It’s hard to compete for Congressional class clown when you are up against the antics of Louie Gohmert on the regular, but alas Rep. Blake Farenthold has managed to dethrone old Louie.
Earlier this week we reported that Congressman Farenthold was the “proud owner of blow-me.org.” His office didn’t have much of a response other than to say he wasn’t planning on renewing the domain name. It could be that they have come to terms with the fact that he is going to do something embarrassing periodically, or it could be because the person who would normally be charged with coming up with excuses to the media for the Congressman is sueing him.
Yes, the now former Communications Director for Farenthold’s Congressional office Lauren Greene is alleging gender discrimination and a hostile work environment and is seeking a trial by jury. Farenthold’s spokesman Kurt Bardella issued a statement saying that the Congressman and his staff dispute her claims.
As is the case with any pending legal situation, the Congressman cannot comment on the specifics of the complaint, however, it goes without saying that both the Congressman and the members of his staff who are included in this complaint have a very different view of the allegations than Ms. Greene.
For the record, the Office did not and does not discriminate based on sex or any other unlawful factor. The Congressman is eager to respond to Ms. Greene’s allegations through the appropriate legal process and is confident that once all of the facts are revealed, he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
Greene’s complaint includes communications between staff that explicitly state that Farenthold had admitted having “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her. The suit says that she often felt awkward around the Congressman and that he “regularly made comments designed to gauge whether Plaintiff was interested in a sexual relationship.” One such incident included a remark he made about something on her wardrobe. According to Greene, he said that he hoped it did not constitute sexual harassment and that “a reasonable person would infer that Farenthold was joking that she had semen on her skirt.”
The suit also states that Farenthold told Wilkes, another staff member, that Greene “could show her nipples whenever she wanted to” after his Chief of Staff complained a shirt she was wearing was too revealing.
The documents filed in court, state that Greene had worked on Capitol Hill for 3 years prior to her employment with Farenthold’s office. She says she was fired without warning less than a month after complaining to Farenthold about the hostile work environment. She had gone to the Congressman to complain about the treatment she received from the Chief of Staff Bob Haueter and says she was told that he was “known to be condescending toward women on the staff,” and “then paid empty, lip service encouragement for Plaintiff to stand up for herself.”
Things could get even more awkward for the staff of Congressman Farenthold. Greene describes a practice the staff had to pursue called “red head patrol” to keep him out of trouble when he drank excessively. If they know he is guilty of inner office discretions, will they continue to “keep him out of trouble?” There is a lot riding for them as they may be forced to choose between doing what is right and losing their jobs or protecting an entire culture of misogyny.
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