New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Resigns After 4 Women Accuse Him of Physical Abuse
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was accused of nonconsensual physical violence by four women on Monday, leading to his resignation.
Schneiderman, who filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein in the wake of multiple sexual harassment accusations, resigned from office four hours after the news broke in a story co-written by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow for The New Yorker. Farrow won the Pulitzer Prize for his previous report on Weinstein’s sexual harassment accusations.
In a statement released on Monday, Schneiderman, 63, announced his resignation saying, “It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General of the people of the State of New York. In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me.”
“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time,” the statement continued. “I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”
Two women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, spoke with The New Yorker on the record saying they had been in relationships with Schneiderman.
The two allege Schneiderman “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent.”
Manning Barish, who dated the Schneiderman from the summer of 2013 to New Year’s Day of 2015, alleges he slowly began to take steps in controlling her body, saying he had asked her to remove a small tattoo from her wrist.
“Taking a strong woman and tearing her to pieces is his jam,” she told the magazine.
One night, she said the two had been drinking when he called her “a w—-.” She responded back after which she claims he backed her up to the edge of his bed and “just slapped me, open-handed and with great force, across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear.”
“It was horrendous. It just came out of nowhere,” she continued. “My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed.”
Manning Barish claims Schneiderman held her down with his body and began to choke her.
“The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked,” she said. “In every fiber, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”
She left the apartment and told The New Yorker she had made it clear to Schneiderman she would not return.
“This was under no circumstances a sex game gone wrong,” she said. “This did not happen while we were having sex. I was fully dressed and remained that way. It was completely unexpected and shocking. I did not consent to physical assault.”
In bed, Manning Barish claims Schneiderman would sometimes call her “a little whore” and at one point told her, “If you ever left me, I’d kill you.”
Selvaratnam, an author and film producer, told The New Yorker the two were together from the summer of 2016 to the fall of 2017.
She claims the politician began to become violent during sex, often slapping her and making sexual demands.
“He was obsessed with having a threesome, and said it was my job to find a woman,” she said. “He said he’d have nothing to look forward to if I didn’t and would hit me until I agreed.”
She continued, “Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master and he’d slap me until I did.”
Selvaratnam, who is Sri Lankan, added, “He started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’”
While the two told the magazine they never filed police reports at the time, they did claim they had sought medical attention after receiving slaps on the ear and face.
A third woman was interviewed by the outlet but said she was too fearful of retribution to state her name on the record. She alleges Schneiderman practiced nonconsensual physical violence on her.
A fourth woman, described as an attorney who previously worked in prominent legal positions, claimed Schneiderman had slapped her across the face when she rebuffed his sexual advances.
In a statement on Twitter, Schneiderman, a Democrat, denied the allegations, saying, “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
The allegations come in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up initiative following the career collapse of Hollywood producer Weinstein after multiple allegations of sexual harassment came to light.
In April, Schneiderman congratulated The New York Times and The New Yorker for their Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on the accusations against Weinstein.
“Without the reporting of the @nytimes and the @newyorker—and the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they endured at the hands of powerful men—there would not be the critical national reckoning underway. A well-deserved honor,” he tweeted.
Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Weinstein and his brother Bob in February saying they, along with others at The Weinstein Company, had been “complicit” in the mogul’s alleged sexual harassment.
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“Let me be clear: Weinstein Company leadership was complicit in Harvey Weinstein’s wrongdoing. They knew what was happening. They know how pervasive it was. And yet they did nothing,” Schneiderman tweeted in February.
A spokesperson for Weinstein also previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”