Sunday, May 03, 2020

Tara Reade says 'creepy' voice messages, online harassment targeting her, family

Tara Reade says she is facing an onslaught of online harassment and is concerned about the safety of her family after becoming the center of a political firestorm over her sexual-assault allegation against her former boss Joe Biden.

"I find it astounding -- the hypocrisy that Democrats are talking about women being able to tell their story safely," Reade told Fox News on Saturday. "I'm a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, but yet here I am trying to talk about my history with Joe Biden and I'm just the target of online harassment."

Reade said fake social media accounts have been created to impersonate her, pointing to one Facebook account with uploaded personal pictures of her and her family, and posts not authored by her.

A screenshot of one post was shared on Twitter by an apparent Biden supporter named Naomi Block, falsely accusing Reade of "deliberately tossing [Christine Blasey Ford] under the dang bus," referring to a fake quote from the account.

The Facebook page, which was using the handle "@TaraReada," also listed a fake website that used Reade's full name.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment regarding if that page violates the platform's policies.
Reade told Fox News that the home address of a family member was plastered online and that person received four "creepy" calls on Friday night, all within 30 minutes, from an unknown number.

In two voice messages obtained by Fox News, a caller appeared to have posed as a journalist seeking to speak with Reade.

"Hi Ms. Reade, this is Dave Johnson from the Observer, a small New York newspaper," the voice says before laughing uncontrollably, later saying "Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself" and "Trump 2020."

In the second voice message, which was the third attempt at calling Reade's family member, the caller says: "Hey Tara, this is Dave Johnson with the Observer and I would really love, I'd really appreciate a call back so we can discuss your new powerful allegation against Vice President Biden. I think you're setting a tone and underscoring a double standard put forth by the Me Too movement, so I'd really appreciate it if you could just call me back, give me a couple of quick questions."

Reade has also received numerous threatening messages, she said. In one email obtained by Fox News, someone named "Linda Dubois" called Reade a "f---ing whore" and a "disgrace to womanhood" for coming forward with her claims against Biden.

"You are a rip-roaring b---h and the great majority of Americans don’t believe you anyhow... I hope you drop dead," the person wrote.

One prominent Biden ally was also apparently aiming for Reade. Jon Cooper, a former chair of the Democratic Coalition, questioned if Reade was "unbalanced" or "was driven by malicious motives."

"This is an example [of] what I am dealing with in addition to the threats and harassment online," Reade tweeted about Cooper.

"This is something that really has to stop and I'm just wondering where this is coming from," Reade told Fox News. "Are these just fanatic supporters? And if so, what does that say about our Democratic voters? Why are they targeting me when the party line is supposed to be allowing people to be safe? Why are they targeting my family and myself and making my family frightened?"

She added: "It creates barriers for survivors to want to come forward and talk about difficult things that have happened. And in my case, talking about how Joe Biden sexually harassed and sexually assaulted me is very excruciating and enough by itself, but then to be targeted and harassed and have my whole family targeted and harassed online by people that call themselves his supporters is not only just upsetting, it's frightening."

On Friday, Biden finally broke his silence about the 1993 allegations made by Reade, telling MSNBC that the sexual harassment and assault she claims "never happened."

Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWulfsohn.