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

A journalist claims that the Rev. Jesse Jackson and director John Singleton made inappropriate comments and advances toward her while she was doing her job.

Danielle Young, writing for The Root, says that while she was working for a media company, Jackson delivered the keynote speech at the end of a meeting. After discussing the responsibilities of black journalists in his speech, according to Young, she and her colleagues lined up to have their picture taken with Jackson.

“I walked toward Jackson, smiling, and he smiled back at me,” Young wrote. “His eyes scanned my entire body. All of a sudden, I felt naked in my sweater and jeans. As I walked within arm’s reach of him, Jackson reached out a hand and grabbed my thigh, saying, ‘I like all of that right there!’ and gave my thigh a tight squeeze.”


The reporter said she was too shocked to react and giggled uncomfortably as he “pulled me closer,” while her co-worker took photos of them. She described herself as feeling “deflated” after she was finally able to pull away from the man she once admired who “marched alongside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Young noted that she reached out to a woman there with her that day at her previous job who remembers the situation in the same way.

“‘I remember him being inappropriate with all the women,'” Young said her former co-worker said. “‘And I also remember you telling me that he did something more with you. And then we brushed the s**t off and chalked it up to him just being a dirty old man.'”

Young expressed feelings of guilt in her article, writing that her “silence gave Jackson permission to continue grabbing at the next pair of thick thighs he liked.” She hopes sharing her story will prevent such an exchange from happening between Jackson and another woman.

Representatives for Jackson did not return a request for comment but, in her story, Young said that a statement was issued to her that read, “Although Rev. Jackson does not recall the meeting three years ago, he profoundly and sincerely regrets any pain Ms. Young may have experienced.”

More recently, Young attended the American Black Film Festival to interview Singleton — an Academy Award-nominated director — and the cast of his show “Snowfall.” At the end of her on-camera dialogue with Singleton, Young said she approached him to retrieve her microphone and that he grabbed her by the wrist, drawing her nearer, and said, “Bring that juiciness over here.”

Young claims that the act of pulling her closer caused her to fall forward and brace her hands against his thighs. She wrote that he then kissed her on the cheek before she had a chance to stand back up. She then agreed to take a picture with him to not “make it awkward,” and said he clutched her around the waist and pulled her into him, saying, “Oooh, I’m gonna grab on tight to you.”


Again, Young noted that a colleague corroborated her account of the incident. “Did you see that?” she said she asked another woman in the room.

“‘Yeah, girl,’ she said the woman replied. ‘I heard he likes big girls.’ The woman was also ‘of size,’ and told me that when she went to take a selfie with him, he kissed her on the cheek and said, ‘I love your face! It’s so soft. I want to feel your cheek on my cheek.'”

Representatives for Singleton did not return a request for comment.

Young wrote that since she was a child, she was warned about “dirty old men” and that they exist but that she wasn’t told how to handle situations like the two she detailed in her story. She said she blamed herself for each interaction — and for many others with other non-famous men — when a man turned “a professional environment into a playground of flirting, grabbing and sexual talk.”

Young’s stories are the first public allegations against the Rev. Jackson or Singleton but the latest in a flurry of sexual harassment claims against prominent, powerful men, like Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, President Trump, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Ed Westwick, Brett Ratner, Terry Richardson, Bill Cosby and others.


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