As Christine Blasey Ford — the first woman to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault — testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, the whole country watched and listened.
In front of 21 senators of both parties Ford laid out her allegations against Kavanaugh in excruciating detail. “I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding onto me,” Ford said of the alleged assault that took place at a high school party when she was a teenager in the 1980s. “I yelled hoping that someone downstairs might hear me, and I tried to get away from him but his weight was heavy.”
Hours later, an angry and emotional Kavanaugh took the stand to defend himself against the allegations. “I deny the allegation against me by Dr. Ford,” Kavanagh said. “I never had any sexual encounter with Dr. Ford. I never attended a gathering like that.”
Americans across the country were glued to their televisions in airplanes, bars, and classrooms, and even their phones to watch the hearings. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. households with TVs were watching the hearings at any time from 10 a.m. to 6.45 p.m, according to preliminary ratings from Nielsen.
VICE News asked our readers and viewers to tell us what they thought of the charged back-and-forth. Here's what they said.
I’m writing from a small town in Mississippi. My mom has voted Republican all her life. She cried this morning. So did I. My mom hardly ever talks politics. During Lindsey Graham’s tirade, she screamed, “What about her?!” louder than I’ve ever heard her scream. As for me, the second I saw a judicial nominee belligerently interrupt a U.S. senator on the Judiciary Committee (Sen. Leahy), my jaw dropped. I left the room when he asked Sen. Klobuchar if she had a drinking problem. This entitled fuck doesn’t get to ask her shit. — Blake Feldman, 29, Newton, Mississippi
If this is Brett Kavanaugh sober, I shudder to think about his rage when intoxicated. He’s doing a great job showing the belligerent character that Dr. Ford outlined today. — Shannon Weber, 31, Boston, Massachusetts
I am following the Kavanaugh hearings closely. They echo the same experience I endured when I reported my rape to the Title IX office at my university. — A__nonymous
I have voted both Republican and Democrat in my 10 years of being able to vote. During those times, I have fallen in and out of interest in politics, I can safely say nothing has caught my attention in politics quite like the Kavanaugh hearings.
After watching the hearings, I can safely say that we need to move on from Brett Kavanaugh as a candidate for the Supreme Court. This was shown by his blatant leaning on partisanship during the hearings. This woman has risked everything to come forward about these allegations and spoke in front of the entire nation, and he says this is something done to him because Clinton lost.
That just doesn’t seem like he has a fair mind to judge cases on the Supreme Court. He also dodged a lot of questions about his drinking and partying. He bragged about how many girls he was friends with and his athletic accomplishments. I think most people know athletics in high school to be similar to fraternities in college, and I’ve seen many an academic blackout drinking. This is not an exemption. You can do both, yet he steered clear of the questioning. I believe there are things being hidden by Kavanaugh, and that he’s being protected because Republicans right now will risk everything including their morals to get their way. It’s a very sad thing to see. That’s my opinion, and the the overall opinion of my peers who tend to be middle class men and women here in Ohio. — Ross White, 28, Ohio
One of the saddest parts of all of this to me is how it honestly just seems like the Democratic Party just wants to win, versus actually stopping a huge problem in all these cases we see with sexual assault/harassment etc.
For once, I’d like to see our politicians do something to better our country instead of treating it like sports all the time and just trying to beat the other side. Idk. — Graham Rendell, 24, Denver, Colorado
I think Dr. Ford is telling the truth. I think it was interesting to listen to the demeanor in each of their testimonies. One was calm and seemingly very open and transparent in their testimony. The other was indignant and angry, ery undignified, and verged on a tone that you hear when someone is caught in a lie. — Janice Francois, 60, Los Angeles, California
As a moderate who could be somewhat Republican and somewhat Democratic, this farce of hearings makes me sick. The abject hatred the current Republican Party shows towards women and especially victimized women is appalling and indicative of a cultural problem in the country. THE GOP HATES WOMEN. At what point will women who like their economic policies wake up to this fact?
A reckoning is coming. And women, who make up major voting blocs are going to have to embrace the responsibility to vote in mass for change. — Nicole Lee, 45, Leesburg, Virginia
Beer, beer, ffff, flatulence, and passing out/falling asleep. What a national embarrassment. We all did this. We created a carnivorous culture. Guilty or not, he's ruined, Dr. Ford has been exposed, and the reputation of Supreme Court nominations is now a mockery. — Mel Blanchard Gong, Venice, California
Deep south people aren't really buzzing about this, but my mother turned into the news so you know something's up. She (not a political person) dubbed Kavanaugh as a "lying piece of shit." I'm sitting through all this … and thinking what was the point? To sway the middle votes? Taint his name? I still feel like he's going to get confirmed and not convicted of anything. What's really fucked is the fact that the #metoo movement has been amazing at bringing light to the issue of sexual assault in the workplace and other, but since basically, EVERY fucking person in politics/position of authority has committed an act of sexual assault, the masses are almost desensitized to the issue. Also, these women are coming out and sharing their stories about him from about 30 years ago, which there is no timeline for coming out about your attacker, but Kavanaugh should have owned up to it and apologized. I was speaking to my friend Sheridan about this, and this happened in high school/college, so that's given time for Kavanaugh to change as a person. If you did it, and you're not the same person, apologize, take ownership of your past, and make amends with the people you've abused and apologize for the emotional distress and shit you've made them go through.
Take it as you will, and someone PLEASE give this big seething baby a fucking bottle because he's a blubbering baboon. — Olivia Rink, Junior at Louisiana State University
After all this, he should be nominated… And it was mostly the reporting Vice did that made me decide that. It really is a shame and a bigger shame that you played into it all. No credible evidence was ever offered, and the only things that were reported like facts were nothing but hearsay and uncorroborated accusations. — Reid Brueggeman, 25, Wisconsin
What once was a hearing deciding if Brett Kavanaugh was the best person for the job of Supreme Court judge now has evolved into a defacto sexual assault court case. It’s horrible to send the message to the world that party politics matter in the U.S. more than a lifetime judgeship, multiple women’s sexual assault experiences, and more than the integrity of the judicial branch. — Kelli Kennedy, 24, Originally from Fresno, California, currently living in London, England
My brother sexually assaulted me. I was in 5th grade he was four-and-a-half years older than me. He is a currently a special ed teacher. I’m sure all of his colleagues could say he is a great guy, just like Kavanaugh’s friends and colleagues are saying now. Just because none of his high school friends and colleagues don’t know what he did privately with me doesn’t mean it didn’t happen me!!!!!! — Anonymous
Judge Kavanaugh’s hearings are a disgrace to the institution to which he belongs and a travesty to the panel to which he applies. His angry, defensive, interrupting, aggressive style only plays into the character of which he is accused, and only further causes distrust in the partisan political system that exists today.
Kavanaugh is acting like an angry white man who has just realized the world is diverse.
A sad day for America. — Bryana Coalson, 40, Houston, Texas
Cover image: Supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)