Sanders apologises for 2016 campaign 'harassment' allegations


Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday apologized to women who have shared experiences of harassment by male supervisors while working on his 2016 USA presidential campaign. "I intend in every way to be actively involved in that process", Sanders wrote. "What they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign or any campaign should be about", Sanders said. "The allegations speak to unacceptable behavior that must not be tolerated in any campaign or any workplace". "And I will do my best to make that happen", Sanders said.

50-year-old former convention floor leader Robert Becker has been accused of telling a 20-year-old subordinate he wanted to have sex with her and forcibly kissing her during the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

Becker has denied the allegations against him, telling Politico: "I categorically deny these allegations of improper and unprofessional conduct", saying the alleged assault is "at odds with my recollection of a late evening filled with many hugs and kisses and tears and conversations about what's next".

Allegations of sexual misconduct and an "untenable and risky dynamic that developed during [the Sanders] campaign" have dogged the Vermont senator in recent weeks, according to Politico.

This show of support for a Sanders 2020 presidential run comes hours after the latest in a series of reports of sexual misconduct involving members of the Sanders 2016 campaign.

Sanders has not personally been the focus of any of the accusations.

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The accuser said she did not alert higher-ups on the campaign team about the incident due to the campaign being over. "Our standards and safeguards were inadequate", Sanders said in a statement posted to social media.

"To be clear: No one who committed sexual harassment in 2016 would be back if there were a 2020 campaign", the group added.

Brett Carlsen via Getty Images Onetime presidential hopeful Sen.

Sanders's comments on Thursday were more direct and conciliatory that his initial responses to reports of the allegations.

"We are addressing what happened on the Bernie campaign but as people that work in this space we see that all campaigns are extremely risky to women and marginalized people and we are attempting to fix that", the campaign staffers wrote.

But Becker, who is not on Sanders' payroll, has been calling potential staffers and traveling to early primary states over the past several months in moves seen as preparing for a 2020 campaign. Though the allegations against Sanders' campaign are far-reaching, the issue of sexual harassment has been pervasive across the political spectrum and beyond, as brought to light in the wake of the Me Too movement.