Tommy R. Bennett, a former employee of the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. at the Rainbow Push Coalition and Barack Obama’s LGBT Leadership Council, has filed a wrongful termination and discrimination complaint against Jesse Jackson with Chicago’s Commission on Human Rights. It is scathing filing that alleges that Jackson routinely forces staffers to arrange (and clean up after) his trysts with women as well as other demeaning jobs. Jackson previously had to admit in 2001 to an affair with staffer, Karin Stanford, that resulted in the birth of a daughter, Ashley. He swore that he had again found God and the Rainbow Coalition paid Stanford money to resolve the scandal.
Bennett, 55, further suggests that Jackson asked him for oral sex.
One article states that Jackson allowed staff to avoid working with Bennett due to homophobic views. Bennett worked for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition for more than two years as the National Director of Community Affairs. In the interview, Bennett states “[Jackson] used me as a scapegoat because he was dating two women. … However, because I knew what was going on, he told his family and friends that I wrote a letter [outing one of the girlfriends], which was not true. By doing that, it looked like I was the bad person. At that point, [one of the alleged mistresses] told [Jackson] to get rid of me.”
The allegations include such acts as Jackson demanding that Bennett put cream between his legs to handle a rash and, when Bennett refused, calling him a “little motherf***er.”
These are the type of allegations that make litigation costly for any defendant. With the interviews given by Bennett, it will be telling to see if Jackson sues for defamation. While the Complaint is privileged, out of court statements are not privileged and can be the basis for slander.
I will confess to not being a fan of Jackson. Having grown up in Chicago, he seemed to be a man who used religion to acquire wealth and power. However, he has a right to be heard on such allegations, which involve a number of scenes where only Bennett and Jackson were present. In the interim, it could pose a new problem for Obama has he continues his push in the black communities, particularly after his controversial decision to embrace the equally controversial Al Sharpton in New York. The question is how the President will handle appearances with Jackson pending the outcome of this case.
Rainbow PUSH released a statement standing by Jackson, stating “[Bennett’s] inflammatory allegations are an attempt to malign Reverend Jackson and the organization.”
I am still trying to get a copy of the Complaint.