Report: Third Former Employee Claims Sexual Harassment By Herman Cain

The Associated Press is out with a story guaranteed to keep the Herman Cain sexual harassment story in the news for several more days:

A third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by Herman Cain when she worked for the presidential candidate in the 1990s. She says the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

She worked for the National Restaurant Association when he was its head. She told The Associated Press that Cain made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against him.

The employee described situations in which she said Cain told her he had confided to colleagues how attractive she was and invited her to his corporate apartment outside work. She spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she feared retaliation.

This woman isn’t covered by a confidentiality agreement, obviously, so she’s free to speak with whatever members of the media she likes. No comment on the truth or falsity of the allegations at this point, although the lack of a contemporaneous complaint is something I’m sure Cain’s supporters will point to in his defense. In any case, though, it’s pretty clear that this story isn’t going away any time soon.

In other news, a veteran GOP pollster says that he witnessed one of the incidents at issue in the original report and that Cain’s campaign is in serious trouble if the details come out:

A veteran Republican pollster and former National Restaurant Association employee said Wednesday morning that Herman Cain sexually harassed a woman at an Arlington, Va. restaurant in the late 1990s.

Chris Wilson, now the principal of an Oklahoma-based GOP consulting firm, said in an interview on Oklahoma City’s KTOK radio station that the episode took place in the neighborhood where Cain kept an apartment when he headed the restaurant trade group.

“This occurred at a restaurant in Crystal City (Virginia) and everybody was aware of it,” Wilson said on the station. “It was only a matter of time because so many people were aware of what took place, so many people were aware of her situation, the fact she left—-everybody knew with the campaign that this would eventually come up.”

In an interview with POLITICO, Wilson said he was present for the episode and that it took place in the late-90s.

Wilson also said the following:

Wilson said for legal reasons, he can not discuss details of the incident. “But if she comes out and talks about it, like I said, it’ll probably be the end of his campaign.”

The consultant said Cain is digging himself a deeper hole by challenging the woman. He also believes it has put the Restaurant Association in a position where it will have to release the woman from her confidentialilty agreement. “If she talks about it, I think it’ll be the end of his campaign.”

It’s worth noting that Wilson’s polling firm has ties to Rick Perry’s campaign, although that doesn’t definitively prove anything.

In any event, this is beginning to resemble the familiar drip-drip-drip of revelations we’ve seen in other Washington scandals. They seldom end well for the target.

Update: And, there’s more:

In a cryptic comment made at National Journal’s Election 2012 Preview event Tuesday, Mark Block, Herman Cain’s campaign manager, made reference to an incident involving Cain and a receptionist for a radio talk show host.

Asked by panel moderator Beth Reinhard whether he could guarantee that there’s not more information forthcoming about his past, Block began his answer with a blanket denial, followed by what seemed to be a description of an unreported recent incident involving Cain.

“Mr. Cain has never sexually harassed anybody. Period. End of story,” he said. “As the hours go by, it’s interesting that we even hear from a radio talk show host of Iowa that a receptionist thought that Mr. Cain’s comments were inappropriate.”

POLITICO has learned that the incident involved a staffer for Steve Deace, an influential conservative talk radio host who hosts a nationally syndicated show in Des Moines. And Deace says he did take offense.

Deace, who penned an opinion piece critical of Cain earlier this month, told POLITICO in an email that Cain said “awkward” and “inappropriate” things to the staff at his station.

“Like awkward/inappropriate things he’s said to two females on my staff, that the fact the guy’s wife is never around…that’s almost always a warning flag to me,” Deace wrote. “But I chose to leave that stuff out [of the opinion piece] and make it about his record and not the personal stuff.”

Pressed about what exactly Cain said to the employees of his show, Deace responded by describing how he himself treats his staff.

“Many a man has been done in by the inability to control his urges,” Deace wrote. “I am no different and just as vulnerable as any other man, which is why I put safeguards around me and hold myself accountable to my wife and other men in my life. Especially since I have very talented employees that happen to be women. I go out of my way to treat them like my sisters. For example, I wouldn’t tell them or any other woman I am not married to nor related to how pretty she is.”

Asked how Block would know that the women at the station were uneasy about Cain’s behavior, Deace said he didn’t know.

“No idea, to the best of my knowledge neither me nor anyone on my staff has ever spoken to Block,” said the talk show host.

And it continues

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. MBunge says:

    So, let’s recap. Cain is apparently NOT guilty of groping women, telling them “sleep with me or else” or engaging in graphic sex talk. He is apparently accused of acting like Bill Clinton but without the sexual charisma. If Cain’s accusers are all going to be like Steve “I wouldn’t tell a woman she’s pretty unless she’s related to me” Deace, this whole controversy may propel him to the GOP nomination.


  2. Janis Gore says:

    I hate this story. It smacks too much of “them n****rs and they uncontrollable whoremoans.”

  3. Janis Gore says:

    I wonder how many times Rick Perry has called a woman “little lady.”

  4. Terrye says:

    Janis..what is actually smacks of is Cain’s inability to deal with a crisis.

  5. Janis Gore says:

    That too, Terrye.

  6. Rick Almeida says:

    @Janis Gore:

    I hate this story, too, because it smacks loudly of “men in power using their positions to harass women”.

  7. Janis Gore says:

    @Rick Almeida: @Rick Almeida: Don’t tell me. I’m the one who back-handed the manager at the Christmas party because he wouldn’t leave Lisa alone.

  8. MBunge says:

    @Rick Almeida: “I hate this story, too, because it smacks loudly of “men in power using their positions to harass women”.”

    If Cain behaved inappropriately to the women at that radio station, I’m not sure his position of power has anything to do with it. Maybe Cain’s just a boor, which means he’d be called a “charmer” if he had better social skills.


  9. michael reynolds says:

    So who’s up next? Is it Santorum’s turn yet?

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    What this smacks of over and over again is blatant innuendo and presuppositions, all day and all night…


    Cain can’t do this, Cain didn’t do that, Cain had conversation with a couple of crazy chicks,we think, who like to sue men in power that have money like 15 years ago….

    Poop I say….Not but rubber Donkey poop…..

    This low tech hanging you people are attempting is just as bad as your attempts to make anything good about or out of the occupy the holding tank protests….

    Yup, it sucks…

  11. mattb says:


    This low tech hanging you people are attempting is just as bad as your attempts to make anything good about or out of the occupy the holding tank protests….

    You realize that the “you people” that you are referring to are members of Cains own party and conservatives (see Mr Deace as an example… wonder who he’s supporting)… right?

    I hope that this means that if Romney or Perry (the later most likely the one whose camp is going after Cain) win the nomination, that you’ll be willing to stay home (so as not to support the type of “you people” who are willing to practice the politics of personal destruction).

  12. An Interested Party says:

    This low tech hanging you people are attempting…

    Whether it is about Palin, or Bachmann, or Cain, or Thomas before him, or a host of other conservatives, it is always the victimization…always, always, always the victimization…

  13. @An Interested Party:

    This is all conservatives have left. The intellectuals conservatives — Frum, Douthat, Brooks, et al — are now persona non grata. Even former Reagan officials like Bruce Bartett and David Stockman are considered RINOs now.

  14. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Janis Gore: Well said!

  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    The intellectuals conservatives — Frum, Douthat, Brooks, et al — are now persona non grata.


  16. G.A.Phillips says:

    it is always the victimization…always, always, always the victimization…

    Liberals have skills at creating them one way or another.Masters of the crap!

    Mugs be generating victim after victim, making if look effortless!

  17. Janis Gore says:

    G.A., what are you talking about?

  18. mantis says:

    This low tech hanging you people are attempting

    A low tech hanging is a regular hanging. Delusions…

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Janis Gore:
    No one ever knows. We just let him rant.

  20. jukeboxgrad says:

    Seen elsewhere:

    With all the new allegations coming in it won’t be long before we have 9 women making 9 allegations which Cain denies 9 times. So then you know what is the Cain 999 Plan.


    Cain’s campaign is ending faster than Kim K’s marriage.

  21. Bob says:

    It’s one thing to say “You’re pretty.” and “I’m not married” in two different sentences when you’re having a discussion that makes it an appropriate conversation. It’s a different thing to say “You’re pretty and I’m not married, what’re you doing tonight?”

    Look, let’s face it, there are men who are just creepy toward women and they make it very hard to take them seriously. Who wants to worry that this jerk who shares too much of his personal information isn’t some serial date-rapist?

    Women are always considered “asking for it” when they go up to a man’s apartment for drinks. But it’s okay and not sexual harassment to ask a woman he works with up to his apartment?

    If any man can assume that a woman should understand that the act of him asking her up to his apartment implicitly means they are going to have sex, then we can also rightly assume that any man asking a woman up to his apartment is, in fact, asking her to have sex with him and it can be construed that such behavior is Sexual Harassment.