‘Absolutely unacceptable’

Bernie Sanders apologizes to female aides who spoke out about sexual harassment during 2016 campaign

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senator Bernie Sanders issued an apology on Thursday to female staff members who allegedly suffered harassment from male senior aides on his campaign. In a New York Times report from last week, nearly a dozen women working on Sanders’ campaign alleged that they suffered harassment and that their complaints were not handled properly.

Sanders’ initially issued an apology on CNN last week, saying that he was sorry “to any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately” but faced criticism after adding the caveat that he had been “a little bit busy running around the country, trying to make the case” for his presidency and hadn’t known of the allegations. On Wednesday, it was reported by Politico that Sanders’ deputy national field director had forcibly kissed a younger female subordinate, but that she hadn’t reported the incident because it occurred on the same day that Sanders’ campaign ended following his loss in the 2016 Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton.

“To the women on my 2016 campaign who were harassed or mistreated, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for speaking out. I apologize,” tweeted Sanders on Thursday. “We can’t just talk about ending sexism and discrimination. It must be a reality in our daily lives. That was clearly not the case in 2016.”

Attached to the tweet was a larger statement, reiterating that the treatment suffered by those who spoke out was “absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign, or any campaign, should be about.”

“When we talk about ending sexism and all forms of discrimination those beliefs cannot just be words,” the statement continued. “During my recent 2018 senate re-election campaign we established some of the strongest sexual harassment policies in the country. They included training on the issue for all employees and an opportunity for any woman who believed she was harassed to call an independent human resources firm, seperate from the campaign, to voice her concerns. Clearly we need a cultural revolution in this country to change workplace attitudes and behavior. I intend in every way to be actively involved in that process.”

Read the full story at BBC News.

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