Andrew Yang on Saturday denied allegations by actress Alyssa Milano that an unnamed member of his presidential campaign engaged in sexual misconduct.
Milano tweeted Tuesday that she was withdrawing from hosting an upcoming fundraiser for Yang, a tech entrepreneur turned 2020 Democratic contender. She said she was making “the difficult decision” due to “repeated allegations of sexual misconduct against a campaign staffer by a campaign staffer which were not appropriately addressed.”
I have made the difficult decision to withdraw my participation from a fundraiser for the @andrewyang campaign. This is due to repeated allegations of sexual misconduct against a campaign staffer by a campaign staffer which were not appropriately addressed. (1/3)
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) December 11, 2019
In followup tweets, Milano — a feminist activist who helped kickstart the #MeToo movement in 2017 — called Yang a “good man with progressive, smart, interesting ideas” and noted that “NO allegations have been made against him personally.”
“But this issue is too important and too prevalent,” she said. “The buck stops at the top.”
Milano added: “Part of fixing the issue of sexual harassment in our culture is living our values and holding ourselves and the people we admire accountable.”
However, Yang told Yahoo News that Milano was simply incorrect. According to the candidate, his campaign immediately investigated the staffer in question and fired the person, but not for “anything sexual in nature.”
“We take any allegation of misconduct very, very seriously,” he said. “We investigated as soon as we had any indication that something was amiss. And the person that was accused, we found that they had not done anything sexual in nature, but we decided to dismiss the worker anyway because there had been other, centrally, management problems.”
“Alyssa’s facts are wrong in terms of us somehow not responding quickly,” Yang said.
Yang — who has promised a universal basic income and to “Make America Think Again” if elected president — said that in texts with Milano following her tweet, she expressed hope that he understood her perspective, and he said, “Of course.”
The Yang campaign did not immediately respond to Pluralist’s request for more details about the allegedly problematic staffer.
Before Alyssa Milano discovered Andrew Yang
Milano, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, has not yet endorsed one of his Democratic opponents. But last month, she reportedly hosted a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden, who is the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary. In April, Milano defended Biden from allegations of unwanted touching by several women.
“Let’s teach him,” she told Business Insider at the time. “He might not get it, and then, f— him, but right now I’m not willing to say ‘f— him.'”
Also Tuesday, Yang became the seventh Democrat to qualify for the December presidential primary debate by earning 4 percent support in the latest Quinnipiac University national poll of registered voters. Biden pulled away from the pack with 29 percent.
According to the poll, Biden would beat Trump in a head-to-head popular vote matchup today, 51 percent to 42 percent. But that was similar to the advantage Quinnipiac found for failed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton at this point in the 2016 election cycle.
- Alyssa Milano./Andrew Yang.: Screen grabs