Biden administration pick Neera Tanden outed sexual harassment victim at liberal think tank: report
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President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden — like his other expected nominees — is likely to see a contentious confirmation hearing, but she is no stranger to controversy after reportedly revealing the name of an alleged sexual harassment victim during a staff meeting at her nonprofit organization.
Tanden is currently president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank based in Washington, D.C.
In 2018, BuzzFeed News published a report detailing allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation, but when Tanden discussed the issue within the organization, people were shocked to hear Tanden reveal the identity of a woman who had made a claim.
“There is literally one thing you cannot do in this meeting and that is out the victim and Neera did it multiple times,” one CAP employee who was at the meeting told BuzzFeed at the time. “It also destroys whatever small level of confidence in the system remained.”
A CAP spokesperson said it was an accident, issuing a statement saying that Tanden “unintentionally mentioned the complainant’s first name once and apologized multiple times for doing so.” According to a follow-up BuzzFeed report, Tanden had used the name “twice in quick succession,” before apologizing.
One employee present for the meeting backed up the claim that it was unintentional.
“Neera genuinely seemed shaken and kept apologizing,” they said, noting that there had been “lots of gasps as it happened.”
A CAP spokesperson said that “Neera’s horror was very evident in the meeting.”
Fox News reached out to CAP for additional comment, but the think tank did not immediately respond.
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Whether it was a mistake or not, there were those at the meeting who felt that the moment undermined the purpose of the meeting, which was to create a sense of safety within the organization. The meeting took place two days after BuzzFeed reported on claims that CAP did not sufficiently address allegations of sexual harassment against an employee, resulting in a hostile work environment where some workers did not feel safe.
One woman who had come forward, identifying herself to BuzzFeed as "Mary," left CAP in 2016. According to someone who was at the meeting, Tanden had used Mary's real first name after someone had asked about Mary's allegation of facing retaliation after she complained of harassment.
“Honestly it ruined the rest of the meeting like… how can we trust any of this now that you can’t even get that right?” one staffer said. “Can we even trust the apology? We certainly weren’t given any reason to.”
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Another said that “Neera lost the organization” with that meeting.
“There was so much angst in that room. She outed the victim, and the subtext of every question was a lack of confidence in her leadership and ability to create trust within the organization,” the staffer said.
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