CNN suspended contributor Paris Dennard, 36, after a damning Washington Post report revealed the GOP commentator was fired from his previous job for “making sexually explicit comments and gestures toward women.”
The announcement came Wednesday, Aug. 23, after the network said it was made aware of the shocking claims, which cost Dennard his role as an events coordinator at Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership in 2014, according to the Huffington Post.
“…We are aware of reports of accusations against Paris Dennard,” a network spokeswoman said in response to the WaPo report on the allegations, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported. “We’re suspending Paris, effective immediately, while we look into the allegations.”
An internal investigation by the university concluded that Dennard, a Trump surrogate and current member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, told a recent graduate who worked for him that he wanted to have sex with her. He admitted to touching the young woman’s neck “with his tongue” and reportedly “pretended to unzip his pants in her presence, tried to get her to sit on his lap and made masturbatory gestures,” according to university documents obtained by the newspaper.
In one instance, Dennard walked up behind the unnamed employee during a McCain Institute event and whispered in her ear that he wanted to ‘f–k’ her.” A second woman complained to university officials that Dennard would sometimes throw stuff at her and that she once caught him staring at her breasts. When she tried adjusting her blouse, Dennard said, “Don’t worry, I’ve already seen it.”
The former contributor didn’t deny the allegations at the time, but said he was simply joking with the young women. Speaking to WaPo, he called the claims false but stopped short of discussing specifics of the investigation.
Dennard has long been a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and recently went to bat for him by arguing that Trump’s past sexual indiscretions shouldn’t affect his presidency. He even down-played the president’s alleged hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
“You can dig up dirty laundry,” Dennard said in a CNN debate with a Republican strategist. “And I pray to God that nobody goes back in your past.”