LANSING, Mich. — A well-known Lansing political consultant is under fire today after sexual harassment accusations from five former staffers.
Several women who worked for Vanguard Public Affairs in Lanisng say the company’s president, TJ Bucholz, sexually harassed them, in some cases dating back to 2010.
Ashlea Phenicie, who worked for Vanguard for more than two years, said in an email that Bucholz warned staffers not to get pregnant because he didn’t want to pay for maternity leave.
In one instance just before she left the firm, she says he "placed a gun on her desk and dared her to touch it". It was an encounter that "felt like a taunting power display charged with sexual innuendo".
Another woman, political consultant Emily Dievendorf, said Bucholz would often pull her aside to show her pictures of his wife in a bikini.
“He would ask me if I thought she was attractive and tell me that she thought I was attractive.and he would ask me if I was interested in a threesome with them," Dievendorf said.
Three other women told the Detroit Free Press Bucholz had harassed them too. FOX 47 News has reached out to all parties involved.
So far, there has been no response from Bucholz or his company.
But at least one organization, Downtown Lansing Incorporated, is already cutting ties with Bucholz, announcing today he had been removed from their board of directors.
Dievendorf says its time for everyone to speak up on this issue and call out bad behavior.
“I would like those who enable the sexual harassers in the workplace especially in politics to stop offering those opportunities. And also to talk openly about bad actors because whispering about those doing the harm is not keeping them from advancing," she said.
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