Call Cain’s Sexual Harassment Non-Disclosures What They Are: Hush Money

COMMENTARY | Why is it that most of the Herman Cain sexual harassment scandal reports subsequent to the initial Politico article seem to talk about everything other than the fact that the two women who allegedly made the accusations were paid or came to an agreement of some sort not to talk? And why did they come to those agreements, those “vaguely” recalled agreements (as opposed to “settlements”) that Cain seems to be recalling with ever increasing clarity and detail with each passing day? Usually when such agreements of non-disclosure are made, they are made in an effort to quell talk, stymie speculation, and/or silence a fiction or truth that could injure the targeted party. There is a more colloquial name for that type of “fixing” than non-disclosure: hush money.

How many of the thousands of articles and television reports on the Cain sexual harassment scandal have been created? And how many of those have indicated that the two women left the National Restaurant Association (NRA) after agreeing to sign a non-disclosure form about the allegations against the then president and CEO of the organization?

Nearly all of the articles and reports reference the non-disclosure portion of the story, at least for background. It is something that makes for interesting news analysis and commentary, especially when the presidential hopeful says he can’t talk about it. And the fact that NBC News confirmed that one of the women received a year’s salary from the NRA ($35,000) as her payment for not speaking about the matter only lends credence to the idea that at least one of the women were paid for their silence.

Hush money.

And then there is that cutesy game of words Cain and his staffers have played since it all began. Talk to Peter Kilgore at the NRA, the presidential candidate said, then his campaign manager said. Kilgore, chief counsel for the organization, would only say that it was against the NRA’s policy to speak about its personnel, past or present. In short, he’s paid to tell the curious that the organization cannot and will not talk about their NRA personnel.

Hush money.

Euphemisms are extremely useful in times when the connotations of the terms they replace have devolved to the point that a simple agreement to not speak of something, especially if it involves a deal of compensation of some sort, has become pejorative.

Even so, being paid not to talk is still hush money.

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