Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) appears to have caught wind of a right-wing attack on Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault during high school, and seems willing to blame Ford for her own alleged assault.
HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic noted on Twitter that Collins brought up potential issues with Ford’s high school yearbook that leave her wondering just what to believe about Kavanaugh’s accuser.
ThinkProgess’s Judd Legum noted that the so-called “problems” with Ford’s yearbook originated in right-wing circles and were picked up by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
> The yearbook pages in question don’t include any information that reflects negatively on Ford or contradicts any part of her account, but she is now being smeared over their contents. Those launching the attack include prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who baselessly identified a photo of a girl wearing a skirt as Ford in order to claim she was promiscuous in high school -- as though such a claim would in any way excuse or negate sexual assault.
> According to Jones and Infowars, excerpts from the yearbooks were first published by a blog called Cult of the First Amendment. A September 19 post on that blog appears to show scanned pages of yearbooks from Holton-Arms School, Ford’s high school.
> The yearbook excerpts describe underage drinking and, in two cases, racially insensitive outfits worn by several Holton-Arms students. But Ford is pictured only once in the images, sitting with two friends at a Halloween party.
Jones took the initial blog post material and ran with it, baselessly claiming an image of one girl sporting a mini skirt was Ford and then labeling her “captain of the sluts”.
> The girl pictured has a black bar covering her face, and neither the Infowars aggregation nor Cult of the First Amendment identified the individual as Ford (nor did the original yearbook page, as shown on either site). Still, Jones not only repeatedly said it was her in the photo but also suggested that the person’s decision to wear a miniskirt -- which, to be clear, is innocuous in its own right and not probative of anything -- made her a “hussy” and “captain of the sluts.”
> Jones said, “We need Judge Kavanaugh to still testify next week and to have big blown-up poster boards with Christine Blasey Ford spreading her legs in the high school yearbooks,” and he said she was pictured “in stockings up to her knees and miniskirts, provocatively putting her hand behind her head and showing everything but her panties.”
> He also said of the photo, “That means, ‘I want you to climb on top of me right now,’”before claiming she “appears to be a hussy” and that she is “the definition of a trainwreck fraud.”
To be clear, whether or not it is Ford in the photo is irrelevant: wearing a mini skirt or posing provocatively does not cause sexual assault.
If in fact Kavanaugh assaulted Ford as she alleges, her clothing choices at any point in her history have no bearing on the wrongness of the assault —nor do the details of her sexual history.
Collins comments suggest she is at least somewhat willing to concur with Jones.