One of the many Democrats that are running for president in 2020, Kirsten Gillibrand has used her stance on sexual misconduct and the #MeToo movement to fuel her campaign.
Which we imagine must make it really awkward that a former aides has accused her top adviser of sexual misconduct.
A mid-20’s female staffer resigned as an act of protest due to the unsatisfactory response she got after reporting an instance of sexual harassment within Gillibrand’s staff.
The staffer has decided to remain anonymous to protect future prospects but alleges that Abbis Malik, one of Gillibrand’s closest aides, was to be promoted to a supervisory role and leveraged that position to make crude and misogynistic remarks to female colleagues.
After more than two weeks of inadequate action, the woman told chief of staff Jess Fassler that she was resigning. She cited retaliation from Malik and the office’s inadequate handling of the matter as her reason for leaving.
“I have offered my resignation because of how poorly the investigation and post-investigation was handled,” the woman wrote in a letter sent to Gillibrand’s personal email.
“I trusted and leaned on this statement that you made: ‘You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is O.K. None of it is acceptable.’ 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 letter continued.
Gillibrand has yet to respond to the letter directly, but issued a statement to POLITICO defending how the incident was handled.
“These are challenges that affect all of our nation’s workplaces, including mine, and the question is whether or not they are taken seriously. As I have long said, when allegations are made in the workplace, we must believe women so that serious investigations can actually take place, we can learn the facts, and there can be appropriate accountability,” she said. “That’s exactly what happened at every step of this case last year. I told her that we loved her at the time and the same is true today.”
Malik remained on Gillibrand’s staff until March when the story of misconduct turned up further allegations, forcing his dismissal.