By KATIE BOSLAND and SHEILA MARIKAR
News-savvy women’s rights advocate and attorney Gloria Allred is at it again.
Today’s story? She will join her latest client, a new woman who has come forward alleging sexual harassment by 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, at a 1:30 p.m. ET press conference at New York City’s Friar’s Club.
Allred announced today that the sexual harassment alleged by her client occurred when her client sought Cain’s assistance with an employment issue during his tenure as president of the National Restaurant Association. The woman would be the fourth to allege sexual harassment by the presidential candidate. Allred claims her client “will be the first to give her name and to speak out about details of what she alleges occurred between her and Cain.”
This type of case is hardly new to Allred, who is known as a go-to counsel and maven for cases involving powerful men and women accusing them of unbefitting behavior.
Always one to understand how to use the media to her advantage, Hollywood publicist Michael Levine has said of Allred that “[she] is one of these attorneys that understands that the court of law is different from the court of public opinion” and that “she uses the media as a tool to both stay relevant for herself and stay on the offense for her client.”
The 68-year-old, Philadelphia-born, Los Angeles-based lawyer built her reputation as women’s rights advocate, taking high profile men to task. Early in her career, Allred successfully sued the then all-male Friar’s Club in Beverly Hills for its membership discrimination policies. She went on to target O.J. Simpson, representing Nicole Brown Simpson’s family in his murder trial.
In 1997, she represented the actresses Brittany Ashland, who sued Charlie Sheen for assault, and Hunter Tylo, who sued “Melrose Place” producer Aaron Spelling for firing her after she got pregnant.
More recently, Allred represented Amber Frey during Frey’s run as a witness in the criminal case against convicted wife killer Scott Peterson. She’s also behind the (still anonymous) fourth woman to claim to have had an affair with Sandra Bullock’s estranged husband, Jesse James.
Allred’s allegiance to preyed upon women stems from personal pain. She was raped while on vacation in Mexico in 1966, and an illegal abortion she had after the subsequent pregnancy, almost killed her.
“It’s part of who I am,” Allred told the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2008. “And because the system didn’t work for me, or I didn’t think it would, I didn’t use it. But that is why I want the system to be there, and to be effective for women. I think that women should understand that it is nothing for them to be ashamed of. They are not the wrongdoer, they are the victim. It needs to come out of the closet so that the stigma is removed.”
Allred has shown that she’s not about to back down, no matter how powerful the man at hand may be.
“Because of my life experiences, I understand that I have an opportunity to help other women,” she told the Los Angeles Business Journal. “I have the desire and the ability.”