Ivanka Trump’s Sexual Harassment Speech Makes Twitter Go, "What About Your Dad?!"
Speaking at the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo on Friday, Ivanka Trump made waves online with her comments against sexual harassment at work. "All too often, our workplace culture fails to treat women with appropriate respect," she said. "This takes many forms, including harassment, which can never be tolerated." There's nothing extraordinary about that statement itself, especially given the forum where she said it. But given that Ivanka has long stood by her father, who's been caught on tape bragging about sexual assault, plenty of detractors questioned the sincerity of her stand against workplace harassment.
After President Trump's infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape, in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women, went public, he wrote it off as "locker room talk." Meanwhile, Ivanka issued a statement calling his comments "clearly inappropriate and offensive." She also said she forgave him — and now works for her father as an adviser in the West Wing.
That's not the only instance of Donald Trump making misogynistic comments to women in the workplace, either: Recorded for posterity is a boardroom scene from an episode of the president's former reality TV show, Celebrity Apprentice: “That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,” Trump told then-contestant Brande Roderick.
Given those comments and other allegations of sexual misconduct against her father (which he vigorously denies), Ivanka's speech at the Tokyo summit was swiftly called out on Twitter:
Social media backlash appears to have garnered perhaps more attention than Trump's Tokyo speech received in Japan. According to reports from the event itself, there were many empty seats in the audience for Trump's guest-of-honor event alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.
While the Japanese media has been abuzz with Trump's visit, a Pew Research Poll released last month shows plummeting confidence in American leadership. While 78 percent of Japanese respondents expressed confidence in the U.S. leadership of President Obama, that number has dropped to 24 percent under President Trump. Those lackluster views of the president may explain the disappointing turnout for Trump's speech. However, White House spokesman Josh Raffel said registration for the event was high, and it was in fact security concerns that kept many would-be attendees from entering the room.
Trump was also in headlines about workplace harassment when her father said in July 2016 that he "would like to think she [Ivanka] would find another career or find another company" if she experienced sexual harassment. Many pointed out that not all women have the financial option of simply quitting their job. For some, the more outrageous implication was that a woman should have to pay the price for a man's illicit behavior.
The recent allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have broken the dam for hundreds of victims to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and assualt committed by men in power. Dozens of men, from Hollywood celebrities to news media personalities to British politicians, have been forced to resign or been flat-out fired after similar allegations against them were made public.
President Trump has yet to suffer such a fate himself. Though 16 women have accused him of sexual misconduct, he not only denies all charges, but was elected president despite many of those allegations already being widely known at the time of his White House win.
As recently as Oct. 27, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was again asked about President Trump's official position regarding his many accusers. Referring to the 16 women, Jacqueline Alamany asked Sanders: "Last week, during a press conference in the Rose Garden, the president called these accusations 'fake news.' Is the official White House position that all of these women are lying?" Sanders responded: "Yeah, we've been clear on that from the beginning, and the president's spoken on it."
For some it would seem that Trump's words supporting a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment are at odds with accepting a job in her father's employ.