Earlier this week, San Jose Inside published a story on the violent past of Rick Alexander Green, the husband of county education trustee and State Assembly candidate Darcie Green.
Many people had a visceral reaction to the report, prompting a multi-faceted conversation on issues such as domestic violence, feminism, sexism and the privacy granted to elected officials and their families.
Oh, there was also some backlash.
Darcie Green went on the offensive shortly after the report’s publication. In a Facebook post, which began with a solicitation for support (i.e. money) for her Assembly campaign, she wrote:
“It’s time to end the intrusion of male dominated media into the personal choices of women and the public shaming of women when we choose a partner or a reproductive option another man can’t understand or agree with.”
The assertion that the story was sexist, or meant to shame her, is a twisted attempt to avoid the uncomfortable truth that Green’s husband, formerly known as Ricardo Alejandro Monzon, has a long history of mistreating and abusing women. Beyond numerous restraining orders placed against him for nearly half of his life, he also has multiple convictions for domestic violence.
The contention that the story had anything to do with a woman’s “reproductive option” is a disingenuous misdirection.
And the suggestion that San Jose Inside reporter Jennifer Wadsworth, a professional with nearly a decade of experience, did anything less than a fair and thorough report, or was inappropriately influenced by male colleagues, is actually a sexist comment on its face.
Darcie Green and her husband were given ample opportunity to explain his past behavior, and twice he abruptly ended phone interviews. During these brief conversations he refused to discuss his past in detail, but he did admit to having more children than his wife knew a day prior. This suggests he may have more skeletons in the closet.
How Mr. Green even came to public relevance is it’s own story.
A few weeks ago, the campaign of Darcie Green pitched San Jose Inside a story about her husband taking her last name. They billed it as a progressive decision by a secure, respectful man—and, in some ways, the actions of a feminist. He may be that person today, but it’s indisputable he was not that person just a few years ago.
In the last six months, Mr. Green has been a constant presence at public functions related to his wife’s campaign, and they have actively encouraged the narrative of two high school sweethearts reconnecting after all these years. He has attended rallies to close the gender pay gap and frequently posted support for his wife and women through social media. They are fond of selfies.
During this time, Darcie Green and her husband have never mentioned his past, and it appears they had no intention of ever publicly acknowledging it in the future.
Darcie Green’s own campaign team was informed of her husband’s criminal record but had no idea it was on the scale of abusing women, or that one of the domestic violence convictions was as recent as 2011. Had people associated with Mr. Green’s past not commented on the original story, perhaps none of this would have ever come to light.
That falls a rung below accountability.
Since the truth was reported, Darcie Green has chosen to appeal to people’s basest sympathies. If it’s not sexist now, it will soon be considered racist, or an elitist take on domestic violence.
All of these arguments are specious, and they ignore the fact that it shouldn’t require an epiphany at age 32 to know it’s unacceptable to attack women.
Darcie Green also serves as president of Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN), which released its own statement this week. The organization’s board of directors said the report attempted to “assault the impeccable professional public service record of a strong, progressive female candidate through sensationalizing the issue of domestic violence, and intruding on a family’s private life.”
If anything, this statement diminishes the issue of domestic violence.
In our reporting, San Jose Inside spoke to several people who lead local organizations dedicated to serving women. These women also happen to be friends of Darcie Green. None of them took exception to the story’s reporting, but all of them expressed concern for her wellbeing.
We can debate the privacy one should expect as the spouse of a public official, but people who go fishing for positive press should be prepared for questions that go beyond the superficial.