Deutsch Equates Stern Advice from Female Chair to Sexual Harassment

Former legislator Fred Deutsch responded to Dana Ferguson and Megan Raposa’s remarkable, well-sourced report on sexual harassment and the culture of sexism in our Capitol by whimpering about whether that Sioux Falls paper “will doing story on inappropriate behavior by women in pierre? [sic]” Ferguson offered to follow up, and, as we should have expected, Deutsch obliged with a story that completely misses the point:

Hi, I'm Fred Deutsch, and I don't get it.
Hi, I’m Fred Deutsch, and I don’t get it.

Deutsch said he didn’t want to “diminish the importance of women speaking out,” but felt he needed to share a story in which he felt a female committee chair threatened him.

In 2016, Deutsch planned to present to the Senate Education Committee his bill aimed at blocking transgender students from using school restrooms that didn’t match their biological sex at birth. The committee’s chair, Sen. Deb Soholt, warned him that those testifying on the bill needed to keep their testimony constrained if he wanted the bill to reach the Senate floor.

“It was very clearly a threat,” Deutsch said.

Soholt, who voted in that committee hearing to advance the bill to the floor, has said she provided the warning to keep the meeting from getting out of hand [link added; Megan Raposa and Dana Ferguson, “Governor, Social Media Respond to Reports of Sexism, Harassment in Pierre,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.10.23].

Good grief, Fred.

  1. Senator Soholt did not grope you.
  2. Senator Soholt did not corner you after a lobbyist booze fest and rape you.
  3. Senator Soholt did not exercise her appropriate authority as committee chair in any way that humiliated or disadvantaged you because of your gender.
  4. Senator Soholt did nothing inappropriate… unless you are about to deem all of the hardball politics played by committee chairs to be inappropriate and open the door for every legislator peeved at the control committee chairs exercise. While I imagine Stace Nelson and a whole lot of Democrats will welcome your alliance with them in that discussion, that is a whole separate discussion from the important discussion of sexism and patriarchy from which you are baldly trying to distract.

I know it must grieve the director of South Dakota Right to Life to have a woman, even a good Republican woman like Senator Soholt, tell him what to do. But to equate Senator Soholt’s management of her committee with the multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault now dogging the Legislature offends all sensibility.


51 Responses to Deutsch Equates Stern Advice from Female Chair to Sexual Harassment

  1. Good grief is right, Cory.

    Deutch is just mad b/c his anti-Transgender potty bill didn’t pass.

  2. Donald Pay

    What a crybaby! If that is a threat, then I was threatened daily.

  3. During my time at USD, I had access to on-campus sexual assault reports. I remember how shocked I was to see more men reporting sexual assaults than women. I Really wish I had kept that document.
    The National Crime Victimization Survey found 38 of rape and sexual violence cases were performed against men. If Deutsch wanted to make a point that we shouldn’t just be thinking of women, this is where he should have focused.

    I don’t want to diminish what any woman has gone through; I’ve known a few who’ve dealt with sexual assault. I’ve also been a recipient of untoward sexual advances, but thankfully not anything approaching abuse or rape.

    The majority of victims are women, and the majority of predators are men. But let’s remember it isn’t just men who can be predators, or callously sexist. Nearly 40% of victims are men – that’s enough to ensure we talk globally about how to get to a culture of consent.

    So let’s please all commit to promote an environment free of sexism and sexual violence, where phrases like ‘she was askin for it’ and ‘you can’t rape the willing’ are things of the past.

  4. It seems like every single time Mr Deutch opens his mouth, he loses credibility.

    It is clear from his stances on abortion and women’s freedoms, that he has a problem with…..well…..women having freedoms and/or women being in charge or leadership positions.

    and I’m sure it made him angry that women (Ferguson/Raposa) even wrote the article. Fred, if you aren’t being part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem.

  5. Roger Elgersma

    I was advised to not speak against how totally weak the shared parenting bill was. Because a former judge and a lawyer promised to trash it if it did not go through easy. I testified against it anyways and in the discussion the retired judge told the lawyer to drop it and let it go through. Point is: if you have a good point to make, then make it. If some good testimony is not let in, the democratic process will not function properly. Devious tricks to block testimony might happen on either side but the truth should come out before the bill is written so we do not have to come back and fix so many problems. If we elect reasonable people that can think clearly even though some are giving slanted testimony, then we can tolerate the possibility of all good testimony to be presented. No matter what the rules, someone will give an opinion that will not fly. That is because even well intending people will at times not know the whole story. To block the testimony will make the legislators the ones who do not hear the whole story.
    Threatening people to not give testimony before a committee, or to not tell that they have been assaulted, is just wrong. Freedom of speech is just part of a good process.

  6. In summary:

    Senator Soholt is a woman who asked a man to behave professionally in a professional setting.

    Rep. Deutsch is a man seeking to create a false equivalency with innuendo who is unable to come up with facts when questioned on the basis for his innuendo.

  7. I am still trying to see how advising “constraint” when dealing with a hot-button, discrimination issue is doing a bad thing. This looks like having Dr. Deutsch’s interests and credibility in mind. I am willing to bet all the money in my pocket that Sen. Soholt gave that same, good counsel other times on other issues to other senators arranging testimony.

    I shudder to think what unconstrained testimony condemning transgender students could have occurred. Hate/fear mongering was never far distant from this issue.

  8. Wayne, I’ll agree that if there are instances of women sexually harassing men in the Legislature, we should punish those women as surely as we will punish men for harassing women. You are right that Deutsch, in this context, should focus on offering such examples, not offering what Ror rightly calls a fabricated false equivalency to mere exercise of political power that is a transparent attempt to disguise that fact that he has no facts to back up his Sunday Twitter-bluster.

  9. O, it’s a bad thing because a woman told a man to behave properly.

    Uh oh—men in Pierre had better get ready for more of that.

  10. Mr. Deutsch is an honorable man with honorable intentions. In a time where a woman can cry harassment at the drop of a hat and demand to be taken seriously simply because she “feels” harassed, why not a man? Apparently, progressives/democrats are the only people entitled to “feel” harassed and demand retribution. Mr. Deutsch is a devoted advocate of the sanctity of life and morality. He should not be belittled for his positions nor his perceptions.

  11. Thomas, your defense of Deutsch is mostly irrelevant to the issue at hand. We have credible accusations of sexist behavior in Pierre. Deutsch almost immediately offered a response suggesting he could provide information of a similar nature. Instead, he offered a risible gripe about a woman in power telling him to make sure his committee witnesses observed proper decorum. I don’t have to belittle any of his political positions to make the point that he hasn’t offered any information that upholds his original claim, that he could expose “inappropriate behavior by women in Pierre,” or information that casts any doubt on any of the far more serious accusations of sexist behavior by men in Pierre.

    An honorable man with honorable intentions would be able to back up his words. Deutsch has not yet done so.

  12. Love it when you fascist democrats try to tell others what is relevant and what is not.

  13. Wow! More distraction! Now I’m a representative of an entire class of “fascists” for offering a logical analysis of responses to an argument. I’ve offered that analysis since 1989 as a high school debate judge, coach, and speech teacher, and no student has ever called me a fascist for pointing out that certain arguments are not relevant to the resolution under consideration or the arguments offered by their opponents.

    Deutsch indicated there were stories to be told of “inappropriate behavior by women in Pierre.” Deutsch has not yet provided any example of “inappropriate behavior by women in Pierre.” Even if I stretch and grant Thomas’s stretch to “perception,” Deutsch’s example of Senator Soholt running her committee does not qualify for perception as sexual harassment in any way that makes his story a relevant counterpoint to the statements of Buhl O’Donnell, Spawn, Wismer, Hawks, or the other women speaking out about sexism in Pierre.

    Not one part of my analysis includes advocacy of fascism. Quite the opposite: we’re all working to make our government less oppressive and more inclusive.

  14. Oh stop with the self aggrandisement and “I’m a pseudo-intellectual” so my argument outweighs yours. Let me know when you’d like to compare pedigrees. As for fascist…you’re a democrat, a progressive and your party supports, even promotes blm and the antifa movement…the very definition of fascism.

  15. Again, Thomas, why resort to personally insulting me and invoking BLM, Antifa, and other unrelated topics? Is it because if you stay on topic, you can’t win? Is it because everything I’ve said about Deutsch’s argument is correct and you need to distract people from that unpleasant fact?

    Our pedigrees are irrelevant to Deutsch’s failure to put his money where his mouth is. Stick with the topic.

  16. “He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, ‘Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?'” she said. “As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!'”

    That’s George HW Bush’s line when he grabs women’s rear ends. Apparently that’s his schtick these days. Maybe he’s just slipping in his old age. But not appropriate. Not appropriate. And not presidential.

  17. Yep, let’s jump on a 94yo former REPUBLICAN president while ignoring the hollywierd moguls, Slick Willy and his criminal wife. Democrats are masters at obfuscation, bait and switch and sleight of hand trickery. As long as they have the lame stream media as their PR representatives, nothing will change.

  18. Another GOPer crying crocodile tears when one of their own is outed for behaving badly.

    It’s not the GOPer’s fault for behaving badly. It’s the “lame stream media’s” fault for reporting the bad behavior. Right Tommy? Media should only report Democratic bad behavior, right Tommy? You’ve come to the wrong blog to try that kind of obfuscation.

  19. I am pretty sure that being threatened by a woman (if that’s what it was) is different than sexual harassment.

  20. Would Deutch willingly work on a transgender’s back at his clinic? I’m just sayin’ since he’s so fearful of people’s sexuality.

  21. Roger Cornelius

    Thomas,
    No one has been ignoring the Hollywood moguls or Bill Clinton, Clinton’s sexual history is well documented and the Hollywood executives are being revealed at this time.
    Former elder President Bush admitted his mistakes and apologized although his apology was weak.
    What Thomas fails to mention is the numerous sexual abuse charges made against his president Donald Trump. Thomas failed to mention Trump’s “grab ’em by the pu**y”.

  22. IF Trump ACTUALLY perpetrated such an act…IF….where are his accusers? Where is the evidence? The difference, as I suspect you know, is the level of (feigned) outrage. A Republican does it, it’s the crime of the century. It’s a symptom of ALL Republicans. People need to be fired and jailed regardless of how far removed in the chain of command. However, if the perp is a Democrat, it receives all of 30 seconds of news on every lame stream media outlet and explanations of how we can’t blame ALL Dems for the actions of one individual….and anyhow, the Republicans do much worse. If it weren’t for double standards, progressives/leftists would have no standards at all.

  23. bearcreekbat

    Thomas may have a point. At this stage it seems virtually everything Trumps says is a lie or exaggeration. Why should anyone believe what he said on the Access Hollywood tape?

    On the other hand, whether you believe them or not, witnesses have filed affidavits under penalty of perjury in courts describing Trump’s alleged rape of a 13 year old when he was consorting with convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein.

    Here is what one eyewitness said about Trump’s alleged exploits:

    I personally witnessed four sexual encounters that the Plaintiff was forced to have with Mr. Trump during this period, including the fourth of these encounters where Mr. Trump forcibly raped her despite her pleas to stop.

    I personally witnessed the one occasion where Mr. Trump forced the Plaintiff and a 12-year-old female named Maria [to] perform oral sex on Mr. Trump and witnessed his physical abuse of both minors when they finished the act.

    It was my job to personally witness and supervise encounters between the underage girls that Mr. Epstein hired and his guests.

    https://www.snopes.com/2016/06/23/donald-trump-rape-lawsuit/

    Sworn statements from purported eyewitnesses constitute sufficient evidence to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Lucky for Trump this child did not come forward until after the statute of limitations ran, or he might have had to join his pal Epstein in prison and as a lifetime registered sex offender. So there is that, Thomas.

  24. Thomas, I think Gary Hart would disagree that Democrats get a pass. I believe Anthony Weiner would also disagree. Bill Clinton’s impeachment seemed to take up more than 30 seconds of news time.

  25. Roger Cornelius

    Harvey Weinstein is a noted campaign donor to Democratic candidates, many of which have returned the money donated by Weinstein, and have not come out supporting Weinstein in anyway.
    Weinstein has far exceeded the 30 seconds of news time that Thomas states.
    Why is Thomas trying to make the sexual abuse of women a partisan issue?
    I have yet to see whataboutism win a debate.

  26. Darin Larson

    Thomas said “Mr. Deutsch is a devoted advocate of the sanctity of life and morality. He should not be belittled for his positions nor his perceptions.”

    Au contraire Thomas, if Deutsch was a “devoted advocate of morality,” he would not be diminishing the reports of women being subject to sexual harassment and assault in Pierre. He would be supporting them and their rights to be free from harassment and assault.

    For Deutsch to equate what at worst could be described as a political power play by Soholt as being the equivalent of sexual harassment and assault shows what a neanderthal he is. He apparently has no understanding of morality if standing up for women’s rights is not at the forefront of his dinosaur-like thinking process. When he obviously has no understanding of morality in this context, Deutsch and his views do deserve belittling and refutation.

    Someone who equates talk of political hardball between politicians as being anywhere near equal to the experience of victims of sexual harassment and assault is just plain nutty. I don’t know if its narcissism that leads him to believe that the two experiences are equal. Or was the fact that a woman was telling him how it was going to be that so galled him that in his mind it was equivalent to harassment and assault?

    I admit a morbid fascination with hearing someone like Deutsch talk about his petty political grievances as if they were equivalent to harassment and assault against women. In most places, these thoughts would find themselves relegated to the anonymous online comments sections of a right-wing faux news site. In SD, we have legislators that just come right out and put their crazy on full display. Sad!

  27. HAHA! “In SD, we have legislators that just come right out and put their crazy on full display…” A more exact definition of the progressives/Democrats cannot be found.

  28. Darin Larson
  29. Roger Cornelius

    Here’s something that should be of interest to Thomas.
    Since the New York Times broke the Harvey Weinstein scandal on October 5, FOX News has spent nearly 20 hours covering the scandal.
    By comparison, FOX News has spent 16 minutes covering the Bill O’Reilly news that FOX News paid $32 million to settle just one of O’Reilly’s sexual assaults. Most of the O’Reilly coverage was actually shaming his victims. If you will recall O’Reilly was successfully sued for $10 million a few years ago to settle a sexual assault charge.
    You’re right, Thomas, why aren’t these guys in prison?

  30. mike from iowa

    I suspect young Drumpf victims don’t come to far forward because of death threats.

    Congresswoman Wilson hasn’t gone back to DC because of threats. Obama would have been up front and in wingnuts grills about the threats. Drumpf is probably laughing his fat arse off how his minions do his dirty work.

  31. Darin, I’m no fan of corruption or wrongdoing on either side of the political coin. However, when the leftists deliberately minimize the problems on their side whilst spotlighting and exacerbating every single misstep by others, they should be called out. Unfortunately, as Corey has showcased so clearly, dissenters are told that their opinions are “irrelevant” and that I’m not winning. All this time I thought all opinions were valid in a discussion and that objective wasn’t winning, but offering opposing, or supporting, opinions. Mr. Deutsch was expressing an opinion as to how HE perceived the exchange. Evidently, only democrats, democrat women or women whose complaints negatively impact Republicans are valid. Remember that the leftists goddess Hitlery stated that “all victims need to be heard”…unless the complaint is against her husband or other Democrat politicians or money bundlers.

  32. Thomas, democrat politicians, generally speaking, don’t preach morality and the people that vote progressives know darn well that their leaders can be dogs. It’s the GOP hypocrisy we’re calling out, such as O’Reilly that claim to be all into family values and Christian upbringing when on the side he’s just a dirty dog like everyone else. 32 million must have been some nasty stuff. This is a guy that preached big time on moral values. There’s a ton of GOP politicians that have been caught – Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Sen David Vitter. We will name them all on here if you want.

  33. Jenny, for every Republican you name, I’ll name a Democrat. As I wrote, it occurs in both parties and Democrats should call out THEIRS, as well as Republicans. And I agree, $32M must have covered up SOME kind of kink.

  34. Darin Larson

    Thomas, you say “Mr. Deutsch was expressing an opinion as to how HE perceived the exchange.”

    So dive into what Mr. Deutsch said was “a threat.” Was it a threat of violence? Was it a threat to his career? Was it the threat of retaliation? No, it was a statement about a political outcome concerning his bill. This is political hum drum. Even if we lend all credence to Mr. Deutsch’s statement and take it in the light most favorable to his charge of “a threat,” it is clearly not in the same hemisphere as a charge of sexual harassment or assault. Equating common political discourse with sexual harassment or assault minimizes the latter as being as common and accepted as the former.

    Deusch seems to be perturbed that he was lectured about the procedure for a committee hearing. Republicans tell Democrats in Pierre all the time that the Democratic bill won’t make it out of committee. The threat of a bill not making it out of committee is not the violation of a personal right to be free from harassment or assault.

  35. Roger Cornelius

    Jenny,
    Let’s not forget admitted pedophile and former republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. Hastert is one of the few high level government officials to ever serve time in prison.
    Hastert didn’t serve time for the sexual assault for 4 high school wrestlers that was coached by Hastert because the statue of limitations ran on those charges.
    He was convicted of creating an account to payoff one of his victims and lied to the FBI about it.
    He still has several suits pending against him.

  36. Darin, thanks for confirming what I wrote. Only a Democrat, a Democrat woman or a woman whose complaints negatively impact Republicans are valid. No others will even be considered.

  37. Darin Larson

    Thomas, thanks for proving that you don’t really care to address the substance of the issues raised in the blog post. You just want to do the literary equivalent of a drive-by shooting and return to whatever is playing on Fox News.

  38. I explained my reasoning, a concept lost on you lefties, yet you continue to reject it. And you STILL refuse to acknowledge that only YOUR people can invoke claims of harassment. For the record, I don’t watch Fox News or television at all. Fox has its agenda and CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC have theirs. I choose not to listen to any of them, but to rely upon my own good judgment, moral compass and intellect. Hasn’t failed me in decades.

  39. Darin Larson

    Thomas writes: “And you STILL refuse to acknowledge that only YOUR people can invoke claims of harassment.”

    I don’t acknowledge this because it isn’t true. Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, and many other women that are not “lefties” (as you put it) have made sexual harassment claims that are widely acknowledged. Just like there are victims of every political persuasion, there are perpetrators among every political persuasion (See Harvey Weinstein and Anthony Weiner).

    You and Fred Deutsch don’t acknowledge that a culture of sexual harassment and assault is all too prevalent in many parts of society. Instead of acknowledging this, you distract with your attacks on “lefties.”

  40. I FULLY acknowledge the claims made by Carlson and Kelly. You just refuse to allow that Mr. Deutsch may have felt the same emotion from the senator. It just couldn’t be possible in your mind because he’s not a woman or a Democrat. As for my “attacks”…they aren’t attacks at all. Every word I typed is truth whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

  41. Darin Larson

    Thomas says “You just refuse to allow that Mr. Deutsch may have felt the same emotion from the senator.”

    Yes, I refuse to agree that being told your bill may not pass is the same as being subject to sexual harassment and/or assault. You and Mr. Deutsch should understand the difference as well given that your “good judgment, moral compass and intellect” haven’t failed you in decades.

  42. I love how Darin takes apart what Thomas mislabels as “reasoning.” Thomas isn’t offering evidence that Deutsch told the truth. He isn’t offering any solid argument that what Deutsch describes constitutes a real threat of anything comparable (Timoteo gets this, too) to the sexual harassment reported by Buhl O’Donnell or the sexual assault reported by Spawn. Thomas only offers the neo-relativism preached by desperate Republicans that allows them to countenance Deutsch’s dissemblage and Trump’s outright lies. Thomas speaks of “opinion” and “perception” as if that excuses everything, as if that grants Deutsch and Thomas permission to say anything, true or false, and, to Thomas’s real intent, dismiss every other statement as meaningless.

    Conservatives adopt this neo-relativism to shield themselves and their failing worldview from evidence, logic, and morality.

    Deutsch said he had stories of women behaving badly in Pierre. He has not provided a single example of women behaving badly in Pierre. He only wanted to change the subject from the stories of men behaving badly in Pierre, because he cannot provide evidence that refutes the allegations of men behaving badly in Pierre and he cannot provide a logical or moral justification for the Republican leadership’s knowing inaction against that bad behavior.

  43. Love the manner in which you progressives parrot each other. You use your 3rd grade schoolyard logic to dismiss any dissenting opinion. Like the Ellen DeGenerate picture this morning showing her ogling Katy Perry’s breasts….the left is making excuses as to why it’s no big deal. They’re friends. Ellen is homosexual so it’s not really sexual harassment or even mildly inappropriate. As I’ve written, only leftists/Democrats or their sycophants can express outrage AND they are the only ones who can define it. You can all return to patting each other on the back now.

  44. Thomas, your whataboutism is going nuts. Ellen Degeneres (and a cheap name-call)? “You progressives” as a monolithic class? You still haven’t responded to the substance of this post and the effective dismantlings of your excuses for Deutsch’s logical and moral error.

  45. Thomas, we understand you are hurt about us commenting about Deutch on here, but he doesn’t have a story. Sorry, it’s not harassment, it’s called politics. I’m thinking he’s just ticked b/c an assertive female politician spoke to him with a leadership style he’s not used to by women. It’s SD after all, so SD men would not be used to women telling men what to do.

    Did Soholt grope his butt or whisper something nasty in her ear? What’s the story here? There isn’t any.
    And for the record, what Ellen Degeneres did to Katy Perry is sexual harassment and she is being called out on twitter today over it.

  46. In his ear (not her ear)

  47. Cory, I answered in my very first post. I DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT MR. DEUTSCH COMMITTED AN ERROR IN EITHER LOGIC OR MORALITY. Plain enough for you?

    And Jenny, there’s NOTHING that you snowflakes could do or say to “hurt” me. And Ellen is only being called out by the right. The left is predictably silent. No feigned outrage whatsoever. At least, not any that’s being reported by your PR firm the lame stream media.

  48. And you’ve acknowledged none of the effective arguments that have responded to your initial post. You have only clung to your pre-fab slogans and insults, which don’t do anything to establish your claim that Fred make a correct statement.

    Deutsch has not identified anything constituting inappropriate behavior by women in Pierre. He has only offered a weak attempt to distract from the discussion of real sexism in the Capitol.

  49. If it would have been a male republican as the chairperson rather than Soholt, and that male republican had said the exact same thing as Soholt did (and by the way, was doing her job) Fred D wouldn’t have brought anything up. He wouldn’t have perceived it as “a threat”.

    Fred D has a problem with women. Fred D has a problem with women in leadership positions. Fred D wants women to “be in their place” and be more subservient. (not my opinion – he shows this by his actions. Repeatedly) That he equates sexual harassment/sexual assault to being in a meeting and a chairperson (who happens to be a woman) does their job —– isn’t just a matter of “opinion”. If that is the case, Fred D has no business in a leadership position himself and needs to get out of the 1950’s and into the 2000’s.

    Thank you Darin for all of your comments. The most common thing about common sense is that it doesn’t seem to be so common!!

  50. Ana Kasparian of the progressive Young Turks on you tube called Ellen out on her behavior. I do agree that is a double standard, Thomas. Women teachers get away with student teacher affairs more than male teachers. If a man had done that to Katy Perry his career would have gone quickly. Cory and other here will admit the double standard also, I’m sure.
    Lesbianism is more acceptable than male homosexuality also. I’m not saying that’s fair, it is just more socially acceptable in American culture.

  51. Let me be clear, it sometimes is a double standard in gender harassment but we need to look at the context of every situation and it says these two are known to be friends. Ellen won’t lose her career b/c of who she is known to be – a very sweet nice person and a spokeswoman for the LGBT. They weren’t in a workplace setting.
    Every situation is different and I didn’t like what Ellen did and will call it what it is.
    Women working at FOX news or any other work place being harassed by men during their work hours is far different and needs to be taken seriously.