San Diego Mayor Bob Filner issued a statement Thursday evening apologizing for sexual harassment after a prominent former supporter called for his resignation.
This is the latest in a long line of controversies for the mayor, who has only been in office for seven months. He initially denied the sexual harassment allegations, but now Filner has come out with a statement in which he admits he was wrong and apologizes for his behaviour.
Here’s an excerpt from Filner’s statement:
I begin today by apologizing to you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me. The charges made at today’s news conference are serious. When a friend like Donna Frye is compelled to call for my resignation, I’m clearly doing something wrong. I have reached into my heart and soul and realised I must and will change my behaviour.
As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.
It’s a good thing that behaviour that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong.
I am also humbled to admit that I need help. I have begun to work with professionals to make changes in my behaviour and approach. In addition, my staff and I will participate in sexual harassment training provided by the city. Please know that I fully understand that only I am the one that can make these changes.
If my behaviour doesn’t change, I cannot succeed in leading our city.
The statement comes after a longtime supporter of Filner’s, former San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye, held a news conference about the accusations.
She called for his resignation, but he isn’t stepping down as of now.
Reaction from city officials has been mixed. Some called on him to resign, some said he should resign if the scandal becomes too much of a distraction, and several pointed out that this isn’t the first controversy the mayor has faced during his short tenure.
Filner has a reputation for being combative, and NBC in San Diego says he is “bringing unwelcome attention to a city that has struggled for years with political corruption, fiscal mismanagement and civic strife.” His past controversies include accusations of making racially insensitive remarks and creating a “pay-to-play” scheme with a real estate developer.
NBC in San Diego also points out that four of the past eight elected mayors either left office amid corruption allegations or admitted later wrongdoing.
The victims of Filner’s sexual harassment so far have not identified themselves, and details of Filner’s behaviour have not been revealed, but Frye said the allegations were “numerous” and that she has no doubt they’re true.
Frye said the women “are too scared to speak” but that lawyers would help women who want to come forward and file lawsuits.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.