If you’re looking for a clue that Mel Tucker hasn’t fully embraced the program that rape survivor or advocate Brenda Tracy runs at universities across the country, look no further than his reaction when he was publicly called out for his behavior was provided.
USA Today’s Kenny Jacoby, the original broke the story that Tracy filed a Title IX sexual harassment complaint against Tucker in December reported today that Tucker allegedly made false and misleading statements to Michigan State University external investigator Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger.
In addition to making an inaccurate statement about where he was at the time he called Tracy, which Tucker admits was him masturbating, and which ultimately led Tracy to file the Title IX complaint, Tucker claimed that he and Tracy were in a romantic relationship, which Tracy denies. According to USA TodayAfter that call, Tucker and Tracy didn’t speak to each other for months.
Meanwhile, her assistants were planning Tracy’s third visit to campus – an in-person workout with coaches and players scheduled for July 25.
Tucker canceled that practice three days earlier, according to the investigative report. When Tracy spoke to him on the phone on August 2 to find out why, she told the investigator in her interview that Tucker had suggested that he would harm her career if she spoke about his behavior. He never rescheduled their visit and they never spoke again.
In a public statement Tucker denied any wrongdoing and denied canceling Tracy’s upcoming presentation, claiming he “never canceled a presentation.” Tucker continued to blame staffing and scheduling issues for the postponement of the presentation and said Tracy “decided to file her complaint rather than proceed with the training.”
But according to Jacoby, Tucker told Veidlinger Something completely different.
When Veidlinger asked in his March interview whether he had a hand in canceling Tracy’s visit, Tucker replied, “Yes, I definitely did,” the report said. He also did not recall discussions about rescheduling Tracy’s January appointment. Such a timing doesn’t make sense, he added, since most of his new players aren’t on campus yet.
But perhaps the most jaw-dropping coverage in Jacoby’s article comes from the revelation that Tucker not only accused Tracy of gossiping about his marriage and allegedly telling others that his relationship with his wife was “on the rocks,” but also claimed that Paula from ESPN Lavigne, who frequently reports on sexual assault in college football, “examined how Tracy ‘goes about her business’ by claiming to be a rape survivor.” Lavigne, however said USA Today “Neither the organization nor Tracy are or have been the target of investigative reporting.”
What makes Tucker’s claims so hard to stomach is the fact that he presented himself as such to Tracy for a while a supporter of their cause, as one of the rare men who “got it” when it came to sexual assault and misconduct. That he truly understood why so many women don’t report sexual assault, namely because they fear they won’t be believed.
But when Tucker found himself among the accused, he resorted to the same tactics that silenced so many women in the first place. He called her a liar, implied she had ulterior motives and claimed she made false accusations to receive a large salary. And even if her claims are true, the whole thing was consensual because they were in a relationship. And anyway, he suggests, where is the evidence that she is even a rape survivor?
Sounds awfully familiar.
It’s the same playbook that powerful men use every time they’re accused of sexual misconduct. The accuser is a liar, probably crazy. Who knows why she is accusing him of sexual misconduct? But she’s definitely after money. Or despised. Or just jealous of another woman in his life. The faces and names change, but the accusations against the accuser are always the same. It would be ridiculous if so many young men didn’t buy it hook, line and sinker. And it fundamentally impacts how many people in our society view sexual assault. The reason the #MeToo movement was so groundbreaking wasn’t because so many women came forward with allegations against powerful men, but because so many people believed the women. And even that was mainly because they were competing against the same man in large groups.
A lonely woman facing off against a powerful, famous man knows what’s coming. She is dragged onto the internet by complete strangers who call her a liar, even though she knows almost nothing about what actually happened. Probably a threat to their safety. She may have to leave her home. Your name will definitely be dragged through the mud. And that’s before we even get to the psychological toll the offense takes on the victim.
If there is a man who claimed to be an agent for change, it was a supporter of #Believewomen, but resorted to the same old tropes the moment he was the one in the crosshairs, it’s Mel Tucker. And shame on him.
https://deadspin.com/mel-tucker-sexual-harrassment-investigation-1850869048 Mel Tucker was reportedly caught in several lies during the sexual harassment investigation