GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold Admits Calling Staffers ‘F*cktards’ But Says It Was ‘In Jest’
UPDATE: Farenthold has announced that he will retire from, Congress, notes USA TODAY.
Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas admitted to calling his congressional staffers “f*cktards,” but claimed the vulgar insult was “in jest, not in anger.”
Michael Rekola, who was Farenthold’s communications director in 2015, approached the House Ethics Committee to testify about Farenthold’s verbally abusive and sexually demeaning behavior, notes CNN.
Rekola recalled to CNN that Farenthold told him in July 2015: “Better have your fiancee blow you before she walks down the aisle — it will be the last time”
Farenthold reportedly joked whether or not Rekola’s now-wife could wear white on her wedding day in reference to sexual activity.
Rekola told CNN: “I was disgusted and I left. I walked out.”
According to Rekola, Farenthold told sexually graphic jokes, burst into fits of rage and often called his staffers “f**ktards.”
Elizabeth Peace, who eventually became Farenthold’s full-time communications director, confirmed that Farenthold regularly called aides “f**ktards.”
“Every staffer in that area heard it,” Peace recalled. “It was the most shocking thing I’d heard him say at that point.”
Peace also remembered Farenthold’s oral sex remark to Rekola.
Farenthold denied to CNN that he ever made oral sex comments to Rekola, but admitted that he regularly called his aides “f**ktards,” but that it was “in jest, not in anger.”
Farenthold added: “In hindsight, I admit it wasn’t appropriate.” Farenthold denied committing regular verbal abuse of his staff.
Rekola told CNN that he hopes his story can show that “anyone, not just women, can suffer from either a hostile work environment, bullying or sexual harassment.”
“John Adams said always stand on principle, even if you’re standing alone,” Rekola stated. “And I want staffers on Capitol Hill to know that they’re not alone.”
POLITICO reported on Dec. 1 that Farenthold used $84,000 of taxpayer money from a congressional account to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit by his former communications director, Lauren Greene, who sued Farenthold in December 2014.