Former Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she has not experienced sexual harassment in the workplace because she carries a firearm. Palin also condemned sexual harassment while expressing concern over the potential of false accusations.
On Nov. 16, Palin was asked after meeting with GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Capitol Hill if she had ever been sexually harassed in a professional setting.
"I think a whole lot of people know I'm probably packing so I don't think there's a whole lot of people who would necessarily mess with me," Palin responded.
The former governor, who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008, added that she believed sexual harassment was a pervasive problem that had to be addressed.
"I don't mean to be lighthearted, this is a serious issue," Palin said. "It really stinks for women in the workplace that for too long, men have thought they can get away with that old-school thinking that it's OK to belittle and harass women."
"It's not a partisan issue," Palin continued. "When we see this happening today, I think it leads to a lot of questions about what standards are going to be applied to whom."
The former governor also urged the public to not accept every allegation at face value.
"The floodgates are really open right now," Palin said. "That could lead to a lot of false accusations that really harm an innocent person."
Palin's remarks arrived amid a myriad of sexual harassment and assault allegations that have rocked entertainment, journalism and politics. A sitting Democrat senator has been accused of sexual harassment and a GOP Senate hopeful has been accused of sexual misconduct by nearly 10 women.
On Nov. 16, sports commentator Leeann Tweeden alleged that Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota had kissed and groped her without consent when they were participating in a USO Tour in December 2006. Tweeden said Franken had forcefully kissed her during a comedy skit and shared a photograph of him appearing to grope her breasts when she was asleep.
"I couldn't believe it ... How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's funny?" Tweeden wrote in an editorial for KABC.
Franken issued a statement of apology and said he would submit to an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, The New York Times reports.
"The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women," Franken said.
Since Nov. 8, nine women have accused GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama of sexual misconduct. Leigh Corfman alleged that Moore molested her when she was 14 years old. Beverly Young Nelson alleged that he sexually assaulted her in his car after offering her a ride home when she was 16 years old, The Washington Post reports. Moore was in his 30s at the time of the alleged misconduct incidents.
On Nov. 16, Moore denied all of the allegations and rebuffed calls for him to bow out of the Senate race.
"They're not only untrue, but they have no evidence to support them," Moore said during a campaign rally, according to CNN.