Bil Browning

Gay Former Staffer Sues Jesse Jackson

Filed By Bil Browning | September 21, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Jesse Jackson, sexual harrassment, sexual orientation discrimination, Tommy Bennett

Tommy Bennett, a gay former employee of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, has filed a lawsuit alleging he was discriminated against based on his sexual orientation, 225px-Jesse_Jackson_at_Max_Palevsky_Cinema_crop.jpgsexually harassed by Jackson, and regularly forced to perform degrading chores for the popular African-American activist.

...A fellow staff member, Caroline Wiggins, requested to be transferred from under his supervision because of his sexual orientation, and told the rest of the staff as much. She would then "make a limp wrist gesture towards Mr. Bennett whenever Mr. Bennett walked down the hallway," according to the complaint, and led a prayer stating "bind these homosexual spirits that are in the office" and "get these homosexuals out of here and do it in Jesus' name." Soon after, Bennett filed a complaint with Jackson and Human Resources, but says he never got a response.
He claims that he was instructed to do a number of "humiliating tasks," including "escort women to [Jackson's] room after work hours and clean up his room after sexual intercourse with women," arrange a massage for Jackson, and bring Jackson Cialis from his room. For a trip to Tanzania, Bennett alleges he was asked to pack for Jackson, who "was not happy with his packing and started screaming, 'motherfucker' repeatedly." In another instance, he alleges he was asked to pick up a prescription and apply it to a rash on Jackson's inner thigh. When Bennett refused, he claims Jackson called him "little motherfucker."

In the most lurid of the allegations described, Bennett alleges Jackson, dressed only in briefs, made implicit sexual advances towards him when describing a time when he got oral sex from a teacher.

Jackson and Rainbow PUSH, of course, deny the allegations. Bennett has also filed complaints with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and the the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

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