Tags: stephen bittel | apology | women | accuse | creepy | behavior

Fla. Dem Chair Apologizes After Women Complain About His 'Creepy' Behavior

Image: Fla. Dem Chair Apologizes After Women Complain About His 'Creepy' Behavior
Stephen Bittel (FloridaDems.org)

By    |   Friday, 17 November 2017 10:05 AM

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel has apologized after six former staffers and consultants claimed he created an unprofessional workplace environment for women, including making inappropriate comments, Politico is reporting.

The women, who asked for anonymity out of fear for their jobs, also claimed he leered at young women, kept breast-shaped stress squeeze balls on his desk and made references to females showing their breasts, according to the website.

They say he made them feel so uneasy they did not want to be alone with him, Politico said.

A former staffer called him "creepy," and said: "He just leers at you and stares. I don't know if you know what that feels like, but he just leers at you. I don't know how to describe the feeling."

Another woman added: "There is a reason I left," she said. "He's very demeaning. He's inappropriate in comments he makes to women."

Following the accusations, Bittel issued an apology.

"Every person, regardless of their gender, race, age or sexuality should be treated with respect and valued for their hard work and contributions to our community and if any of my comments or actions did not reflect that belief I am deeply sorry," he said.

"I have much to learn, but my goal is and has always been to make sure every member of our party has a safe environment in which to succeed. It seems I've not been successful in that goal, and I will do better."

Bittel acknowledged he had breast-shaped stress balls. A spokesman claimed they were a gift "from a former female general counsel of his company years ago as a joke for his birthday. He keeps them in a drawer with other gag gifts."

Earlier this year, Bittel sparked controversy when he tried to downplay anger from lawmakers who did not get introduced at a party fundraiser as a "childish" complaint from African-American legislators, the Miami Herald reported.

He later apologized.

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Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel has apologized after six former staffers and consultants claimed he created an unprofessional workplace environment for women, including making inappropriate comments, Politico is reporting.
stephen bittel, apology, women, accuse, creepy, behavior
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2017-05-17
Friday, 17 November 2017 10:05 AM
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