November 16, 2018

Winnipeg
-18° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

'I'm not a sexual harasser': exiled MLA Graydon

Emerson representative blames sense of humour for caucus eviction; clarifies invitations were for women to sit on knee, not lap

Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon believes he's guilty of having a "bad sense of humour" — not sexual harassment.

After keeping mum for nearly a month, Graydon held a formal news conference Thursday to address allegations he had made inappropriate comments during interactions with female political staff.

“I want to stress as strongly as I can: I’m not a sexual harasser, as some in the media have portrayed. People who know me best can verify I have never been accused of anything remotely resembling sexual harassment in my past. My wife of 45 years and my children do not deserve hearing these media statements about their husband and father," the former Tory MLA said.

"I admit I’m guilty of having a bad sense of humour, and sincerely apologize to those who have been offended by my inconsiderate jokes. I have grown up in a different era. I realize some people today are much more sensitive to inappropriate humour and that going forward, I will ensure I will be more conscious about my comments."

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Emerson MLA Cliff Graydon believes he's guilty of having a "bad sense of humour" — not sexual harassment.

After keeping mum for nearly a month, Graydon held a formal news conference Thursday to address allegations he had made inappropriate comments during interactions with female political staff.

"I want to stress as strongly as I can: I’m not a sexual harasser, as some in the media have portrayed. People who know me best can verify I have never been accused of anything remotely resembling sexual harassment in my past. My wife of 45 years and my children do not deserve hearing these media statements about their husband and father," the former Tory MLA said.

"I admit I’m guilty of having a bad sense of humour, and sincerely apologize to those who have been offended by my inconsiderate jokes. I have grown up in a different era. I realize some people today are much more sensitive to inappropriate humour and that going forward, I will ensure I will be more conscious about my comments."

'I admit I'm guilty of having a bad sense of humour and sincerely apologize to those who have been offended by my inconsiderate jokes' — Cliff Graydon 

The Free Press previously reported Graydon allegedly told two young women — on separate occasions — to sit on his lap. Graydon refuted that statement Thursday.

"I want to make something very, very clear: I’ve never asked anyone to sit on my lap. That’s a media term. The comment was, ‘You can sit on my knee or I can get you a chair,'" the 72-year-old said.

Graydon said he did not remember whether he'd asked a female staffer to lick food off his face — an incident sources told the Free Press happened this fall. He said he didn't know if more women might come forward with allegations.

"There could be many in my past. I have no idea, with my sense of humour," he said.

After taking questions from reporters, the veteran MLA acknowledged the comments he made to women could be considered sexual harassment, noting: "I recognize that now, but at the time, I felt we were all equal."

"It's entirely sexual harassment. His response today shows that he is unwilling to take other perspectives to heart and accept responsibility for his actions. Honestly, much of his statement today was so nonsensical that it doesn't even warrant a response" - one of the women accusing Cliff Graydon of sexual harrassment, in response to his press conference

One of the women who Graydon previously asked to sit on his knee told the Free Press it doesn't seem he has seen the error of his ways. Graydon doesn't understand the concept of sexual harassment, she said, requesting anonymity.

Cliff Graydon, Manitoba MLA for EmersonTHE CANADIAN PRESS

JOHN WOODS / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Cliff Graydon, Manitoba MLA for EmersonTHE CANADIAN PRESS

"His comments were undoubtedly flirtatious in nature. He would not treat a man the way he treated a number of young women staffers, and this is where the issue lies. It's not a simple case of having different senses of humour or misunderstandings based on generational differences; it's something more targeted and nefarious," she said in a statement.

"It's entirely sexual harassment. His response today shows that he is unwilling to take other perspectives to heart and accept responsibility for his actions. Honestly, much of his statement today was so nonsensical that it doesn't even warrant a response."

Graydon wouldn't address whether he felt the Progressive Conservative party treated him fairly by ousting him from caucus in the wake of the allegations. He said he would have preferred to serve the remainder of his term under the PC banner, but will continue to work as an independent until Manitobans return to the polls in 2020.

He will not be a candidate in the next provincial election.

"Anyone that knows Cliff Graydon knows that I’m not a quitter," he said. "I consider this an opportunity to be an independent MLA who is able to speak out on issues in an open and honest manner that are in the best interests of my constituents and the province of Manitoba."

Graydon said he would not hesitate to criticize the PC party if he believes it's not acting in the best interests of taxpayers.

The MLA, who has held the Emerson riding since 2007, said he will continue doing sensitivity training, meeting with trained professionals for at least a half-hour at a time.

"My jokes, that I now regret, were simply intended to be humorous, and I can assure those offended, they were not intended to be demeaning or harmful to anyone. I have apologized and I’ve paid a very huge price for my comments."

Premier Brian Pallister said he believed Graydon responded to the situation "in a reasonable way."

"He’s handled the situation with grace. We’ve handled the situation appropriately (for) a government that’s leading the way across Canada in making the workplace safer," the Tory premier said.

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @_jessbu

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski
Legislature reporter

Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 12:10 PM CST: Tweaks headline, adds photo

4:44 PM: Tweaks headline, adds photo, comments from premier

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us