Miami Herald Reporter Carol Rosenberg has been accused of sexual harassment in a complaint by Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon. In what may be the first complaint of its kind against a reporter, Gordon accuses Rosenberg of “multiple incidents of abusive and degrading comments of an explicitly sexual nature.” Gordon, 41, has added, rather implausibly, that he has “been abused worse than the detainees have been abused.” My guess is that working with Rosenberg is still a bit better than a turn on the waterboard. The question is whether she is more like Hildy Johnson, the hard-charging and tough-talking journalist — or foul-mouthed sexual harasser leaving Navy officers crushed in her path. [UPDATE: The Miami Herald has cleared Rosenberg of wrongdoing, citing lack of corroboration].
Gordon is calling for an investigation by the Herald. Gordon’s July 22nd letter details what he calls “vile and repulsive comments” by Rosenberg. Gordon accuses Rosenberg of routinely calling him and other personnel “‘bitches,’ ‘stupid,’ ‘lazy,’ ‘incompetent,’ ‘Nazis,’ ‘Saddam Hussein-like,’ etc.'” Other allegations include:
1). Calling Gordon’s intern his “chick with the hot pants.” She also allegedly said “I know you’re hot for your interns and bring them down as your ‘companions,’ but seriously, if I’m going to do their work anyway, what purpose do they serve?” Gordon says that the comments were also meant to suggest that he is gay since his assistant was a male last summer.
2). During the defendant Mustafa al-Hawsawi sitting on a pillow in court last year in Court, Gordon alleges that Rosenberg asked Gordon: “Have you ever had a red hot poker shoved up your ass? Have you ever had a broomstick shoved up your ass? . . . How would you know how it feels if it never happened to you? Admit it, you liked it.”
3). Gordon alleges that Rosenberg saw him emerge from a shower then told him in front of a both of reporters that “Seeing him topless in tent city was the most repulsive sight I’ve ever seen in my life. I wanted to vomit.”
Other reporters like Los Angeles Times reporter Carol Williams have stood up for Rosenburg and say that this is an effort to “discredit” a hard-charging journalist.
Jamie McIntyre, a former CNN Pentagon correspondent, also stood up for Rosenberg even though, in one of the referenced exchanges, Rosenberg reportedly objected to McIntyre being given housing on a Gitmo Trip, allegedly telling Gordon: “You’re kissing his ass so much that I can’t believe you’re letting him stay with the rest of us. Do you love him?”
It is hard to see how much of this dwarfs torture of detainees, though it is interesting to see military officers using detainee abuse as a measurement.
The question for the Herald is whether this is a tough-taking reporter or a journalist who has crossed the line.
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