L.A. Times’ Beijing Chief ‘Deeply Sorry’ After Being Accused of Pressuring Woman For Sex

Amid a rising #MeToo movement in China, Los Angeles Times Beijing Bureau Chief Jonathan Kaiman came under fire after a woman accused him Thursday of pressuring her into having sex.

In a Medium post on Jan. 11, Laura Tucker — a former friend and roommate in Beijing — described how Kaiman made her feel “very pressured and very awkward” one night in March 2013.

After spending time at a nightclub with a group of friends, things got steamy between the two. According to her, they “began making out and undressing,” until she decided to stop after “a few minutes.”

Photo: Screenshot via YouTube / Climate Desk

Tucker shared:

“I got up off the bed and told him that I wanted to stop. He lay on the bed, not moving, watching me. I remember that he sort of smiled and seemed to pout, and I felt that he did not believe me. This was a new dynamic for me.

“I remember that I made a point of clearly saying ‘no’ and ‘I don’t want to do this.’ Although I can’t remember what else I said, I clearly remember feeling confused and dismayed that he wasn’t leaving, or even moving, and that he didn’t seem to believe that I knew what I wanted.

“The back and forth continued for several minutes, and he began to whine. I remember that he made me feel very pressured and very awkward, like it was too late to back out.”

Photo via LinkedIn / Laura Tucker

Tucker eventually went back to the bed.

“We had sex, and I felt gross for all of it. He left immediately after.”

The next day, she sent him an email that communicated her feelings about what happened:

“I woke up this morning feeling really stupid and unhappy. Hard to say, I guess, how drunk we were but I stood up and said ‘no’ and ‘I don’t want to’ several times while you lay sprawled on my bed using, I think, the familiarity and comfort of our friendship as grounds for entitlement and pressure. I resigned myself to the logic of just going ahead with a situation that I helped create. I am really sad that I didn’t stand up for myself and think it is too bad that you had no intention of reacting to my words. It just feels really lame.”

Photo via Twitter / Jonathan Kaiman

Tucker said that Kaiman soon called her to apologize. They met over coffee and cake, but it turned out that the incident was far from closure:

“I was surprised when he instead started to renege on his apology and the conversation turned into a debate about how much I shared the blame. At the time I wasn’t sure if I did, but I again tried to express that he hadn’t listened to me and that he should have responded to my words. My arguments weren’t sticking and he pushed back about whether I had been misleading.

“I very clearly remember near the end of our conversation he said, ‘I don’t think this makes me a monster.’ But I had never accused him of being a monster, and suddenly the whole discussion felt pointless.”

A few Twitter users commented:

Just hours after Tucker’s post, Kaiman, who also happens to be the president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Beijing, responded in apology on Twitter:

“I am so, so deeply sorry — I did not in any way mean to pressure you into an unwanted or uncomfortable sexual encounter, and I thought we had talked through the issue as peers and friends.

“However, I very clearly didn’t understand the extent of your feelings. I’m sorry I caused you pain, as that was never my intention.

“It would be wrong for me to think I could offer any remedy or solution here, but if you’d like to talk — either directly or through an intermediary — or anything else, please let me know.”

The apology drew mixed reactions:

What do you think of Tucker’s story and Kaiman’s apology?

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