Three years ago an investigation was launched into David Corn, the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, over allegations of inappropriate behavior toward female coworkers. The case has now been re-opened after newly found emails on the matter surfaced.
The emails, written by two female staffers at Mother Jones in 2014 and 2015, were revealed to Politico under the condition of anonymity.
The 2014 correspondence detailed how Corn “came up behind [a female staffer] and put his hands and arms around [her] body in a way that felt sexual and domineering.” The 2015 email remarked on concerns a different staffer had about Corn’s “rape jokes” and how the bureau chief “regularly gave [several women] unwelcome shoulder rubs and engaged in uninvited touching of their legs, arms, backs and waists.” The letter also discussed how he “made inappropriate comments about women’s sexuality and anatomy.”
In response to the revelation, Mother Jones revealed Thursday that Corn had been counseled when claims were first filed about not touching staffers and steering clear of making insensitive remarks; however, Mother Jones’ CEO Monika Bauerlein and editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery told Politico that they had never seen the emails, which were shared between staff and union representatives.
Bauerlein and Jeffery also indicated that they believed Corn had ceased all inappropriate behavior after the initial 2014 probe.
In a statement to the outlet, the 58-year-old said that his behavior was never meant to be taken in a sexual manner.
“I am an exuberant person and have been known to pat male and female colleagues on the shoulder or slap them on the back, but always in a collegial or celebratory way,” Corn said in a statement to Politico. “I have never touched any work colleague in a sexual manner. Once concerns were raised about this type of contact, I have been mindful to avoid it to prevent any misperception. If anyone ever perceived any of this as ‘sexual’ or ‘domineering,’ I am sorry — that was never my intent.”
Corn later added: “Sexual violence is not funny, and I have never joked about it, or about women’s sexuality and anatomy.”
With the emails now seeing the light of day, both Bauerlein and Jeffrey told Politico that they’re “going to take them seriously and investigate.” The two added, “at no time did anyone claim that any kind of sexual touching occurred. In fact, the people who raised concerns about touching told us that they did not consider it sexual, but simply didn’t want any physical contact at all.”
Corn, who is currently writing a book about whether or not US President Donald Trump or his allies colluded with Russia during the heated 2016 election, is just one of several high-profile figures to face sexual misconduct allegations in recent weeks.
Ironically enough, Corn in a March 2017 tweet mocked Trump on the topic of sexual harassment, saying that POTUS “leads by example” on “raising awareness about sexual assault.”
Corn shows up on the anonymous list of more than 70 “Shitty Media Men” that has been making the rounds among journalists.