Local

The ex-employee said she doesn’t want to “take down” Garcetti over allegations of harassment, the attorney says

blank


As Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination as Senate ambassador comes under closer scrutiny, new text messages viewed by The Times on Friday suggest a former Garcetti spokeswoman was kissed by one of the mayor’s most powerful aides and later unwanted kisses and There may have been “pinches” that she didn’t speak up because she didn’t want to “tumble” the mayor.

Though former spokeswoman Anna Bahr said she doesn’t recall being molested by Rick Jacobs — a former top Garcetti aide and the subject of a sexual misconduct lawsuit — she claimed she heard others were molested. She told the Times the issue was “something everyone was talking about” in the mayor’s office.

The lyrics were written by Bahr and another former Garcetti associate in October 2020, said Greg Smith, attorney for LAPD officer Matthew Garza, who is suing the city over Jacob’s alleged conduct. Smith provided The Times with the lyrics showing Bahr and the Garcetti assistant at one point discussing a person named “Rick.”

Bahr said she was “pretty sure” she remembered sending the messages to a colleague but couldn’t find the message thread on her phone. Speaking publicly about the Jacobs riot for the first time, Bahr said she could not remember the kissing and other behaviors described in the lyrics.

“Although I’ve never been sexually harassed by Rick Jacobs,” Bahr added in a subsequent text message to The Times, “I’ve known people who have been and I found him to be an abusive boss.”

Commenting on the comments in the lyrics saying she didn’t want to “take Garcetti down,” Bahr said she was unwittingly drawn into the furor over Jacob’s behavior that has raged since Garza filed his lawsuit against them City in July 2020. “I didn’t want — I didn’t want — to be a part of a story that I don’t feel like a part of,” she said.

Smith would not identify the former Garcetti assistant who contacted Bahr.

Jacobs’ attorneys did not respond to a request for comment. The former adviser and confidant to the mayor has said in the past he has never sexually harassed anyone and has never done anything to intentionally cause them pain.

The text exchange comes to light as Garcetti tries to get to India. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) announced last week that his office has opened an investigation into what Garcetti may have known about the sexual harassment allegations involving Jacobs.

Garcetti’s critics say the new news bolsters her claim that many in the mayor’s office knew of the wrongdoing but chose to remain silent. The lyrics do not directly address what Garcetti saw or heard.

One of the mayor’s former communications directors, Naomi Seligman, testified that she complained to Garcetti’s former chief of staff, Ana Guerrero, about Jacobs’ wrongdoing. She said nothing was ever done about it. Guerrero denies she was ever told that.

On Friday, Bahr said she told both Seligman and Suzi Emmerling, another communications director at Garcetti, about issues with Jacobs.

“I told them about abusive behavior towards me in general; Rick is mean and a bad boss. But we also discussed his alleged conduct regarding sexual harassment of other people in the workplace,” Bahr said. The two heads of the communications office “did nothing” to address the situation, she said.

Seligman and Emmerling denied that Bahr reported sexual harassment to them. In a joint statement accompanying the lyrics, the pair added that they were “deeply saddened to hear that Anna Bahr was sexually harassed and abused in Eric Garcetti’s office, along with so many others.”

Garza’s lawsuit against the city alleges that Jacobs molested him and made gross sexual comments over a period of several years. Garcetti witnessed some of the behavior but did not intervene, Garza’s lawsuit alleges.

Garcetti has denied condoning any wrongdoing, saying the safety of employees in his office was always a priority and that if he had been notified of an issue he would have acted immediately.

In the text messages, the person who identified Smith as Bahr tells the unnamed former Garcetti employee, “He used to abuse and harass me the whole time he worked in the mayor’s office.”

“Kiss on the lips?” the other person replied. “Yes, of course,” Bahr replied. “Squeezes.”

After being told, “You should get in touch,” Bahr replied, “No.”

“I’m not getting into the game,” added Bahr. “And I don’t want to bring Eric down.”

Bahr, who now works as a spokeswoman for Rep. Karen Bass’ mayoral campaign, said she doesn’t recall Jacobs ever kissing her on the lips.

When asked if she was “bruised,” Bahr said, “Not in any way that I would consider sexual harassment towards me. No.”

She added: “I remember hugging Rick. I don’t remember feeling uncomfortable with those hugs.”

When asked about Jacobs’ “more blatant” statements, she said: “I remember him making inappropriate jokes and comments in the office. But I don’t remember what exactly they were.”

As for the reference to “abused” and “harassed,” Bahr said, “I think it’s important to note that it doesn’t say anything about sexual abuse or harassment.”

She added, “Sometimes it was very difficult working for Rick. And I don’t think he always treated his employees with the respect or courtesy they deserved. But it doesn’t sound like a reference to sexual abuse to me.”

Bahr described himself as “a very young employee in the mayor’s office, without power and without authority”.

She added: “City Hall could be a toxic and sometimes abusive work environment – especially for a junior like me. As a young woman at the beginning of her career, I was afraid of making an enemy of a powerful person. I intend to testify if and when my testimony is scheduled.”

Bahr joined the mayor’s office in 2015 and, according to her LinkedIn page, held various roles including speechwriter and assistant press secretary before leaving in 2019.

She was already considered a key witness for Garza’s legal team, which, according to court documents, tried to testify for her last year after Emmerling, Garcetti’s former communications director, testified.

Emmerling testified in June 2021 that after Garza’s lawsuit was filed, three people, including Bahr, confided to her that they had been treated by Jacobs the same way Garza claimed he was treated.

Emmerling also produced a group text message in which Bahr and other former Garcetti employees discussed the allegations against Jacobs.

At one point in the conversation, Bahr seemed to imply that it was common knowledge in the mayor’s office that Jacobs had behaved inappropriately towards male employees.

Bahr declined to comment last summer when asked about the comments and the text attributed to her.

Garcetti called Bahr “a highly talented professional” on Friday, whom he appreciates very much.

“I am deeply saddened to learn that Anna and others may have been treated in this way while working at City Hall,” Garcetti said in a statement. “I have always been committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for everyone on my team and that will always be a top priority. I have neither experienced the behavior described nor was I made aware of it. If I had known about it, I definitely would have acted to stop it.”

Dozens of former and current employees have testified in the Garza case. Text messages were also created during these statements, including messages from Alex Comisar, now Garcetti’s communications director.

In exchange, Comisar wrote in a text to a former Garcetti employee, “Got hit on by Rick again.” In subsequent testimony, Comisar said he didn’t remember writing the text and denied ever feeling molested by Jacobs to have.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-19/former-garcetti-aide-text-messages-rick-jacobs-case The ex-employee said she doesn’t want to “take down” Garcetti over allegations of harassment, the attorney says

Dais Johnston

TheHitc is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@thehitc.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button