This week, hundreds of Times readers shared their reactions to the unfolding accusations against Joseph R. Biden Jr. by women who said he had kissed or touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable.
Many readers defended the former vice president as a product of a different time and questioned if the #MeToo movement had gone too far. Others insisted that making a woman feel uncomfortable has always been wrong.
Since Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state assemblywoman, made public her accusations against Mr. Biden last Friday, multiple women have come forward, telling The Times, The Washington Post and others that he made them feel uncomfortable, bringing the total to seven as of Thursday afternoon.
Mr. Biden, who is expected to announce whether he will enter the race for president in April, released a video on Wednesday vowing to “be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space,” though he stopped short of apologizing.
Here is a selection of our readers’ responses, which came from comments across our site and emails to our On Politics newsletter. They have been lightly edited for clarity.
I am 68, a bit younger than Joe Biden. But I am from a big Irish family and we are always kissing and hugging people. It was an expression of welcome and warmth. Now I understand in this MeToo movement that there are those who are uncomfortable with such intimate physical expressions. So now that Joe has been called out on it, it is up to him to show his changed behavior if indeed he runs for president, which I hope he does. — Sally Ziegenfuss, Pennsylvania
I’m a 70-year-old woman who has always thought that male attention that might involve non-intimate touching was something to be pleased about, even proud of. This is definitely a generational issue and younger women need to have perspective and understand that what was very acceptable in the past, even a couple of years ago, should not and cannot be judged by today’s standards. — Ellen Goodman, Massachusetts
Back in the ’60s this issue didn’t exist. It was a different time. When will we stop looking back over our collective shoulders, and move forward? — Whitney Devlin, 74, New York
[How do you view Joe Biden’s past behavior? Share your thoughts in the comments.]
I am in my 60s. Regardless of age or habitat, Joe Biden’s touchy feely actions with women (and men, allegedly) are disgusting and inappropriate. I don’t believe they arise out of innocent affection, though he may have himself convinced. They arise out of unconscious male privilege and are demeaning and distressing to those on the receiving end. — Joan Weis, California
Men of his generation assumed that the “affection” being given would be welcomed and appreciated, particularly since it was being given by a man in power. The problem has been that nobody bothered to ask the women or girls. — Lori Abbott Moreland, Sacramento, Calif.
This is not a generational misunderstanding. Biden’s licentious behavior (let’s call it what it is) was never the norm and not what most women wanted or expected. — Dwight Dekeyser, 63, Cherry Hill, N.J.
Joe Biden is facing a moment of “white man privilege.” Just because HE didn’t think that gently rubbing shoulders and kissing the back of her head wasn’t inappropriate doesn’t mean this incident can be dismissed as paternal or innocent. It is the woman’s feelings about the kiss/touch that matter. He lives in a different era and is no longer relevant to most generations. He needs to step aside. — Sandra Mathews, 51, Madison, N.J.
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Is this where we’re heading, to ban “jokes, hugs and kisses” from the public sphere? Early on we baby boomers rejected the stiff formalities of an earlier generation for an easy physicality, an appreciative give-and-take across gender lines that graced daily life with moments of lightness and warmth. Do we really want to push the Joe Bidens and Al Frankens from our lives? Maybe it’s generational, but I fear we’re losing something I’ve long cherished. #MeTooMuch. — Millie Olson, California
As a college student warned constantly about the dangers of life on campus, I worry that the legacy of the #MeToo movement will not be empowerment for women, but a generation of women terrified of interaction with males, who see any physical intimacy as a threat. When men kiss me on the head or squeeze my shoulders, it does make me uncomfortable. But does it make me uncomfortable because it is creepy or because I have been told I should find it creepy? I hope the pendulum will soon swing back to a more reasonable and thoughtful, less knee-jerk political and cultural climate. — Meg Edwards, Ohio
This story personifies exactly what is wrong with the #MeToo movement. It started off as a positive force, bringing to light predatory behavior, and now we’ve gotten to the point where a squeeze or a nuzzle is horrific. This is exactly why the Democrats (who I am one of) will lose the 2020 election. We are eating our own, and to what end? — Monica Evenson, 47, Los Angeles
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【赵】【城】【啸】【哪】【里】【听】【得】【进】【周】【廷】【的】【话】，【上】【前】【一】【把】【揪】【住】【了】【他】【的】【衣】【领】，【整】【个】【人】【被】【怒】【气】【填】【满】，【宛】【如】【一】【头】【愤】【怒】【的】【雄】【狮】：“【治】【不】【好】【她】，【我】【让】【你】【直】【接】【在】【京】【城】【消】【失】。” 【作】【为】【赵】【云】【笙】【工】【作】【上】【的】【合】【作】【伙】【伴】【兼】【好】【友】【的】【他】，【如】【何】【不】【知】【赵】【城】【啸】【的】【手】【段】【和】【能】【力】，【他】【非】【常】【相】【信】【赵】【城】【啸】【这】【句】【话】【不】【是】【在】【吓】【唬】【他】，【而】【是】【真】【的】【能】【办】【到】。 【可】【是】【能】【和】【赵】【云】【笙】【那】【样】【的】【人】【成】
【沈】【璐】【好】【不】【容】【易】【把】【宝】【宝】【哄】【睡】【了】，【这】【才】【小】【心】【翼】【翼】【的】【把】【她】【放】【床】【上】，【盖】【上】【被】【子】，【等】【到】【小】【心】【翼】【翼】【的】【退】【出】【了】【房】【间】，【悄】【悄】【的】【关】【上】【了】【房】【门】【才】【开】【始】【跟】【叶】【智】【算】【总】【账】，“【呀】！【死】【猪】【头】！【你】【最】【近】【很】【膨】【胀】【啊】！” “【怎】【么】【说】？” “【哼】！【你】【自】【己】【说】【呢】？” “【我】【怎】【么】【就】【最】【近】【很】【膨】【胀】【了】？” “【呵】~~~” “【我】【明】【明】【一】【直】【都】【这】【么】【膨】【胀】，【最】【近】