Democratic Bronx Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. allegedly interrupted sexual harassment training Wednesday to say he would not be a “rat” and report on his colleagues for sexual harassment.
An attorney running sexual harassment training laid out a hypothetical situation in which the chief of staff made inappropriate comments to a “visibly upset” female subordinate in an elevator. The attorney asked those in attendance what steps they would take to report such conduct, which Diaz reportedly pushed back against, according to the New York Daily News.
“I’m not gonna rat my people out! This place is full of rats!” Diaz allegedly yelled, lawmakers who were present told the Daily News.
“He just started screaming and shouting out: ‘So we’re supposed to be rats? That’s a rat!’” a councilman said.
When Council Speaker Corey Johnson reminded Diaz councilmen have a duty to protect staffers from sexual harassment, Diaz allegedly quarreled with him until asked to refrain until the presentation was over.
“It was so f—ing insane,” another council member told the Daily News. “I used to think he was crazy or that he was a religious zealot, I now actually believe that he’s a fundamentally bad human being.”
The incident comes as Diaz’s fellow council members Barry Grodenchik of Queens and Andy King of the Bronx face claims of sexual harassment.
Diaz, who is also a Pentecostal minister, landed in hot water earlier in 2019 for saying the New York City Council “is controlled by the homosexual community.” His comments prompted the council to dissolve a committee he oversaw and for Johnson, who is openly gay, to apologize for appointing Diaz in the first place, according to the Daily News.
The councilman later told the Daily News he has been harassed for his religious views and that he believes sexual harassment should be reported, but also said some remarks are compliments.
“You are a woman?” Diaz told the Daily News. “We are in an elevator … and they give you a compliment, like, wow, how nice you look — maybe you like it, I don’t know. If you don’t like it, and then you say something, then I know. What they want is something really like the Gestapo.”
Diaz’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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