RELEASE: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Calls Out Institutions for Protecting and Covering Up Sexual Assault Scandals Such as Those of Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly

Washington, D.C. — A new batch of sexual harassment accusations released last night, this time targeted at Mark Halperin, political analyst with NBC News, adds to the growing list of prominent men accused of sexual misconduct, such as those of Bill O’Reilly and Harvey Weinstein. In an interview with the Center for American Progress’ “Thinking CAP” podcast taped on Tuesday, before the Halperin allegations were published, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says we need to push back on the institutions that are protecting and covering up these sexual assault scandals.

“Whether you’re the big commentator on TV that everyone wants to protect; or the best quarterback ever; or some other place of privilege, some place of importance … the institutional bias, they close around the protected, and then they shut down the stories. And that’s what has to change,” said Sen. Gillibrand. “We have to push back on the institutions, and really create accountability, whether you’re talking about a college campus, or the U.S. military, or the Catholic church, or any other institution that has had scandals in the past few decades that just have really resisted that transparency and accountability.”

In the same interview, Sen. Gillibrand called out U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt for stacking the department with industry insiders and putting industry profits over public health, with new reports of the department’s rollback on chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, this week.

“Scott Pruitt, as attorney general, he sued the EPA over a dozen times. Every single time on behalf of the polluter, never on behalf of human health,” said Gillibrand, also a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “He doesn’t even have the lens to put people in place, and he’s just putting in chemical company insiders who care about corporate profits more than they care about the people they’re trying—they’re supposed to be serving.”

In the podcast interview, with hosts Michele Jawando and Igor Volsky, Sen. Gillibrand also spoke about her meetings with Ivanka Trump to discuss paid leave policy, why women should rally behind the gun safety movement, and the values she believes progressives need to keep fighting for to combat President Donald Trump.

Listen to the full interview here.

“Thinking CAP” is a weekly podcast launched in May by CAP. During the past few months, co-hosts Michele Jawando and Igor Volsky have spoken with leading progressive thought leaders, comedians, advocates, and politicians, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Hasan Minhaj of “The Daily Show”; comedian Baratunde Thurston; Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-MN), and Chris Murphy (D-CT); former U.S. Secretary of Education John King; and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The podcast is produced by Sally Tucker; Rachel Rosen is the supervising producer. New episodes are released every Thursday. The podcast is available on iTunesSoundCloudStitcher, and CAP’s website.

If you are looking for more information on guest booking, please contact Sally Tucker at sstucker@americanprogress.org or 202.481.8103.