PALM SPRINGS – City Councilmember Christy Holstege, a survivor of sexual assault and harassment at the whim of teenage boys, is calling on CBS Local 2 to offer a “real apology” in the wake of News Anchor Kris Long’s explosive and controversial Facebook post regarding accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh earlier this week.
“Kris Long and CBS Local 2 need to understand that at least one in six women has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape, and we are watching how news channels discuss serious and credible allegations of sexual assault,” Holstege told Uken Report. “Young people are at the highest risk of sexual assault. Comments like this perpetuate a culture in which victims don’t come forward. This is a learning opportunity for Mr. Long and CBS Local 2 to report on the facts about sexual assault and to teach their staff and viewers how problematic this type of thinking is for victims.”
For facts on victims of sexual violence, click here.
“As a survivor, it is incredibly painful to watch as media outlets question people reporting abuse and minimize rape,” Holstege told Uken Report. “Some comments actually sanction sexual violence. Many of my friends have reported worsening mental health symptoms and PTSD episodes after watching the news about Kavanaugh. The effects of rape stay with us for a lifetime; it is incredibly traumatic to relive how we were assaulted, questioned, and shamed. We need our news outlets to understand the effects of their coverage and to do better for victims.”
Long, a staple among Coachella Valley journalists, published on his personal Facebook page a post defending Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh against a woman’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her as a teenager. Long has been an evening anchor at CBS Local 2, but has not appeared on air since the Sept. 17 evening newscast, the same day he published the post.
The morning following his late afternoon post, Long deleted it and replaced it with a short apology.
Long will not be on the air tonight, Thursday, Sept. 20, General Manager Jerry Upham told Uken Report.
“I am not at liberty to discuss personnel, Upham said. “The situation is still developing and we are analyzing the effects it has had on the station.”
As for Holstege’s call for an apology, Upham said he and the station have addressed that online and the station’s Facebook page.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Sept. 18, CBS Local 2’s Upham wrote, “Regarding a recent social media Local 2 News Anchor Kris Long: Mr. Long’s post on his personal Facebook page does not represent the views of CBS Local 2 or that of Gulf California Broadcast Company. Due to the nature of the post, we have chosen not to address the topic any further and apologize for any offense this has caused. We are addressing this issue internally. Our goal is to bring objective news to our viewers and we will continue our commitment to do that both on air and online.”
In his post, Long wrote that no man “should be allowed to force himself on a young girl.”
He also said, “But to allow someone to accuse a fellow teenager of some lesser miscreant behavior from some four decades ago is, I feel, a real stretch.”
Long further wrote that, if he were nominated for the Supreme Court, “they might have to enlarge the Senate hearing room to accommodate all the young women from the mid to late 1960’s who felt that I had tried to go a bit too far!”
He also opined on why Christine Blassey Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, did not come forward sooner and said her claim “stinks of political maneuvering.”
“You are beyond dreaming if you think 17 year old boys are not going to misbehave from time to time as they begin to attempt relationships with the opposite sex,” Long wrote. “That is just the way we animals are made!”
The post was eventually deleted and Long lamented what he had done. The damage was done and his brief apology on Facebook was less than sincere, his critics say.
President Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court in July to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy.
That same month, Blassey Ford, a California college professor, wrote a confidential letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, describing an interaction with Kavanaugh at a high school party, where both were drinking. She described him trying to remove her clothing against her will, then trying to stop her from screaming by covering her mouth with his hand. She said she feared he would kill her.