Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Gillibrand’s Office Hit With Sexual Allegations, Aide Resigns In Protest

Gillibrand Aide Resigned In Protest Over Allegedly Mishandled Sex Harassment Claims Gillibrand, champion of #MeToo movement, saw aide resign in protest over sexual harassment case
Jeannette Daniel | 14 March, 2019, 00:25

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who is one of the most prominent voices of the #MeToo movement, ignored sexual harassment complaints from a young female staffer previous year, prompting the aide to resign in protest, according to a digital copy of her resignation later sent to the senator's personal email.

The female staffer alleged that one of Gillibrand's closest aides, who was about 10 years older and married, made repeated, unwelcome advances, according to Politico. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY - one of the most vocal advocates of the #MeToo movement who also led the charge in calling for fellow Democratic Sen.

The senator is hardly the only prominent Democrat to be accused of ignoring sexual harassment within her office or campaign. Gillibrand and her office apparently had less interest in creating a safe environment for women than in conducting a CYA attempt to keep Malik on the job no matter how he treated Gillibrand's female staffers.

At first, Gillibrand defended herself to Politico over the allegation against Abbas Malik, saying that the letter contained "clear inaccuracies" and contradicted other statements made by the woman before her resignation.

"As I have long said, when allegations are made in the workplace, we must believe women so that serious investigations can actually take place, we can learn the facts, and there can be appropriate accountability", Gillibrand told Politico in a statement. The woman still had to work with him despite his new pattern of leaving her out of communications after she rebuffed him, she said.

I don't know whether the aide's story is true, and I'm not sure it matters.

The report stated that Gillibrand's advisor's asserted they did take the woman's initial claims seriously, launched an investigation and ultimately determined, "the allegations did not meet the standard of sexual harassment".

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Malik, Gillibrand's former driver who officiated her wedding, kept his job at the time but was sacked last week after a new investigation following Politico presenting the office with its findings. Second, the accused male wasn't fired, he was denied a promotion, had his desk moved, and given a "final warning", according to Politico. Jess Fassler, Gillibrand's chief of staff who is also in charge of her presidential bid, was one of the people copied on the woman's email.

Gillibrand, who is still in the exploratory phase of the already jam-packed Democratic presidential primary race, previously told CBS that she's the "best candidate" to take on President Trump in 2020. Representative Elizabeth Esty of CT left office over reports that she wrote a job recommendation for a male staffer whom she'd fired for threatening to kill a colleague he used to date.

Gillibrand says, "That's exactly what happened at every step of this case previous year". Besides, she added, "I told her that we loved her at the time".

Once the accuser - who is reportedly in her mid-20s - complained, the senator's office launched an internal investigation.

Fassler allegedly told the woman that she had misstepped too and risked being fired, including when she "fed" alcohol to Malik in one instance when they grabbed drinks in the Capitol's courtyard.

Gillibrand's deputy chief of staff Anne Bradley and general counsel Keith Castaldo investigated the woman's claims but did not fire the male staffer, who was Gillibrand's longtime driver and "military adviser".

She was the first Democratic senator in 2017 to call for Franken to resign after he faced multiple allegations that he had in the past forcibly kissed and touched women.

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