Mayor Bob Filner of San Diego isn't resigning yet in the face of unspecified allegations pertaining to his treatment of women. But he has apologized for whatever he did, with a short video up Thursday evening in which he asked for "help" as he tries to "change my behavior." Maybe Filner, emboldened by a recent series of comebacks from male politicians disgraced in a sexual scandal, is trying to skip the part of the redemption cycle where he's supposed to resign.
And resignation is exactly what three old friends of his called for earlier today, according to the LA Times. former City Councilwoman Donna Frye and lawyers Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs described Filner's behavior as "truly reprehensible," adding that the women involved were " too scared to speak." In a letter, Frye told Filner that "I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt" despite earlier rumors about his behavior. They've offered to help the women file suit. The three asked for Filner to step down. In his apology, Filner said, "when a friend like Donna Frye is compelled to call for my resignation, I'm clearly doing something wrong." He pledged to undergo sexual harassment training, and to "personally apologize" for his behavior to everyone personally affected:
It looks like Filner's angle here is that he didn't know his behavior was wrong until the current controversy forced him to think about it for a second (emphasis ours):
As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.
It’s a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong.
I am also humbled to admit that I need help. I have begun to work with professionals to make changes in my behavior and approach. In addition, my staff and I will participate in sexual harassment training provided by the city. Please know that I fully understand that only I am the one that can make these changes.
If my behavior doesn’t change, I cannot succeed in leading our city.
The full text is here.
Filner, 70, became the first progressive mayor of San Diego in awhile just seven months ago. He was previously a congressman for nearly two decades. On Monday, Filner's fiancee announced that their wedding was off, and the relationship over. Two close members of his staff also resigned recently. Gonzalez told the AP that he wasn't going to comment on Filner's apology until Friday, after meeting with the women involved in the allegations to talk about their next move.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.