Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul claims that there should be no federal laws against sexual harassment and that the victim of sexual harassment bears equal moral responsibility for the act as the harasser.
If it's just because somebody told the joke and somebody was offended, they don't have a right to go to the federal government and have a policeman to come in and put penalties on those individuals, Paul said in the Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, Sunday. I mean, they have to say, well, maybe this is not a very good environment, and they have the right to work there or not there, he said.
According to the Texas congressman, sexual harassment needs to be taken seriously only if there is some sort of violence involved: If sexual harassment involves violence, as libertarians, we are very opposed to any violence. So, if there is any violence involved, you still don't need a federal law against harassment. You just need to call the policeman and say there's been an assault or there's been attempted rape or something.
Because people are insulted by, you know, rude behavior, I don't think we should make a federal case out of it. I don't think we need federal laws to deal with that and people should deal with that at home, Paul said.
Paul's shocking trivialization of sexual harassment came hot on the heels of several other claims labeling him racist, homophobic and anti-Semite.
The libertarian Republican launched the rant, demeaning sexual harassment victims and the federal laws against the act, answering Wallace's question about his book published in 1987. In his work titled, Freedom Under Siege: The U.S. Constitution after 200-Plus Years, Paul argued that people harassed at work should simply quit their jobs, as no one is denying them their right to work someplace else.
Employee rights are said to be valid when employers pressure employees into sexual activity, Paul wrote. Why don't they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem? Seeking protection under civil rights legislation is hardly acceptable, he wrote.