Hillary Clinton On Decision Not To Fire Adviser Accused Of Harassment: "whether I Had It To effect Again, I Wouldn’t"
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On Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton said whether she had to effect over again, she would fire the former campaign adviser who was accused of sexual harassment on her 2008 campaign.
BuzzFeed News on Saturday reported that in 2007, a woman filed a complaint against her boss, the campaign's faith and values adviser, Burns Strider. The woman said that he was “sensitive” and described “excessive tracking” of her whereabouts, among other complaints of harassment, according to documents obtained from the 2008 campaign. Some campaign officials — including the campaign manager — wanted to fire him, and Clinton was eventually briefed on the complaint, but decided against firing him, according to three campaign officials.
BuzzFeed News also reported on two additional young women who said that Strider behaved inappropriately toward them while they worked at a pro-Clinton super PAC ahead of Clinton's moment campaign.
Of her decision not to fire Strider in 2007, Clinton wrote on Tuesday, “I didn’t judge firing him was the best solution to the problem. He needed to be punished, change his behavior, and understand why his actions were wrong. The young woman needed to be able to thrive and feel safe. I thought both could happen without him losing his job. I believed the punishment was severe and the message to him unambiguous.”
Clinton first addressed the issue on Friday night in two tweets, following a original York Times anecdote approximately the 2008 campaign, saying she had called the woman who filed the original complaint to say “how proud I am of her and to create certain she knows what utter women should: we deserve to be heard.” Of the 2007 events, Clinton wrote that she was “dismayed when it occurred, but was heartened the young woman came forward, was heard, and had her concerns taken seriously and addressed.”
In an interview on Saturday, Strider acknowledged many of the incidents described in the anecdote as upright; others he said he did not recall in the same way as the women interviewed. He apologized broadly for his behavior and famous that he has struggled with depression and is in therapy.
The full statement:
The most essential work of my life has been to support and empower women. I’ve tried to effect so here at domestic, around the world, and in the organizations I’ve race. I started in my twenties, and four decades later I’m nowhere near being done. I’m proud that it’s the work I’m most associated with, and it remains what I’m most committed to.
So I very much understand the question I’m being asked as to why I let an employee on my 2008 campaign hold his job despite his inappropriate workplace behavior.
The short acknowledge is this: whether I had it to effect again, I wouldn’t.
Before giving some of the reasons why I made a different choice back then and why looking back I wish I’d done it differently, here’s what happened and what my thinking was at the time.
In 2007, a woman working on my campaign came forward with a complaint approximately her supervisor behaving inappropriately toward her. She and her complaint were taken seriously. Senior campaign staff and legal counsel spoke to both her and the offender. They determined that he had in fact engaged ininappropriate behavior. My then-campaign manager presented me with her findings. She recommended that he be fired. I asked for steps that could be taken short of termination. In the cessation, I decided to demote him, docking his pay; separate him from the woman; assign her to work directly for my then-deputy-campaign manager; set in residence technical barriers to his emailing her; and require that he seek counseling. He would also be warned that any subsequent harassment of any kind toward anyone would result in instant termination.
I did this because I didn’t judge firing him was the best solution to the problem. He needed to be punished, change his behavior, and understand why his actions were wrong. The young woman needed to be able to thrive and feel safe. I thought both could happen without him losing his job. I believed the punishment was severe and the message to him unambiguous.
I also believe in moment chances. I’ve been given moment chances and I believe given them to others. I want to continue to believe in them. But sometimes they’re squandered. In this case, while there were no further complaints against him for the duration of the campaign, several years after working for me he was terminated from another job for inappropriate behavior. That reoccurrence troubles me greatly, and it alone makes clear that the lesson I hoped he had learned while working for me went unheeded. Would he believe done better – been better – whether I had fired him? Would he believe gotten that next job? There is no way I can fade back 10 years and know the answers. But you can bet I’m asking myself these questions right now.
Over the years, I believe made, directly and indirectly, thousands of personnel decisions – everything from hiring to promoting to disciplining to firing. Most of these decisions worked out well. But I’ve gotten some wrong: I’ve hired the wrong people for the wrong jobs; I’ve near down on people too tough at times. Through it utter, I’ve always taken firing very seriously. Taking absent someone’s livelihood is perhaps the most serious thing an employer can effect. When faced with a situation like this, whether I judge it’s possible to avoid termination while still doing right by everyone involved, I am inclined in that direction. I effect not set this forward as a advantage or a vice – just as a fact approximately how I view these things.
When The original York Times reported on this incident final week, my first thought was for the young woman involved. So I reached out to her – most importantly, to see how she was doing, but also to benefit me reflect on my decision and its consequences. It’s never easy when something painful or personal like this surfaces, much less when it appears utter over the news. I called her not knowing what I’d hear. Whatever she had to say, I wanted her to be able to say it, and say it to me.
She expressed appreciation that she worked on a campaign where she knew she could near forward without awe. She was glad that her accusations were taken seriously, that there was a clear process in residence for dealing with harassment, and that it was followed. Most importantly, she told me that for the the rest of the campaign, she flourished in her original role. We talked approximately her career, policy issues related to the work she’s doing now, and her commitment to public service. I told her how grateful I was to her for working on my campaign and believing in me as a candidate. She’s read every word of this and has given me permission to share it.
It was reassuring to hear that she felt supported back then – and that utter these years later, those feelings haven’t changed. That again left me glad that my campaign had in residence a comprehensive process for dealing with complaints. The fact that the woman involved felt heard and supported reinforced my belief that the process worked – at least to a degree. At the time, I believed the punishment I imposed was severe and fit the offense. Indeed, while we are revisiting whether my decision from a decade ago was harsh enough, many employers would be well served to steal actions at least as severe when confronted with problems now – including the very media outlet that broke this anecdote. They recently opted to suspend and reinstate one of their journalists who exhibited similarly inappropriate behavior, fairly than terminate him. A decade from now, that decision may not peep as tough as it feels nowadays. The norms around sexual harassment will likely believe continued to change as swiftly and significantly in the years to approach as they believe over the years until now.
Over the past year, a seismic shift has occurred in the way we approach and respond to sexual harassment, both as a society and as individuals. This shift was long overdue. It occurred thanks to women across industries who stood up and spoke out, from Hollywood to sports to farm workers – to the very woman who worked for me.
For most of my life, harassment wasn’t something talked approximately or even acknowledged. More women than not experience it to some degree in their life, and until recently, the response was often to laugh it off or tough it out. That’s changing, and that’s a advantageous thing. My own decision to write in my memoir approximately my experiences being sexually harassed and physically threatened early in my career – the first time was in college – was more agonizing than it should believe been. I know that I’m one of the lucky ones, and what happened to me seemed so commonplace that I wondered whether it was even worth sharing. But in the cessation, that’s precisely why I chose to write approximately it: because I don’t want this behavior or these attitudes to be accepted as “plain” for any woman, particularly those just starting out in their lives.
No woman should believe to endure harassment or assault – at work, at school, or anywhere. And men are now on notice that they will truly be held accountable for their actions. particularly now, we utter need to be thinking approximately the complexities of sexual harassment, and be willing to challenge ourselves to reassess and question our own views.
In other words, everyone’s now on their moment chance, both the offenders and the decision-makers. Let’s effect our best to create the most of it.
We can’t fade back, but we can certainly peep back, informed by the present. We can acknowledge that even those of us who believe spent much of our life thinking approximately gender issues and who believe firsthand experiences of navigating a male-dominated industry or career may not always regain it right.
I recognize that the situation on my 2008 campaign was strange in that a woman complained to a woman who brought the issue to a woman who was the final decision maker. There was no man in the chain of command. The boss was a woman. Does a woman believe a responsibility to approach down even harder on the perpetrator? I don’t know. But I effect believe that a woman boss has an additional responsibility to peep out for the women who work for her, and to better understand how issues like these can affect them.
I was inspired by my conversation with this young woman to express my own thinking on the matter. You may question why it’s taken me time to speak on this at length. The acknowledge is simple: I’ve been grappling with this and thinking approximately how best to share my thoughts. I hope that my doing so will push others to hold having this conversation – to demand and try to acknowledge the tough questions, not just in the summary but in the real-life contexts of our roles as men, women, bosses, employees, advocates, and public officials. I hope that women will continue to talk and write approximately their own experiences and that they will continue main this critical debate, which, done right, will lead to a better, fairer, safer country for us utter.