Carly Fiorina Says She’s Experienced Sexual Harassment in Both Business and Politics

  • Former HP CEO, presidential candidate says no new laws needed
  • Bad male behavior swept under rug because of money, she says

Carly Fiorina, former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co. and Republican presidential candidate, said she’s faced sexual harassment in both her business and political careers.

“There is a real issue,” Fiorina said in an interview on Bloomberg Radio. “I’ve been subjected to it myself at all levels -- at all levels -- of a corporation. At all levels of public life and politics as well as in business.”

Carly Fiorina

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

In the male-dominated tech industry, Fiorina was CEO at the Palo Alto, California-based computer maker from 2002 to 2005. She was ousted by the board of directors after a controversial merger. She later ran unsuccessful bids for U.S. Senate in California and, last year, for the Republican presidential nomination.

One of her opponents was the eventual nominee, Donald Trump, who said Fiorina’s appearance was a disqualification for the office.

“Look at that face!” Trump said, according to Rolling Stone magazine. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”

He added: “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

When called out for the remarks, Trump once again cited Fiorina’s appearance, saying he thought she was “a beautiful woman.’’

Endorsed Trump

In September 2016, after Republicans nominated Trump, Fiorina endorsed the New York reality-TV star. “We must have President Trump. We can’t have President Clinton,” she said.

A month later, however, when the “Access Hollywood” videotape emerged showing Trump in a production trailer apparently describing how he assaulted women, Fiorina withdrew her endorsement. She called on Trump to “step aside” and allow Mike Pence to run for president. 

Recently, corporate boards have been taking a firmer stand in response to men’s bad behavior. Several companies this month have parted ways with executives accused of sexual harassment, including at the Weinstein Co. and Inc.

Fiorina said Friday that such behavior “goes on a lot.”

“So let’s quit pretending to be shocked,” Fiorina said Friday. “Let’s acknowledge it when it does, but let’s also recognize that most men are not predators.”

She said she hopes government doesn’t have to step in with new legislation to crack down on workplace sexual harassment because “what’s going on is a violation of virtually every company’s code of conduct. In many cases it is a violation of the law.” 

Democrats like to say all women are victims, while Republicans want to say harassment is not an issue, Fiorina said. Both are wrong, she said.

“What’s happened is people have covered it up and shoved it under the rug,” Fiorina said. “Why? Because the people who were doing it were powerful, they were making money. Everybody benefited as long as everybody kept quiet. That’s why.”

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