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Alyssa Milano explains her defense of Joe Biden after harassment accusations

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Alyssa Milano has doubled down on her impassioned defense of Joe Biden, who was recently accused of inappropriate touching and unwanted physical contact by seven different women.

Milano told INSIDER that, while she “totally believes every woman that’s come forward about Joe Biden” and they have “super valid concerns,” she also believes “rehabilitation is possible” within the #MeToo movement.

“I think realistically, we can’t just cast aside or throw away good men for not knowing how to behave right now in this time,” she said. “And if they come forward and say, ‘I’m willing to learn,’ then I think it’s our responsibility to teach them.”

Milano — who spoke to INSIDER at Safe Horizon’s 24th annual Champion Awards Gala, where she was honored for her work with abuse victims — said she believes the #MeToo movement has given us the language to discuss and assess these accusations with nuance and understanding.

“I think it’s really about reestablishing what interactions mean, and connections mean,” she said.

She added that she believes this to be true for all people, not just men.

“I know for me, I culturally was raised in a very touchy-feely household. I’m in a very touchy-feely business,” she said. “I’m also very aware of what it means to be a victim of an abuse of power. But, like, I walked on set the other day, and I kissed my prop guy on the arm, and I was, like, ‘Oh, I should probably rethink that behavior,’ even though it’s so common for me.”

Read more:Alyssa Milano opened up about being sexually assaulted as a teen to explain why some victims don’t report: ‘Justice was never an option’

Milano clarified that she sees a distinct difference between the behavior she describes and “criminal behavior.”

But she does believe that, when it comes to the sort of behavior that Biden is accused of, women’s stories should be used as teaching moments.

Many expect former Vice President Joe Biden to announce a presidential run for 2020.
Alex Edelman/Getty Images

“All of these people are going to reenter the workforce. They have to. They have to support families and wives,” she said. “We can’t just put them on an island somewhere and forget about them. That’s not fair.

“But in these gray areas of having a relative reaction to something, relative to your experience in your life, we need to talk about them. We need to teach men that it’s not OK. And someone like, Joe Biden, who’s basically dedicated his entire life to women’s issues — I feel like he’s worth it. Let’s teach him. He might not get it, and then, f— him, but right now I’m not willing to say ‘f— him.'”

Read more:Joe Biden speaks out in on-camera statement about allegations of inappropriate behavior with women

Milano initially received backlash for speaking out in defense of Biden in a long thread on Twitter.

“I respect Lucy Flores’ decision to share her story and agree with Biden that we all must pay attention to it,” the actress and activist wrote on Twitter. “But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women’s experiences are the same.”

Critics accused of her being a hypocrite after her emphatic support of sexual assault survivors — particularly Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault during his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Other Democratic officials and activists have come to Biden’s defense, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

For his part, the former Vice President has intermittently apologized and joked about his actions.

“Social norms have begun to change — they’ve shifted. And the boundaries of producing personal space have been reset, and I get it,” Biden said in a statement. “I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. And I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility. My responsibility, and I’ll meet it.”

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