Disagreement, not misogyny, at center of complaint, gov says
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Accusations that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign manager engaged in “rank misogyny” stem from a fundamental disagreement about how the campaign was run, the governor said this week.
Murphy addressed the issue at an event with reporters Wednesday for the first time in person since an NJ.com article was published over the weekend quoting former Murphy consultant Julie Roginsky, saying that she was called a vulgarity by Brendan Gill, the campaign manager.
Gill denied calling her the vulgarity but admitted to using other curse words while talking to her.
The governor’s latest comment differs from what he told NJ.com in December: that he was not aware of any complaints of a toxic environment on the campaign.
Asked Thursday by The Associated Press to explain the difference, Murphy maintained his response had been consistent.
“My response was clear: this complaint was a personnel matter between two senior members of my team rather than relating to a larger workplace issue,” Murphy said in a statement emailed by his political spokesman, Philip Swibinski. “We worked to ensure that this and any complaint was fully investigated and all allegations within the campaign were taken seriously.”
Murphy also said Wednesday that he had been personally involved in an investigation into Roginsky’s concerns, though it’s not clear what role he played.
Roginsky told NorthJersey.com that the campaign was a “hotbed of toxicity” and called the investigation a “whitewash.” A message seeking comment was left with him.
Emails from July 2017 released by the governor’s office since the NJ.com article appeared included a message from Roginsky that then-candidate Murphy had been copied on.
It included a line in which she said Gill’s correspondence with her “smacks of rank misogyny.” Another email shows Gill saying he earlier apologized for the “language” he used in a phone call over a disagreement about the campaign’s strategic direction.
The emails released by the governor’s office include one from a campaign attorney summarizing the findings of the investigation into Roginsky’s concerns.
That email says that attorneys found that Gill used “inappropriate and unprofessional” language and that the campaign was taking steps to “remedy” the situation. “The Campaign’s communicated expectation is that this conduct will not repeat,” the email from the attorney to Roginsky said.
Roginsky responded by raising concerns that Gill was telling other staffers that they were “on the outs,” making her job difficult. In the email, she requested that Murphy make it clear that, at the very least, staffers should not ignore simple requests for information.
The developments emerged just weeks after Murphy’s State of the State address in which he called for a wholesale change of behavior among people in government and politics.