For a candidate who has hoping to be an inspiration to women and minorities, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign was shook when 6 minority departed her campaign, claiming a toxic work environment.
Warren has now issued a statement and appears to be scrambling for damage control.
The Hill reports Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) said Thursday she takes “full responsibility” over concerns voiced by a half-dozen women of color who reportedly departed Warren’s presidential campaign in Nevada over complaints of a toxic work environment.
“I believe these women without any equivocation, and I apologize personally that they had a bad experience on the campaign,” Warren said Thursday on MSNBC.
Her comments were in response to a Politico report published earlier that day about the women departing the campaign. The women told Politico they felt tokenized by senior leadership on the campaign and were often silenced.
Warren said she works hard to build an “open” environment where “everyone is welcomed and celebrated” to bring “their whole self to work every day.”
“But I’m also very aware that racism and oppression in this country have left a long legacy and it creates the kind of toxicity where … power structures people take advantage of other people,” Warren said.
“It’s something for which we have to be constantly vigilant and constantly determined to do better,” she continued. “I take responsibility for this and I’m working with my team to address these concerns.”
Per Politico, a half-dozen women of color have departed Elizabeth Warren’s Nevada campaign in the run-up to the state’s caucuses with complaints of a toxic work environment in which minorities felt tokenized and senior leadership was at loggerheads.
The six staffers have left the roughly 70-person Nevada team since November, during a critical stretch of the race. Three of them said they felt marginalized by the campaign, a situation they said didn’t change or worsened after they took their concerns to their superiors or to human resources staff.
“During the time I was employed with Nevada for Warren, there was definitely something wrong with the culture,” said Megan Lewis, a field organizer who joined the campaign in May and departed in December. “I filed a complaint with HR, but the follow-up I received left me feeling as though I needed to make myself smaller or change who I was to fit into the office culture.”
Another recently departed staffer, also a field organizer, granted anonymity because she feared reprisal, echoed that sentiment. “I felt like a problem — like I was there to literally bring color into the space but not the knowledge and voice that comes with it,” she said in an interview.
She added: “We all were routinely silenced and not given a meaningful chance on the campaign. Complaints, comments, advice, and grievances were met with an earnest shake of the head and progressive buzzwords but not much else.” A third former field organizer who was also granted anonymity said those descriptions matched her own experience.