Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand continued to defend her office’s response to an allegation of sexual harassment while speaking to reporters Friday. Gillibrand, a 2020 presidential candidate, has repeatedly defended her office’s handling of the matter since it became public last week.
“We took these allegations very seriously. We opened an investigation immediately. And we did a thorough investigation. We did not find sexual harassment but we did find derogatory comments and the employee was punished for those derogatory comments,” Gillibrand stated. “But we took it very seriously. And this particular employee is valued. She is loved in our office. And I told her so personally.”
An aide in her office filed a sexual harassment complaint with Gillibrand’s chief of staff last July. Politico reported that the staffer who allegedly harassed her regularly made crude and misogynistic comments about female colleagues.
Three weeks later, the woman who made the allegation ended up quitting after the man reportedly retaliated against her for the initial complaint. (RELATED: Gillibrand’s Office Hit With Sexual Allegations, Aide Resigns In Protest)
“Your office chose to go against your public belief that women shouldn’t accept sexual harassment in any form and portrayed my experience as a misinterpretation instead of what it actually was: harassment and ultimately, intimidation,” the aide said in a letter sent to Gillibrand.
Gillibrand made headlines in the past for taking strong stances against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault. She also led the charge against former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken after a years-old photo resurfaced of him pretending to inappropriately touch a sleeping woman.