Oprah’s bestie has done it again, casting a spotlight on yet another sordid tale of sexual assault by garnering a sitdown with one of the major players at the heart of the Justin Fairfax story.
Last month, Gayle King shone the harsh light on perpetually accused R. Kelly. But this time, King’s subject is Fairfax himself, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, who stands accused of sexual assault by not one, but two, women: Dr. Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor at Scripps College in California who says Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex in 2004, and Meredith Watson, who says Fairfax raped her in 2000 while they were both students at Duke. Fairfax denies both accusations, saying both encounters were consensual.
Tyson criticized Fairfax’s response as “disgraceful, irresponsible and manipulative.”
“Never was it two black women lynching black men,” Tyson told King, according to the Associated Press, noting that historically, black women have always gone to great lengths, even endangering themselves, to protect black men.
Tyson described what she said happened between her and Fairfax during an encounter at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. She tearfully described how she choked and gagged as Fairfax held her by the neck so she couldn’t get away.
“Sexual assault should never be a racial issue, it should never be a partisan issue,” said Tyson, who said she wants Fairfax to resign. “Sexual assault is an epidemic that is taking place around the world ... every day.”
Fairfax continued to deny the accusations to CBS News, calling for a “fair, full, and impartial investigation of the allegations and my denials.”
“I am completely confident that such an investigation would exonerate me and clear my good name, which I have spent a lifetime building.”
CBS is set to air an interview with Watson on Tuesday.