Following in the footsteps of fellow Democrats President Bill Clinton, Rep. Anthony Weiner, Harvey Weinstein, and now U.S. Sen. Al Franken, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel has now been accused of being a sexually inappropriate creep.
The POLITICO has just reported that Bittle has been accused by six women, not of touching or assaulting them, but of just being that creepy old guy that makes inappropriate comments, leers at young women, and event tries to use is money and influence to get them to ‘take a ride’ in his private plane.
The women, who were reached independently by POLITICO and insisted on anonymity out of fear for their jobs, said Bittel never inappropriately touched or threatened them. But he made them feel so uneasy that they didn’t want to be alone with him due to his body language, suggestive remarks and even the breast-shaped stress squeeze-ball he has been known to keep on his desk.
Depending on the circumstance and the person discussing Bittel, they said he would make references about women cooking dinner, showing their breasts, their age, whether they wanted to ride on his plane, come to his hotel room or if they thought he was attractive.
“There was a lot of boob stuff in his office,” said a woman who was a fundraiser years ago and had to interact with him. “I was told by other women not to go into his bathroom. I was warned.”
In a written statement, a spokesman for Bittel didn’t dispute the women’s accounts and acknowledged he had the breast-shaped stress balls. But, he said, 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.”
Like the aforementioned present and former Democratic lawmakers, Bittel has apologized for his actions:
“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…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.”
Will Bittel resign on his own? Will Democrats ban together like they did with Sen. Franken and ask for an ethics investigation?