In the latest sexual harassment scandal, embattled Texas congressman Blake Farenthold resigned following a report that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim. In a story published by The Washington Post in December 2017, Farenthold allegedly used $84,000 from a Treasury Department fund to settle a lawsuit with his former communications director, Lauren Greene, from 2014. In the lawsuit, Greene accused Farenthold of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. While the Texas congressman has denied the claims, he said he would pay back the taxpayer money he used for the settlement.
As reports began to surface regarding the case, Farenthold released the following statement: “While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve.” Prior to the allegations being made public, the Texas congressman said he would not seek re-election. Greene’s accusations were first reported in December 2017 by Politico, detailing allegations dating back to 2014 in which she said the work environment was hostile. In addition to the gender discrimination charges, Greene also accused Farenthold of wrongful termination. Greene said in the report that another coworker heard Farenthold say he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams’ about her. When Greene went to Human Resources and complained about the comments, she was fired.
However, this isn’t the only time the congressman’s actions have been questioned. In an interview with CNN, a male staffer said that Farenthold was verbally abusive and “created a hostile work environment, frequently using profanity and making vulgar sexual comments.” To date, Farenthold has denied the use of crude sexual language, but did admit to using profanity to some aides “in jest, not anger.” Farenthold has represented a very Republican district that in Corpus Christi gave Trump the win by 24 points. Prior to that, he was elected to the Tea Party in 2010.
This is yet another example of how men in powerful positions have abused those working alongside and under them. Since the Harvey Weinstein case broke nearly a year ago, we have seen a multitude of prominent figures come under fire for their actions. From Mark Cuban and Bill Cosby to Matt Lauer and now Blake Farenthold, these men are facing a wide range of sexual harassment allegations. As of print, Farenthold has yet to repay the taxpayer money he used in the settlement with Greene. What has happened over the last year shows just how important both the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have been for women and our society as a whole. At Janovsky & Associates, attorney Janovsky is a leader and works tirelessly to help women every single day. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment or abuse of any kind, please contact our Dallas sexual harassment law office today.