Sexual harassment is pervasive. Prominent men in media, entertainment and politics have, in recent months, had to answer a rising tide of sexual misconduct allegations. And there’s talk about how to change the culture and implement new procedures to stop such behavior from taking place again.
But Dana Nessel, a Democrat running to be Michigan’s attorney general, has a simpler idea: Elect more women.
Nessel is out with a new online campaign ad making the case that these days, simply being a man is a minus.
“If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that we need more women in positions of power, not less,” she says in the ad. “So when you’re choosing Michigan’s next attorney general, ask yourself this: Who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn’t have a penis? I’d say so.”
The ad flashes headlines about sex scandals involving male politicians ― and Nessel promises her name will never be there.
“I want to tell you what you can expect me not to do,” she adds. “I will not sexually harass my staff, and I won’t tolerate it in your workplace either. I won’t walk around in a half-open bathrobe, and I’ll continue to take all sex crimes seriously just like I did as a prosecutor.”
Nessel is best known for being the lawyer who got a court to strike down Michigan’s marriage equality ban a year before the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in.
Her ad is also meant to push back against any notion that the Michigan Democratic Party shouldn’t have an “all-female ticket” in 2018, referring to the fact that with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) up for re-election, there’s a chance the party will have female nominees for the statewide offices of senator, governor, attorney general and secretary of state. The primary election is set for Aug. 7, 2018.
“Yes, I’m a woman. That’s not a liability, that’s an asset,” Nessel says in the ad.
Only one woman ― Democrat Jennifer Granholm ― has ever held the position of attorney general in Michigan before.
Nessel defended the ad on Wednesday to a local TV station, saying she did not believe it crossed a line.
“I think the ad was rather tame when it comes to the news stories that have come out, whether they are journalists, whether they’re in Hollywood, or whether they’re political representatives. We’ve heard some pretty lewd stories coming out,” she said.