Accused sexual harasser Rep. Farenthold admits to calling staffers ‘f*cktards’ — but says it was ‘in jest’
Texas Republican Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who was caught using $84,000 in taxpayer money to pay off a female sexual harassment accuser is now facing allegations of an “intensely hostile environment” against male staffers.
Former Farenthold communications director Michael Rekola reveled to CNN that the hostile workplace caused him to vomit daily and seek medical treatment and psychological counseling.
The former senior staffer claimed Rep. Farenthold called staff “f*cktards” during screaming fits and slamming feats on desks.
“Better have your fiancée blow you before she walks down the aisle — it will be the last time,” Farenthold told Rekola as he was to leave town for his wedding. Within earshot of other staffers, Farenthold also questioned whether Rekola’s fiancée ‘could’ wear white at the wedding ceremony.
“I was disgusted and I left,” Rekola noted. “I walked out.”
After returning from his wedding, Rekola gave notice he would be leaving Rep. Farenthold’s office.
Rekola’s successor, Elizabeth Peace, confirmed Rep. Farenthold’s “f*cktards” comments to staff. She also confirmed hearing the comments about Rekola’s then-fiancée.
“Every staffer in that area heard it,” Peace said. “It was the most shocking thing I’d heard him say at that point.”
Farenthold denied the comments about oral sex and white wedding dresses.
But Farenthold did admit to regularly using the word “f*cktard” to refer to his tax-payer funded staff.
Farenthold claims it was, “in jest, not in anger.”
Rekola noted the conflict he felt wondering to complain about the hostile workplace.
“Like any staffer who’s been bullied, I knew that the dirty secret is: There’s no remedy for staffers like us. Move off the Hill and be silent or risk coming out and being blackballed,” Rekola explained.
Last week, Rekola approached the House Ethics Committee with “examples of sexually inappropriate comments” and “emotionally damaging” actions by the Texas Republican.
Ethics Committee investigative staff are now probing the allegations.