Rep. Blake Farenthold’s former communications director said she’s faced significant professional repercussions since alleging sexual harassment in a lawsuit against the Texas Republican in 2014.
In a rare public interview, Lauren Greene told CNN she was advised her career on Capitol Hill would be over if she sought legal recourse against Farenthold. Her lawsuit claimed he made inappropriate comments intended to gauge if she was interested in a sexual relationship; he has denied wrongdoing.
Greene’s comments reveal the career difficulties that can arise for women who file sexual harassment complaints, especially in industries that run on loyalty — like politics.
“I was told this would be career suicide,” she told CNN Monday night. “As soon as I decided to do this, I had to come to the conclusion that D.C. was no longer going to be in the cards. That was the feedback I got. … Staying in D.C. wasn’t an option for me.”
In a separate interview with Politico, Greene revealed she has been unable to land a full-time job and that her family has had to support her financially since her lawsuit.
“I have reason to believe that there have been a couple of jobs I haven’t gotten because they Googled my name and I think somehow it’s perceived as a negative,” she told CNN.
Farenthold settled with Greene for $84,000, an agreement that resurfaced in the news on Friday after the Committee on House Administration released statistics on workplace settlements involving representatives’ offices in the past five years.
That settlement was the only one pertaining to sexual harassment that was paid out of a designated Treasury Department fund since 2013.
The congressman said Monday that while he “didn’t do anything wrong,” he plans to reimburse taxpayers for the settlement’s cost.
Interviewed by a Corpus Christi television station, Farenthold said he doesn’t “want the taxpayers to be on the hook for this. I want to be able to talk about it and fix the system without people saying, ‘Blake you’ve benefited from the system. You don’t have the right to talk about it and fix it.'”
Greene, 30, said she has “nothing to hide” and would be willing to disclose the terms of the settlement if Farenthold agrees.