The State Duma deputy at the center of sexual harassment allegations levied by female journalists released an apology on Women’s Day on Thursday.
Leonid Slutsky, head of the Duma’s foreign affairs committee, has been accused in recent weeks of sexual harassment by five journalists, with one of them alleging to have audio recordings as evidence of his misconduct. The Duma’s ethics commission reportedly asked Slutsky to explain the accusations on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post marking International Women’s Day, Slutsky said he wanted to use the opportunity to “say sorry to those of you I’ve caused any discomfort, consciously or unconsciously.”
“Trust me,” he wrote. “It was not out of malice.”
Protesters appealing for an investigation into the harassment allegations gathered outside the State Duma in Moscow earlier in the day. Demonstrators called out Slutsky and the reluctance of Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin to launch a formal investigation.
Protesters included the web editor of the Vedomosti business daily Maxim Tovkaylo and activists from Amnesty International.
Deputy Slutsky, come out, I’ll touch you, “just a little bit.”
Mister Volodin, afraid to investigate harassment in the Duma? If so, change jobs.
Volodin on Wednesday said that female journalists who fear harassment at the Duma should “change jobs.”
Opposition candidate Sobchak appeared before the rally took place and spoke to reporters, but departed before noon.