Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R) twice rattled feathers Friday: Once when he announced he would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, then again after he called for a week delay of Kavanaugh's confirmation to allow for an FBI investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct.
But Flake went viral for a third, separate reason: When a sexual assault survivor confronted him as he entered an elevator.
"You’re telling all women that they don’t matter. Look at me when I’m talking to you!” the woman shouted as news cameras captured the encounter. “You’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter."
“Look at me when I'm talking to you. You’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter!": Protesters confront Sen. J… https://t.co/73RMKQi8wW— CNN (@CNN)1538143074.0
Just hours later, UltraViolet, a women's activist group, claimed in a press release that Flake was "potentially pressing charges" against the women who confronted him, which the organization claimed are UltraViolet members.
"Charging sexual assault survivors for sharing their stories is shameful and cowardly. Senator Flake should be ashamed of himself for attempting to frighten survivors into silence. This is absolutely unbelievable," Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet, said in a statement.
The accusation spread like wildfire. However, it turned out to be completely false.
What's the truth?
Elizabeth Jones, a Flake spokeswoman, said the Arizona lawmaker never considered pressing charges against the protesters.
"Sen. Flake is not pressing charges, nor did he ever consider pressing charges," she said, according to USA Today.
Indeed, Flake aides communicated to reporters that UltraViolet's assertion was "completely false."
After Flake's staff and Capitol Police debunked UltraViolet's claim, the organization deleted its original tweet. However, in a correction, UltraViolet blamed the Capitol Police for their baseless accusation and characterized the truth as if Flake had once considered pursuing charges.
UPDATE: Senator Flake has decided not to press charges. https://t.co/UYNMEW4jlY— UltraViolet (@UltraViolet)1538178153.0