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

Evarado Alatorre
Марта 14, 2019

It's tough to gauge the impact of the Politico story, published Monday, that reports that a former Gillibrand aide resigned in protest past year over the senator's handling of a sexual harassment complaint in her office.

The female staffer alleges she told the senator's staffers last summer that one of Gillibrand's closest aides repeatedly made unwelcome advances and crude, misogynistic remarks in the office about other female colleagues and potential female hires after he was promoted to a supervisory role, according to POLITICO.

"Gillibrand has been dubbed the "#MeToo Senator" because she has championed survivors of sexual violence, and has come out as a vocal critic of men accused of sexual misconduct: "In 2017, for example, she classified Bill Clinton's relationship with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky as a transgression worth resigning over.

The office said that after "a full and thorough investigation into the evidence, including multiple interviews with current employees who could have witnessed this behavior, the office concluded that the allegations did not meet the standard of sexual harassment".

The office said that after an internal investigation, Malik's actions didn't rise to the level of sexual harassment, although he was punished by not getting an expected promotion and given a final warning.

A spokeswoman for the senator said the male aide was sacked last week after the office "learned of never-before reported and deeply troubling comments" allegedly made by him.

Gillibrand has been an outspoken advocate of the #MeToo movement and has made fighting sexual misconduct a focus of her campaign, Politico said.

"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", she said in the statement, Politico said.

Harris, meanwhile, said earlier this month that she hadn't spoken to a woman who sued her former top adviser, Larry Wallace, for sexual harassment and won a $400,000 settlement.

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At the time, Malik was disciplined following Gillibrand's investigation into the matter, but remained on staff.

Malik, who served primarily as a driver for Gillibrand, could not immediately be reached for comment. "I told her we loved her at the time", Gillibrand's statement declared, "and the same is true today".

Gillibrand's office responded to Politico with a lengthy statement. She went on to criticize the senator's office's handling of the matter, saying that she "offered [her] resignation because of how poorly the investigation and post-investigation was handled".

The woman detailed frequent pick-up attempts that left her uncomfortable, including, according to her, four in a single day last July.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took questions from reporters Monday evening outside the Capitol building, addressing for the first time allegations that her office didn't properly probe an allegation of sexual harassment previous year.

Two more staffers who worked for Gillibrand said the woman's claims of Malik's inappropriate workplace behavior matched their own experiences.

Gillibrand is all but guaranteed to run for president in 2020. That's a relatively recent shift for the senator, who once had a reputation for more moderate politics. But some major Democratic donors say they will not support her after her vilification of former Democratic Minnesota Sen.

Gillibrand is also struggling to win over members of the congressional delegation in her home state of NY.

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