Prestigious law firm announces Fox News analyst will no longer be a part of management after saying women regularly lie about sexual harassment.
Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, a prestigious law firm employing over 700 attorneys practicing in 38 offices throughout the United States, announced on Monday that Mercedes Colwin, an employment lawyer who specializes in defending corporate executives, stepped down from her role as managing partner of the law firm’s New York Office following her controversial appearance on Hannity.
Monthly law magazine, The American Lawyer, provided background on the incident, reporting that:
Colwin, a Fox News legal analyst, was a Nov. 9 guest of host Sean Hannity on his eponymous Fox News show. Her appearance came during a Hannity segment that discussed allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore, a former Alabama state judge serving as the Republican candidate to replace current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions III in the U.S. Senate.
In an exchange with Hannity, Colwin, herself a former administrative law judge for the New York State Division of Human Rights, told the Fox News personality that it is common for women to lie about instances of sexual harassment for money and political reasons.
Below is a partial transcript of that exchange:
HANNITY: Do people do it for money? Do they do it for political reasons? Is that more common than people think?
COLWIN: Oh definitely.
HANNITY: They will lie to make money?
COLWIN: Undoubtedly. I mean, there are individuals who will come forward with these outrageous allegations, and they fall…
HANNITY: And that hurts women who are victims.
COLWIN: Yes. I used to work in sex crimes in the DA’s office. It was very pitiful to see that. Because some jurors don’t believe it because they have, in their own lives, there are people who have made these accusations for money. You see this time and time and time again. And sexual harassment, that term is coined everywhere, frankly, the laws are very clear about what it takes to have some sort of violation of the law. You have to have some sort of damage. And these individuals, a lot of these women, it’s all about money, and they bank on the fact that these corporations have the reputation that they want to save.
HANNITY: And the hard—this is where you thread the needle, because there are women who are victims of predators.
COLWIN: Yes, there are. There are. But very few and far between.
Colwin, who has regularly appeared on Fox News since 2005, attempted to clarify her remarks in a series of tweets, beginning on Friday, November 10, 2017:
First and foremost, I am profoundly sympathetic of anyone who has been the victim of sexual harassment and believe they deserve full and complete protection under the law. As someone who has a deceased sister who was a victim of domestic violence, I know predators exist and deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. My comments made during Hannity were addressing circumstances which I have observed both as an administrative law judge and an attorney over a number of decades.
In my experience, there were cases where incidents of alleged sexual harassment can be misrepresented or even fabricated as a means of leveraging an advantage in court or otherwise. My intent was not to trivialize or minimize the impact of sexual harassment on any victims of such practices or to condone such behaviors in any setting, whether business or personal.
On Sunday, November, 12, 2017, she concluded her tweets, posting:
Having considered the comments,especially my “very few and far between” remark which has regretfully caused tumult and pain, it was made in the context of civil cases of sexual harassment that I’ve handled as an attorney and as a judge. I did not mean to imply nor do I believe, that the victims of sexual assault within society at large are “very few and far between.” I sincerely apologize that I did not express this distinction at the end of my appearance and am deeply sorry for appearing to diminish this very important issue.
However, that didn’t appear to be enough to save her management position at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani.
Monday evening the law firm tweeted: “The firm deeply regrets the comments made by one of its partners during a recent TV broadcast. Effective immediately this partner has stepped down from all roles in firm mgmt and is committed to rectifying the hurtful impressions created by her remarks.”
The firm deeply regrets the comments made by one of its partners during a recent tv broadcast. Effective immediately this partner has stepped down from all roles in firm mgmt and is committed to rectifying the hurtful impressions created by her remarks. https://t.co/HVFjBm0uCW
— Gordon & Rees (@gordonreesllp) November 13, 2017
The tweet linked to an official statement by the prestigious firm, signed by Gordon Rees firmwide managing partner Dion Cominos:
As you may be aware, a partner of the firm appeared on a Fox News segment last Thursday and made certain comments regarding the sexual harassment incidents currently making headlines in the media. Although these remarks were made in the capacity of an independent legal analyst for Fox and have since been substantially clarified, it is important that the firm’s position on these issues be unequivocally expressed and understood.
In this regard, the organization in no way endorses or agrees with any statements which could even remotely be interpreted as minimizing or trivializing the seriousness and gravity of sexual harassment or similarly predatory behaviors, and we renounce them in the strongest possible terms –in fact, contrary to what may have been inferred from what was said during the telecast, the sad reality is that the number of women who likely have not been exposed to such repugnant conduct over the course of their personal or professional lives is, unfortunately, few and far between.
The firm remains fundamentally committed to advancing and promoting women in our workplace, and tolerates absolutely no words or actions of a harassing or discriminatory nature. The partner in question has voluntarily stepped down from all management roles within the firm and she is committed to rectifying the hurtful impressions created by her remarks.
Colwin’s official company bio noted that in addition to being a partner at the New York office of Gordon & Rees, “she handles a wide variety of litigation, including employment law,” and “regularly defends corporate executives from Fortune 500 companies accused of wrongdoing including claims of sexual misconduct.”