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Former Staffer: California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia Fired Him After He Resisted Playing Spin The Bottle

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California Asm. Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) calls for a tax on liquor products to pay for the removal of the sales tax on diapers and tampons at a state Capitol news conference on March 9, 2017.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

There is a new, on-the-record sexual harassment allegation against California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia – one of the #MeToo movement’s most prominent voices at the state Capitol.

One of Garcia’s former staffers, David Kernick, has filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Kernick’s claim, first obtained by Politico, alleges that in June 2014, his employment was terminated shortly after he complained about Garcia asking him to join her in a game of Spin the Bottle in her hotel room. That’s a game where players sit in a circle and take turns spinning the bottle – and must kiss the person it points at when it stops.

Kernick is one of four former staffers whose lawyer sent a letter to the California Assembly accusing Garcia of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. So far, the other three are remaining anonymous.

Garcia’s office declined comment Sunday. But in a previous Facebook post, she said she’s confident she’s treated her staff fairly and respectfully.

“In a fast-paced legislative office, not everyone is the right fit for every position, and I do understand how a normal employment decision could be misinterpreted by the individual involved in that decision,” Garcia wrote.

Earlier this month, a former staffer to another member of the Assembly accused Garcia of cornering and groping him after the Legislative softball game four years ago. That led Garcia to take an unpaid leave of absence while the allegation is investigated.

 We Said Enough

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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