Sen. Bernie Sanders 2016 Campaign Staffers Describe Culture of Sexism and Harassment
Multiple women have come forward with allegations of “sexual harassment and demeaning treatment as well as pay disparity” while working for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, according to a report from the New York Times.
These claims arise as Sanders considers a 2020 presidential run.
The Times report came just days after POLITICO published a letter written by more than two dozen women and men who worked on the Democrat’s campaign. They asked to meet with Sanders and his top political advisors to discuss the complaints and to find solutions moving forward. “In recent weeks there has been an ongoing conversation on social media, in texts, and in person, about the untenable and dangerous dynamic that developed during our campaign,” they wrote.
Sanders’ 2016 campaign manager Jeff Weaver conceded to the Times the campaign was both “too male” and “too white,” adding that it will be a priority for change. Sanders spoke to CNN Wednesday about the allegations. He offered an apology to “any woman who feels like she was not treated appropriately.”
Giulianna Di Lauro, who worked as a Latino outreach strategist for the Sanders campaign, told the Times about an incident with a campaign surrogate who touched her hair in a “sexual way.” She said when she reported it to Bill Velazquez, a manager on the team, he said, “I bet you would have liked it if he were younger,” and laughed.
In comments to the Times, Velazquez said he doesn’t recall making the remark and he reported Di Lauro’s concerns to his superiors. Fortune has sought comment from Velazquez. Velazquez on Thursday joined incoming Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia as his chief of staff, according to CNBC.