“I believe these women completely and without reservation and I apologize that they have had a bad experience on this campaign,” the Massachusetts Democrat told reporters after a town hall on Thursday.
She continued: “I also understand the long legacy of racism in this country and what it means and how it creates power dynamics and inequities that are toxic and dangerous. And that’s why it’s so important that we be constantly vigilant and determined to do better. I take personal responsibility for this and I’m working with my team to address these concerns.”
“During the time I was employed with Nevada for Warren, there was definitely something wrong with the culture,” field organizer Megan Lewis, who joined the campaign in May and departed in December, told Politico. “I filed a complaint with HR, but the follow-up I received left me feeling as though I needed to make myself smaller or change who I was to fit into the office culture.”
The staffers quoted, mostly on background, said the campaign on the ground did not live up to the candidate’s rhetoric when it came to empowering women — and women of color in particular.
Warren’s communications director, Kristen Orthman, declined to comment in detail, citing the issue as a personnel matter, but didn’t dispute any specifics in the story.
“We have an organization of more than a thousand people, and whenever we hear concerns, we take them seriously. It’s important that everyone who is part of our team has a voice and can be heard,” Orthman told CNN. “That’s why we are proud that we have a unionized staff and clear processes for issues to be addressed. We strive for an inclusive environment and work hard to learn and improve.”
None of the individuals who left — organizers on the campaign payroll — are believed to be high-level staff. In the Politico story, they expressed concerns about the campaign’s Latino outreach in Nevada, saying Spanish-language engagement efforts had been slow and in some cases nonexistent.