On Wednesday, speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed reports that his 2016 campaign was marred by sexism, harassment, and gender pay disparity.
In a New York Times report, Giulianna Di Lauro, a Latino outreach strategist for the Sanders campaign alleged that she had been harassed by a co-worker who ran his hand through her hair in a “sexual way.”
When she reported it to her supervisor, however, her boss laughed and did not take the claims seriously.
According to the Times, Di Lauro was not alone and now some of the women want what happened in 2016 acknowledged and addressed.
The Times reports:
“Accounts like Ms. Di Lauro’s — describing episodes of sexual harassment and demeaning treatment as well as pay disparity in Mr. Sanders’s 2016 campaign — have circulated in recent weeks in emails, online comments and private discussions among former supporters. Now, as the Vermont senator tries to build support for a second run at the White House, his perceived failure to address this issue has damaged his progressive bona fides, delegates and nearly a dozen former state and national staff members said in interviews over the last month.”
Cooper asked Sanders about the Times article and how Sanders would stop harassment and the reported mistreatment from happening again.
“I want to ask you about an article published in The New York Times,” Cooper said. “In it are allegations describing episodes of sexual harassment and demeaning treatment as well as pay disparity in your 2016 campaign. I’m wondering, were you aware of those allegations during the campaign if you do run in 2020, how can you ensure something like that doesn’t happen again?”
Sanders started off by saying he was proud of his 2016 campaign.
Then he said this:
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right in terms of human resources, in terms of addressing the needs that I’m hearing from now that women felt disrespected, that there was sexual harassment which was not dealt with as effectively as possible. What I will tell you is that when I ran for re-election in 2018 in Vermont, we put forward the strongest set of principles in terms of mandatory training, in terms of women, if they felt harassed, having an independent firm that they can go to. And I think that’s kind of the gold standard for what we should be doing. So I certainly apologize to any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately. And of course, if I run, we will do better next time.”
Cooper then asked Sanders if it was correct that he did not know about the allegations at the time.
“I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case,” he said, confirming he did not know at the time.
Watch above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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