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Larry Elder Dismissed Sexual Harassment Claims in 2011, Said One Woman Was ‘Too Ugly’ For It to Be True

Larry Elder, a radio talk show host and the top Republican candidate in California’s recall election, disclosed in 2011 episodes of his radio show that he had twice been accused of sexual harassment and forcefully denied the allegations.

In one instance, Elder recounted that, while he worked in private practice as an attorney in the 1980s, his employee accused him of hitting on her. Elder then defended himself by implying the woman was “too unattractive” for him to sexually harass, a tactic often employed by Donald Trump when he was accused of the same behavior.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JULY 31: Radio Talk Show Host Larry Elder attends the “Death Of A Nation” Premiere at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on July 31, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

In one episode, Elder disclosed an incident while he hosted a Cleveland television program in which he encouraged a guest to show off his butt tattoo in front of two camerawomen. Elder was told to apologize or otherwise he would be fired. In another episode, Elder also revealed an incident with a woman who worked for him. “This woman who tried to break the contract, not to compete and then accused me of hitting on her,” Elder said in that episode. “That’s how, that’s how she put it. If you had seen her, you would know that the picture would be a complete defense. I’m just saying.” Elder later said the claim, made while he owned and operated a legal executive search firm in the 1980s, was false and said the woman backed down when he threatened to sue her for defamation.

When asked about his comments on CNN Tuesday night, Elder responded, “I think I was making a joke, making light — no, I don’t [remember]. The whole point behind your series of questions is, do I disrespect women, and I don’t. I have a great deal of respect for women. My mom was a woman. I had her on my show every Friday. I’ve never been accused of sexual harassment. I’ve never been accused of sexual abuse. I’ve never been accused — I worked with hundreds of women throughout my career,” Elder said, adding that most of his staffers throughout his career were women. “I think it’s unfair for you to suggest that I am, somehow, don’t like women or somehow I think women are inferior to men. I don’t.”

Elder’s disclosure that he was accused of sexual harassment resurfaces after The San Francisco Chronicle reported on a section of his 2000 book entitled “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Doesn’t Hold Women Back,” in which he characterized the workplace as mens’ territory infiltrated by women.  “Smart women simply overlook some boorish behavior by men,” he wrote. “Off-color jokes and stupid remarks may be irritating, but a smart woman deals with this.”



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