A Democratic congresswoman from Texas commented on the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein—and her comments immediately sparked backlash online. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who has served in Congress since 1993, said in an interview with NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that while she was “disappointed” in Weinstein’s behavior, she thinks women are also responsible for preventing sexual assault from happening.
"I grew up in a time when it was as much the woman's responsibility as it was a man's—how you were dressed, what your behavior was," she said. "I'm from the old school that you can have behaviors that appear to be inviting. It can be interpreted as such. That's the responsibility, I think, of the female. I think that males have a responsibility to be professional themselves."
Rep. Johnson, 81, said she believes men bear responsibility for their actions and should be punished when they don’t behave professionally. But she also said she was disappointed women didn’t speak out sooner about Harvey Weinstein, and says her comments are meant to empower women to take action. "I think we also need to start talking about the power that women have to control the situation. There's law enforcement, you can refuse to cooperate with that kind of behavior,” she said. “I think that many times, men get away with this because they are allowed to get away with it by the women.”
Her comments were immediately met with criticism on social media, with some saying she was blaming victims of sexual assault.
Rep. Johnson has not released a statement about the backlash online. Her office declined to comment further to The Huffington Post.