Morales claims she dismissed 2 staff members over racial bias, sexual harassment incidents

New York Elections

NEW YORK — New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales responded to the departure of several campaign staffers and an apparent failed unionization effort Thursday.

Morales, who canceled a planned PIX11 News mayoral forum interview Wednesday afternoon, said that she took “swift corrective action” after two staff members who engaged in sexual harassment of other staffers and “racially based biases.”

“I am grateful my staff bravely came forward to discuss allegations related to racially-based biases and sexual harassment claims at the hands of two staff members and we decided to make the swift decision to remove those staff,” she said in a statement. “Although staff changes are common on campaigns, it is never easy when it happens. Today, we made further adjustments to our team which was difficult but necessary. “

Morales also responded to a report that a unionization effort among her staff had failed.

“In the same pre-scheduled staff meeting on Monday, my staff informed me they wanted to unionize. I immediately told them they had my support,” she continued. “As the first and only Afro-Latina to run for Mayor of NYC, a union town, having my campaign staff push for this much-needed transformation makes me proud. While some campaigns would shy away from this change, I embrace it.”

Morales gave no sign that she would depart from the race despite the recent turmoil.

On Wednesday, Morales’ team asked to reschedule her PIX11 interview due to a conflict, although the interview had been reconfirmed just hours prior. Multiple attempts by PIX11 to reschedule the interview went unanswered.

The former nonprofit executive was invited to take part in an exclusive two-hour forum on PIX11 News after polling above 5% of voter support in a PIX11, NewsNation, Emerson College survey released on May 17.

In an additional flash poll released by PIX11 on Tuesday, Morales polled at 7%

Seven other mayoral candidates will participate in the forum, which will air on Thursday from 8 to 10 p.m. on PIX11 TV, PIX11.com and the PIX11 News app.

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