Florida state Democratic Party chairman Stephen Bittel announced his resignation Friday, following a bombshell report by Politico on Thursday, in which six former Democratic Party staffers said he created an unprofessional workplace environment with his sexually suggestive remarks.
Out of fear for their jobs, the women reportedly refused to be identified, and said Bittel never touched or hurt them, but his language, leering, and breast-shaped stress squeeze-ball he kept on his desk made them uncomfortable.
The women reported that Bittel often made remarks about women’s breasts, women cooking dinner, their age, and invited them to ride on his plane or come to his hotel room.
One women reportedly told Politico, “There was a lot of boob stuff in his office. I was told by other women not to go into his bathroom. I was warned.”
“He’s just so f—-ng creepy,” said another former female party staffer. “He just leers at you, and stares. I don’t know if you know what that feels like, but he just leers at you. I don’t know how to describe the feeling.”
Bittel reportedly admitted to the breast-shaped stress balls, saying they were a gag-gift given to him by a friend for his birthday. He also issued an apology.
“Every person, regardless of their gender, race, age or sexuality should be treated with respect and valued for their hard work and contributions to our community and if any of my comments or actions did not reflect that belief I am deeply sorry,” Bittel said. “I have much to learn, but my goal is and has always been to make sure every member of our party has a safe environment in which to succeed. It seems I’ve not been successful in that goal, and I will do better.”
Friday, after four Democratic candidates running for the Florida governor’s race told him he should step down, Bittel announced his resignation.
“When my personal situation becomes distracting to our core mission of electing Democrats and making Florida better, it is time for me to step aside. I apologize for all who have felt uncomfortable during my tenure at the Democratic Party,” Bittel said in a statement he released on the Florida Democratic Party Twitter page.
Bittel is reported to be a multi-millionaire real estate developer who was a major donor to the Democratic Party, and was just elected as chair of Florida’s Democrat Party in January.
— Florida Democrats (@FlaDems) November 17, 2017
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