Team member on BC Liberal leadership campaign fired over alleged misogynistic outburst
A member of BC Liberal leadership hopeful Kevin Falcon's campaign team has been fired after allegedly hurling misogynistic insults at a woman working for a rival candidate.
The allegations were made public Sunday by Diamond Isinger, the campaign manager for Michael Lee. She said the troubling incident took place Friday at a restaurant in downtown Vancouver, where she encountered a group of five men, most of whom were working with Falcon's campaign.
"I challenged someone at the table who had made an off-colour joke about me that I was not comfortable with," she said.
In response, one man from Falcon's team allegedly became enraged, accusing Isinger of ruining the evening and calling her an "uptight b****" and "f***ing c***."
"He insisted I shake his hand to reconcile with him in between these outbursts, and when I declined to do so, he berated me again," Isinger said. "Others at the table let this continue for a long time while I burst into tears and cried openly, because I was upset at what he was saying and the enraged tone/volume being directed at me, and because I am so tired about the sustained misconduct directed at me and others."
Eventually, the group got up and left her at the establishment, according to the statement. Isinger said she decided to share her story after trying to deal with the matter privately for two days "with no apologies or consequences" forthcoming.
On Monday, Falcon addressed the matter on social media, announcing that he has requested a third-party investigation into what happened.
Falcon told CTV News he talked to Isinger on Sunday.
“I phoned Diamond last night and spoke to her, she was gracious enough to take my call, and I apologized on behalf of the campaign for whatever happened, and I also wanted to hear her side of the story,” he said. “On the basis of that conversation, it was clear to me that there was one individual in particular that had apparently said some totally reprehensible things, and that individual is no longer associated with our campaign.”
Falcon said his campaign is also going to bring in a third party to investigate the incident and make recommendations, and the results will be made public.
“I’m sickened by the whole thing, to be perfectly candid,” Falcon said. “There are conflicting aspects of the story, to be sure. But I chose to go with Diamond’s account. I just don’t think that she would ever just suggest something that wasn’t true. It had the ring of truth.”
When asked about the other campaign staff members who were referenced in Isinger’s account, Falcon said she had indicated during their phone conversation that others who were there had been trying to “de-escalate” the situation.
“But again, I want to make sure a neutral person, a neutral third-party looks at that,” he said. “If there’s further decisions I need to make, I will make them.”
Falcon said the fired staff member had been helping them organize since the beginning of the campaign, “particularly to gain new members in the South Asian community."
Isinger's statement attracted significant attention on social media, including from former BC Liberal premier Christy Clark, who applauded her for coming forward.
"By speaking out, you are helping to make change. I know many of us are utterly disgusted by what you describe but also heartened by your decision to make it public," Clark wrote. "We know it could just as easily have been any of us. Thanks for your courage."