Published: Tue, February 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

#MeToo Lawmaker Asked Staffers To Play 'Spin The Bottle'

#MeToo Lawmaker Asked Staffers To Play 'Spin The Bottle'

Kernick could not immediately be reached Sunday for comment about his complaint.

Now, a former field representative for Garcia has filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleging the assemblywoman for District 58 urged staffers to play spin the bottle at an alcohol-fueled hotel party in 2014.

The latest complaint against Ms Garcia accuses her of disciplining Mr Kernick "with a write up for insubordination" before firing him two days later. In addition, a lawyer on Wednesday released a list of other allegations from four former employees in Garcia's office who said they wished to remain anonymous.

Mr Kernick said in the complaint that Ms Garcia, who was featured in a Time magazine profile of #MeToo victims a year ago, approached him at fundraiser at a whiskey bar and invited him to sit on her hotel room floor to play the kissing game.

"It was definitely uncomfortable, " said Kernick, adding that the assemblywoman's suggestion was met with discomfort and then ignored.

"Ms. Garcia has been acting for so long like she's a, you know, hero of the "Me Too" movement, and they just knew that wasn't anywhere near the truth", Gilleon told reporters.

A new complaint was filed against California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia Saturday by a former staff member claiming retaliation and discrimination.

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Kernick and three other former staffers sent an open letter to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon that accused Garcia of operating "a "toxic" workplace where activities included regular heavy drinking with staffers, sexually charged meetings and raunchy conversations highlighting details of her sex life".

Garcia, formerly leading the women's caucus and appearing in Time Magazine's silence breaker's Person of the Year coverage, remains on a voluntary and unpaid leave of absence and denies all accusations.

It is a stunning twist to the sexual harassment scandal rocking the legislature.

Gilleon said his clients were hesitant to come forward for fear of reprisal.

"It was a power imbalance,"' one staffer said in an interview with Politico.

The charges have received particular attention because Garcia, 40, has been seen as one of the leaders of the #MeToo movement, decrying a culture of sexual harassment by powerful men in California government.

Garcia, who called on several male colleagues to step down over sexual misconduct allegations last fall, has said she is "certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of". "That is the environment I strive for in my office and I am confident I have consistently treated my staff fairly and respectfully".

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