Councilman Dan Johnson must go

By now, we all know about the latest behavior of Metro Louisville Councilman Dan Johnson.

Allegations have been made by two women that he inappropriately touched or flashed them — both incidents that Johnson says were accidental. Now, he is threatening the women with legal action.

But then there is his past: banned from all Greater Louisville Inc. events after allegations that he made inappropriate comments to a female staff member. He apologized for that and claimed he was unaware his comments were untoward.

So how much more do we need to know to conclude that Johnson’s time is up.

He must resign from the council, if for no other reason than to spare the city and Council embarrassment.

What is it with politicians and sex?

That a woman is in close proximity is reason enough for his hands to misbehave, “accidentally,” and for it to be the woman’s fault or her desire, because surely she must desire him? Just like President Pussy Grabber or UofL basketball Coach Punani, whose feigned ignorance of his staff’s behavior is laughable.

What is it about men with status who believe that, because of their power, rules don’t apply? And as is the case with Donald Trump and Rick Pitino, their actions don’t seem to affect their job security. Funny how that works when your fellows are other men, many with their own questionable behaviors.

Trump did what he did and said what he said and still he was elected. His legions of defenders feel the media, women, activists, other politicians, etc., have treated him unfairly.

Poor Trump.

UofL Athletic Director Tom Jurich is doing back flips for Pitino. Even the UofL interim President Greg Postel thinks Pitino has been overly penalized by the NCAA for allowing sex workers to have relations with teenage boys on campus.

Poor Pitino.

But what about Johnson, whose district includes Iroquois, Beechmont and other South Louisville neighborhoods?

Why didn’t the Council handle the issue earlier?

In 2016, after Greater Louisville Inc. banned Johnson its events, Metro Council President David Yates told WFPL, that “while Johnson did not offend him personally, ‘I can see how someone could be offended by his words.’” Yates said Johnson was “very apologetic.”

Poor Johnson.

Council Member Jessica Green alleged that, on June 7, Johnson grabbed her rear at a photo shoot at Wyandotte Park. According to Green’s letter, sent on the same day to Yates, Johnson “leaned down and whispered into my ear laughing, ‘You know that was an accident, right?’”

Then, there is the parking lot incident involving Erin Hinson, legislative aide to Councilwoman Angela Leet. Hinson alleged that Johnson’s pants landed at his feet, exposing much of his lower half to her as she was walking to her car after work.

Leet said she at first thought it was… you guessed it, an accident, before reporting it.

Another accident?

Accidents and mishaps, all involving allegations of inappropriate language and/or behaviors from Johnson, and yet the council has taken no real action, his defenders citing his years of service.

Why, because he apologized?

Follow his language. He sent apologies to Hinson and Green. The apology to Green read, in part, that “I am sorry you felt I improperly touched you inappropriately on purpose and that I was laughing when I said it was not on purpose.” Improperly, inappropriately on purpose. Those are the key words. He also is only sorry that Green felt this way.

This is not an apology for the event. This is an apology for Green’s reaction to his butt grab. He doesn’t believe he’s at fault, so it comes as little surprise that his apology is as asinine as his behavior following the event.

Earlier he had told The Courier-Journal, “I believe it is totally ridiculous. It was completely not on purpose … it was just an accident.”

And in a tweet, he had said, “Truth is, she touched me first when she nestled against my left side,” Johnson said. “I was harassed too.”

Ah gas lighting.

Johnson in peculiar, romantic-sounding language, recounted the event as if Green snuggled up against him like a warm teddy bear, his hand inadvertently sliding across and closing over Green’s behind. He described the event like a Massengill douche commercial, with the snowy pictorial of a teenage wet dream. His Freudian slip is showing.

And now, Johnson’s lawyer has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Green, claiming she is perpetrating defamation, libel and slander, according to a CJ story Tuesday. Green replied that Johnson’s latest action shows he was not sincere in his apologies, and she refuses to back down, the story said. Hinson was sent a similar letter.

This latest is surprising, since Johnson had even agreed earlier to attend counseling. Convenient, since he did nothing “on purpose.”

Despite Johnson’s latest counterclaim, Green renewed her call for his resignation.

Whatever the outcome of this embarrassing mess, the Council should have done more to address the Johnson issue earlier.

And I question why Yates didn’t speak on the debacle with more outrage. Here is what he told The CJ: “‘I have spoken to each party and have expressed my deepest concern,’ Yates said. “Although I have no tolerance for any form of harassment, the [Jefferson] County Attorney’s Office has advised that [my office] does not have authority over the matter.” Yates has been aware of Johnson’s misbehavior for a couple of years now. His silence is also concerning.

City council members are not under the same rules as those for other city employees. Yates turned over the information to city human resources and formed a task force to address future issues.

Councilman Bill Hollander, the Democratic caucus chair, consulted the County Attorney’s office to seek guidance about what actions are possible.

I wish I were surprised that more hasn’t been done. There seems to be a need for protocol to address many issues so that Metro Council can stop fumbling.

As a city… as a nation, men behaving badly is no joke. It is nothing like the British sitcom. In Johnson’s own words, “this is not a laughing matter.”

So, please, let’s should stop making excuses and apologizing when men get caught with their pants down.