Kamala Harris has been “a fighter for women’s rights” for her “entire career,” but she still hasn’t bothered to reach out to a woman who claimed to have been sexually harassed by her longtime aide.
Harris’ senior advisor, Larry Wallace, resigned in December after The Sacramento Bee revealed he paid his former executive assistant, Danielle Hartley, $400,000 in 2017 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that stemmed from Wallace’s tenure as director of the Division of Law Enforcement at the California Department of Justice.
Harris was attorney general at the time and later brought Wallace on when she won a seat in the U.S. Senate. Harris attempted to downplay the issue when she was recently confronted during an interview with Univision’s Illia Calderon, but was eventually forced to admit she never checked in on the victim.
“One of your top aides, Larry Wallace, was accused of sexual harassment and you said you weren’t aware of what had happened. Did anyone tell you what was going on at your office?” Calderon questioned.
“I did not know about that case,” Harris alleged, “but I will tell you it makes the point that no office is immune. I have been a fighter for women’s rights for my entire career and I have fought for women who have been abused, and I’ve fought for women who have been harassed. I’ve fought for women’s empowerment as it relates to wage benefits, as it relates to opportunities for professional success, and, um, I will always be a fighter for women’s rights.”
“Did you reach (out) to the victim in this specific case to offer your support?” Calderon pressed.
Harris decided to do a little dance.
“I have indicated that I’m very supportive of all women come forward and speak up and have the courage to speak up,” she said.
Caldron held the senator’s feet to the fire, and Harris eventually came clean.
“In this specific case?” Caldron persisted.
“In this specific case, I have not talked to the victim,” Harris said.
“Why didn’t you talk to the victim?” Caldron questioned.
“That case is being handled by the attorney general’s office and, um, I’ve left it up to that office to handle the case as they’ve seen fit, which included a settlement,” Harris said.
The admission that Harris didn’t bother to reach out to the victim stands in stark contrast to the senator’s dire concerns for Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in high school during his confirmation hearing to the country’s highest court. In essence, when it’s to Harris’ political advantage, she’s quite concerned about victims of alleged sexual abuse, but when it’s not she couldn’t care less.
Wallace, a former Oakland police detective, served under Harris for years, first when she was San Francisco district attorney and later as director of law enforcement during Harris’ time as state attorney general. The lawsuit was filed by Hartley in 2016 as Harris left her post to serve in the U.S. Senate. Wallace settled the case in May 2017 for $400,000, though the California Department of Justice denied “each and every allegation” and any wrongdoing, Newsweek reports.
The settlement came at the same time Wallace transitioned to become Harris’ senior advisor.
The 2016 lawsuit alleges Wallace harassed and demeaned Hartley “due to her gender” by putting a printer under his desk and requiring Hartley to load it with ink or paper daily, when other senior male staff members were in the room. The lawsuit alleged Wallace refused to move the printer, and also required Hartley to do his personal errands. When she complained, the lawsuit alleges she was essentially pushed out and encouraged to quit.
When the Bee uncovered the settlement in early December, Harris spokewoman Lily Adams told the newspaper “we were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously.
“Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator, and she accepted it,” Adams said.
Harris has since announced she’s running for president in 2020.
The California Department of Justice has refused to discuss the deal.