Nessel vows to fight workplace harassment

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Dana Nessel, a Plymouth Township Democrat running for Michigan attorney general, turned heads this week with a new video vowing to fight workplace sexual harassment – and avoid it herself.

“Who can you trust not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn’t have a penis? I’d say so,” Nessel said in the video.

“I will not sexually harass my staff and I won’t tolerate it in your workplace either. I won’t walk around in a half-open bathrobe, and I’ll continue to take all sex crimes seriously, just like I did as a prosecutor.”

Nessel is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 2018. The only other declared candidate in the race is a man – former U.S. Attorney Pat Miles, whose campaign declined to comment on the video.

The Michigan Republican Party accused Nessel of exploiting a national sexual harassment and assault crisis “for personal gain” and questioned why she has not called for Democratic U.S. Rep. John Conyers to step down amid harassment allegations.

Other critics noted that as a private attorney in 2010, Nessel represented a Detroit strip club that was accused of employing a 15-year-old girl as a dancer. The Detroit News reported on the police raid at Club Onyx in 2010.

Nessel is best known for representing a same-sex couple in a case that helped overturn gay-marriage bans in Michigan and other states. She previously worked as an assistant prosecutor in Wayne County, where current Prosecutor Kym Worthy has endorsed her campaign.