5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Tara Reade, a California freelance writer, is accusing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993 when she worked as Biden staffer.
On Twitter, Reade defines herself as, Former intern
for Leon Panetta, Former Senate aide for Biden, Survivor,
Domestic Violence Advocate, Animal Rights, Actress,
Writer. Poet. Her full name is Alexandra Tara Reade. A
2019 story in the Union newspaper in California
reported that employment documents provided by
Reade show that she worked in Biden's office from
December 1992 to August 1993.
On MSNBC, Biden said that he was saying
unequivocally, it never, never happened. It didn't. It
Biden, in a May 1 statement, denied sexually
assaulting Reade. This never happened, he said. While
the details of these allegations of sexual harassment
and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not
complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated
with dignity and respect, and when they step forward
they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that
their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry
Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big
ways But this much bears emphasizing. She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They both men and a woman have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one not one who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way as indeed I would not have.
In an earlier statement to Fox News, Biden's campaign
declared Reade's sexual assault accusation false. Women
have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an
obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage
them to do so, because these accusations are false, Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager and
communications director for the Biden campaign,
said in a statement to Fox News.
Biden spoke directly for the first time about Reade's
allegations on the Morning Joe show on May 1.
Last spring, Biden
issued a blanket denial, saying he believes he has
never acted inappropriately with women. At that time,
Tara Reade had publicly come forward alleging inappropriate
touching by Biden but did not make sexual assault
accusations then. Heavy.com has also reached out to
Biden's press office for comment on Reade's new
accusations of alleged sexual assault, which she made in
a podcast in March 2020, and we will update the story if
reaction is received. The Intercept has reported that
Reade first supported Sen. Elizabeth Warren and then
Sen. Bernie Sanders. She has urged people to vote for
Sanders on her Twitter page.
She has also made it clear that she disagrees with
Biden on policy questions. Tara Reade has now filed a
criminal complaint with authorities,
according to Business Insider. The Associated Press
says that complaint alleges she was the victim of a
sexual assault by an unnamed person in 1993.
Jeanette Altimus, Tara Reade's mother, called into the
Larry King show on CNN and discussed her daughter's problems with a prominent Senator years ago, according
to a report in The Intercept. Reade confirmed on Twitter
that the caller was her mother.
In an April 24, 2020 report,
the Intercept reported that the new piece of
evidence the video had emerged buttressing the
credibility of Tara Reade's claim that she told her
mother about allegations of sexual harassment and
assault relating to then U.S. Senator Biden, her boss
at the time. Tara Reade claims she told her mother, brother
Collin Moulton and a friend about the allegations at the
time; the latter two have confirmed that claim but
Tara Reade's mother, Jeanette Altimus, died in 2016, the
publication reported. Heavy has reached out to Moulton
for comment. Reade has confirmed her mother's voice is
on the video. Here's that video:
In the video, the caller, who doesn't give her name,
is identified as being from San Luis Obispo, California.
I'm wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the
press in Washington, she says. My daughter has just left
there after working for a prominent senator and could
not get through with her problems at all. The only thing
she could have done was go to the press and she chose
not to do it out of respect for him.
In addition, Tara Reade's former neighbor Lynda Lacasse
told Business Insider that Reade told her about the
alleged Joe Biden sexual assault in the mid 1990s. The
neighbor is a Joe Biden supporter. This happened, and I
know it did because I remember talking about it, the
former neighbor said. Biden denies the allegations.
Lorraine Sanchez, a former co-worker of Reade's, also
told Business Insider that Reade talked about being
fired after complaining about sexual harassment relating
to a former boss in Washington D.C.
Here's what you need to know:
1. Reade Alleged in a Podcast Interview That Biden Sexually Assaulted Her Against a Wall
Podcast host Katie Halper posted Tara Reade's interview on Soundcloud, writing on Twitter, This is a story that @ReadeAlexandra
has been trying to tell since it happened in 1993. It's
a story about sexual assault, retaliation and silencing.
#meToo. On Twitter, Halper defines herself as co-host
of @rollingstone Useful Idiots podcast with Matt
Taibbi @mtaibbi. Host of the Katie Halper Show podcast.
In an excerpt from the podcast, Halper said there was more to her story than
Tara Reade had shared before publicly. In spring 2019, Reade considered telling her full story, says Halper, but she was doxed and smeared as a Russian agent. There are now witnesses to the
story her brother and close friend recall her telling them about the incident at the time, said Halper.
During the interview, Tara Reade alleged the following
about Biden. She said that a supervisor called her into
the office and said, I want you to take this to Joe, he
wants it. We want you to bring it, hurry. It was a gym
bag. She called it an athletic bag. She said he was down
towards the Capitol, and he'll meet you. I went down,
and I was heading down towards there. He was at first
talking to someone.. and then they went away. We were in
like the side, like the side area, and he just said,
Hey, come here Tara.'
She continued: I handed him the thing. He greeted
me. He remembered my name. And then we were alone. It
was the strangest thing. There was no like exchange
really. He just had me up against the wall. I was
wearing like a skirt, a business skirt. I wasn't wearing
stockings. It was kind of a hot day that day, and I was
wearing heels remember I was wearing a blouse, and he
just had me up against the wall. And the wall was cold.
It happened all at once his hands were on me and
underneath my clothes. Yeah, and he went down my skirt
but then up inside it, and he penetrated me with his
fingers, and he was kissing me at the same time, and he
was saying something to me. He said several things. I
can't remember everything he said.
She added: I remember a couple of things. I remember
him saying, first as he was doing it, Do you want to go
somewhere else, and then him saying to me when I pulled
away. He got finished doing what he was doing, and I
pulled back and he said, C'mon man, I heard you liked
me, and it's that phrase stayed with me. I kept
thinking what I might have said I can't remember if he
said I thought or heard. He implied that I had done
this. For me, it was like everything shattered in that
moment because I knew we were alone, it was over, right,
he wasn't trying to do anything more, but I looked up to
him. He was my father's age. He was this champion of
women's rights in my eyes. I couldn't believe it was
happening. It seemed surreal. I felt sick because when
he pulled back he looked annoyed, and he said something
else to me that I don't want to say. And then he said, I
must have looked shocked. He grabbed me by the shoulders
and he said, You're OK, you're fine. And then he walked
Halper pressed Tara Reade on the thing she didn't want to
reveal. She then revealed that Biden allegedly said,
You're nothing to me. You're nothing.
I remember the assault itself, and then the
aftermath, and the reverberating effects of that,
Reade said in another interview on the alleged
incident on Rising with Krystal and Saagar on Hill TV.
However, Reade told ABC News that the written
complaint she says she filed didn't contain mention of
the alleged assault but rather described her feeling
uncomfortable at work.
Brian and Eddie Krassenstein have tried to cast doubt
on Tara Reade's accusations in a lengthy Medium post. You can
here. They say she worked as a domestic violence
victim advocate for a prosecutor, as co-host of a soul
music radio show, and as founder of a Pet Food Pantry.
They also claim that Reade praised Joe Biden for his
action in helping stop sexual assault, not just once,
but on multiple occasions, as recently as 2017. The Krassensteins are controversial;
Vanity Fair reported that Twitter banned them, calling them anti-Trump. The article calls them progressive political activists famous for trolling Donald Trump and his supporters.
The Associated Press reported that Tara Reade alleges she
raised accusations of sexual harassment, but not
assault, against Biden in multiple meetings with her
supervisors, including Marianne Baker, Biden's executive
assistant; Dennis Toner, Biden's deputy chief of staff;
and Ted Kaufman, the senator's chief of staff. Biden's
campaign gave AP a statement from Baker stating, I
never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any
reports of inappropriate conduct, period not from Ms.
Reade, not from anyone.
AP reported that Toner and Kaufman said they couldn't
recall Reade and said her accusations were out of
character for Biden. The AP reported that it spoke to
five current or former Biden staffers on Sunday, all of
whom worked for him at the time of the alleged incident.
None recalled such an incident or a report. Reade told
the AP she filed a written report but couldn't produce
it because she says they are with non public files at
the University of Delaware.
She claimed to the AP that she told four people about
the accusations at the time; two friends, her brother
(who didn't respond to a request for comment from AP)
and her now deceased mother. AP talked to the two
friends, and both verified that Reade had spoken to them
years ago, but one said it was about sexual harassment
2. Tara Reade Previously Came Forward With Other Allegations After Another Woman Accused Biden of Being Inappropriate.
According to Law and Crime, Tara Reade was one of
eight women who "previously accused Biden of sexual
harassment and inappropriate touching in early 2019."
Former Nevada State senator Lucy Flores had come forward
with her own allegations first.
The New York Times reported that Flores alleged that
Biden touched her inappropriately and kissed her "on the
head during a Democratic campaign rally in 2014, when he
was vice president."
At that time, though, Tara Reade did not allege that Biden
sexually assaulted her. According to Law and Crime, her
allegations then were that she was "objectified,
inappropriately touched by Biden, and later retaliated
against after complaining." She has said she was afraid
to come forward with the rest.
"I worked for the United States Senate as an aide for
Joe Biden. I spoke up about his inappropriateness in 93
and last April. Part of my story, the rest is silenced,
ask me," Reade wrote on her Twitter page in March 2019.
The tweet links to a Medium article she wrote, which is
headlined, "POWERFUL MEN AND THE WOMEN THEY CHOOSE TO
The Union, a Nevada County, California newspaper,
wrote about Tara Reade's earlier allegations in April
2019. That article alleges that Reade claimed then that
Biden "touched her several times making her feel
uncomfortable. Reade said her responsibilities in the
senator's office were reduced after she refused to serve
drinks at an event what she called a desire of Biden's
because he liked her legs."
That article does not describe the alleged sexual
assault Tara Reade is now describing; it quotes her as
saying, "He used to put his hand on my shoulder and run
his finger up my neck. I would just kind of freeze and
wait for him to stop doing that."
That story also says that a friend told The Union
that Reade had described the story at the time.
In a Medium article, Tara Reade said that coming out
publicly about the Biden allegations after Flores'
claims caused her a lot of harm. "Last year, my
reputation was smeared again by Joe Biden's campaign
cronies on twitter and social media when the story came
out on the AP wire about what he did. I lost clients in
my freelance work after a reporter called me a Russian
agent online. I received phone call and email threats,
my website hacked. Mainstream press has still not really
covered my story. I am again, still silenced," she
On March 24, 2020,
The Intercept posted a lengthy article alleging
that, after Reade came forward in support of Lucy
Flores, she reached out to Time's Up, the organization
created in the wake of the #metoo movement.
Intercept reported that Time's Up said it couldn't
help Tara Reade because Biden was a candidate for federal
office and the group was worried about its non-profit
Associated Press reporter Alexandra Jaffe wrote on
Twitter, "One friend, who knew Tara Reade in 1993, said
in an interview Sunday that Tara Reade told them about the
alleged assault when it happened. The person advised
Reade against going forward with the rest of her story
out of concern for Reade's safety."
3. Tara Reade Was Criticized for Comments She Made About Vladimir Putin and Has Urged People to Vote for Bernie Sanders
According to Intercept, Reade faced criticism over
comments she made about Vladimir Putin in a Medium
article that has since been deleted.
Intercept quoted that article as saying, "What if I
told you that everything you learned about Russia was
wrong? President Putin scares the power elite in America
because he is a compassionate, caring, visionary leader. To President Putin, I say keep your eyes to the
beautiful future and maybe, just maybe America will come
to see Russia as I do, with eyes of love. To all my
Russian friends, happy holiday and Happy New Year."
She told Intercept's Ryan Grim that she wrote the
post "in the spirit of world peace and solidarity with"
a friend who was from Russia. That article also says
that "Tara Reade's leftist mother had raised her to oppose
American imperialism and be skeptical of American
Federal Election Commission campaign finance records
turn up only a $5 donation earmarked for once Democratic
candidate Marianne Williamson.
In that record, Reade describes herself as a
freelance writer who lives in Grass Valley, California.
She wrote on Twitter that she was once a volunteer
for the "RFK Memorial."
She has posted pro Bernie Sanders commentary on
In March, she directed a tweet to then presidential
candidate Amy Klobuchar, writing, "I am his former
Senate aide. When I filed a complaint against Joe Biden
for sexual harassment and more I was fired in 93. Last
April I spoke up and his campaign worker and former
aide called me a Russian agent. I am not. I also
volunteered same year for RFK memorial."
She directed this tweet at New York gubernatorial
candidate Cynthia Nixon, including a copy of her
She has criticized Biden on Twitter, writing, "Beware
the Ides of March. Pay attention my friends this is your
vote. Do you really think that Biden will tell the truth
even one time to back a progressive agenda? 61
billionaires backing his campaign, I think not."
In a tweet in March 2019, she wrote, "I do not have a
TV I get my news from @davidsirota tweets or bernie
supporters or my daughter in Seattle. She told me as of
Friday a travel ban from Europe into U.S. all the
public Seattle schools closing for 2 months yikes. #NotMeUs
4. Tara Reade Described a Difficult Relationship With Her Father and Time Spent in Hollywood
Reade has a daughter and wrote on Twitter that she
raised her as a single mother.
In the Medium article, Reade gave more details about
her background and biography. "The first powerful man
who abused me physically and emotionally was my father,"
she wrote. "He was rich and a defense contractor but did
not like children, only the process of getting them. He
never shared his wealth with any of his children or
family but squandered it on women he met and his own
indulgences like the modern day pirate he was. But oh,
how everyone wanted his attention and approval, even
She wanted to be an actress early on, writing, "When
I was 18 years old, I had already starred in Equity
productions of classical theatre. I had started acting
in plays as a child and did school theatre, community
and regional theatre, sprinkled with some radio and
She spent time in Hollywood, explaining, "My time in
Hollywood was one of the best times of my life. I was a
theatre geek in love with the process of creating a
production. I modeled and acted in Hollywood, got bit
parts, great theatre parts, high paying model gigs, an
agent, and even came close, so close, but no starring
She then moved to Washington D.C. and political work,
writing, "I worked for a prominent congressman and was
hired later by Senator Joe Biden. Joe Biden was my
political hero. I reported Joe Biden's sexual harassment
of me at a time when no one listened and supervisors
looked at me like I was the one with the problem."
In an April 2019 column
in the Union newspaper, Tara Reade wrote, "I had been
approached in college by a political science professor
to apply for an internship in a congressional office.
After working as an intern in Washington D.C., I caught
the political operative bug and worked on campaigns. I
applied at then Sen. Joseph Biden's office and I was
interviewed on the phone, flew back to D.C., and hired
at the in-person interview, on the spot. Sen. Biden
walked past as I was being interviewed and prepared for
orientation, he asked me a question then as he breezed
out, said, "Hire her," with a smile."
Of her mother, she explained on Twitter, "Mom was an
artist/activist a leader in Committee Against Racism.
She took us as children to important marches in Cali
Chicago at one we met Jesse Jackson. She was fierce
funny creative I miss our political talks and her
5. Joe Biden Denies That He Ever Acted Inappropriately Around Women
In March 2019, Biden released a statement that read,
"In my many years on the campaign trail and in public
life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs,
expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not
once never did I believe I acted inappropriately. If
it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully.
But it was never my intention. I may not recall these
moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I
hear. But we have arrived at an important time when
women feel they can and should relate their experiences,
and men should pay attention. And I will. I will also
remain the strongest advocate I can be for the rights of
women. I will fight to build on the work I've done in my
career to end violence against women and ensure women
are treated with the equality they deserve. I will
continue to surround myself with trusted women advisers
who challenge me to see different perspectives than my
own. And I will continue to speak out on these
vitally-important issues where there is much more
progress to be made and crucial fights that must be
waged and won."
Reason Magazine has pointed out that during the
Brett Kavanaugh allegations, Biden said, "For a woman to
come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally,
you've got to start off with the presumption that at
least the essence of what she's talking about is real."