On Friday, Time’s Up Now’s president, Tina Tchen, addressed the sexual assault accusation against Joe Biden and said allegations like Tara Reade’s should not “go ignored.” But Reade has said she felt “betrayed” by Time’s Up’s Legal Defense Fund, run by the National Women’s Law Center, which has said it provided Reade with attorneys to contact but was not able to subsidize PR and legal fees for her over concerns that doing so would hurt its nonprofit status.
“Today, Vice President Joe Biden sat down and directly addressed the allegation against him with the seriousness it deserves, something that the current president has never done,” Tchen said in a statement on Friday. “No longer can claims like this go ignored. Vice President Joe Biden needed to address Tara Reade’s allegation today. We call for complete transparency into this claim and the multiple claims against President Donald Trump.”
Appearing on MSNBC, Tchen also said the discussion surrounding Reade’s account was indicative of a “broken” system and said there should be “full transparency” for “every candidate running for president.”
“For decades, we have not had systems in place where survivors of sexual assault or sexual harassment can come forward at the moment, with security that they can report it without retaliation, and that those investigations will be taken seriously and investigated and justice will be done at the time they happen,” Tchen said.
But speaking with Law & Crime on Thursday, Reade said that she had felt “betrayed” by the group — particularly after learning from a report in The Intercept, which first published the news of Reade’s interactions with Time’s Up, that the organization’s public relations firm, SKDKnickerbocker, was headed by a top strategist for Biden’s campaign.
“I actually cried a little because I felt really betrayed,” Reade said. “They never told me that their public relations was run by Anita Dunn. I found out in real-time reading Ryan [Grim]’s article.”
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, released a statement as well on Friday, saying in part, “Vice President Biden directly addressed the allegations before him head-on today — anyone running for office should do no less in the face of such serious claims. Even in the context of a presidential race, in fact especially in this context, the public is looking for leaders to be clear, transparent, and to have meaningful conversations around claims that are this serious.”
The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, the NWLC and SKD have repeatedly denied that the PR firm was made aware of Reade’s accusation before she went public. A spokesperson for the NWLC also said that there were “recusal protocols and firewalls” in place to prevent “conflicts of interest.”
“We maintained then — as we do now — that we are willing to continue to try to find Ms. Reade legal assistance; we simply cannot fund any fees associated with that activity,” the spokesperson also said.
Reade has said that when she was a Senate staffer working for Biden, he had pushed her up against a wall and digitally penetrated her in 1993. Biden has denied the accusation “unequivocally.”