MeToo

Young Americans for Liberty Removes President After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Numerous women claimed on social media that they were mistreated at YAL events and that their concerns were ignored by leadership.

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Young Americans for Liberty fired its president, Cliff Maloney, after numerous women—some of them former staffers—came forward with complaints that they were sexually harassed or assaulted at the libertarian student group's events over the years.

"Today, the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) Board of Directors terminated Cliff Maloney from employment with the organization effective immediately," said the group's statement. "YAL is continuing its independent investigation into all allegations, as well as ways to improve the HR process, to ensure a culture of trust, safety, and accountability thrives within the organization."

YAL's board had initially suspended both Maloney and Justin Greiss, the group's vice president, on Tuesday; it's unclear whether Greiss will stay on.

YAL was founded in 2008 by students affiliated with libertarian Republican Rep. Ron Paul's presidential campaign. It has chapters on campuses all over the country and hosts several conferences each year. (Disclaimer: I have spoken at YAL events, as have other Reason folks.)

Concerns about both the overall climate at YAL and specific incidents involving Maloney were first raised by Addyson Rae Garner, a libertarian activist and former YAL staffer, in a tweet-thread on January 8.

After Garner spoke out, the floodgates opened. Other women claimed to have witnessed sexual harassment and reported it to leadership, only for nothing to be done. Another former staffer claimed that Maloney had asked her to bring him food to his hotel room, where he propositioned her for sex. Maloney then said that people don't last at the organization unless they are loyal to him, according to this staffer.

Another former staffer, Ophelia Overton, has announced her intention to sue YAL "for sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation from president Cliff Maloney in 2020."

Maloney initially tweeted that the allegations were "100 percent false." He could not be reached for comment.

Several people who work at the organization or spoke at its conferences say that YAL must commit to fostering a safe environment for women if it wishes to regain the liberty movement's trust. Former Michigan Rep. Justin Amash called for a full, independent investigation in light of YAL's "deficient response" to the allegations.

Garner tells Reason that going public with the allegations "was my last resort to protect other women like myself from abuse."

"I had no other choice than to go public because it seemed like my efforts to get change and a real HR process had been ignored," she says. "And women just kept reaching out with horrible stories."

Any organization that facilitates events for young people must be vigilant about misconduct, so the fact that YAL did not have a reliable system for reporting abuse was a major failing. Vigilance is even more critical for groups that purport to advance libertarian values; the right to bodily autonomy is a fundamental principle of libertarianism.

Due process also matters: Everyone accused of wrongdoing should have an opportunity to defend themselves against the specific charges. The process must be transparent and independent, and fair to both accusers and the accused. Libertarian organizations have a responsibility to model good policy here: Take accusations seriously, investigate them, and deal with them promptly. Any action that falls short of that risks turning young people away from the liberty movement and libertarian ideas in general.

"I look forward to further explanation and accountability from Jeff Frazee, Justin Greiss, and others, for how this situation went on so long and how we can avoid it in the future," says Garner.

NEXT: Off-Duty Cops Face Federal Charges for Capitol Rioting

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  3. So #metoo isn’t destroying innocent men anymore, huh.

    1. Innocent men. Like there is such a thing.

      1. Let he who hath not molested throw the first sexual harassment accusation!

        1. Let he who hath not propositioned molestation throw the first sexual harassment accusation!

          Rather than marching through the potentially unending string of conditionals, modifiers, and a adjectives, they should have some more succinct principle against initiating aggression.

          1. Maybe call it the Non-Aggression Principle.

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  4. Are we believing all women again? Tara Reade will be delighted to hear it.

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  5. These appear to be credible allegations. The accusers have specific and known ties to the accused, the times and locations and other details are specific, too.

    When I first saw the story I was worried that it was going to be another one of those online reputation hit mob operations we’ve seen all too often.

    1. >Times and dates!
      You people are pathetic. Show me the evidence (i.e. cum stained blue dress!)

      1. Moreover, for at least some of this, credible allegations are irrelevant.

        10 witnesses to what they believe is sexual harassment may be 100% correct and 100% accurate, but if neither the alleged perpetrator or alleged victim believe there was a transgression, then there’s nothing, especially a libertarian organization can do. New rules imposed on consenting adults retroactively is explicitly not in the handbook.

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      2. It’s not court, it’s an organization, if 20 women come up and say “this dude was rubbing his pecker all over me at the punch bowl during the conference” then preponderance of the evidence would suggest he probably was. It’s not criminal court. The women have nothing to gain by saying it other than getting justice.

        1. It’s not criminal court. The women have nothing to gain by saying it other than getting justice.

          You seem to be critically confused as to the difference between justice and retribution.

    2. I’m alittle skeptical. For this to be true the first premise you need to accept is that there are female libritarian…

      1. Which is about as common as female three stooges fans

      2. Who is Jo Jorgensen?

        1. Judging from her Twitter, she’s some BLM activist.

      3. There would probably be more libertarian women if we didn’t encounter so many gross libertarian men. It is off-putting to discover that half of the men on this forum are only libertarian because they want prostitution, child pornography, drugs, and child molestation to be legal.

        Many women must feel like less laws = less protection against men similar to the ones who congregate here. And not all women are mentally or physically tough enough to protect themselves, so they lean toward a government that they hope will do the job.

        1. Wow…you lie just like Jeff because there is not V any significant portion of libertarians on this site arguing for legalized child porn/molestation.

          You are an idiot and a liar because that cap never happened.

          Secodarily, to conflate those things with legalized prostitution and drugs, two things consenting adults should be able to do through the principles of freedom of association and NAP respectively, makes your argumentation that of an idiot liar as well. A non-libertarian one at that.

          1. Mr. Langston, you would be incorrect. I never stated what my own opinions on government are, only what most women see in the libertarian party. This is what they see. This is how the other parties paint libertarians, and the comments on this forum don’t really dissuade that opinion.

            I’m not an idiot or a liar, and I’ve read the comments long enough to have a general idea of the opinions. Are all of the commenters like this? Of course not. But it’s similar to all other news-people look for confirmation bias. If they are already concerned that libertarians are this way, it confirms what they already believe.

            I was simply offering a female perspective on why there aren’t many female libertarians. I AM libertarian, so I obviously do not think that way, but most women that I know do think like that. As a whole, we do little to alleviate their fears.

        2. All around the world, the most unsafe places for women are the furthest from libertarian ideals. Personal liberty is not just good for men, it’s great for women.

          1. Maybe. It’s probably more cultural than government.

            I agree that personal liberty is great for both men and women, but I don’t know if many women see it that way. They often think more freedom for men means less freedom for themselves.

  6. “YAL is continuing its independent investigation into all allegations, as well as ways to improve the HR process, to ensure a culture of trust, safety, and accountability thrives within the organization.”

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    2. Actually they do. What kind of fucked up amoral planet do you live on?

      1. Earth

  7. The libertarian humiliation commences.

    1. Libertarians are more pathetic than actual cuckolds.

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    2. Only democrat men are immune from these allegations, due to their party affiliation. And because democrat women have more hair on their chest than they do.

      1. Collect call from Federal Medical Center, Devens from one Anthony Wiener. Will you accept the charges?

        1. He said allegations (of harassment), not actual criminal conduct.

          But, to your point (a bit), token Former Senator Franken on line 2.

          1. It was a bit off point I admit but any chance to bring up Anthony Wiener and ridicule him a bit is always worth it.

      2. Don’t be stupid.

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  10. the floodgates opened

    There’s a libertarian organization with enough women involved to constitute a flood?

    1. They switched to libertarian activism after Rush disbanded.

      1. all the Rush-fan women in the world would fit in one chair.

  11. Due process also matters:

    to be sure…

  12. he propositioned her for sex

    How else are you supposed to attain affirmative consent?

    I can only assume that because these were libertarian women the problem is that his proposition didn’t have enough zeroes behind it.

    1. The screenshot described actionable misconduct (e.g. groping) in addition to being asked out by an insufficiently attractive guy.

      1. So, then the actual alleged offense was groping (feeling around without certainty), not propositioning.

        Or, at least for a supposedly libertarian slice of the media, that would be the impartial, objective, and ideologically consistent stance/presentation.

      2. The one-sided text “conversation” from her phone with all the relevant contact information blocked out is getting kinda nutso. I can’t see how/why you would include it as evidence of anything other than you’re able to text from your phone.

        Again, not to say her other accusations aren’t credible but I can’t fathom why you would include “I texted someone or something!” as evidence of anything.

        1. Something happened to someone. Conversations were had. Texts were sent. What more do you need?

    2. “How else are you supposed to attain affirmative consent?”

      In its internal operations, a group – even a libertarian group – can demand more than enforcing the NAP. It can tell officials of the group to keep their peckers in their pants during group-related events, for instance. And fire those who don’t. Freedom of association.

      Tactically, such a policy would help (a) reassure women that they’re welcome in the group and (b) reassure the public that libertarians aren’t libertines – a confusion which certain libertarians (like Reason, for instance) tend to plant in the public mind.

      1. Now, my experience of one student organization was that their annual meeting was pitched as one big orgy, that if you couldn’t get laid there you couldn’t get laid at all, etc. But that’s probably an outlier.

        *as a student, mind you

        1. Also, I think a couple people who met in that group got married, but I didn’t follow them to see how it worked out. But in theory there’s nothing wrong with scouting an organization of like-minded people one’s own age to see if there are any potential spouses there.

  13. He can run for office in Virginia. We currently have Governor Blackface, Lieutenant Governor Weinstein and numerous other sinners. He will fit in as long as he repents and joins the Democratic Party.

  14. Outrageous! Who does this Maloney guy think he is? Bill Clinton, or Joe Biden or something?

    -jcr

    1. -5 for lack of diversity. To recieve full credit, you should’ve included Katie Hill in your trolling.

      1. For progs, being accused of sexual misconduct is but a minor inconvenience.

        1. As not even progs believe prog women if the accused happens to be a democrat

  15. Pro Tip for Guys: Take the stairs at the hotel and you’ll have at least one alibi.

  16. I’m curious as to how one would “investigate” a claim of sexual harassment. The story “he propositioned me for sex” in a private setting. Interview her – she makes a claim, interview him – he denies the claim. Unless it was witnessed or caught on camera, what you have is hearsay. I thought that the justice system required proof, and a person’s claim is not proof, it’s just that: a claim.

    So where does that leave the investigation?

    1. Propositioning is an odd legal situation because it’s not generally illegal by itself and may not count as harassment without something extra. (“Let’s go meet in a motel room tomorrow for your annual performance review. Wear that miniskirt I like.”)

      A person’s unsubstantiated claim can be proof beyond a reasonable doubt as long as the judge or jury believes it. And your own statements can be used against you in court even if they would otherwise be hearsay.

      1. We seem to have moved into a new era.

        All of my HR training has been that it is sexual harassment to ask someone out repeatedly. The example given was really extreme:

        “Hey, my roommates and I are having a party this weekend, you want to join me?”

        “No thanks.”

        “Come on! Everyone is going to be there, it will be great.”

        “No, I have plans.”

        “Ok, maybe next time.”

        This was an example of straight harassment. She said no, and he didn’t drop it. It was met with extreme eye rolling, even by women of all stripes. But that was the standard.

        Apparently we have moved into an era where any sort of expression of interest in any context is harassment, as long as it is unwanted by someone at some point.

      2. So your premise is that an unsubstantiated claim that you are a complete moron is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as long as someone believes it? Care to re-think your proposition?

        Just because someone believes something (I believe in God) doesn’t constitute proof, i.e. evidence.

  17. your honor my client is too funny looking to attract women naturally.

  18. I don’t know the details but will say; I remember those days when a Rape was actually the physically *forced* part of the equation. Today it seems any emotional discomfort no matter how/where it may have stemmed from that someone might experience is the bases of rape charges.

    The day *feelings* became prosecutable.

    1. And don’t try to kid yourselves; The *feelings* prosecution is ENTIRELY sexist.

  19. I don’t believe women.

    Or men.

    1. Why you gotta leave out non-binary folk like that? Not cool, man…..

  20. I would say that the name “Cliff Maloney” just seems like a red flag.

  21. I get where this is coming from… There is an HR problem in the organization that needs addressing… But I don’t like those mish-mash of varying allegations against different people sorts of gish-gallops either.

    The put “he propositioned someone” into the same bucket with a different guy groping multiple people – who may or may not even be a part of the organization. Right next to that they put a mind reading exercise : two people get drunk and leave a gathering together and a group of them stop them because “he was going to rape her”.

    The overarching complaint is that they have no process, procedures or personnel dedicated to the issue. This seems to be a valid criticism and a constructive one at that. I get that it is driven by personal experience and a somewhat directed anger… I guess that is what it takes to invoke change in an insular group like this. Pulling in media attention to scare the group into making changes.

    It is sad that this is what it takes.

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