Another panelist affiliated with the liberal-leaning “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC has been accused of sexual harassment. Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.), who also acts as a pundit on the show, was fired by Morgan Stanley after a human resources probe into his conduct didn’t go in his favor.
“He has been terminated for conduct inconsistent with our values and in violation of our policies,” a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley said, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
According to the report, a woman, who was not a Morgan Stanley employee, claimed Ford sexually harassed and assaulted her after the two were introduced through Ford’s work at Morgan Stanley.
The hosts of the MSNBC program haven’t yet responded to the news, such as whether his firing from Morgan Stanley will impact appearances on the show.
According to the Examiner:
Ford’s accuser alleged he harassed and intimidated her, and in one case years ago, forcibly grabbed her. She sought help from a security guard in the Manhattan building where the incident took place.
Following that incident, Ford continued to stalk her, asking her multiple times to go out for drinks. The unnamed woman told him in an email that he must stop contacting her and cited the assault.
Ford replied that he would no longer contact her and apologized for the groping incident.
Morgan Stanley interviewed the unnamed woman as part of its investigation. According to one of the woman’s friends, she felt “distraught, shocked, and frightened” after the incident.
Ford left his role in Congress in 2007, after which he switched to being a media presence. As a political analyst for “Morning Joe,” alongside engaged-to-be-married co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, Ford has been critical of President Donald J. Trump’s presidency and has called for better Democratic messaging (see examples in the video below).
According to a statement he released on Twitter (see below), Ford says:
“This simply did not happen. I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life. Having drinks and dinner for work is part of my job, and all of my outreach to the news reporter making these allegations was professional and at the direction of my firm for business purposes.
“I support and have tremendous respect for the brave women now speaking out in this important national dialogue. False claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.
“I will now be bringing legal action against the reporter who has made these false claims about me as well as Morgan Stanley for my improper termination.”
In recent months, sexual misconduct allegations also brought about the termination of another of the show’s regular panelists, Mark Halperin. Halperin was released by MSNBC in late October after he was accused of sexually harassing and propositioning female colleagues.
Harold Ford Jr statement on allegations of wrongdoing pic.twitter.com/aH4J9CeH15
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) December 7, 2017