LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Mayor Eric Garcetti’s former deputy chief of staff Tuesday said he was taking “leave” from his nonprofit work and volunteer activities with the mayor in response to allegations of sexual harassment.
The allegations against Rick Jacobs were published Monday night by journalist and former political fixer Yashar Ali, who said Jacobs harassed him at at various political functions over the course of 10 years that ended in 2015.
3. The reason the allegations in the lawsuit sounded familiar to me was because Rick Jacobs used to forcibly kiss me when I worked in politics. After the lawsuit was filed in July and Jacobs denied the allegations I confronted him in a text message. https://t.co/icvQYPOmzl pic.twitter.com/MxItg8Zucq
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 20, 2020
“Everyone sort of accepted it, and, you know, when Rick would come up to me and grab my face and forcibly kissed me, I was always disgusted by it, but, as I wrote in my piece, there’s just a certain amount of stuff you sort of learned to accept from people,” Ali said. “I had spoken to a couple of friends about it, and said, ‘God, this guy Rick used to do this stuff to me,’ but, you know, moved on. It was until the lawsuit was filed that I felt motivated to say something.”
In July, a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who worked as part of Garcetti’s security detail from 2014-19 filed a lawsuit making similar allegations against Jacobs — from sexually explicit comments to unwanted physical contact.
The lawsuit also alleged that “Mayor Garcetti was present on many, if not most, of the occasions when Jacobs made sexually inappropriate comments as being inappropriate. On some occasions, the Mayor would laugh at Jacobs’ crude comments.”
Ali said he reached out to one of Garcetti’s top City Hall aides immediately after the lawsuit was filed and detailed his own experience with Jacobs.
“They were aware of it three months ago,” he said.
Alis said that in that time he has yet to hear from anyone in Garcetti’s office. He also said that through his reporting he was able to talk to several others who described similar experiences with Jacobs.
“All of it felt gross to me, but as I wrote in my piece, we, especially gay men, are conditioned to sort of accept whatever is done to them under the guise of affection,” Ali said.
Jacobs has denied the allegations made by the LAPD officer in the lawsuit, but has not publicly addressed those levied against him by Ali.
“I take seriously all allegations of harassment,” Garcetti said in a Tuesday night statement. “Rick Jacobs has stepped away from his non-profit and volunteer political work.”