"John Fund To O’Donnell: Gender Discrimination Lawsuits Are ‘Not The Responsible Thing For A Conservative’ (Updated)"
Before she became a Tea Party darling, Delaware Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell (R) was hired as a public relations consultant at the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute. While on the job, O’Donnell allegedly worked in a hostile environment where, according to a lawsuit, the company “wanted every female employee to report to a male employee, which was in line with its philosphy that a female employee should not have any authority without being under the headship, or authority, of a male employee.” She was also the subject of lewd comments and insubordination from male employees. As a result, O’Donnell filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was subsequently fired. She then filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against ISI, though she dropped the case in 2008 because she could no longer afford the attorney fees.
At the Right Nation conference in Chicago this past weekend, Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund sat down with a blogger’s roundtable and discussed O’Donnell’s complaint against ISI. Fund admitted that O’Donnell’s case may well be justified, but went on to admonish her for filing a gender discrimination lawsuit because, according to Fund, “that’s not the responsible thing for a conservative to do.” Instead of combating gender discrimination in the workplace, Fund suggested that O’Donnell should have just quit her job and looked for work elsewhere:
FUND: Maybe there was some male chauvinism involved, I’m not saying it’s impossible. Boys will be boys. I don’t deny that that can’t [sic] happen. But the bottom line is she became dissatisfied and her response was not to seek other employment, it was not to have a showdown with the management. She took a train down to Washington and she met with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and accused ISI of gender discrimination. Now, gender discrimination does exist in this country. There are women everyday who are given less than their due. But the response of a conservative – a properly thinking conservative – is not to go first to the federal government and still try to keep your job. She was basically blackmailing ISI. ‘Don’t fire me, because you know what’s going to happen, I’m going to file an EEOC complaint.’ That is not the responsible thing for a principled conservative to do. So they did fire her. They fired her for cause. I’m not saying it was true, I don’t know, but they fired her for cause and they also fired her for going to complain to the EEOC.
It’s important to note that Fund does not doubt that O’Donnell was discriminated against for being a woman. Rather, he opposes the fact that she responded to such an injustice by going to the authorities rather than quitting her job. In Fund’s world, a woman’s proper response to gender discrimination – the existence of which Fund readily admits – is not to tell anyone.
He also accused me of publishing comments that were intended to be off the record. There was only one specific instance where Mr. Fund made this request, saying that “this is the only thing I’m going to say that’s off the record.” This request occurred approximately five minutes before the video clip above. I honored Fund’s request and did not publish the specific comments he asked be off the record. Fund made clear that the rest of the conversation was on the record.
The blogger who is impugning my character said that I am willing to “steal, lie, and cheat to get [my] way.” In reality, his grievance seems to be that not everyone at the roundtable shared his right-wing views. There is no requirement at these events that all attendees subscribe to a strict, narrow ideology. Mr. Fund himself would know this, as he attended the liberal Netroots Nation convention in July.