We write, as survivors and advocates, to ask the City Council to implement a truly harassment-free New York City, and express our outrage and disappointment in the Council’s failure to expel Council Member Andy King.
Despite a nearly 50-page report of substantiated charges against King—including serial sexual harassment and discrimination, intimidation and retaliation against survivors and witnesses—and a call for expulsion in a New York Daily News op-ed by King’s 2017 complainant, the Council approved ineffective recommendations for sanctions: a mere 30-day suspension, a full-time “monitor,” and a fine. These sanctions do not address the corruption of power that allowed for the workplace abuse to fester. Effectively, these measures will only serve to punish his constituents, who deserve a representative who can be trusted with full responsibilities of the office.
With these insufficient actions, the Council fails to adequately protect staff, setting a dangerous precedent that enables council members to repeatedly violate the civil rights of workers and remain in office.
We stand with the more than 130 current and former courageous City Council staffers who, in an open letter to Speaker Johnson, demand King’s expulsion from the Council and common sense reforms to improve and strengthen workplace protections.
As former staff of elected and appointed officials, we know how incredibly brave and vulnerable the City Council staff are and want to publicly support them with a sign on letter. Here is the full letter for your review and consideration for your organization or trusted organizations in your network to support.
If there are organizations that you think we should reach out to that may want to support, please let us know.
Sexual Harassment Working Group
About The Sexual Harassment Working Group:
The Sexual Harassment Working Group consists of seven former New York State Legislature staffers, all of whom experienced or reported sexual harassment while working for the state. In June 2018, the SHWG released its Policy Recommendations to Protect Employees of Elected and Appointed Officials from Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment, and successfully advocated for public hearings and transparency regarding sexual harassment legislation. We are an unfunded, non-partisan, non-political collective, unaffiliated with any group or entity.
Sexual Harassment Working Group Members:
Danielle Bennett, Former Administrative Assistant to former Assemblyman Micah Kellner
Elizabeth Crothers, Former Legislative Aide in the NYS AssemblyElias Farah, Former Legislative Aide in the NYS Assembly
Leah Hebert, Former Chief of Staff to former Assemblyman Vito Lopez
Eliyanna Kaiser, Former Chief of Staff to former Assemblyman Micah Kellner
Tori Burhans Kelly, Former Legislative Aide to former Assemblyman Vito Lopez
Rita Pasarell, Former Legislative Counsel and Deputy Chief of Staff to former Assemblyman Vito Lopez
WHO: PAVE Ambassador Pamela Guest is an actress, award-winning director, and casting director. She is on SAG-AFTRA National and Local Board of Directors, SAG-AFTRA President’s Blue Ribbon Sexual Harassment Work Group, and Time’s Up Liaison Committee with SAG-AFTRA. She wrote and directed the powerful and award-winning film “The First of Many”.
WHAT: “The First of Many” is an award-winning film short based on true life events. PAVE Ambassador Pamela Guest was a young 21-year old aspiring actress when she was raped during an audition by Academy award-winning composer and serial perpetrator Joseph Brooks. “The First of Many” screening action guide created by PAVE will contain: link to download the film, a discussion guide, and a series of director videos discussing Pamela’s healing journey. These healing videos will be made available for organizations and individuals to share on social media.
WHERE: “The First of Many” screening action guides will be made available by PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment) across the country in partnership with other organizations, schools, community groups, and Hollywood businesses.
WHEN: April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and September, National Campus Safety Awareness Month
WHY: While the #MeToo movement brought significant awareness to the problem of sexual assault, many survivors still struggle with shame and self-blame. Moreover, there is still a vast need for understanding how these “casting-couch” assaults happen and a need for what we can do to stop them.
HOW: Click here to sign up to receive your free toolkit on how to host a screening.
ABOUT PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment (PAVE) is national 501c3 nonprofit that works to prevent sexual assault and heal survivors through social advocacy, education, and victim support. PAVE has trained more than 50,000 college students and 2,500 professionals and currently maintain over 50 chapters and affiliates across the country. PAVE’S military training has reached thousands and recently, PAVE held a training for the cast and crew of Hamilton on Broadway. PAVE was founded by sexual assault survivor Angela Rose. Abducted from a shopping mall as a teen, Angela Rose funneled her anger into activism by spearheading community action to change laws in Illinois at the age of seventeen. She created PAVE as a student organization in 2001 at UW-Madison and fostered the growth into a multi-national nonprofit.