Former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Jr was summarily dismissed from his position at a Managing Director at the investment firm Morgan Stanley amid an internal investigation by its Human Resource department, the Huffington Post reports.
In an email to the progressive news and opinion giant, a Morgan Stanley spokesperson wrote, “He has been terminated for conduct inconsistent with our values and in violation of our policies.”
At issue is an allegation by a woman Morgan Stanley says is not an employee, but interfaces with Ford in a professional capacity. She alleges he forcibly grabbed her and subsequently harassed her for a date.
For his part, Ford denies the claim, saying in a statement via Twitter, “I support and have tremendous respect for the brave women now speaking out in this important national dialogue. False claims like this though undermine the real silence breakers.”
The Huffington Post has interviewed the woman at the center of the allegation, and have agreed to keep her identity private:
In two interviews with HuffPost, the woman alleged that Ford engaged in harassment, intimidation, and forcibly grabbed her one evening in Manhattan, leading her to seek aid from a building security guard. The incident took place several years ago when Ford and the woman were supposed to be meeting for professional reasons. Ford continued to contact her after the encounter until she wrote an email asking him to cease contact.
The email, which was reviewed by HuffPost, shows that the woman emailed Ford after he repeatedly asked her to drinks. She asked him not to contact her anymore, citing his inappropriate conduct the evening where he forcibly grabbed and harassed her.
Ford replied to the email by apologizing and agreeing not to contact her. “Hey very sorry. Meant no harm,” the email reads. “And I apologize for whatever I may have said or what was said. And my overtures are strictly professional. Again I apologize didn’t mean to be inappropriate at all. Sorry that impression was left.”
HuffPost is not identifying the woman at her request but has reviewed emails that confirm her interactions with Ford and spoke to two people whom the woman confided in about the incident. One woman heard from Ford’s accuser the night of the incident and described her as “distraught, shocked, and frightened,” and said that she was concerned about any career ramifications should she report the incident.
In a statement provided to HuffPost, Ford denied the allegations: “This simply did not happen. I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life. Having drinks and dinner for work is part of my job, and all of my outreach to the news reporter making these false allegations was professional and at the direction of my firm for business purposes. I support and have tremendous respect for the brave women now speaking out in this important national dialogue. False claims like this undermine the real silence breakers. I will now be bringing legal action against the reporter who has made these false claims about me as well as Morgan Stanley for improper termination.”
The public first heard of Harold Ford, Jr through his famous father, legendary six-term congressman Harold Ford Sr. Son Jr. won the seat by a commanding margin, then ran for and lost the open seat left by Republican Senator Bill Frist in 2006. He was defeated by Bob Corker.
Since leaving Congress in 2007, Ford worked for Merrill Lynch, then joined Morgan Stanley in 2011 as a Managing Director. Additionaly, he appears regularly as a paid on-air political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, and is a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Ford vows his dismissal from Morgan Stanley will not go unchallenged, tweeting:
I will now be bringing legal action against the reporter who made these false claims about me as well as Morgan Stanley for improper termination.
— Harold Ford, Jr. (@HFord2) December 7, 2017