Unfortunately, even the progressive space isn't immune to the disease of sexual harassment. Employees and staff of FitzGibbon Media were informed yesterday that the firm would be shutting its doors after at least six female employees came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and in a couple of cases, sexual assault by Trevor FitzGibbon.
Multiple female employees came forward with accusations of sexual harassment and assault against FitzGibbon, according to employees who spoke with The Huffington Post.
A joint statement from former FitzGibbon media staffers Thursday evening confirmed HuffPost's report from earlier in the day.
"The team that comprised FitzGibbon Media is incredibly sad and disappointed to confirm that allegations have been made against Trevor FitzGibbon, FitzGibbon Media founder and President, for sexual assault and harassment of multiple female staffers," the statement said.
"Staffers reported over a half dozen incidents of sexual harassment and at least two involving sexual assault committed by Trevor FitzGibbon against his own employees."
The allegations come from women who are not just millennials, but whose ages span decades.
There are details from one woman who was trying to get a job with the firm that will raise the hackles on your neck. It did mine.
After employees refused to work with Fitzgibbon, he chose to close the doors.
It is with tremendous regret that we had to close FitzGibbon Media. Our team was at the helm of many of the most important policy debates of our time. We were the undisputed communications leader for the progressive movement. Although the company is closing, our talents and our mission remain unchanged.
The allegations against me are a distraction to the mission at hand. In order to do what is best for the company, I took a leave of absence. However, it is abundantly clear that an irreconcilable difference has arisen between the FitzGibbon team and me. We had no choice but to make the difficult decision to close FitzGibbon Media.
I apologize to my team and our clients for the impact this closing will have on them. I will work to once again regain the trust that was lost.
For women, this kind of harassment is something we live with every day. It is especially painful to me to see this happening in the progressive space, because as progressives we claim to respect women and treat them as equals.
But the reality of that is something else again. The FitzGibbon story is horrifying, but I'd be willing to bet money on the fact that it's not isolated.
It's not enough to pay lip service to policies that help women. Women deserve equal respect, equal pay, and assurance that they can go to work every day without worrying about their male boss and/or colleagues feeling them up and exerting power over their careers.
Lord knows there's few enough jobs in the progressive space as it is, without this kind of harassment taking place. It's painful to me to see this kind of treatment of women by men still goes on just like it did when I was in the workplace. The privilege and abuse of power here is horrifying.
There are no angels, particularly in politics.