Danielle Young John Singleton Jesse Jackson

A writer for The Root blog made headlines this week when she accused civil rights icon Jesse Jackson and famed movie director John Singleton of sexual harassment.

In a lengthy post titled “Don’t Let the Smile Fool You. I’m Cringing on the Inside,” The Root writer Danielle Young claims she was groped by the Rev. Jesse Jackson following his keynote speech at the American Black Film Festival.

“I walked toward Jackson, smiling, and he smiled back at me. His eyes scanned my entire body. All of a sudden, I felt naked in my sweater and jeans. As I walked within arm’s reach of him, Jackson reached out a hand and grabbed my thigh, saying, “I like all of that right there!” and gave my thigh a tight squeeze.”

Young also published photos that shows her laughing and apparently enjoying the attention she received from Jackson. Which is why she titled her post, “Don’t let the smile fool you…”

She also accused Singleton of inappropriately grabbing her by the waist and pulling her toward him, saying, “Oooh, I’m gonna grab on tight to you.”

In both instances, Young is seen in photos laughing and she does not appear distressed or upset in any way by their behavior.

Danielle Young John Singleton Jesse Jackson

Young explains her contradictory body language, saying, “I laughed, because that’s what I do when I am uncomfortable, and snapped the photo.”

But critics called her out for playing the victim card after the fact.

One blogger who was in the room with Young and Singleton called her out for “exaggerating” and making up lies about the encounter for attention.



Wtf?!, in regards to only John, I was at ABFF. & I remember this instance as I was with the entire cast of Snowfall & John the entire day. And during this particular segment, I was in arms length of you both when the photo was taken. You’re exaggerating and piecing little lies together to gas your article.

The blogger accused Young of interrupting a group discussion to take a picture with Singleton.

Many can vouch that he has always been respectful to women privately & professionally, which was probably why YOU were thrilled to get a picture after the interview and even interrupted our groups conversation to ask for said picture. You were laughing with everyone around you, carefree & loud [with] a huge smile plastered across your face, taking your time while the rest of us waited to leave.

The blogger seemed to imply that Young got caught up in the current environment of victimhood mentality and is “reaching beyond belief” for a storyline “when there are actually women who do get taken advantage of daily and don’t actually want it.”

“This day & age women are so off-put by a man simply complimenting them, they believe it must be a sexual innuendo or have a hidden agenda. As a woman, also against sexual harassment, I saw no sign of discomfort when you were begging for a picture and continuing your playful banter as we exited the main area. If his behavior is shameful then yours in return is equally as, if not even more, shameful; especially for portraying it as a creepy, one sided turn of events on his part.

What do you think? Should men stop complimenting women on their looks? And do women like Danielle Young make it harder for real sex abuse victims to come forward?