House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has gone undefeated since first elected to Congress in 1987, is facing a challenger this year in Shahid Buttar, a self-described democratic socialist.
But while Buttar has frequently assailed his rival for not being progressive enough and even held a debate with an empty chair to illustrate how out of touch he believes she is, his campaign now faces serious challenges of its own with new sexual harassment allegations against the candidate, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I physically distanced myself”
The news broke this week when comedian, artist, and filmmaker Elizabeth Croydon went public with her claims about Buttar.
Croydon posted details of his alleged misconduct on Medium, asserting that he aggressively and inappropriately pursued her for a sexual relationship.
Croydon claims the behavior dates back about 17 years to a period during which she lived with Buttar — along with a group of other artists — in a communal home in Washington, D.C.
“I physically distanced myself from him at parties, turned down invitations, informed a friend I felt uncomfortable, avoided being alone with him, and eventually stopped going to the communal home until he moved out,” she wrote.
The unwanted advances continued, Croydon asserted, and included one “intimately embarrassing and traumatic” incident involving him publicly chiding her for choosing to remain celibate after she was sexually assaulted.
“I felt degraded, nauseated, and revolted that he would mock me in front of friends who looked to me as an outspoken voice for women,” she wrote.
“The left can do better”
According to Croydon, Buttar continued to let her know “he was sexually available” to her for “years” after the initial harassment began.
“We on the left must hold ourselves to a higher standard as we are committed to creating a just and equitable world, free from sexual misconduct, misogyny and bullying,” she wrote. “The left can do better than Shahid Buttar.”
As for Buttar, he has denied Croydon’s allegations and denounced sexual harassment in all its forms.
Local reports indicate the San Francisco chapter of Democratic Socialists of America might rescind its endorsement in light of the new claims. Although his longshot candidacy appeared to be gaining steam, it remains to be seen whether this scandal will completely derail his effort to further integrate socialism into Congress.