Bernie Sanders adviser accused of harassing female staffer in 2016

Tasos Katopodis  Getty Images North America

Tasos Katopodis Getty Images North America

US Senator Bernie Sanders is apologising to women who've shared experiences of harassment by male supervisors while working on his 2016 presidential campaign.

On Thursday afternoon, Sanders released a statement on Twitter, admitting that "there were some women who were harassed or mistreated". Our standards, our procedures, our safeguards were clearly inadequate, ' he added.

The New York Times on January 2 published accounts from women who worked for the campaign complained of sexual harassment and pay disparities.

Friends of Bernie Sanders, the senator's main campaign committee, said Becker would not be a part of any future campaigns in response to the allegation against him.

"Candidates who allow people like Robert Becker to lead their organizations shouldn't earn the highest office in our government", she told Politico. Becker had begun making preparations for another campaign and calling around to staffers when the woman came forward, and other staffers came out with similar stories, causing him to lose his position on the campaign. Politico reported Wednesday night that the head of Sanders's Iowa caucus campaign in 2016 has been accused of forcibly kissing a female subordinate on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. This can't happen in 2020.

'To the women in our campaign who were harassed or mistreated, I apologize. The alleged assault, he wrote, is "at odds with my recollection of a late evening filled with many hugs and kisses and tears and conversations about what's next".

No charges have been filed.

"We are addressing what happened on the Bernie campaign but as people that work in this space we see that all campaigns are extremely unsafe to women and marginalized people and we are attempting to fix that", the campaign staffers wrote. Becker, however, said he was just tasked with reviewing "potentially questionable or damaging social media posts of potential hires". Sanders is already putting together a campaign. But Jeff Weaver, who ran Sanders' 2016 campaign, stressed then that Becker was not doing so in an official capacity as he "doesn't work for the campaign because there is no campaign".

She chose to speak out after Becker reportedly contacted her and other potential staffers regarding a 2020 presidential run by Sanders and visited early primary states. A former Sanders delegate called the culture an "entire wave of rotten sexual harassment that seemingly was never dealt with".

"To be clear: no one who committed sexual harassment in 2016 would be back if there were a 2020 campaign", said the committee, which also described Becker's alleged actions as "deplorable and fundamentally unacceptable". But he also apologized to "any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately", adding that if he does decide to run again he would "do better".

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